Category Archives: Terrible Cartoons

the catcher returns

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

It’s been quite a while, but Brad Ausmus is coming back to the Tigers, now one more step up the baseball evolutionary ladder. Time, environment, and mutation have helped him make the natural– but by no means inevitable– evolution from catcher to manager. The Tigers’ previous manager of course has just decided to step gracefully off of the phylogenetic tree main branch to a spindly side branch of vaguely affiliated front office types. Nature, as you know, abhors a vacuum, and the ecological niche thus vacated looks to be filled now by Ausmus.

He will be new to the role, with no big league managerial experience. If you are experiencing sweaty, shaking flashbacks to Alan Trammell, that’s okay. Breathe deep. It is a perfectly understandable reaction. Remember that you control the memories, and the memories do not control you.

Ausmus is also awfully young to be handed the reins of a big league team– he is only 44 years old. Detroit just went from years under the control of Jim Leyland, a 68-year-old man who seems 85. How will the Tigers react to a relative whippersnapper, a guy definitely still hot enough to raise the eyebrows of their girlfriends, a dude only 6 years older than Torii Hunter? We’ll have to wait until Spring Training at least to see.

(Fun fact: Torii Hunter is significantly closer in age to his new manager than he is to Rick Porcello. He’s 6 years younger than Ausmus, but 13 years older than FredFred. This tells you more about the remarkableness of Torii Hunter than anything else.)

The official RotT line on this one is trepidation, mixed in with a lot of hopefulness. It is hard to imagine that someone so inexperienced will be able to handle personality conflicts or issues, should they arise, with the irritable aplomb that Leyland brought to the table. But Ausmus is a smart cat, and I so want him to do well, having loved him from his playing days. This will make it all the more awful should he fail. But I am willing to hope that he can swing it.

And how exciting is it to have the Tigers managed by A NICE JEWISH BOY? For RotT, it is incredibly exciting, because this is how we do it around here, ok. He instantly becomes the only current Jewish manager in the majors (as the Jerusalem Post has already noted), and rabbis everywhere are running around in small circles out of sheer excitement. Detroit Tigers yarmulkes for everyone!

stepping down

all images by Samara Pearlstein

Jim Leyland announced today that he is stepping down from his position as manager of the Tigers.

Obviously we have all had our moments of doubt, exasperation, annoyance, and so on with decisions Leyland has made. His use of pitchers was often what might be charitably termed curious. His lineup decisions were sometimes hard to figure out. He was loyal to coaches and players, sometimes, some might say, to a fault. If there is any one among us who has not at some point over the past 8 years shaken a fist at the field or TV or radio dash of a car while screaming, “LEEEYYYYYLAAAAND!”, I would argue that that person is lying or apathetic about baseball or both.

But there is also no denying the good that Leyland did here. As that previously linked article points out, 6 of the 8 years Leyland was here, the Tigers had winning records; they went to the postseason 4 times; and they made at least the ALCS the past 3 years in a row. That’s not an insignificant record, and even all the talent the Tigers have socked away on their roster is hardly a guarantee of that kind of consistent success.

And, of course, there has been much to love. There’s his penchant for smoking in the dugout and clubhouse, and his secret amazing singing voice, and his baseball socks, and his dislike of things that are horsesh!t, and his intense war with all MLB umpires, and the fact that he was never really even mad at Gene Lamont for running over his foot with a golf cart, and his affection for Don Kelly, and the time he said that Phil Coke was rowing with one oar.

All these things and more made us love him, and we had many reasons to enjoy his tenure as manager. He is not entirely retiring– he says he will be remaining with the team in some as-yet unspecified capacity– but I, for one, will miss him.


turn out the lights

This is Upsetting and I am Upset.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Seriously! What else was Justin Verlander supposed to do? He was more than good, and he left the Tigers more than enough chances to swing themselves back into the game. I am not a happy cat right now.

Also, John Lackey, gross.

The triumphant return.

Who got the win with a three-inning relief pitching effort (very) late last night?

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Welcome back, Jeremy Bonderman.

cartoons from the recent Tigers games

illustrations and photos by Samara Pearlstein

This past Saturday was Max Scherzer’s 29th birthday. July 27 is always extra special, because not only is it Max Scherzer’s birthday, it is also Mr. Dombrowski’s birthday. This year it was extra extra special, because it was also a Max Scherzer start. It was extra extra EXTRA special because Max pitched with the blue eye, and it was extra extra EXTRA EXTRA special because his teammates all chipped in to get him 10 runs of support so that he could get his 15th win. A happy birthday for all.

The Tigers acquired Jose Veras. The excitement was infinite. Who needs an incontrovertible closer when you have 10,000 middle relievers? Not these cats.

