Category Archives: comic book

AMERICA


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Happy 4th of July weekend from Captain Paws, Brad ‘Bucky’ Ausmus, and Roar of the Tigers!

Action Jackson vs. The Evil Ivy


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

We’ve missed you, Austin Jackson. Please don’t leave us again any time soon.

Jose Valverde is a rock star.

Of the comic book Tigers scenarios we’ve seen so far, I expect this is the one most likely to become Real Life.

Brandon Inge saving the underwater city of Atlantis from certain destruction.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Let’s just concentrate on this sort of thing for a bit.

pug marks 2/16, incredibly important Tigers things


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Austin Jackson climbing redwoods, OK. I actually tried to think of some reason behind this so that it would make a good post, but I couldn’t come up with anything. This is just what happens when it’s February and I haven’t seen baseball in forever and my fevered brain is crying out for sweet baseball relief. Austin Jackson climbing redwoods happens. You kind of signed up for this when you started reading this blog.

On to the paw prints!

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Brad Penny has declared that he is in favor of sartorial splendor, he is on the side of righteousness, he will wear his socks high forever and ever, amen.

[M]ost of the players are dedicated to the sock-less look — or else Daniel Schlereth wouldn’t have grabbed a pair of scissors as soon as he arrived at the clubhouse on Monday and cut through the elastic band at the bottom of his uniform pants.

The one holdout with the high sock look?

Brad Penny.

“I’ll never switch,” he said.
Tom Gage/Detroit News

That is exactly right, Brad Penny. You will never switch, and in fact you should do your best to convince other Tigers that it is only right to switch. There is no one true way to wear a baseball uniform, but all the correct ways to wear it involve high socks. FACT.

And shame on you, Daniel Schlereth! Shame.

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Jim Leyland likes to torment his pitchers. He believes that it’s the best way to get some of them involved in boring Spring Training exercises.

Remember Jim Leyland’s running challenge to Justin Verlander on PFP grounders in workouts last spring training? Leyland would crow whenever he got a ground ball past Verlander, who’s competitive enough that he wants to win at that. Kept waiting to see if they renewed the challenge Monday, the first day of spring workouts, but Leyland found a new target for his fun: Jose Valverde.

“I set you up, baby! And I can do it again if I want,” Leyland bragged when he got a tricky ground ball past his closer.

“Anytime I want. Just a little on, a little off,” he said after another one.
Jason Beck

This is the kind of psychology you use on five-year olds– turning a mundane task into a competitive game so they are tricked into approaching the task with enthusiasm and increased effort– but everyone knows that professional baseball players are developmentally similar to five-year olds in a number of ways. Jim Leyland is a genius.

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In the same post Beck notes that Max St. Pierre is still alive and playing Tigers baseball. He also speculates about the bullpen hair situation for the coming season. His guess is that it will be all about the beard this year. I could live with that.

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Scott Pickens has his St. Bernard Wallace back at camp again this year. A couple of days ago, Tom Gage posted this:

Speaking of dogs, big ol’ Wallace – the 140-pound St. Bernard of bullpen catcher Scott Pickens – let lively pup Diego know who’s boss on Monday.

Also a St. Bernard belonging to Pickens, Diego spent about an hour on the disabled list.

Just a minor mix-up between Saints, that’s all.
Tom Gage/Detroit News

A SECOND ST. BERNARD?? And then there was a PHOTO! Yes, look at them! Those are Brad Penny’s Very Pale Legs, but look at the dogs! Look! LOOK! LOOK AT DIEGO OH MY GOODNESS. You are looking at a creature that demands by its very existence infinite cuddles.

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Robbie Weinhardt has snatched up Bondo’s number. I have to admit that it’s going to be weird to see a non-Bondo Tiger wearing #38.

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The Axis of Evil had some words with Patrick Leyland, who is in Lakeland this year as an actual Tigers prospect, instead of just hanging around as the coach’s kid. I’ll bet Jim Leyland feels super old right now.

