Category Archives: Brandon Inge

Good things.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Dropping two to the Rangers was bad. But taking two from the Twinkies is good! We shall concentrate on the good.

–Those throwback uniforms, as depicted above. Still way into them. Stripes! Orange! Messing with the away uniform and not the home uni! Encouraging Miguel Cabrera to wear his socks up! It’s all to the good, except for the orange hat logo with the white outline. That just looks messy. Everything else is great, though.

–I assume you all saw the Brandon Inge play by now, but just in case:

He dove for, and came up with, a ball, landing hard on his shoulder in the process. As he sat up, it became clear that his shoulder was dislocated. He was holding his arm awkwardly away from his body, like he couldn’t put it down. So what does Brandon Inge do? He grabs his own arm, and freakin’ pulls his own shoulder back into the socket. At this point I would probably be vomiting from pain and terror, because Roar of the Tigers is not Brandon Inge.

So Brandon Inge has just performed a medical procedure on himself right there on the field. The trainer comes out. Brandon Inge WAVES HIM OFF.

He then went on to get a hit and an RBI, which turned out to be the game-running run. With his self-repaired shoulder. Which has now landed him on the DL, because sanity and the human body eventually had to make themselves felt. In any event, Brandon Inge is a hero.

And yes, he is of course an Athletic now. But let’s not even pretend that this blog has stopped caring about all things Brandon Inge.

–Andy Dirks is back, and is playing like he doesn’t want to be forgotten and Toledo’d again any time soon.

–Omar Infante is at second base.

–The RotT little brother was recently at a Lakewood BlueClaws game, where apparently they have little photos of their ‘alumni’. Including:

Aww, yay. Something seemed off, though…

Fixed it.

Cartoons to sigh disgustedly over.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

The Oakland A’s picked up Brandon Inge. I am not sure what this says about MLB– that the Tigers were so absolutely fed up with his inability to play the game of baseball that the literal decade of goodwill he’d built up was no longer enough, forcing them to release him, and he STILL gets signed by some other team– like, what does a tenure-type dude have to do to NOT have a job in baseball?– but whatever.

It’s just not right. He hasn’t even been wearing his socks up, as if he too keenly feels the inherent wrongness of this.

And then, of course…


I don’t even want to get into the antisemitism aspect of the incident, because it IS still just an allegation at this point, and accusing someone of a hate crime is Serious Business. But I think it is beyond debate that Delmon was drunk as hell and got himself involved in some sort of altercation, so the cartoons stand as is for now.


In other news, the art world has been all in a lather because a pastel version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream was just sold for $120 million, making it the most expensive piece of art ever to hit an auction. This says all sorts of terri-mazing things about the art world, commodification, wealth distribution (and lack thereof), the impact of the economy on the secondary art market (and weird lack thereof), etc… but I was unable to keep myself from repeatedly thinking of this old friend of ours:

I are srs artist.

Anyways, I expect we are all more than happy to see the back end of April now.

Brandon Inge has been released.

It seems like we just recently dealt with this, but this time it is an unconditional release. Brad Eldred will be brought up in his stead. Who the heck is Brad Eldred? Who cares.

So that’s that. Pretty final.

And yes, Inge sucks. But this also sucks. I’m sure I’ll have many more thoughts somewhere down the line, but right now I can’t give you much more than that. Sucks.

Lately, in cartoons.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

You knew, in your deepest readerly heart, that I would lead with this. You did. You knew it and you accept it, because you read Roar of the Tigers and you know that HATERS GONNA HATE, but not here. No. Here we are excited by the return of Brandon Inge.

Against all reason? Yes. Against all currently accepted baseball wisdom? Yes, mostly. Once you accept the irrationality, it becomes quite pleasant, this place where up is down, black is white, and Brandon Inge is getting real actual at-bats.

You know what else happened recently? Of course the Terrible Cartoon tells you: everyone’s favorite walking emoticon made his big league debut.