On Sunday the great Tigers vs. Umpires War of Major League Baseball continued, as Miguel Cabrera was ejected in the third inning for no immediately and readily discernible reason. It soon turned out that Chad Fairchild, the homeplate ump, had taken a dislike to Miggy’s dislike of his strike calling. Apparently Cabrera said something after the first pitch, Fairchild told him to can it, and when Miggy piped up again after the second pitch, Fairchild threw him out with great immediacy and extreme prejudice. Thing is, Cabrera had not even turned around to voice his complaints or show up the umpire in any way. Even if he really said something that bad, it was as much to himself as anything else. It was a totally uncalled-for ejection in the opinions of Miguel Cabrera and the entirety of the crowd, which proceeded to scream at Fairchild sporadically throughout the remainder of the game (a repeated opinion: “We didn’t pay to see you, Chad!”).

Also deeply unimpressed was Jim Leyland, who stormed onto the field and was ejected in his turn. Of course, his feelings about the umpires are well known.

I was at the game, and let me assure you, he was quite displeased.

On Tuesday Alex Avila hit the first grand slam of his career. Even if you were not watching the FSD broadcast, you already knew in your heart of hearts that Rod Allen called it a grand salami. You knew, and you were glad.

As I said, I was in Detroit this past weekend for the games. Both were highly enjoyable for a variety of reasons, but something extra special and exciting happened at the Saturday game. Here is a little preview:

But you will have to wait a little bit to get the full photographic report.

All Star Tigers and other cartoons.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Your 2013 All Star Tigers starters: Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Miguel Cabrera. Let’s talk about this trio, just all the sexy baseball-playin’ ability a person can imagine inside their brain and outside their brain in the statistic-gathering websites. And by ‘let’s talk about’ this I mean ‘well uh you can look at that picture which also you can click for bigger.’ Why are they standing in a star-shaped light-filled pit? Because ALL STAR GAME. Let us be clear: if I had access to these three, and also had access to a star-shaped light-filled pit, and Sports Illustrated was asking me to do an All Star Game photoshoot, this is totally the photoshoot that I would do. Sadly for you, me, and the universe, this will never come to pass, so it shall remain a scenario that can only exist in drawn form.

You know what is even more exciting than the fact that the Tigers have 3 starters in the All Star Game? You probably already do know because I am making this post pretty late in the game, but it is the fact that the Tigers actually have SIX players in the All Star Game. SIX.

Jhonny Peralta, Torii Hunter, and Prince Fielder: ladies and gentlecats, your reserves, which can also be clicked for bigger:

Why are they riding star-shaped flying surf boards? BECAUSE ALL STAR GAME.

Now I just have an assortment of cartoons sitting around, because due to External Circumstances it has taken me forever to scan and color things. I could try to integrate them gracefully into this post but like the SI photoshoot it is just not going to happen. We will all have our disappointments on this day.

That thing happened where the Tigers gave Toronto a very special present on Canada Day, because Paws is nothing if not a charitable cat. Look, foreign policy is touchy for the United States on many fronts nowadays; it was important for the Tigers to do their bit for international relations.

Hey remember that time when Jose Valverde was lol ok nope me neither nevermind.

Max Scherzer is 13-0, amazing the greater baseball community and possibly also Max himself. Obviously he has been gazing at things with the blue eye, as we all know that is how that works.

“Spotlight on Drew Smyly.”

Is Victor Martinez finally pulling up his woeful very low no good BABIP? Statistics says: at some point, almost certainly!

In Matt Tuiasosopo do we have the new Magglio Ordonez? No. But in terms of hair… still no, but he may well be the closest thing we’ve got right now, and that deserves remark. More than that: it deserves commendation. The time of Magglio’s hair was a magical time for us as Tigers fans and as human beings. If even a fraction of that former glory can be recaptured, we will owe Mr. Tuiasosopo a shampoo of thanks.

I can’t help it. Joaquin Benoit is up for the Final Man Vote for the All Star Game, which he will inevitably lose because a Yankee and a Red Sock are also in the running, but in any event the Tigers have been using the hashtag #BackBenoit on the Twitters to try to drum up a voting campaign for him, or something. Every time I see it, this is what I think.

Back that thang up, Joaquin. Go Tigers.

Miguel Cabrera’s special sauce and other Tiger tales.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
Miguel Cabrera is a historically excellent hitter. Miguel Cabrera frightens opposing pitching. Miguel Cabrera must have a lineup constructed around him so as to minimize the number of times opposing pitchers walk him out of sheer terror. Miguel Cabrera went 4-for-4 yesterday with a walk and 3 runs, two of which were home runs. Most importantly: Miguel Cabrera has his own line of salsa.

Have any of you consumed this fine item yet? In general I think it’s difficult to really badly screw up salsa, but this is not just any salsa– this is MIGGY’S SALSA. It could be filled with chopped up bits of Southpaw or flakes of Silver Slugger silver or some weird kind of bean grown only on the now sort-of vacant lot where Tiger Stadium once stood. You can buy the stuff online but there is no ingredient list so for all I know these speculative salsa-bits could all be reality.

It also comes in three varieties: Mild, Medium, and Hot. Does this refer to, as is typical for salsa, spiciness and mouth-feel? Or is it instructional, telling you which salsa you should turn your corn chips towards at any given time, based on how Miggy is doing at the plate?

If you have a report on this stuff please tell me. The People and Cats must know.

