illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
What is going on in the world of Tigers baseball? Nothing. Maybe there are rumors somewhere about the types of players you dig out of the sticky mud pile of broken baseball player limbs or whatever, but I don’t care. Call me when the Tigers acquire Albert Pujols.
Until then we are going to talk about the superpowers that the pitchers have. It is the logical step.
Justin Verlander throws balls of flame. Obviously. If you have ever watched him pitch you have seen that this is true. Without dissecting him it is hard to say exactly how this works, but obviously he has to have some sort of heat-resistant skin on his hands, or else he would suffer from crispy burnt hands all the time. His innate arm strength helps him to hurl the flaming missiles. He also has to generate the balls of fire somehow. Biochemistry, I reckon.
This is a useful superpower, easily applicable in his chosen profession. Not all superpowered pitchers are so lucky as to have a superpower that is a direct help in their time of pitching need.
Of course such a power has other uses as well. Justin Verlander will never be without a cooking fire if he is kidnapped by forest pirates and abandoned in the woods somewhere in the Upper Peninsula. And if Jim Leyland ever loses his lighter, so long as he hasn’t also lost Verlander, he will still be able to inhale his carcinogens.
Excellent party trick? Sure. But Verlander’s superpower is also a valuable asset in team bonding activities, and we all know how important team bonding is. Without it, how would we get puff-piece articles about team chemistry when nobody has anything in particular to say about the actual performance of the team on the field?
The government would like to get their hands on Verlander, to see if they could harness his power for evil governmental purposes, but since Mike Ilitch owns him fair and square, he has avoided the vivisection table so far. There is still a danger of kidnap from less scrupulous organizations (and the ever-dangerous forest pirates), so the Tigers are careful to keep some muscle around whenever Verlander and the other superpowered pitchers take to the road. Usually this means Paws. You don’t see Paws on the road because he keeps a low profile to better protect his charges.
It could be a lonely existence for Verlander, having superpowers in Major League Baseball, but as you shall soon see, he is far from the only superpowered pitcher on the Tigers.