the game within the game

pokemon baseball

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Let me tell you cats something real quick. The last time I was at a baseball game was when the Tigers were in Boston earlier this season (more on that shortly, when I have a hot second to catch my breath and upload the rest of these freakin’ cartoons). There was a fair amount of baseball and a lot of heat and a Bostonian gentleman who recognized my 2009 All Star Game jersey in the security line out front, expressed surprise at seeing it, then saw that it was a BRANDON INGE jersey and said, “Inge… Brandon, right? You don’t see a lot of those!” No sir. No, sir, you do not, but I very much appreciate your recall of short white third basemen refugees from the catcher’s mitt.

I also almost (literally) ran into Al Avila in the Fenway Park concourse, which was cool, but Mr. Avila, please do not stop on the ramp and block the way. C’mon now.

But I’m not cartoon-ically ready to talk about all that just yet. What I want to talk about is the fact that THERE WAS SO MUCH POKEMON GO.

Seriously. There were people playing Pokemon Go all over the park. Outside the park, in the concourse, in the aisles, in their seats. People were coming down the stairs playing Pokemon Go while looking over the shoulders of people in grandstand seating playing Pokemon Go, so that they could confirm that that other person was in fact playing Pokemon Go, and maybe to see what creature that person was pursuing (??), or whether they were battling for a ‘gym’ (????) or doing whatever one does at a ‘Pokestop’ (????????).

There were definitely more people playing Pokemon Go in Fenway Park than there were people scoring the game on paper scorecards.

pidgey at the park

Image obtained via Pokemon-Go-capable seatmate.

I don’t even have Pokemon Go on my phone (I couldn’t download it even if I wanted to; my phone is too old and is not supported by newer apps). But since my seatmate does, I was privy to the madness and the wonder of Pokemon at the Park. There was so much happening! There were small creatures in the stadium, not entirely unlike mantises! The gym was constantly changing hands! People had something to do between innings that did not involve spilling extremely expensive beer on each other! Of course people were also staring at their phones during the actual gameplay, sometimes, and missing out on some pretty decent baseball so that they could superimpose digital monsters on the very real Green Monster….


I cannot remember ever seeing anything like this, where so many people were interested not just in the game that was happening on the field, but in playing a separate game in the stands, one that was in some ways its own thing, but in other ways was dependent on the particularities of Fenway Park (moving around to catch different Pokemon; the intensity of activity that was a direct result of the number of people in the park at one time; the pleasure of seeing your Pokemon not just on a digital landscape, but actually putting its butt in Justin Verlander’s face; etc.). I know that it is cool to poop all over the entire phone-tethered existence of which Pokemon Go is a part, but this seemed more fun and communally entertaining than anything else. These folks were delighted to see Pokemon at the baseball game, more so than they would have been to see Pokemon at the local CVS. That was cool and I have to say that I, a non-participant, did enjoy seeing it.

The focus on phones also prevented a few more people from doing the wave. Good outcomes all ’round, I say.

This election year, why not vote for what’s right?

Vote Kinsler 2016

Illustration by Samara Pearlstein

There are a lot of terrible choices you could make this election cycle. You could be voting for hate, fear, cronyism, corruption, stupidity, greed, and so much more. How can a responsible voter cut through all this mess and come up with an answer they can feel good about? Cat friends, we have your answer. Vote for the one candidate we all know to be correct.

Vote Ian Kinsler for All Star 2016!

This is the Final Man Vote and you have until 4:00 pm ET on Friday July 8. Happy clicking.

A couple things that are not cool.

JD Martinez and his broken elbow and its ghostly results.

Illustrations by Samara Pearlstein.

Not cool: JD Martinez breaking his elbow and being out six weeks. It’s not even like he broke it doing something irresponsible like skateboarding or jumping on a trampoline or carrying a bag of frozen meat up the stairs. No, he was just playing baseball and he played baseball a little too hard and there you have it, now the ghostly spirit of Tigers offense can waft right on up and out of that break. Not cool at all.

Also not cool: this situation.

Paws crushed beneath Sluggerrr and the dumb Cleveland C.

Just sayin’.

a couple quick thoughts

I just started one of my classes on watercolors. While my students are working, I have a little time to sit and reflect and obsessively check the stats and scores of the baseball games that I am not watching (it’s a night class). I also have the watercolors that I’m using for demos right there in front of me…

Verlander in love, but not with Paws
illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Justin Verlander is in love! He has offered his pitching hand in marriage to Kate Upton! We wish him a lifetime of happiness and low ERAs. But there is one who loved him first, who now must live with the sight of his beloved in thrall to another…

I’m not saying this is going to cause problems, I’m just saying, it’s something we should keep an eye on.

Nick Castellanos bat on fire

Nick Castellanos’ bat has been on fire.

That’s it, that’s the whole visual joke.

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?





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.

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.


–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.