illustration by Samara Pearlstein
If that horrible bundle of creatures deep in the bowels of the earth there is the rest of the AL Central, I think we can call this a mostly accurate view of the Tigers right now.
Hang on, Paws! Hang on!
photos and illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
So I was in Detroit, very briefly, and here are some of the things that happened.
There are so rarely opportunities to break out the 2009 Brandon Inge All Star Game jersey in Boston, you know?
Watching Justin Verlander during the anthem, I make a discovery…
Dude is balding! Truly the combination of stress and baseball hats is an inauspicious one.
Ian Kinsler slides–
Remains too hot for even his own self to handle.
The gentleman I saw chewing tobacco in the stands, spitting into an empty metal beer bottlecan needs to stop or be banned from the stadium or something. It is just gross. And what if an innocent child asks about what they are seeing? “Mommy, what is that man doing?” “He’s being f—ing disgusting, kiddo.” Do we really need to ruin the innocence of children with a bro in the lightest denim Ed Hardy-looking jeans I have ever seen out in the wild? Is this what you really want for your society, MLB? You’ve even banned e-cigarettes from the park. Think about your choices.
I got to see the Triple Crown, finally. It is an actual crown that looks like the cartoon and it has blue velvet and three ‘prongs’ around the fabric, each of which bears one of Miguel Cabrera’s trophy-winning stats. My only regret is that Miggy was not there, wearing it on his head.
What is probably the best office in Comerica Park belongs to Jerry Lewis, the Director of Fantasy Camps. It is astonishing and wonderful. There are Tigers things on every available surface, and there are Tigers things of all sorts, all eras, all levels of dignified gravity and high camp and everything in between. It is a little bit like a museum and a little bit like the den of a madman and if it was plopped down in a white box art gallery show, it would be installation art and nobody in the whole art world would fault its inclusion.
A few details that do not even begin to scratch the surface of everything that was here:
I don’t want to embarrass him by putting him on the blog if he’s not into that, but there is a certain Tigers employee who is a very good person and knows that this is exactly the sort of thing to make my eyes bug out of my head in a sort of overclocked delight, and deserves a great deal of thanks for finding ways to make me even happier to be in Comerica (as impossible as that seems).
What else happened?
Paws came over to our section and wowed everyone with his charm, his wit, his ability to communicate with ease while not uttering so much as a purr. His handler was not so much handling him as trailing helplessly behind, shaking his head as Paws repeatedly stopped to interact with fans instead of moving off to wherever he was supposed to be next. At one point Paws sat down behind me and took the hat off of my head and made it into a rally cap and put it back on my head and I made him take a selfie with me on my phone because I had the wrong lens on my real camera for selfies and I was afraid that if I took the time to change lenses he would disappear, poof, like Cinderella’s coach turning back into a pumpkin at midnight, because Paws is a magical creature and time spent with him is magical, delicate time indeed.
He is also a champion dancer.
The old crazed kitten-swinging-a-bat logo is making a comeback, which is all to the good… although one has to wonder how Paws will feel about it.
There were fireworks, but very little wind, which meant… smokeworks!
I also took a whole heck of a lot of photos of players, but for now there’s just this–
Austin Jackson offers Miguel Cabrera some advice after facing a new Cleveland pitcher late in the game. Because that is what teamwork is. Gossiping about the other team at every available opportunity: personal, professional, and otherwise.
Paws bless this game of baseball!
illustration by Samara Pearlstein
A grand slam walk-off into a pile of WIN.
We all, at this point, know that Justin Verlander has had his struggles. Now, if the cold and unfeeling universe happens into a spurt of goodwill, he will be coming out of this funk sooner rather than later, and will resume his old dominant-pitching ways. But just in case that does not happen in a timely fashion, I think we have a possible solution for Justin.
Give him a few months to work on his running, and he could make this transition easily. Right? Right. Justin gets to keep feeling good about himself as a professional athlete, the USMNT gains a player who can make the best throw-ins FIFA has ever seen, the Tigers get the positive karma associated with making a personal sacrifice for the good of the nation, the fans get to see Justin in one of those really tight soccer jerseys. EVERYONE WINS.
Also, apparently this happened:
Torii Hunter had hurt legbits, so Miguel Cabrera carried him into the clubhouse. Because Tigers are love. And we just have to hope that the Tigers will be carried through any and all rough patches on this vast and beautiful, uh, raft of love. The metaphor is getting away from me here so just look at the cartoon and we’ll call it a post.
images by Samara Pearlstein
Ladies and gents, cats and kittens, folks of all identifications, hello! Hello! I have missed you all so much and I have missed the ability to sit down and watch a game of baseball like a sane, civilized person, and then draw stupid cartoons about that game of baseball, which is obviously the sanest, most civilized thing one can do. But here I am, and here you are, and here are some stupid cartoons, and together we can hug this out.
Most of you know that I have been in the midst of finishing up my master’s program. It has been an insane experience. I was also working, outside of class time and studio time and occasionally trying to stay sort of up-to-date on the art world time, since that is the very realm in which I was attempting to get a (nominally) professionalizing degree. While juggling all of that, I have also been dealing with some pretty serious health issues. All this meant that I had very little time or energy for… well… anything else at all. This came to include things like ‘normal human being friends’ and ‘getting the cat exercise’ and ‘sleep’ and ‘eating food that didn’t come out of a box from Trader Joes’. It also included Roar of the Tigers, as you surely noticed.
But now I have had my thesis exhibition, all my thesis writing is done, I have defended my work to my committee, I’ve graduated, and I’ve moved 3 years’ worth of art crud out of my studio and into my apartment (much to the dismay of myself and the cat).
We do graduation in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which is admittedly kind of cool. I am now a Master of Fine Arts. This is weird for me, is it weird for you? I guess it is also kind of cool.
I am still dealing with the health stuff, which, without getting into too many details, is very complicated and involves 10,000 moving parts that all have to be coordinated, mostly by me, because it turns out that’s not a thing that a hospital system really wants to do for you. Very, very luckily I live a literal 5 minute drive from a truly stellar hospital complex, and that has been a major help. But it is still sometimes overwhelming, and exhausting. I expect that things will be easier now that I’ve graduated, at least for a little bit, until I start teaching in the fall. I just ask you cats to bear with me on this one.
I have been out to exactly two (2) real live baseball games this season. One was a Rangers/Red Sox game, so I was confronted with Prince Fielder in a Rangers uniform. This was well before Prince made a bunch of rude comments about not caring about Detroit, so at the time it was a sight that caused me to have many Feelings. I am wearing my raincoat in this cartoon because it was freezing cold and also raining, none of which helped to mitigate the Feelings situation.
I missed the entire Tigers series in Boston, because it had the horrible luck to correspond exactly with my graduation weekend and all that insanity contained therein.
In any event, I am now starting to have bits of time here and there to watch Tigers games. Unparalleled luxury! I knew that they had been doing well, were leading the division, blah blah blah, so I was looking forward to some soothing, quality baseball.
So much for that. Why, Tigers? Why?? Is it because I now have time to sometimes pay attention to you? Is this like when I come home after being gone all day and most of the night and the cat is nice to me until I’ve fed her and then I get a hardcore cold shoulder to punish me for leaving her alone all that time? Is that what is going on here? I am SORRY, Tigers! I didn’t mean to leave you alone all day with nothing to do but curl up and sleep in sunbeams and bat your toy mice around! I was in the studio! I was working! Please love me again.
Miguel Cabrera, however, is a cat without grudges, and for this I am grateful.
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!