Category Archives: .500

Miggy gets some (more) records.

cartoon of Miguel Cabrera climbing ladder of bats, number 50 behind ladder where he's standing

Miggy climbs the hit list.

With 3 series wins in a row, and this weekend’s sweep of the Twins, it can truthfully be said that the Tigers are in the midst of a very respectable streak. They’ve even managed to claw their way back to .500. Can we trust this? Of course not. Literally anything could happen at any moment, as this entire season is just a fever dream that we are all collectively experiencing. But on the whole, the things that we collectively dreamed this weekend were… good??

On Saturday Miguel Cabrera climbed to #50 on the all-time hit list with his 2,840th hit, passing Charlie Gehringer. On Sunday Miggy got his 2,000th hit as a Tiger. All very exciting, but the best bit Sunday was Miggy coming out to the top dugout step to take a curtain call, turning around to wave at the stands. The stands, of course, are empty. The part of me that believes that MLB needs to fully lean in to the post-apocalyptic aesthetic of their current situation really appreciated the reminder of Baseball as Theater.

As any long-time (mid-time?) Tigers fan knows, when Miggy is at his best he’s as much an entertainer as he is an athlete. Normally he has an audience– his teammates, players on the opposing team, fans in the stands, etc– but he’s been doin’ this since 2003, so I suppose there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have learned how to ply his craft before even an imaginary crowd.

Congrats to Miggy, and I’m glad we reached a critical mass of people who were tired of the 9-game losing streak that preceded this particular burst of competence. Let’s all do our very best to collectively imagine this team into some more wins.

the race to .500

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

September in tha D! Are you ready for this? Are you ready for the extraordinary excitement that will be The Race to .500?!?!!?

As we finish out the season we will be playing teams who are fighting for their divisions, teams who will be fighting for the wild card, for any playoff berth at all. The Tigers? We’re fighting for the more symmetrical, aesthetically pleasing EVEN SPLIT. We aim for perfection… PERFECT MEDIOCRITY. The mathematical beauty of .500, that is our objective.

We need a minimum of 81 wins to achieve this majestic goal! Right now we have 67! There are 23 games left in the season! We need to win at least 14 of those games to reach .500! This means that we are only allowed 9 more losses for the entire rest of the month. START YOUR COUNTDOWN, FOLKS AND FELINES!

Bits and pieces from the Wednesday night game, ’cause I need to be in bed about two hours ago:

– Lots of ‘USA, USA’ chants for Olympian Mike Hessman. He obliged the crowd with a late-inning home run. Rod and Mario spent quite a while talking about how he didn’t get to see any of the basketball or swimming because even if you’re an Olympic athlete, you need to get tickets to watch other events, and the tickets would get snatched up early in the morning.

– Renteria was tossed in the 6th for arguing about being called out on a checked swing (lots of rumbling about the strikezone tonight too) so the camera focused on Ramon Santiago, who was readying his glove in the dugout. He was talking to Ryan Raburn, and as he got up he appeared to reach out and TWEAK RABURN’S NOSE. It’s kind of hard to see because he’s between the camera and Raburn, but I definitely did a doubletake. A doubletake of POTENTIAL GLEE.

– The crowd kept chanting ‘Gary! Gary! Gary!’ when Sheffield was up, and then booing loudly if he made an out. Rod and Mario were perplexed and amused by this. Obviously they’re not familiar with Sheff’s deep, twisted need to be booed to psych himself up at the plate.

– After the game, Magglio, Joyce, Granderson, and Santiago all met for a GROUP HUG. Like, a big circular hug. I squee’d.

Thursday we’ve got a day game, 1:05 pm EDT. Kenny vs. Ervin Santana. Remember: there’s a maximum of 9 losses allowed for the entire rest of the month. I hope Kenny is bearing that in mind. Go Tigers!

Miner wins, Kenny loses, but aren't we really all losing at this point?

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Eh, mixed weekend. Zach Miner was wicked good on Saturday, and Kenny Rogers was wicked bad on Sunday. We took the series, which is something, I guess. Does it even matter anymore? We’re not going to be playing in October. Ehhhh. The Lions season is starting dangerously soon, which is coloring everything a terrible shade of Mauve Malaise for me right now, and this might be affecting my outlook.