It went ok. He only lasted 4 innings, and threw 90 pitches in that time, which is kind of… you know… not so great. But he managed to only give up one run. It was a Carlos Pena home run, which is not so great and also painful as it just makes us all miss the cats out of Carlos Pena (we waited so long for you, Carlos! SO LONG!).

He did walk three Rays, which is not so good when considered in the context of the aforementioned four innings. But none of them came home, which is… you know what, let’s just forget about it. He made his debut, now he’s got that out of the way, the team rallied ’round and won the game– let’s leave it there.

(In addition, this happened. IT BEGINS.)

Someone had a birthdaaaaaay! Happy 27th, Mr. Boesch.

In order to make room for Smyly, the Tigers had to put Clete Thomas on waivers, as he was out of options. I’m not sure what they thought would happen, but what did happen was this: the Twins snatched him up, and have accepted him into their loving sticky snackcake embrace.

Also, bears.

Sunday was Jackie Robinson Day. Forty-two for all! It is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, you know.

a few snippets of spring news

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

The Minnesota Twins signed Joel Zumaya. That is a fact. Why did they sign Joel Zumaya? About this, we can only speculate. Their hearts were filled with optimism and hope… or maybe they find velocity mysterious and seductive… or perhaps they simply saw a small but non-zero chance to really stick it to the Tigers. Maybe they anticipate their bullpen being just that bad.

Whatever the reason, they did it, and Tigers fans everywhere sighed and shook their heads and made all sorts of “oh, you’ll see,” statements. We knew, of course. We’re a bit beyond optimism and hope where Zoom is concerned. Velocity is a lot less seductive when you’ve seen what it can do to an arm in its raw, untrammelled state.

The season has not started yet. Heck, Spring Training games haven’t even started. Zoom is already out for the year. Torn UCL. The UCL attaches at the elbow. Given the nightmare-inducing things that have happened to Zoom’s elbow in recent years, nobody can call this surprising. At this point it is merely depressing.

Word on the internet street is that Zoom is going to have Tommy John surgery. Does this point to a continued belief that he can pitch in Major League Baseball? Or does he need the Tommy John simply to return his arm to some semblance of normal civilian functionality? It’s hard to believe that the former is a possibility, but he is only 27, and baseball is pretty much all he knows how to do.

CHEERFUL, I KNOW. So here’s the ongoing second base competition, for something both less awful and actually related to the 2012 Tigers.

Can an old cat learn new tricks?

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Brandon Inge has asked for– and been granted– permission to try out for second base. Although he has played a variety of positions for the Tigers, he hasn’t played them all, and second base is one of those un-Inge-touched spots. There is only one Don Kelly, after all.

Can Inge play second? If it was a simple matter of athleticism, even with the years decreasing his range, agility, ability to make sharp cuts, etc, I would say that he’d be fine. Provided he doesn’t have any acute injuries, even an aged Brandon Inge is a more capable infielder than a great many other cats in the majors right now.

Alas, it is not so simple a matter. For one thing, he has had a variety of acute injuries in recent times, and we will see more and more of that sort of thing the longer he stays in the league. For another, he’ll still have to hit. The Tigers have done that ‘there are so many big sluggers on this team, we can afford to carry some dead bats near the bottom of the lineup!’ thing before. It always seems to be a good idea, like trading away young pitchers you don’t think you’ll end up needing because your rotation is firmly set, or marching on ahead with only Alex Avila catching because backup catchers are for chumps. Thing is… it doesn’t work.

Miggy strains his oblique, or Avila goes into a slump, or Magglio’s entire body liquefies and will take weeks and huge amounts of cornstarch to resolidify, or whatever– something ALWAYS happens to bring those unfortunate sub-.250 BAs into the stark, hideous light of day. And then everyone says things about winning and losing as a team and the pitchers grit their teeth and say they don’t blame anyone and some quad-A type gets a shot because why not, and we all rend our hair and gnash our teeth and say very mean things that the little people in our TVs totally do not deserve.

