Category Archives: All Star

All Star Tigers and other cartoons.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Your 2013 All Star Tigers starters: Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Miguel Cabrera. Let’s talk about this trio, just all the sexy baseball-playin’ ability a person can imagine inside their brain and outside their brain in the statistic-gathering websites. And by ‘let’s talk about’ this I mean ‘well uh you can look at that picture which also you can click for bigger.’ Why are they standing in a star-shaped light-filled pit? Because ALL STAR GAME. Let us be clear: if I had access to these three, and also had access to a star-shaped light-filled pit, and Sports Illustrated was asking me to do an All Star Game photoshoot, this is totally the photoshoot that I would do. Sadly for you, me, and the universe, this will never come to pass, so it shall remain a scenario that can only exist in drawn form.

You know what is even more exciting than the fact that the Tigers have 3 starters in the All Star Game? You probably already do know because I am making this post pretty late in the game, but it is the fact that the Tigers actually have SIX players in the All Star Game. SIX.

Jhonny Peralta, Torii Hunter, and Prince Fielder: ladies and gentlecats, your reserves, which can also be clicked for bigger:

Why are they riding star-shaped flying surf boards? BECAUSE ALL STAR GAME.

Now I just have an assortment of cartoons sitting around, because due to External Circumstances it has taken me forever to scan and color things. I could try to integrate them gracefully into this post but like the SI photoshoot it is just not going to happen. We will all have our disappointments on this day.

That thing happened where the Tigers gave Toronto a very special present on Canada Day, because Paws is nothing if not a charitable cat. Look, foreign policy is touchy for the United States on many fronts nowadays; it was important for the Tigers to do their bit for international relations.

Hey remember that time when Jose Valverde was lol ok nope me neither nevermind.

Max Scherzer is 13-0, amazing the greater baseball community and possibly also Max himself. Obviously he has been gazing at things with the blue eye, as we all know that is how that works.

“Spotlight on Drew Smyly.”

Is Victor Martinez finally pulling up his woeful very low no good BABIP? Statistics says: at some point, almost certainly!

In Matt Tuiasosopo do we have the new Magglio Ordonez? No. But in terms of hair… still no, but he may well be the closest thing we’ve got right now, and that deserves remark. More than that: it deserves commendation. The time of Magglio’s hair was a magical time for us as Tigers fans and as human beings. If even a fraction of that former glory can be recaptured, we will owe Mr. Tuiasosopo a shampoo of thanks.

I can’t help it. Joaquin Benoit is up for the Final Man Vote for the All Star Game, which he will inevitably lose because a Yankee and a Red Sock are also in the running, but in any event the Tigers have been using the hashtag #BackBenoit on the Twitters to try to drum up a voting campaign for him, or something. Every time I see it, this is what I think.

Back that thang up, Joaquin. Go Tigers.

Your 2012 All Star Tigers


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

There you have it, your 2012 All Star Tigers: Prince Fielder starting at first base, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander on the roster. You can make arguments for the inclusion of Austin Jackson and/or Joaquin Benoit, but as they are not on the Final Man Voting ballot, barring injury or other player dropout, it ain’t gonna happen. There shall be three Tigers and three Tigers is what there shall be.

Last year I think we all– myself included– got a bit riled up about the ASG, due to the potential injustice of Alex Avila not going, even though he had the most unquenchable beard in all the Major Leagues and was also playing like a dude who is good at baseball. Of course 2009 was exciting on account of THE BRANDON INGE FACTOR, yes, I know, shut up, I still wear my 2009 American League Brandon Inge All Star Game jersey with pride. So there. This year I am back to my usual state of excit-apathy for all things All Star.

I know it means something to the players, but really, it’s meaningless. We’ve been over this before, and you’re all smart cats, you know as well as I do that it’s a popularity contest only partially (some would say barely) contingent upon actual performance and numbers. We may speak of Injustice when Awesome Player X doesn’t make the team, but what possible meaning can Justice have for something so devoid of rational rule and law as the MLB All Star voting process?

The fact that something as potentially important as World Series home field advantage rides on the All Star Game does not mitigate my vexation; in fact, it only makes things worse. Something as totally vapid and pointless as the All Star Game is determining World Series home field advantage, you guys. That’s not something that should make you happy, that’s something that should terrify and/or infuriate you, depending on how invested you are in the outcome of the World Series.

ANYWAYS. Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera can do their weird little handshake thing on a national stage, maybe. Justin Verlander can throw a few baseballs very fast, maybe. Prince might do the Home Run Derby, because that never screws up a dude’s swing for the second half or anything. Nobody will get hurt, or Paws will have to stab Ron Washington in the spleen. It’s not that he wants to do it, Mr. Washington. It’s just that if a Tiger gets hurt on your watch, he must. It is in his job description.

