Baseball approaches.

Brad Ausmus - is this thing on?
illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Is it? Is this thing still on? Yes, well, looks like it is. How about that.

I hear we may have some baseball again soon. That’s a thing that still happens in the world, right? The sun rises, the air warms, the crocuses blossom, the wild turkeys begin their crazed death matches with each other and with all reflective surfaces at turkey-eye-height (a major problem in my neighborhood), and soon, one way or another, the voice of the turtle will be heard in our land. If you know what I mean. And if you’re reading a website of Detroit Tigers cartoons, I reckon that you do.

There’s been a lot going on in RotT Headquarters (as the long cartoon drought may have indicated), so I’ve only got bits and pieces of the latest news…

Daniel Norris - axe back injury

I guess Daniel Norris was supposed to contribute his luxurious hipster beard and his axe-wielding, van-dwelling ways to the clubhouse this April, but he did something to his back? I assume this is how it went down. Nobody tell me otherwise.

Justin Upton and Wayne

We may have lost one BEAUTIFUL PERFECT FRENCH BULLDOG when David Price took Astro to Boston. But at least we have some small consolation in the acquisition of Justin Upton and his special friend Wayne (as introduced by Bless You Boys, who have apparently been paying attention all this time, unlike some idiot blogs). I hope that Justin knows he should feel free to bring Wayne into the clubhouse at all times, and on the team plane, and to press conferences, and into our hearts.

Victor Martinez is very old

Victor Martinez is probably-maybe starting the season on the Disabled List, because he injured his hamstring? back? oblique? shoulder? knee? every single tendon in his body at once? Nobody is surprised, because this man has the body of an elder. May his corresponding elder wisdom allow him to compensate and remain useful to the Tigers this season.

Anthony Gose Go

Anthony (Go)se. I have nothing to say about this beyond: there it is.

Is it possible for the Tigers to be pulled up out of the muck?

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illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

The Tigers are mired pretty far down into the muck right now. Is it possible for them to be pulled up out of it? Most likely, at this point in the season, no. But if there is any cat who can manage it, that just might be Miguel Cabrera. Come back soon, Miguel! Please!

Also! If you are still upset by the way the Tigers have been conducting their business in Kansas City, here, take a look at this photo of Little Victor examining video of his swing, which Justin Verlander posted on Instagram, in what I can only assume is a bid to prove that there are still decent things in this world.

Focusing on the positive.

rallysquirreldetroit
illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I could write more about the continued sketchiness of the Dave Dombrowski firing. I could write about the losing. The atrocious bullpen. The catfight between Jose Iglesias and James McCann, which is the biggest Guys please can we just NOT of the moment. All of that. But I am tired. My head hurts. Let us focus instead on the positives, at least for right now.

–The rally squirrel helped the Tigers to a win.

–Miguel Cabrera might be on his way back sooner rather than later.

–Fiesta Tigres was a success and Placido Polanco was back in town, lookin’ pretty good, shark tooth necklace and all.

–JD Martinez exists.

–Ummmmmmm.

–After the Royals, the AL Central is pretty egregiously bad this year, so despite everything the Tigers are somehow not completely buried yet.

–The uniforms still look great, especially on players who wear their socks up. There has been no unnecessary rebranding– we’re lookin’ at you, NBA.

–It is still possible, on occasion, for the Tigers to win a game of baseball.

–We could be Miami, or Philadelphia.

That’s all I got.

On release.

Dave Dombrowski has been released. Released??

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illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Released like RELEASE THE HOUNDS?

No.

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Released like RELEASED FROM THE CONSTRAINTS OF GRAVITY?

No.

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Released like RELEASE THE DOMBRO-KRAKEN?

No.

Released like: RELEASED FROM HIS CONTRACT aka politely asked to move on aka FIRED (and I do tend to think it was a firing, instead of the much bandied-about ‘mutual decision’… if it was mutual it just seems like the kind of move that would have happened after the season and not during it, no matter how wretched the Tigers’ record).

The trading of David Price saddened me, but was understood. The Yoenis Cespedes move makes a kind of sense, especially if the door is open to bringing him back next year. I can handle the idea of a ‘reboot,’ even if it forces me to think of the Tigers as a collective cybernetic organism, or like a Power Rangers-style mecha or something. You know, something that can actually be rebooted. Maybe this is another cartoon? But this… this… I just don’t know.