Now, it’s not as though the Tigers are firmly set at second, and Inge knows this. Sure, Jim Leyland has some sort of weird yet pure love for Ryan Raburn, but few others are so devoted. Inge could see the way the wind was blowing and decided his best shot at staying with the big cats was to go down the depth chart and see which infield position was the weakest and most unsettled. When he saw it was second base he started wondering what he would have to do to get in on that action. Apparently what he had to do to get in on that action was call up Dave Dombrowski, and also have 11 seasons in Detroit making it necessary to treat him with a certain level of respect.

People will see this as either a brave move by a player who knows when he’s outclassed at his preferred position and will do anything to stay with the Tigers, or a desperate grasp at relevancy and continued employment from a player whose options in those arenas are rapidly dwindling down to nothingness– depending on how they feel about Inge in general.

I also find it hard to believe that Miggy will be playing at third all the time. There is no Victor in 2012. Surely that will mean Prince or Miggy at DH a fair amount… right? As difficult as it may be to imagine, the Tigers no longer have an ancient outfield, which means those cats can actually PLAY, instead of having to be stashed at DH. No more Magglio. No more Guillen. So who DHs? Brennan Boesch, if he’s in one of his hot streaks? Delmon Young when he’s not in the outfield for whatever reason? Andy Dirks? Paws preserve us.

I know Don Kelly can slide in there if there’s an open base. But I think it would be a positive thing to keep Inge around. You all know how I feel on the matter, and maybe I’m letting that influence my opinion a wee bit too much, but this scenario is far from the worst idea in the world.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again here:

Brandon Inge is back, baby.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

First at-bat: BOOM. Home run.

Brandon Inge.

That is all.

don’t let this be the end

photo by Samara Pearlstein

The Tigers have traded a couple of minor prospects for Royals third baseman Wilson Betemit. Betemit is hitting .281 right now and OPSing .750. He’s 29 years old. He’s on a one-year contract.

There is no official statement yet about what this means for Brandon Inge, but… well. You do the math.

ETA: Betemit will join the team in Minnesota. Inge has been designated for assignment (officially DFAing him on Thursday, but Dombrowski made the announcement tonight after the game). If he clears waivers, he has said that he will accept an assignment to Toledo.

In the postgame presser, he was concentrating very hard on the concept of Toledo as almost a rehab assignment– he kept talking about going down to get his swing ‘right’, using his time in the minors to get himself back on track, and so on. He mentioned that he didn’t want to do anything to force the team into a decision that would end in his release. He said that he didn’t want to test the waters with other teams; several times he said that Detroit is his home, his family’s home, and this is his team.

Here are a bunch of direct quotes from the clubhouse interview:

There’s plenty of guys who could’ve made a decision to not accept the assignment, maybe get picked up by another team, but I live here, my kids go to school here, I’ve made this my home, and I still feel… whatever happens, this will still be home for me.

Everyone goes through some rough patches in their career and this is definitely one of them, but I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason.

I need to go down and work on something. It’s my fault, you know, I’m not holding anyone responsible. It’s me, I’m in the batter’s box.

Go down, work on my swing, I’ll be back up here… I’m actually in a good place with it. I wanna go down there and work on it.

Some guys in my shoes would have told the front office to stick it you-know-where… there’s probably plenty of teams out there that would pick me up, but I like it here… this is home to me.

Oh, I know I’ll be back. I’ll be back in September no matter what (laugh)… that’s a definite.

He also spoke at some length about the fact that Mr. Ilitch ‘reached out’ to him and said that he did not want to release Inge. When pressed he admitted that he had not spoken to Mr. Ilitch face-to-face, words had simply been conveyed to him through the front office, but he had been told that Mr. Ilitch wanted to make it clear that he, personally, wanted Inge to stay in the Tigers organization. This meant a lot to Inge. He actually said, “I can’t tell you how much that meant to me,” and, “I owe it to Mr. Ilitch for reaching out to me especially.”

This is Inge’s 11th season as a Tiger. He has been in the organization since he was drafted in 1998. That’s 13 years. Paws has been a Tiger for only 16 years. Brandon Inge has been a Tiger for my entire adult life.