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The Mothership’s blog has been posting a photo (or several photos) of the day for a while now, and the February 7th post showcased Truck Day. Now, Truck Day in Boston is a public event, where people go down to the stadium to watch the truck get loaded in the freezing cold (seriously) (I was there a couple years ago), so I was kind of sad to see the Detroit truck getting loaded up without any fans around to wave it off.

But Paws in a box made it all better.

Miguel Cabrera, IN SPACE


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Short-haired Miggy, since that’s what he was rockin’ in the last photos I’d seen of him. Not much else to add to the title, really.

This is your brain; this is your brain on offseason.

the pitchers have superpowers, pt 6: Armando Galarraga


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Thus far we have encountered Tigers pitchers who have some measure of control over light, or heat energy, or sound, or time, or, uh, dead flesh. But this is something different.

Armando Galarraga has amazing sonic powers. All those vowels and rollable Rs in his name make it a perfect weapon when shouted by someone who can control the power of sound. Do you doubt the things that may be done with the power of sound? Experience a sonic boom, and know the might of Armando.

His power is carefully monitored by the league, so that they may be sure that he is not secretly whistling behind the ball during games to give it some extra oomph. That would be illegal, obviously. And he is not supposed to amplify the voices of, say, opposing base coaches so that they inadvertently broadcast their verbal signals all over the infield. If he sometimes surreptitiously boosts Ozzie Guillen’s voice a little so that he gets in trouble for what he’s saying, though… well, nobody will hold that against him. Except for Ozzie Guillen. That’s OK, Verlander and his fireballs can offer some protection.

Armando’s sound-canceling abilities are really just as impressive as his sound-amplifying and offensive-sound-blasting abilities. Tempting as it may be, he is not supposed to use his powers to strip the sound from opposing managers, rendering them unable to scream orders at their own players. But the league does allow him to whistle a little white noise around himself, which is very useful when it comes to handling loud and irate opposing crowds. Yankee fan chants have no effect on Armando. He doesn’t have to waste brain cells trying to ignore them; he just tunes them out in the most literal sense.

The ability to hold forth at Team Karaoke Night without having to use the karaoke machine microphone? That’s just a bonus.

the pitchers have superpowers, pt 5: Nate Robertson


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Another painfully obvious superpower, oh well.

Nate Robertson blasts beams of power through his eyes. But only when he has his Pitching Goggles on, of course. This is because the Pitching Goggle focus and aim the energy that builds up in his eyeballs. Without the Goggles, this energy just dissipates harmlessly, but with the Goggles Nate can put it to actual use.

Although this power may clearly be used in an offensive sense, it has many other, less violent applications. For instance, when everyone on the team is injured and the trainer is very busy, Nate can use his eyebeams to seal shut some of the many, many bandages which will necessarily encircle his feeble, broken body. As this is a tricky operation that often requires both hands to be free, something that is not always possible when bandaging ones own limbs, Nate has an obvious advantage here, and his ability to do this will free up the trainer to attend to other Tigers.

Indeed, there are many potential uses for Nate’s power even when it is not dialed up to its full potential strength. Some, as in the example detailed above, are very practical in nature. Others may be more subtly intimidating.

Indeed, who needs stencils and grounds-crews to decorate the pitcher’s mound when you have the ability to burn your name into it all on your own?

Nate is unusual among the Tigers, because while this is his primary superpower, it is not his only superpower! His secondary power is much less useful, but that does not prevent Nate from exercising its abilities as often as he possibly can. He has the remarkable ability to control his facial hair with his mind. This allows him to encourage its growth at rates most ballplayers can only imagine, and, even more extraordinary, he can direct the pattern of its growth, allowing him to experiment with any number of facial hair configurations. He has dabbled in everything from the basic to the wildly fanciful, all with the ease of a few pointed thoughts.

Now THAT is power.

the pitchers have superpowers, pt 4: Jeremy Bonderman


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

This is not, strictly speaking, a ‘superpower’. But it is a, um, unusual condition, and we do have precedents, so it will have to do.

Jeremy Bonderman is a zombie. He was dead (remember when the team had his jersey hanging in the dugout back in ’08) and gone for so long that he had time to be buried and to begin the process of bodily decomposition. Then he awoke to find that his corpse had been disinterred by a desperate Tigers front office, and Black Magic rituals had revived him somewhere deep in the bowels of Comerica.