It is a pointless game, but life itself is pointless when you get right on down to it, so, whatever. Will I watch it? Probably yes. It may need to be in some environment where I can’t hear the announcing, which is usually what drives me over the edge from mild tolerance to a real This Is The Worst Thing Ever What Has Become of My Life existential crisis, but yeah, I am what I am, I will probably watch the bloody thing.

ANYWAYS ANYWAYS. Apologies for the long silence between posts; I was in Pittsburgh for the Tigers series, and really wanted the next post to be the photo roundup from that trip. Happily/unfortunately, I took approximately 10,000 photos, and going through them while still dealing with work, class, and Studio Absurdity is taking a really long time. So… yeah, those will be up soon, hopefully. There’s some good stuff you lot need to see.

ALSO.

How great were those Tigers throwbacks in Tampa? How great would it have been to be a Tigers cartoonist back when they were wearing those things? WICKED GREAT.

the All Star Game is whatever


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Here’s how it went down, Tigers-wise.

Justin Verlander: Did not play, due to pitching the Sunday before the break.

Jose Valverde: Did not play, due to lack of opportunity/lack of a bottom of the 9th inning.

Alex Avila: Grounded out to short, grounded out to first, caught 5 innings, had 3 bases stolen while he was behind the plate, caught one guy off the bag.

Jhonny Peralta: Subbed in at shortstop in the 5th, popped out in his only at-bat.

Miguel Cabrera: Subbed in at first base in the 5th, grounded out in his only at-bat. He was removed in the 7th with ‘soreness’ in his ‘side’, i.e. IT’S HIS OBLIQUE WE’RE ALL DOOMED DOOMED DOOMED.

(Actually this appears to have been a small twinge and a precautionary removal. Miggy indicated that if it was a regular season game instead of the stupid All Star Game, he would have stayed in and played through it. Still, given the history between Tigers and obliques, I feel obligated to insert some panic into the discussion.)

Not the greatest Tigers All Star showing ever, but it’s hard to care. So long as everyone comes out of it happy and healthy (Miguel), and their kids had a good time, and they took their significant others out to a nice dinner or several, it’s ok. If they were talking up the wonders of playing in Detroit to future free agents in the clubhouse, so much the better.

Some other All Star stuff that’s in bulletpoints because I am far too apathetic about the ASG to put this into proper connected paragraph form:

–Prince Fielder’s kids, Haven and Jaden, were in attendance. They both have great hair. You can’t see it in that shot, but Haven, the one with the mohawk, has the old school Brewers logo shaved into the side of his head.

–Heath Bell charging across the outfield as fast as he could and then going into a slide on the infield when he entered the game as a relief pitcher was the Actual Gameplay highlight of the night.

–Justin Verlander is a workaholic and everyone loves it. He would have normally thrown his bullpen session on Tuesday, and he was not about to let a little something like the All Star Game get in the way of his routine. Josh Beckett was impressed.

“He threw a bullpen at the All-Star Game,” Red Sox All-Star Josh Beckett marveled, with a little bit of teasing, at the ace to his right in the clubhouse. “We’ll just call him Cy Young.”

Jason Beck/DetroitTigers.com

He asked Avila to catch it for him, but Alex laughed him off. I wonder who did catch it, though?

–During the Home Run Derby, there were several shots of D’Angelo Ortiz looking a little bit sulky and bored. It could be that he was tired; it could just be that All Star Games and HR Derbies are no big deal to him anymore… but I suspect he was missing Little Victor.

Papa Grande using expensive equipment.

Papa Grande holding a real big bat.

–Justin Verlander rented a private plane to take him to Arizona, because he is rich and fancy. Because he’s also a good teammate, he flew the other Tigers All Stars down with him. Because he’s a good person, he ALSO flew down the single lonely KC Royals representative, Aaron Crow, who didn’t even get into the game. The Royals are the ultimate Sadface.

But Justin Verlander, Midwest Baseball Transport, is not sadface at all.

if you vote for Victor, you’ll make kittens purr


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

How cool would it be to have both of the Tigers’ usual catchers* in the All Star Game? That would be just about the coolest. You can make this happen, folks. You have The Power. We saw it with Alex Avila, so we know it must be true.

And think about this: don’t you want Little Victor to go to the All Star Game?

Do it for the children.

VOTE VICTOR

*Not including Catcher Extraordinaire Don Kelly, of course.

justice prevails, Alex Avila will start the All Star game


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

You guys you guys you guys.

Alex Avila is the starting catcher for the American League in the 2011 All Star Game!

Everyone who voted can pat themselves on the back for this one. I don’t even care if MLB somehow secretly jiggered the numbers to overcome Yankeeplosion or whatever. The end result is what mattered, and the end result is ALEX AVILA, DESERVINGEST OF TIGERS, starting the All Star Game.