Al Avila will be taking over, and while I know that he has done good work for the Tigers, Dave Dombrowski’s 14 years up top of the organization have been some of the most solid GM/pres/CEO work in baseball. They haven’t won a World Series, and of course there have been questionable decisions along the way– certain managerial choices spring to mind, and the entirety of 2003– but on the whole he has been a Good Solid Positive Influence for the Tigers. He has been heavily invested in the team for a long time, and there was no reason to think that that was going to change any time soon.

This release smacks of a kind of… I don’t want to say panic, or desperation, but it has certain overtones of both those things. It feels like an attempt to prove something: that the team is not content to say that 2015 is in any way okay, that the Tigers are still capable of being major players, that a record like this will not be tolerated. Something. But the fact that it seems to have gone down with little (or insufficient) notice given to Mr. D, the timing, all this does not give the impression of a coolly reasoned decision.

IT’S KINDA SKETCH, THAT’S ALL I’M SAYIN’.

I don’t know about you cats, but this move makes me uneasy. I don’t feel good about the way that it seems to have gone down, and I am not very happy about the decision itself. Mr. D is not perfect. He made decisions that sometimes did not work, and sometimes did not work in spectacular ways. But the majority of the time, as a crazed fan of this fine feline team, I had a lot of confidence in him, and was pleased to know that he was at the helm.

Nothing against Al Avila, but I wish we weren’t pushing him into the captain’s chair just yet.

Something to think about in this time of trades.

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illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I know, as we all know, that the Tigers are in Less Than Good shape right now. Perhaps this is the time to make some major roster changes. Perhaps this is the time to clear out contracts there is no reasonable hope of extending, in favor of some other, future contracts that may do us more good in a season other than this.

But I would ask you all– and Mr. D most of all– to consider precisely what it is that you would do.

Kyle Lobstein gets his carapace

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illustration by Samara Pearlstein; click for bigger

A good outing for the one and only crustacean in Major League Baseball this season. May his moulting be ever easy.

Also good: Miguel Cabrera. Jose Iglesias. Rod and Mario accidentally both showing up to work in pale paisley ties.

Not so good: Rajai Davis tweaking his precious groin. Joe Nathan injuring himself to the point where his career may be over. Whatever the heck is going on with Justin Verlander.

But repeat after me: I will not get too excited when the Tigers win a few games in a row. I will not get too dejected when the Tigers lose a few games in a row. It’s only April.

It is only April for a few more days, so soon enough we can fully indulge all hysterical baseball-related reactions.

some thoughts on the recent games


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Jose Iglesias is a defensive wizard, the end.

No I lied, here are a couple more things.

Have you ever seen that video of the guy throwing a brick into a washing machine? It’s chugging along and then this brick gets tossed into its drum and it starts spinning out of control and tearing itself to pieces with the force of its own motion, and stuff begins flying off until eventually the whole thing breaks apart? (This is what I’m talking about.)

Watching that washing machine is like watching Victor Martinez run right now.

There was a moment in last night’s game where Victor had to try to score from second base. Watching him chug his way around the bases was amazing and terrible. He did make it home, so, you know, that showed strength and determination and some degree of capability, but holy cats did the journey look painful. Yesterday was also the Boston Marathon, and there were people who in the last mile of 26.2 looked like they were doing better than Victor in his last 90 feet.

It’s been a busy few weeks and I have not been able to sit down and watch as much Tigers baseball as I would like, so it is possible that I just haven’t seen enough of Victor to realize how truly f’ed his body is until this last game. But now that I have had this realization… man, I know he wants to play, but can’t we declare this a humanitarian issue and make him sit quietly for a while so his bodily tissues can settle into some slightly less inflamed state?

Other things:

It’s the LAST WEEK for the Art World Universe Kickstarter!! Please give it a look and help make these actually pretty awesome weird things a reality.

I wrote a short story of baseball fiction, and Hobart Pulp published it! It’s called The First Rule is: Don’t Speak and it’s the first fiction I’ve put out into the world in a very long time (aside from whatever you want to call what happens over here). NEAT.