Category Archives: Brent Clevlen

little Tigers leaving on little tiger paws


a thing by Samara Pearlstein

Matt Treanor signed a minor league deal with the Brewers.

Brent Clevlen signed a little-cat deal with the Braves.

Dusty Ryan was DFA’d. ETA: He was signed by the Padres.

And poor Freddy Dolsi was claimed off of waivers by the filthy, filthy Wrong Sox.

TRAGEDY! Calamity! Senseless trimming of the roster! What a waste of player resources, what a mind-boggling series of bad moves, one really had to wonder what in the hell Dave Dombrowski is thinking, letting these guys slip through the cracks. Doesn’t he care about WINNING?? Doesn’t he care about THE TIGERS?!?!?!

Matt Treanor, with his awesome wife! Brent Clevlen, with his midwestern name! Dusty Ryan, with his dustiness! Freddy Dolsi, with his 1.69 ERA! O the horror, the terror, the madness, most especially the madness!! How can we live in a world where this is allowed to happen? How can we continue to make sense of this team, this front office, our own senses of self???

ALL IS LOST! ALL IS DARKNESS! Rebuilding year! REEEE BUILDIIIIIIIINNNGGGG YEEEEAAAARRRR!

Ha ha, just kidding, of course! Nobody cares.

the Great Seed Chucking Battle of Spring Training 07


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

The game was televised today, joy of joys, meaning that we got treated to things most marvelous: Rod and Mario! Interviews with various players! Players harassing each other while being interviewed!
I missed the first few innings due to scholarly things, but I took bemused notes on the rest of it, and here you have them.


Rod says there are the only two major leaguers to ever have 30 or more HRs with 5 different teams, and those two guys are Fred McGriff and Sheffield. I think this says less about the hitting ability of Sheff and McGriff (which no one doubts), and more about their attitudes; if you hit that well, why on earth would you be switching teams that often? Probably because you’re a wanker.

Craig’s knee, worry worry. Knee injuries tend to linger and tend to reflare and tend to be pretty easy to reaggravate in baseball… look at how they get torqued around when a batter twists his body. Craig HAS to play outfield too, we already have a bit of a logjam at 1B/DH. More things to concern me as we head towards the season proper.

This one’s for all the Vance Wilson fangirls in da house, yo.

Rod: Vance Wilson, backing up Pudge again this year… in my opinion, the best catching tandem in all of baseball.
Mario: I agree.
Rod: Between him and Pudge Rodriguez last year, they committed just THREE errors. You can’t run on them, they block balls in the dirt, they just do a tremendous job of handling the pitching staff.

I had NO idea they only committed three errors (and am far too tired/lazy to check Rod’s claims there). I don’t know about the BEST catching tandem, but day-um, that’s pretty bloody good.

Mario: Check out the bouncy house out there Rod [referring to the big inflatable tiger-striped structure in the outfield where small children can jump around and squeal to their heart’s content]. We’ve gotta do a broadcast from out there one day.
Rod: I’d get dizzy out there…. that’s for the little peeps.

Apparently just two lefties (Thome and Morneau) homered off of Nate last year.

VERLANDER INTERVIEW
Mario: What’s up with the hair?
[Verlander has this bizarre pseudo emo hair goin’ on, with big chunky shaggy bangs]
JV: Yeah, I’m trying to go Magglio-style, grow it out, it’s kinda in the awkward stage.
[Maggs’ hair works because it’s curly. Justin’s hair is straight as straw and manifestly does NOT work]

Someone is throwing stuff at him. It is… he says Mike. Maroth? I think they’re seeds. Mike Maroth is chucking seeds at Verlander from off camera. Roar of the Tigers proudly brings you this vital spring training bulletin.

Verlander says he asked Kenny and Bondo about his arm pain every day because he was so green last season that he didn’t know if it was fatigue or actual injury, since he’s not used to pitching that much and had no idea what to expect in the way of arm soreness.

Rod: Rumor has it you bought a little toy there in the offseason.
[everyone laughs… I immediately think, “Holy cats, he bought himself a vibrator??”]
Verlander: Ha ha, yeah… [shyly] it’s an 07 911 Turbo Porsche… it’s pretty fast… I like it.”
Mario and Rod together: PRETTY fast??!?!?
Rod: Well good for you, you earned it.
[everyone laughs]

Guys are getting a lot of walks, but I think that’s more because the DRays are having pitching issues than because anyone’s being particularly patient. I want to believe, but I’ll need some real season, longterm proof before I declare the team’s patience issues even partially resolved.