Justin Verlander and Jose Valverde are going also (although Verlander will not pitch), and Miguel Cabrera got in as some sort of reserve.

Proper illustration to come after the holiday.

Keep voting Avila, and other Terrible Cartoons.


all illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

VOTE AVILA. VOTE AVILA. You have until 11:59pm eastern on Thursday to do the right thing! You may think to yourself, Hey, I already voted 25 times, and that’s great, but now it is time to make yourself another few email addresses so you can vote again. And again! AND AGAIN.

FOR ALEX AVILA. FOR ALEX AVILA’S AMAZING BAT. FOR ALEX AVILA’S SOOTHING CATCHERLY PRESENCE. FOR ALEX AVILA’S FACIAL HAIR. FOR

THIS ADORABLE KOALA, WHICH IS ALSO ALEX AVILA.

I can’t take credit for that idea, though. They had a little Vote Avila campaign thing during the postgame broadcast last night, with various teammates talking up Avila’s finer qualities. One of the things they mentioned was the fact that the team has decided he looks like a koala. Which… you can kind of see, actually. They had Brad Thomas on camera saying that Avila is very koala-esque in his expert Australian opinion, so you should vote for him. Pretty much impossible to argue with that.

A few other things that have been happening:

Miguel Cabrera got the Tigers going in the 8th Inning of Magic and Wonder that took down the Diamondbacks on Sunday. There were many who contributed, of course (even Miggy cannot get 7 runs in one inning all by himself), but Cabrera struck a deadly blow. So of course he is a mongoose. This was obliquely requested by the Twitter horde.

Max Scherzer bothers the Blue Jays.

Jim Leyland absolutely lost his kitty litter last night after a weird call at first base. Andy Dirks bunted and was running down the line. The ball was fielded cleanly by the first baseman, and he clearly stepped on the bag before Dirks did. The first base ump called him safe for some private reason of his own, then looked to the homeplate ump and reversed the call, which, admittedly, is kind of weird.

Leyland did not approve of this series of events, and showed his disapproval loudly, vehemently, and with lots of creative gesturing. He didn’t seem to argue with the idea that Dirks was out (he clearly was), more with the fact that Dirks had been called safe and then had the call reversed on the field. He yelled at the first base ump, he yelled at the homeplate ump, he said many things that made the FSD crew hope none of their viewers could read lips, he stomped all over the place and made Quite A Scene.

It was great. And the Tigers won, so we can count it as a motivation instead of a distraction, and we can talk about how much we like to see Jim Leyland lose his mind on the baseball field, instead of grumbling about Jim Leyland losing his mind when it comes to pitcher management. For once.

ignore everything else and send Alex Avila to the All Star Game


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I don’t care who else gets your votes. I don’t care about any other positions. But have you seen what is happening in the AL catcher’s race for the All Star spot this year?

Until recently, Alex Avila was in third. He was behind Joe Mauer, who has played a grand total of 9 games in 2011, and Russell Martin, who is batting .232. Now Avila has passed Mauer, but he is still trailing Martin by a significant margin.

Let me spell that out for you.

Russell Martin is batting .232. His OPS is .767. He has 39 hits so far this season, 15 of them for extra bases. Thirty-four dudes have stolen bases off of him, and he has caught 12, for a CS% of .261.

Alex Avila is batting .304. His OPS is .917. He has 58 hits so far this season, 26 of them for extra bases. Thirty dudes have stolen bases off of him, and he has caught 20, for a CS% of .400. Avila has also caught a no-hitter already this year, for whatever that is worth.

Right now, at this very moment in time that we are experiencing together– you, me, Russell Martin, Alex Avila, Paws– Alex Avila is better at being a catcher than Russell Martin is. It is not even close. It is inarguable. It is a FACT of SCIENCE and OBSERVATION and also BEARDINESS. I’m not saying that Russell Martin is a terrible person or anything, but Alex Avila is better at baseball right now. He is. HE IS. Open your eyes and bathe your optic nerves in the pure, clarifying light that is Alex Avila’s supremacy.

YET RUSSELL MARTIN IS STILL LEADING THE ALL STAR VOTING.

How can this be possible? Guys: .232 vs .304. Is this some sort of massive practical joke? Is there a glitch in the online voting system that is erroneously rerouting thousands of innocent Alex Avila votes into the Russell Martin coffers?

No. It’s just the Yankee Factor. That’s it. Russell Martin is leading the voting not because he is a better hitter than Alex Avila, not because he’s a better catcher than Alex Avila– he leads the voting simply because he plays for the New York Yankees and Alex Avila is a Detroit Tiger. That is IT. That is the ONLY reason why this travesty, this parody of the already-parodic All Star Game is being played out before us.
VOTE

Vote for Alex Avila as if your very life depended upon it. You get 25 votes per email address. You all know how to set up extra email addresses, I assume. It does not take long to vote 25 times; MLB has streamlined the process this year. Vote the full 25. Use your secondary email and vote 50 times. Make extra email accounts and vote 200 times.

