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.