EXCEPTIONAL MENTAL MAKEUP MIKE INTERVIEW
He freely admits that he was throwing seeds at Verlander, now Verlander is behind him ready to sneakily chuck seeds or something at Maroth.

He’s got a buzz cut and he’s wearing a light blue polo style collared short sleeve shirt that I SWEAR I have seen him wear before. Hmm.

Verlander comes up, grabs Maroth’s collar from behind… looks like he dumped seeds down the back of his shirt. Oh boys. I love it.

Maroth says his arm feels good, his arm feels good, his arm feels good times 10, Kenny was a big help, blah blah blah.

CRAIG MONROE INTERVIEW
“It’s [his knee] feelin’ better, it’s better than I thought today, so you know what that makes me excited… I wanna be out there and havin’ some fun.”

When asked about Sheffield: “One of the big things, he talks about shrinkin’ the zone, last year you saw us swinging, you know we’re free hackers [no shizz, kid], so maybe we can… shrink the zone…. he [Sheffield] says ‘you’re in control, you gotta allow this guy to make a mistake’.”

So here is MY question. If we’re making an analogy of this, would it look like so?
Kenny Rogers:pitching staff :: Gary Sheffield:hitters

We hear second-hand from Mario that Leyland feels Clevlen and Dlugach are defensive big leaguers right now. If they could hit “quite a bit” they could be starters right now. See, hmm. You can teach hitting but you can’t teach a good eye. You can teach some aspects of defense and some you can’t. The breaking point with these kids will be how much they have and if they just need teachable things, because then they can improve. If they don’t have the, uh, unteachables, they can only go so far.

POLANCO INTERVIEW
Just before commercial break they show him adjusting his headphones, making me wonder how they get them to fit on his enormous head.

“Yeah, I feel pretty good, Mario, right now, I’m working out a lot, taking some extra swings.” I love how he calls Rod and Mario by their names in that very particular way.

On what it’s like playing in the postseason: “Very fun, very fun, it’s like uh, once you’re in the playoffs you forget about everything what happen, I even forget about my shoulder…”

On the shoulder: “It is probably 85% [when he first came back], but I didn’t know how bad it was until the offseason when I was doing nothing and it still hurt, but… I’d say it’s very close to 100% [now].”

When asked about the lineup…
Polanco: You don’t know who to pitch to in this lineup, you have Magglio and Guillen and him [Sheff] and Pudge…
Mario and Rod together: And you, don’t forget about you!
Polanco: Noooo, ah, no.
[with a big grin]

Um, I think I adore him a little bit.

Big cheers from the crowd for Cameron Maybin after a diving catch fighting the sun (he didn’t see it ’til the last minute), and then another sunny but less eventful catch. Rod and Mario talk about how he’s only 19 years old (DAMMIT I AM OLD AND CLEARLY A FAILURE IN LIFE) and people want him up now, etc etc. HE’S JUST A BABY.

Mario: What’s 20 minus 11?
Rod: I don’t know, you the college graduate…. I gotta get my calculator out for that one.

SHEFFIELD INTERVIEW
“Honest guy [Leyland], man, he tells you what he expects out of you, you can’t take short cuts to win championships…”

On what he thinks of Detroit’s hitters: “I think here it’s a more balanced lineup… over there [in New York], you know, we’re lookin’ for a three run homer… if the pitcher’s on, it’s hard to scratch those runs out when you don’t got the guys…”

Did he seriously just say that Detroit’s lineup is better and more balanced than the Yankees? Gary Sheffield= lol. I mean, I love the Tigers and they’re definitely one of the best hitting lineups in baseball, but I think he’s more than a little bitter right now, you know?

Sheffield’s wife is a gospel (or something) singer… she had a concert in Tampa that Sheff invited some of the team and Leyland to.
Rod: Skipper get busy?… He said the Skipper was in there bobbin’ and weavin’…
Mario: Well we saw him doing the moonwalk in Toronto last year…

Neifi comes up to bat with the bases loaded, skitters a hit to third past a diving3Bman, SHOCK AND AMAZE. Two runs in, he doubled. Hm. Neifi delivering? Crazy talk!

NEIFI PEREZ DOES NOT DELIVER IN THE CLUTCH. THIS IS CLEARLY AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE AND I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THESE SHENANIGANS. YOU CAN’T FOOL ME, ALTERNATE UNIVERSE!