Look, I know he’s been dreadful lately. It has been kind of difficult to ignore. But Inge is the ONLY Tiger who has stuck around this long. Maybe this says something depressing about the Tiger drafts of the mid-and-late 90s. Maybe this says something depressing about Inge’s attractiveness (or lack of such) to other teams at most points in his career. But for better or for worse, he has stayed. He’s THE ONLY ONE. He has, as he said, made a home for himself here, in the literal sense and in the baseball sense.

If you feel the need to belittle that, fine. That’s your prerogative. I am mentally stabbing you in the face right now, but that is your Tigers fan prerogative. Still, I hope that Brandon Inge has some sort of plate epiphany in Toledo, goes on a hitting tear, gets called back up and makes all the haters look like fools. I know what’s likely to happen, ok. But that is my hope.

baseball grotesqueries

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Brandon Inge is on the DL with mono. Since I also follow the Red Sox this doesn’t seem as out-of-left-field (har har) to me as it might to some of you, because the Sox JUST WENT THROUGH THIS with Jed Lowrie last season. But really… what the heck? How can players on BOTH my teams get hit with mono in consecutive seasons? Ugh.

It took forever for Jed to get healthy after he was diagnosed, and he ended up out for basically half of last year. He had to spend ages in the minors slowly working himself back up to full strength, because every time he tried to rush his rehab, he’d start to feel like coprolites again. But hey, no worries! Not that we know anyone who starts chomping at the bit the second they get DL’d… not that we know anyone who drives his wife crazy when he has to sit at home doing nothing… nobody we know who’d try to rush back from mono… mmm, nope…

After all, it’s not like we know anyone crazy and determined enough to PLAY BASEBALL, at home and ON THE ROAD, while he’s probably been suffering from MONONUCLEOSIS for AT LEAST A MONTH…

Sigh. What can we even do with Brandon Inge? He’s basically incorrigible. I guess this could go some distance towards explaining the massive power outage in his bat, and the way he has seemed to struggle getting to balls he usually smothers at and around third lately. Suffering from a pernicious virus that brings with it a host of symptoms, including INTENSE, LONG-LASTING FATIGUE, hmm, yes, that might do the trick.

(Let me just note that mono is, of course, infectious. I don’t expect it to shoot around the clubhouse the way colds and stomach bugs tend to do, but IF anyone was sharing drinks with Inge, confusing their Gatorade cup with his in the dugout, etc… well… it has the potential to be rather unpretty. That’s just what every team needs: a mid-season mono outbreak.)

Anyways. Inge is on the DL. Let’s see what that does. Danny Worth is filling in at third for right now, and I guess Don Kelly will get some at-bats there too. I know a lot of you cats complain about the Modern Day Inge, but a Danny Worth/Don Kelly combo does not exactly make my heart sing a love song to third basemen. So… whatever.

As for the game! Andy Oliver was worrying, Charlie Furbush gave up his first run, freakin’ Juan Pierre hit a home run, AJ Pierzynski remains a loathsome creature, much woe. Casper Wells hit a three-run homer that was much appreciated, but it was not enough to stave off the horror that now requires us to view the following:

Look at this, Tigers. Think about what you’ve done.

Brandon Inge signed my sketchbook

illustration by Samara Pearlstein, autograph by BRANDON INGE

Brandon Inge signed my sketchbook. This is a real actual thing that actually happened in the real world.

As some of you may already know, I don’t really do the whole autograph hunt bit. I REALLY don’t like bugging the players, or (for instance) fighting with little kids for prime positioning after BP or whatever. This is a small part of why I like taking photos: you get something that is as personal as an autograph, in the sense that it’s unique to you and the ballplayer, but you don’t have to bother them. Heck, they don’t even have to look directly at you.