So like there was that game where a Tigers pitcher threw 17 strikeouts, a Detroit record, and that pitcher was neither Justin Verlander nor Max Scherzer. It was Anibal Sanchez. Everyone was sort of like, “Wait, what?” and then, “Oh, cool!” and then, “Man gimme some more of that salsa.”

How many really long games have the Tigers had recently? I am sure it is actually something like 2, but I am not going to go look it up, and it feels like a whole heck of a lot of absurdly, unreasonably long games have been happening as of late. There are two possible images for this. One is me, passed out on my computer, drooling onto the keyboard while the cold bluish light of the game on some sort of screen washes over my pasty skin. The other is the cartoon above.

Also: Bruce Rondon got sent down and Phil Coke landed on the 15-day DL with a strained groin. I leave the potential cartoons of that last to your fertile imagination.

Happy Passover from Roar of the Tigers!

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

It may be the last full day/night of Passover, but here at Roar of the Tigers that means it’s just about time for a Passover cartoon. Tomorrow there shall be wonders aplenty following the FIRST GAME OF THE NEW SEASON, but for now– just this.

Hope you’re having a good one, and a pleasant Easter, and a nice official Opening Day (even if it’s just various Texans tonight). Click the picture to see it bigger, and on Monday: let’s go Tigers.

Some more important Spring Training matters.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Here we are at the tail end of Spring Training. It is a wonder that we have arrived at this point, is it not? Many of us are looking out our windows right now at piles of snow surrounding more or less indifferently cleared sidewalks, piles of snow obliterating perfectly good on-street parking spaces, piles of snow melting off of rooftops onto the unlucky, uncovered heads of passersby, piles of snow that someone’s labradoodle has peed on. But real live Baseball That Counts is starting in two weeks. Truly it is enough to make one ponder the mysteries of the universe, or at least the mysteries of summer-associated sports played in April in northern climes.

In any event, things have been occurring. We all learned that Jhonny Peralta is allergic to shellfish, for instance. This vital information came to light after he consumed what he thought was clubhouse potato soup, later to be revealed as treacherously potato-white and potato-chunky clam chowder.

There are lessons to be learned here. The first one is for the kids still in school: don’t make fun of your peers for food allergies, because that stuff is serious, and also they might one day grow up to be a Major League Baseball player and then won’t you look dumb? You will. Be nice. Secondly: maybe the clubhouse spread should be labeled. Like, really clearly. With big black letters on brightly colored pieces of cardstock. In English and Spanish. Thirdly: Jhonny Peralta has a serious food allergy. This was not widely known information before this incident. Now you know.

Another thing that occurred: Miguel Cabrera was involved in a MLB Network video art project. It involved Rihanna and Adam Jones and the kind of digital video effects that one would in fact expect from video art created by, say, your average contemporary art student– a little more Ryan Trecartin than Nam June Paik, you know.

As much as I love Miguel Cabrera, obviously, I have to note that Adam Jones is near-criminally underused in this project. From his brief appearances it is clear that the man can, and more importantly, wants to (over)act, with a readiness and enthusiasm that all the props in the world cannot approximate. But while ruing our lost opportunities to see Adam Jones flower into his full performative potential, we must not fail to appreciate that which we are given, that being Miguel Cabrera flailing around in a scuba mask and having some sort of emotional moment with a baguette, for reasons that remain obscure even upon repeated viewings. I am sure you have all seen it by now, but I urge you to spend some more time with it: this is art that resists easy and immediate interpretation.

Another thing that occurred a while ago and it is just now showing up in this section of the internet because GRAD SKOOL: Spring Training, as we all know, is the period during which all the most important stories have the space and time to be written. The Detroit baseball writers stretch their fingers with ease in the humid Floridian air. Their minds are sharp, honed on a long offseason of laughing at the misfortunes of the hockey beat writers; sometimes this involves laughing at themselves, and this too serves to sharpen the mind. They are at the pinnacle of their unathletic game, and the athletes, lulled into a calm good mood by renewed baseball activities and covert clubhouse clam chowder, are willing to give them a little more attention than usual.

All this led to the most important reportage of the Tigers’ Spring: Phil Coke (the relief pitcher) met and conversed with Phil Coke’s Brain (the Twitter account).

MLive’s Chris Iott is a gentleman and a scholar. Phil Coke is hilarious and a jolly good sport. His Brain abides.

One last thing: Brennan Boesch, he of the surfer-boy hair and dubious oblique and frustrating 2012 stats, was finally jettisoned from the team. Mr. D said many expected things about “moving forward” and “potential” and “a change of scenery” and all those related phrases that mean the team believes there might still be a cache of talent lurking somewhere within the corporeal person of Brennan Boesch, but they’ve tired of trying to coax it out of hiding and have decided that someone else can give it a shot if they’re feeling feisty.

The Yankees are not feeling particularly feisty these days, but since they are already gunning hard for the prestigious Most Injured Outfield of 2013 award, they extended their grubby little Yankee paws and snatched Brennan up almost immediately. May he enjoy his time in New York, although not to the point where he’s enjoying it because they are actually winning games of baseball.