Our goal for the season should be .500 or above. That’s pretty much the only thing we can still reasonably shoot for. If you had said before the season began that come August we’d be struggling mightily to stay above the .500 mark, I would have thought you were wearing your crazypants, or you were just a surly Wrong Sox fan with permanent, irrational hate in your heart. Just goes to show: like a stopped clock, even a Wrong Sox fan can be right under special sets of circumstances, like the semi-inexplicable collapse of supposedly good ballplayers.

So, Miner on Saturday. Wicked good. Seven scoreless innings, only three hits, only ONE walk… and it only took him 88 pitches. Call him the anti-Verlander, if you will. In fact I’m not entirely sure why Leyland didn’t send him out there for the 8th inning. Maybe he wanted to take Miner out while he was still doing well, and didn’t think he could be in for much longer without getting into trouble. Just seems weird that we’re willing to run Verlander into the ground every time he picks up a baseball, but Miner isn’t even allowed to get to 90 pitches. The bullpen (Seay and The Farns) did just fine and the game ended uneventfully, so this is all just feckless internet second-guessing, but hey, that’s what we’re here for!

Kenny on Sunday. Wicked ungood. It took him 107 pitches to get through six innings, and he gave up seven runs (although only six were earned). He just didn’t have his stuff out there today, couldn’t hold a lead, couldn’t keep guys off the basepaths, all that usual terrible stuff.

It was one of those extremely annoying games where the Tigers kept pace with the opposing team in terms of hits and walks (10 H, 5 BB for the Tigs; 9 H, 5 BB for the Royals) but lost because a) almost none of the hits were for extra bases, and b) they couldn’t bring the runs home. I know getting guys on base is the first step and all that, but the Tigers this season are just not taking those subsequent steps. This is one of THE most frustrating kinds of baseball to watch. The players are on base, but nothing comes of it, over and over again: it’s like giving someone a slice of delicious cake and yanking it away every time they try to take a bite. You start to hate your own guys for hitting singles.

The image up top there has nothing to do with any of this, but is instead the kind of thing that often comes up when I have to watch an entire series of Royals baseball. I’m pretty sure it’s been mentioned over here before, but just in case you’re not familiar: Sluggerrr, the Royals mascot (extra Rs are their insertion, not mine), is (nominally) a lion. Royals, lion, geddit? And he’s got a crown for the same reason. But, DISTURBINGLY, Sluggerrr is not wearing a crown. Instead, it GROWS OUT OF HIS HEAD LIKE HIS SKULL IS HORRIBLY DEFORMED.

I don’t understand this. I have never understood this, because it would be SO EASY to have a lion WEARING a crown. Why would you opt to make the crown a part of his actual head? Why would you do that?

So, yeah. The little doodle up there is just me trying to work this out in my own mind. What would the skull of this horrific mutant look like? I have to know. These kinds of things can be very distracting.

Tomorrow the Tigers come home to Detroit for a 7:05 pm EDT game against the Cleveland Racist Mascot Caricatures. Arrrrrrmando goes up against Zach Jackson, which confused the hell out of me, because I saw him earlier this season with the Brewers and completely missed his inclusion in the Sabathia trade. I PAY ATTENTION TO THE BASE BALL. Mostly. Go Tigers!

o magical day, the Tigers have achieved .500!

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

This will have to be somewhat brief’n’choppy, because I didn’t even get home until after 1 am and wat i dont no how to maek wordz no morr.

For the first time all season, the Tigers have won baseball games as often as they have lost them. Our heartache is balanced by our… heart-joy! The glass is evenly split between fullness and emptiness! The utter filth of the start of the season has been answered with some squeaky clean good play in this past month! Happiness and sadness dwelling within the same batch of ballplayers! Perfectly average mediocrity! .500! .500! .500!

Man, if only we were in the NL West. We’d be GOLDEN right now.

Stuff I am totally unable to work into connected paragraphs at 2 am:

–Magglio left with an oblique spasm. WHAT DID WE EVER DO TO THE GOD OF OBLIQUES, SERIOUSLY. Sheff, Inge, and now Maggs? This is the worst season in the history of the Baseballverse for Tiger obliques. I swear to cats, if Leyland pulls an oblique tomorrow during a deep-lung coughing fit, we’re going to have to take drastic measures.