I got to the ballpark early, knowing full well that there would be no BP, but figuring that if worst came to worst I could just chill out in the seats and draw (I knew ahead of time our seats were under cover). So I got into the concourse right after the gates opened. There’s a small roped-off area near the entrance I use for these seats; sometimes player family members and whatnot are standing in there. Today, as I came in, Brandon Inge was standing there, being interviewed by Ryan Field. There were two or three fans watching this.

Naturally enough I hastily got out my camera, figuring I would take a few pictures since I was MERE FEET away from Brandon Inge. This I did. The interview ended, and one of the few fans watching came up to ask Inge to sign her jersey (a Verlander jersey, if I recall correctly). There were no small children around, there was no huge press of people, and Inge didn’t seem like he was in a terrible hurry, probably because there would be no regular BP.

HOLY CATS, thinks I, I can totally get something signed. Do I have anything he can sign? Oh yeah only THIS ENTIRE SKETCHBOOK.

It just so happened that at my last Sox game, I had some downtime before my seat buddy arrived and had used that time to start drawing the seat view. So I had a mostly-completed drawing of Fenway, with all this empty space on the infield because I hadn’t finished filling in the grass yet. IT’S BASEBALL-RELATED, IT’S PERFECT. It would have been better if it was a Tigers drawing, and not a wonky sketch of Fenway Park, but whatever.

So, yeah. He signed it. I did not behave in an embarrassing fashion, although my screamingly orange hat was probably embarrassing enough on its own. I MAY or MAY NOT have fired off some capslock text messages shortly after this occurred, but I think you will all agree that is a very restrained reaction.

Then Dave Dombrowski walked by and said, “Hi Brandon!” and even though he was not wearing a striped shirt, the moment was still full of magic and spectacular hair.

THEN I went outside and looked at the tarp and sighed sadly, but my sadness was transformed into wonder because LITTLE VICTOR WAS ON THE FIELD and he was in FULL UNIFORM. And it got even better, because Little Victor was out there playing catch. With LITTLE PAPI. Who was ALSO in full uniform! And Little Papi was wearing the home whites, while Little Victor had on his appropriate Tigers away uni. They played normal catch for a bit, then Little Victor went down into a CATCHER’S CROUCH and it was just too much. I don’t even particularly like small children, but this was so adorable that it was almost painful. I do have photos, but you are going to have to wait because I am so backed up on processing etc.

Mark Schlereth was on the field before the game and he kept making various other Tigers take photos of him with Daniel around the park. Like, hey, Mark and Daniel standing on the infield! Mark and Daniel standing in front of the Monster! DON KELLY HOLD THIS CAMERA. Wonderful. At one point Brad Penny came over and led them into the Monster, because Brad Penny was on the Sox, however briefly, and I guess he’s allowed.

What of the game itself? Well, let us put it this way: given the weather, and the pitching matchup, this could have gone far, far worse than it did. I was expecting all sorts of unpleasantness. Brutally long rain delays, Phil Coke meltdowns, people being mean to Victor, etc.

None of that happened! We had one rain delay, but it was brief, and it wasn’t even that bad for me personally because I was under cover (we did get heavily misted all game long, and it was cold, but being under cover meant that we didn’t get soaked during the one downpour). Phil Coke went toe-to-toe with Clay Buchholz and pitched not just well, but EXTREMELY well. We kept just shaking our heads and laughing, because of course tomorrow’s game is supposed to be a Verlander/Beckett match, and that should be the great pitching duel… but we got a great pitching duel TONIGHT.

Phil Coke gave up zero runs in 7 innings. Phil Coke! Phil Coke did this very thing! He threw only 78 pitches in his 7 innings, which is probably the most efficient a Tigers pitcher has been this year. He allowed only three hits (all singles), and only issued one walk. All this occurred on a cold, rainy, windy night, where the mound could not have been in great shape, the visibility was awful even over relatively short distances, and the ball probably felt like a slippery lump of granite. Phil Coke goes out in that and dominates. Scintillating, dazzling, again with the magic.

And Victor got a great big cheer his first time up to the plate. ALL AS IT SHOULD BE, even though the Tigers ultimately lost.