illustration by Samara Pearlstein
If it’s time to start voting for the All Star game, does that mean it’s also deep enough in the season to start panicking properly? I think so. I think you can’t really have the one without the other, logically speaking.
There were lots of points where the Tigers could have won this game. But that would have involved hitting Scott Kazmir, like, at all (the two runs counted against him were both inherited runners that the bullpen brought home), and we all know that the 2010 Detroit Tigers do not believe that starting pitching should be hit. I don’t really understand this, unless it’s a hopeful do-unto-others sort of thing, where the Tigers are hoping that their refusal to hit balls thrown by starting pitchers will cause other teams to refrain from hitting Tigers starting pitching. It’s not working, though, so the offense should feel free to stop this strategy at any time.
Really. Any time now.
Sooo…. I tried to write something about FredFred’s performance several times here, and it’s not going to happen. Sorry. Every time I make an effort it just turns into capslocked screaming about doom and disaster and sophomore slump cliches and nobody needs to read that. FredFred doesn’t need it, you lot don’t need it, and I need to reject it. Let’s talk about HAIR.
Tigers Hair has been much in the news lately, first because of Phil Coke’s hair-related teasing and subsequent haircut, now because bearded hero Alex Avila has given Traitor Damon a mohawk, thus adding to the fine diversity of hair styles on the team. For your convenience I have briefly illustrated the subject at the top of this entry.
good lazy cartoonist would tell you, distinctive hair and facial hair styles are fantastic. They make life easier on everyone: the drawing process is easier, and it’s easier for those looking at the drawing to quickly tell who is who. They display personality and help a guy stand out when he’s lumped into a league with hundreds of other guys who are mostly going to be around his size, more or less around his age, and, like him, will have a fondness for country and rap music, and a complete inability to dress themselves. With a buzzcut you’re just that cretin at the bar in the Ed Hardy shirt. But a Phil Coke mullet takes it to a whole other (terrifying, yet intriguing) place.
Not everyone can do crazy/intense hair. Jeremy Bonderman, for instance, looks weird as hell with hair and should remain bald for all his days. I fear that longer hair would completely overwhelm Brandon Inge’s small frame (luckily he has found a facial hair configuration unlikely to be copied by very many people, as it is uniquely awful). But Justin Verlander, say, is one good haircut-less month away from powerful emo hair. I’m not saying it would be good-good, but it would definitely be weird and harmlessly trainwrecky and interesting, and that’s what I want out of my ballplayers.
Traitor Damon, of course, is already familiar with wacky hair. In fact it’s part of why so many people knew who he was and gave a flying rat pellet about him when he was with Boston: the hair (and beard) made him recognizable and distinctive. People noticed him more. He got a few nicknames and a reputation and a book deal. Not bad.
Then he went to New York, where the law decrees that hair shall not descend past the jaw and facial hair shall be restricted to the upper lip only. Yankee management doesn’t trust its bevy of overpaid, undermatured manchildren to make good (or any) decisions on their own, you see, so they do everything they can to reduce the number of decisions a ballplayer is allowed to make. Traitor Damon bought into that, in a fit of Boras-induced greed. He cut his hair. He started looking boring again.
Now he’s on the Tigers, where hair is allowed to roam free; where Jim Leyland will not hesitate to say that he thinks your hair looks terrible, but he will defend to the death your right to wear it in whatever terrible way you want (as he did with Magglio, back in those glory days). I did think Damon was going to let his hair grow out again, but for now he has gone with the mohawk. It’s weird but not too weird– there are other guys in the majors who have fauxhawks and mohawks to varying degrees– and it helps him bond with the rookie catcher as a sort of simian group grooming experience.
It’s good. It’s what we want to see from the team. More of this sort of thing.
The Tigers are playing .500 ball at the moment… and are still second in the division. Thank you AL Central. Any other AL division right now, they would be fourth at best. As it’s getting to be ASG voting time, I am starting to be concerned. Things aren’t clicking. Starters we were relying on aren’t coming through often enough; stranding men on base has become a hobby. If the Tigers end up doing well on the season, it will be because of their weak division.
Random thought from this game that fits nowhere and thus is tacked on here at the end: Scot Shields, Garret Anderson, and Mat Latos should all be on the same team. Just to screw with the local reporters and editors. Make it happen, MLB.