Whatever it takes. Make Alex Avila an All Star. For Truth. For Justice. For THE VERY SOUL OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL.

the All Star game is boring, so here are more cartoons


all illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

A Wrongness: Justin Verlander pitching to Joe Mauer. And here I was, innocently assuming that the All Star game, like all other MLB-sanctioned activities, was supposed to be family friendly. You let the nation’s children watch a perversion of the natural order like that, Bud Selig? For shame. FOR SHAME.

Your All Star Cats:

Miguel Cabrera: 1 for 2 (a single), no Ks, no walks. No injuries.
Justin Verlander: 1 inning, 2 hits (both singles), 2 Ks, no walks. No runs allowed. No injuries.
Jose Valverde: 1 inning, no hits, no walks, 3 Ks. No runs allowed. No injuries.

I am counting this ASG a Tigers win. Almost everything else about the game was either boring or infuriating (sure, we’ll talk about George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard until the rally monkeys come home, but will we so much as mention Ernie Harwell’s name?) or both, and the AL lost, which is incredibly embarrassing (the last time the AL lost was 1996). So let us move on to more Terrible Cartoons, which of course are not the least bit embarrassing for any of the parties involved.

Mid-season report card coming at some point tomorrow. More cartoons eventually, as I have a load of them thanks to you nuts, I just have to color them all. Oh, and I think this will post dated July 14, so

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ENRIQUE GONZALEZ

HAPPY BIRTHDAY READER ALLTHEWINE (mwah!)

HAPPY BASTILLE DAY!!

ignoring the HR Derby’s problems with cartoons

Here is what is wrong with the Home Run Derby: David Ortiz wins it (not wrong), he comes up to present the giant check to the Boys and Girls Club or whatever (not wrong), he has his tiny son with him (not wrong). He holds up the trophy with the giant bats (appropriate for Big Papi), and in the temporary crowd silence he DEDICATES HIS VICTORY TO JOSE LIMA WITH A SHORT BUT HEARTFELT SPEECH. Tears begin to well up in my stony blogger eyes.

And Erin Andrews, who is standing next to him with the mic, says, “That’s nice, Papi,” in a bored tone and moves on.

Ugggggggggh I listened to HOURS of Joe Morgan and Chris Berman’s idiocy and Bobby Valentine’s sleeping potion voice, I listened to ARod panting after Mark Teixeira, I had to watch Nick ‘The Worst Human Being’ Swisher on my tv screen, and after all that I was rewarded by watching David Ortiz, whom I adore, ruin his home run swing for the rest of the season, and after all of THAT I had to watch his touching tribute to Jose Lima get shot down by ESPN. I HATE EVERYTHING INVOLVED IN THIS.

I mostly stopped paying attention once Miguel Cabrera was eliminated anyways. So this was really a waste of time in all ways. Here, have Tigers Star Trek for no good reason except one of you asked for it. Click for bigger.

The concerned redshirt is Don Kelly, because let’s be honest, we all know who is expendable here.

cat karma


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Well well well, look who’s starting at first base in the All Star game after all. HINT: NOT JUSTIN MORNEAU.

I’m not saying that the Baseball Gods realized a grave injustice was about to visited upon the game and reached down their baseball-gloved hands to set it right again. That would be crazy-talk! I’m also not saying that I’m happy Justin Morneau is injured, even though he is a Twinkie and is beating the heck out of the Tigers this season. But his concussion DOES mean more Miguel Cabrera in the All Star game, as Miggy will be taking his starting spot (Morneau’s roster spot, and Miggy’s role as backup, has been given to Paul Konerko, making this the AL Central-y-ist position on the team). So I’m not saying the circumstances leading up to it are a good thing, but more Miggy for all of us, yes, that is good.

You know who ELSE is going to the All Star game? That would be JUSTIN VERLANDER, who replaces Captain Cheeseburger Sabathia. CC pitched on Sunday and thus will not be allowed to pitch in the ASG. Justin last pitched on Friday, so he will be only a little off his routine if he gets into the game on Tuesday. He is also more deserving than many and it was a baffling bloody shame before, when it looked like he was going to have to miss out.

Now let us hope that the cat karma holds, and nobody gets hurt during this thing. Don’t take my excitement and good feelings about you in vain, Tigers.

Cartoons to come! There are many, because you guys are crazy.

Oh, and while we’re at it: does anyone know what number Paws is wearing on his jersey this season? I am aware that in previous seasons it was the year– in 2007 the number was 07, in 2008 it was 08, etc. But he can’t be wearing 10 now… that’s Jim Leyland’s number. Right?