I know it doesn't count, but…


Felix Heredia being chewed upon by Samara Pearlstein

Oh Felix. I’m afraid we’re going to have to have The Talk.

In a way, I guess it is good to have The Talk now, while it is still spring and these games don’t count for anything. After all, spring is for getting the kinks out, and I suppose you could and would call giving up a walkoff home run to a wee Yankee a big ol’ kink. There are some who will smile knowingly and move on, content in the general spring-ness of the game, but I’m sorry, Felix, over here you’re getting The Talk. We do it because we want you to succeed and have a happy Tiger experience, you see. We want a happy Tiger experience for all of us.

The Talk is about what we do to players who “give away the game”. It could probably be couched in nicer terms, but I prefer the elegant bluntness of the thing itself and so, Felix, if you give away the game during the real season, I’m afraid that we’re going to have to

feed you to the Roar of the Tigers Mauling Tiger of Righteous Fan Indignation.

If you doubt the veracity of this, just ask Fernando. He knows.

In fact, Felix, do you see that image up there? That’s what we IMAGINE it will look like if, somewhere down the line this year, you do this again.

Now now. There is no need to be upset. That’s why we’re having this Talk now, just to make sure we’re all on the same page and you’re aware of the consequences of your actions. Don’t say it wasn’t your action, Felix. There’s getting beaten by a hitter, and there’s letting a hitter beat you, and you let BRONSON SARDINHA get a homerun in the bottom of the ninth. Bronson Sardinha is a really good prospect who is neither Bronson Arroyo nor a sardine, and this makes him special, but not special enough to be feasting off your pitching, Felix. Have a little self respect, please. I’m just sayin’.

Of course, calm yourself, nobody’s mauling anybody else right now; it’s March! That would be foolish and wacky and counterintuitive! And of course we are never any of those thing here at Roar of the Tigers.

This is all just to inform you. I am just GIVING YOU SOME INFORMATION.

I hope that we can all understand each other now, Felix. You never again pitch like you’re still on the Yankees, and nobody gets eaten. It’s what we all want.

Now that that’s out of the way!

I had initially thought that this was a night game, and was infuriated when I realized it was at 1. Woe! For I have class at 1:30, and it cannot be skipped for a spring training game, because even I cannot rationalize that away. But wait! MLB.tv claimed that there would be NO BLACKOUTS during spring training. Could it be true?

It was. And that is how I spent three hours staring in turns at my computer screen, my canvas, and a naked reclining gentleman by the name of Peter. Definitely one of the odder environments in which I’ve watched Tigers baseball.

In the bustle of getting set up and all that I managed to miss the first three innings and thus most of the interesting pitching but eh, I can’t complain. Felix warning notwithstanding, I do understand that this was just a spring game and thus of little import, but there were a few items of note:

–Couple of scary moments, first when Andrew Miller took a ball off the glove (it looked like?) and then when Brent Clevlen took a ball off the head. Miller was fine, continued to pitch, and the only thing that suffered were the hearts of many Tigers fans, all of which momentarily froze. Clevlen, however, went down like a ton of bricks. In a real “only in the art school” moment, my professor was talking to me on his rounds about the room when this happened, and we both ended up riveted to the screen while Clevlen rolled around a bit and then was helped into a sitting position and eventually off the field. Then we went right back to talking about my painting, as though watching baseball in the middle of class was TOTALLY NORMAL. Love it.

Anyways, it looked to me like the ball caught the back of Clevlen’s helmet, which is a nasty sort of place to get hit… right at the base of his skull, almost. I’m sure you can imagine how that would smart. He was in obvious pain but was up pretty quickly, so I’m hoping it’ll be at worst a mild concussion.

–Zoom looked great. Good speed, pretty good control, nice mixing of his pitches. The Yankee announcers (MLB.tv was getting the YES Network broadcast) did talk about his arm injury, but seemed to think it was wholly related to pitching and did not bring up Guitar Hero. Someone should have informed them.

–Saw some fairly solid defense at first out of Sean Casey, which was a pleasant surprise. Either he was reading the pitches well enough to position himself perfectly, or the catchers were tipping him somehow, because he was taking REALLY good first steps. And for Sean Casey, there is no defense if there are no good first steps, because he is not exactly going to be Carlos Pena with the fleetness of foot and flexibility of leg out there. Anyways, it was nice to see.

