the first Atlanta game, in Terrible Cartoons


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Alex Avila is 23. Andy Oliver is 22. They’re both rookies. Oliver was pitching in his very first ever major league game. There was so much youth in the Friday night battery that it probably retroactively de-aged everyone else on the field. I mean, clearly Chipper Jones was feeling the effects, he had two hits in this one.

In fact the decision to pair Oliver with Avila may very well be part of a plot by Jim Leyland to gain some more youth for himself, by activating this de-aging field. It’s like going off on a quest to find the Fountain of Youth, or drinking the blood of unicorns, but Jim Leyland doesn’t have time for any catdamned stinking quest, and unicorns are hard to come by these days.

Omar Infante was there, and HE DOES NOT AGE. It’s creepy. You may say, “RotT, it’s only been three years,” but to you I say that three baseball years is like 25 real years, so clearly there is witchcraft and sorcery involved here. Rod Allen was about two sentences away from waxing poetic about Infante’s silky smooth skin, but that is not additional evidence of sorcery, it’s just how Rod Allen rolls.

At one point Rod was talking about how you can’t throw a fastball past Omar Infante. I was thinking, Come on you guys, you KNOW this, but then I realized that the battery was Andrew Oliver and Alex Avila, they DON’T know this from personal experience, because they are both infants and were not here when Omar Infante was. AM I GETTING OLD? I’M TOO YOUNG TO BE OLD. Brandon Inge, get out there and share some elder wisdom or something, holy freakin’ cats.

This happened in the bullpen. I don’t really know what else to say about it. Jose Valverde and Phil Coke had a SRS BZNS rock-paper-scissors tournament, complete with intense gesticulations and crazed expressions from Papa Grande. Brad Thomas and Joel Zumaya watched in amusement/awe/terror. Eddie Bonine was sitting off to the side ignoring them and writing in some book thing, which prompted Rod (or Mario, I don’t actually remember for this) to say that he was ‘doing some art’. If true, this would MAKE MY LIFE. He was probably just taking boring baseball notes though.

I really wanted Fu-Te Ni to be there, but I didn’t see him. Scott Pickens was there, though Wallace was not. I assume it would be difficult getting Wallace on the road.

This did not happen in the Tigers game, but it did happen at the same time and it involved recent former Tigers, so. EDWIN JACKSON THREW A NO-HITTER. But it was the messiest no-hitter on the planet, it took him almost 150 pitches and the Diamondbacks’ coaches were convinced that he was not going to make it out of the third inning. On top of that, he threw it against the Rays, the team that traded him away to Detroit for Matt Joyce, Savior of Kittens.

Aside from the catcher, Dontrelle was pretty much the first person out to the mound to greet him with violent screaming hugs. This was wonderful and beautiful and it was like there was a soaring triumphant movie soundtrack running over the moment in my head.

Incidentally, the Tigers lost this game. This makes me angry, so here are a couple photos I took of Kris Medlen, the Braves’ starter and winning pitcher, last year.

Yeah. That’s right. PONY BACKPACK. I hope your win tastes like ashes and pony tail hair, you meddling Medlen.

13 responses to “the first Atlanta game, in Terrible Cartoons

  1. ivantopumpyouup

    I lol’d at all of this, but especially The Picture of Dorian Gray Omar Infant and the SRS BZNS bullpen rock-paper-scissors tournament. Valverde’s crazed expression + Coke’s porcupine hair = maximum lulz

    I think I like this Oliver kid.

  2. ivantopumpyouup

    *Infante

  3. I love the drawings. Oliver was impressive, and just when I thought Papa Grande could not be any more impressive….

  4. awww edwin drawing is so happy. i only wish he was a happy tiger edwin. anyway, adorable awesome art.

  5. I forgot that my little pony backpack wearer was Medlen! ha!

  6. I have never seen a baby with a 5 o’clock shadow before, but I guess that’s our Little Alex. It doesn’t seem like he should be a rookie. It seems like he’s been around forever already.

  7. A. No, Infante hasn’t aged a DAY. It’s insane!

    B. This year’s version of the My Little Pony backpack is a Hannah Montana backpack, full of candy and treats for the bullpen. One of my blog readers got one of the guys to throw a candy bar to her one day – totally made her year. :)

    C. I met your cousin on Friday Turner Field, on his trek across the country to see all the stadiums. He’s a nice kid! He told me to check out your blog and I realized I already had it linked up on Braves Love as my source for Tigers fans. Small world. :)

  8. ivan, I thought of you when I saw Coke’s involvement in the rock-paper-scissors battle. Naturally.

    Leshnock, Papa Grande has indeed been a delight. The enjoyment I get from him, compared to what I went through with Fernando… it is a remarkable difference.

    janey, I know. :/ But we can be happy for him, especially since he’s in the NL.

    Alli, I didn’t even know until a Braves fan told me! But yes, it surely was him, and what a quality snackpack. I hope they kept it around.

    heitk1le, I think we’re all aware by now that Alex Avila’s beard is unstoppable. The most he can do is temporarily halt its advance.

    And you’re right, he doesn’t seem very rookie-ish. Maybe because he grew up so thoroughly In Baseball? Or maybe it’s just the beard. I mean, Porcello looks like a dewy-cheeked freshly born infant in comparison.

    Lauren T, boo, Hannah Montana is not nearly as good as the My Little Pony. I mean… it came with a pink tail…

    re: C, ha! Awesome. Small internet, I should think. ;)

  9. ivantopumpyouup

    ivan, I thought of you when I saw Coke’s involvement in the rock-paper-scissors battle. Naturally.

    It’s my main goal in life to have people automatically think of me in concurrence with obscure(ish) Tigers.

  10. A) You neglected to mention that Matt Joyce, kitten savior, had just been called up and, was, in fact, in the lineup against E-Jax. The glory of interleague play!

    B) Until he ran out to greet Edwin Jackson with the giantest man-hug he could muster, I did not realize how plain old fat the D-Train was getting. Is he eating his way out of the league, kind of like that other fellow with the odd D-first name we had before (that’d be Dmitri, aka Da Meat Hook)?

    C) Loved the Aussie “GASP” in the cartoon. Keep up the good work.

  11. Oh man, I totally got to witness one of the bullpen’s SRS BZNSS Rock-Paper-Scissors tournaments in Seattle this spring. They’re a bunch of children, and I love it. Especially since for a bunch of children they win an awful lot of baseball games.

    And, yes, I’m distraught over Zumaya and trying to focus on the positive–like RPS tournaments.

    • I would love to see such a tournament in person. Oh man. If I ever end up at a Tigers game by the dugout (for whatever reason I usually end up near third base, though), it is going to be my game goal.

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