–Freddy Dolsi’s first win! Awww, we pat him on his fuzzy wittle Tiger head.

–Rollercoaster Jones’ first blown save. No fond head pats for him on this day.

–Jason Grilli: somehow still weak horses**t.

–Another solid outing from Fernando. Maybe the tiger yelling at him helped? We do what we can to help here at RotT.

–JUSTIN STOP THROWING SO MANY PITCHES SERIOUSLY JUST STOP 118 PITCHES IS TOO MANY IF YOU’RE NOT EVEN GETTING THROUGH 6 INNINGS AND I DON’T CARE HOW SOLID THOSE 5.2 INNINGS ARE, THEY ARE STILL 5.2 INNINGS. I know Jeff Francis threw a lot of pitches too, but this is a recurring issue with Justin and it is NOT OK ANYMORE. It’s for your own good, Justin! Leyland can’t do anything to help preserve your arm if you’re going to be so bloody inefficient!

–Ryan Raburn with the grand slam! That’s gotta feel good, especially with all the yo-yoing the Tigers’ AAAA-type guys have had to do this season. At least he can sleep secure in the knowledge that there wasn’t much more he could have done tonight to demonstrate his worth on the big league roster.

–Miguel Cabrera with the walk-off! We’ve had quite a few of these lately, which is not great– I’d rather win games in the 4th inning; a series of walk-offs seems awfully flukey and unsustainable– but nervewracking as they are, they’re still undeniably enjoyable when they turn out for your team. And anything that makes Miggy feel more comfortable here is good, because the more comfortable he gets the better he’s playing (with the bat and the glove both. He’s made some really nice grabs at first lately, although of course he’s still needing work on some of it, especially knowing how to position his body in response to various different plays).

–From Friday: Eddie Bonine, wtf? Eight innings, one earned run? Skow! The kid has surprised his last two times out.

Tomorrow Kenny goes up against some Rocky I don’t know at all but man that facial hair is awkward. Ouch. Maybe he will be too embarrassed of his own chin to properly hold a baseball. Potential yay! Go Tigers!

the Delicate Dance of Perfect Mediocrity

A couple of perplexing losses have the Tigers right back at .500 smack-dab on the nose, and so the Dance begins. Jason Johnson gives up 4 runs on two soft infield hits and a boneheaded error, and that’s basically the game. Exceptional Mental Makeup Mike (Maroth) pitches a beaut, bats in a run in his own cause, and is still hung with the loss after the Snakes get two runs to the singular Tigers run– and both of those were unearned, the rally started by an ‘error’ that may or may not have been.


But this is how the Tigers have done things, recently. The magical statistical platform of .500 is a beautiful young lady that they are trying to dance with. Being clumsy males, they dance a little too enthusiastically, overperform just a tad, then freak out that they’ve overplayed their hand and shuffle woodenly for a few notes. They slowly regain confidence as the song progresses and dance heartily again, only to forcibly reign themselves in after a short while. .500, meanwhile, is rolling her eyes and gazing flirtateously at the Yankees.

Win. Forward two steps.
Win. Forward two steps.
.500 is attained. Yes, the lady is dancin’ with you. You suave stripey fellow, you.
Win. Dance a step.
Win. Dance a step.
.500 is giving you a coy glance. OMG she must be offended you are being too forward! Oh noes!!11!1!
Lose. Back off a step.
Lose. Back off a step.
Phew. Equilibrium with the tempestuous lady has returned.

The Tigers need to realize something. They need to realize that .500 is a wonderful gal, really, nothing against her, but they can do so much better. If .500 wants to go sink her nails into Derek Jeter, she is more than welcome to go do so. Because .500 is pretty, but .550 has much better hair, .575 has better hair and doesn’t need to wear as much makeup, and .600…. well, that way lies such feminine allure that it can hardly be imagined.

It’s perfectly OK if the Tigers want to stick with .500 for a bit, she’s really not a bad lass at the heart of things, but they shouldn’t tell themselves that she is the prettiest and smartest girl who would ever date a hodge-podge team like them. They should recognize that they are, in fact, pretty hot stuff, and can get some pretty smokin’ hot records if only they would apply themselves.

Now. Was that the most torturous metaphor ever, or most torturous metaphor EVER?