–The YES announcers were very praising of Vance Wilson when he came up to bat, which amused me to no end. Perhaps they are fond of him because they recall his Mets days. It did remind me that he had a shockingly good season (for Vance Wilson) last year. I know it would be foolish to expect the same this time around, but what a fun thought, eh?

–Walks good, strikeouts bad. The fact that there were any walks is a point of interest all by itself. It’ll be something to see if two of the big issues from last season are addressed this year. I am of course talking about walks (lack thereof) and errors on the pitcher (oh postseason you wound me so).

So, yeah, we lost, but hopefully Felix will have profited from this little chat and it won’t happen again. I’ve got my eye on you, Felix. The Mauling Tiger of Righteous Fan Indignation is not to be trifled with. Have a good spring!

Roar of the Tigers at Fenway: Game 3 of 3

That’s right, the first pitch in the third game was thrown out by a monkey. Click to actually, y’know, be able to see the monkey.

I’m not sold on the Verlander Is Meeeelllltttiiiiinnngggg theory just yet, but I am considerably more worried now after seeing him live in this game. He just… couldn’t locate. Anything. I guess he was saying after the game that nothing but his fastball was working? Which, again, was what used to happen to him when he first came up to the majors.

Could be any reason, at this point. I tend to think that he did it before because of nerves… all his pitches were working more or less OK in the minors, but when he came up to the big leagues he didn’t trust his stuff as much, and so stuck with his best pitch, i.e. the fastball. And if he didn’t think it was gonna work, it wouldn’t. Psyching himself out a little. And it feels a bit like that’s what’s happening here. He had that bad outing, right after he’d been benched for a start with ‘fatigue’, and even if that benching was planned all along, I’m sure he was none too pleased about it. He’s still young; it’s getting late in the season. The ability is still there. He’s not tapping into it for these last couple of starts. I think it’s the same thing that happened before.

What was with all the pick offs in this series? Two, three? I think two. Pudge got picked off first in this game, which was downright embarrassing. That’s just stupid fundamental stuff that no one should be screwing up.

The 6th inning was a nice surprise. Magglio’s homer caught everyone off guard and almost wholly silenced the ballpark, which had been rumbling nicely after Ortiz’s two-run homer in the previous inning. There was a whole lot of “great Wells, give it right back why dontcha ya bum”-type grumbling going on.

Clevlen’s homer was an absolute bomb. I can’t accurately describe how immense it was. I can still see it if I close my eyes. Seriously. It caught that much air. It cleared the Monster by a lot, probably ended up denting someone’s hood on the Mass Pike. Manny Ramirez was asking around to see if it violated his home run copyright or something. It was a huge, huge, huge freakin’ shot.

It just didn’t feel like the Tigers’ night here. The previous two games were either exciting or tense. This was both, at times, but it never had that “we can really take this” feel that the first two had. I don’t know why. Maybe because it was my fourth game in four days (I, perhaps inadvisedly, went to a CanAm League game the Sunday before this series started) and I was more tired than Scott Proctor’s shoulder. More likely it was the way that Verlander’s lack of control made the game seem eminently lose-able even when the bats got going.

I can’t even pretend to be too upset about it. You all know my divided loyalties, and with the Yankees coming to town for a 5-game series, I at least half wanted to see the Red Sox going in with a win. And the Tigers already had the series, so at least we got that. Two out of three in Fenway ain’t bad.

All the photos from this game can be found here. Definitely the least interesting of the 3 sets, due to a combination of bad light and seats the farthest away from the field of the 3 nights (actually the same as Monday’s seats, but most of Monday’s shots are from BP, so), but eh, dark and grainy photos never stopped me where baseball was concerned.

Oh, and you know what?

Mad crazy props to Vance (formerly referred to ’round these parts as “44th round”) for his two-year deal. The first time he’s ever had a multiple-year deal, is it? And it came when he was 33 years old. Good for him, for sticking with it through all that cruddy up and down with the minors and all that cruddy backing up of Mike Piazza. Good for the Tigers, for recognizing a solid backup catcher when they had one, a guy that every pitcher he works with here seems to like, and a guy who’s actually not hitting all that badly (although, the OBP, yeah. Could stand to improve there).

Of course I absolutely reserve the right to grumble angrily about this contract a year hence when he’s back to hitting .120 and everything is sulk sulk sulk woe.