Symbols of Great Evil were scrawled upon the walls in baseline paint (mostly Yankee and Wrong Sox symbols), opposed by Paws, dressed in the white home uni, representing the Forces of Good. The blood of a small goat was spilled, and the powder of a narwhal horn was mixed with pine tar. Mr. Ilitch presided over the ceremony. Jim Leyland chanted the spells. Dave Dombrowski parleyed with the powerful forces thus summoned. Bondo was restored to life, albeit in a slightly, er, altered form.

Naturally this will lead to some awkwardness around the rest of the non-zombie team. It is one thing for them to accept a properly superpowered pitcher, who after all is just born with his extra abilities. But Bondo was deliberately brought back from the dead to a cold, clammy parody of life, in a frantic attempt to find someone, anyone who would be able to make starts for the Tigers in 2010. That is going to lead to some awkwardness, especially among the more religious members of the team, who may not trust that Paws’ presence was enough to ward off the lingering taint of Evil that was necessary to reanimate Bondo. The smell isn’t going to help matters.

There are benefits to having a zombie on the team, however. There is the intimidation factor, of course. The fact that Bondo can no longer really feel hot and cold will mean that he is equally able to pitch in all weathers. He won’t get jet-lagged either, or tired from spending a night out on the town, since he will spend all of his time in an even-keeled zombie-daze, and the passage of time has ceased to hold real meaning for him.

Although he will in fact be difficult to kill now, his zombie status unfortunately does not preclude the possibility of injury. The Tigers will have to be extra careful with him, actually, because his already-partially-rotted body will be more prone to falling apart, and Bondo’s inability to properly feel pain means that he will not notice bodyparts falling off until someone points it out to him. This is not really any different from the usual state of affairs for Tigers pitchers, though, so we should not anticipate it being much of an issue.

Bondo is the only ‘superpowered’ pitcher who truly will not need any protection from Paws. Other teams will be incapable of telling the difference between an infectious zombie and a noninfectious one (since Bondo was brought back via Black Magic, he is noninfectious), and will assume he is held in check on the Tigers only through some sort of Ilitchian zombie mind control. Nobody will want to take the risk of kidnapping him and having him eat through their entire team. Hopefully this will play out well for the Tigers in the coming season.

the pitchers have superpowers, pt 3: Max Scherzer


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Oh I know, how presumptuous! Can we even talk about Scherzer’s superpowers when he has yet to throw a single pitch for the Tigers? Well, yes we can, because here at Roar of the Tigers we have Inside Knowledge and Stuff. His superpower is pretty obvious anyways.

Max Scherzer has X-ray vision. So obvious, this is almost a cop-out of a reveal. He has one blue eye and one brown eye, which is a genetically-based trait known as heterochromia. Normal people with both eyes the same color see in solid 3D, Max Scherzer sees BEYOND the 3D! It’s like how normal people combine the input of two separate eyes to get depth perception, Scherzer combines the input of his blue eye and his brown eye to get X-ray vision.

Of course he doesn’t REALLY shoot X-rays out of his eyeballs, that would be ridiculous. But the results are functionally the same and ‘X-ray vision’ is an easy shorthand that everyone can understand.

The advantages of someone on a baseball team having X-ray vision are clear. Never again will Carlos Guillen have to agonize over the unknown state of his Surgically Repaired Knees! Hairline fractures, displacements, dislocations, all of these and more can be gazed upon with a new immediacy, now that Scherzer is on the team. Joel Zumaya might keep him around at all times, just in case. Don’t expect the team to announce these immediate results, of course– they will still send players to the hospital for analysis, as Scherzer is not, after all, a trained medical professional. But they will have new, near-instantaneous insight into the inevitable injuries of their players.

This is also an incredibly valuable skill when it comes to identifying which teams are FILTHY CHEATERS and have been padding their rosters with humanoid robots instead of real live baseball players. This is a serious problem in the Cheating Culture of today’s MLB, and any team that can get an edge on robot-related intelligence is a team with a strong advantage.

The downside? Well, I am sure you can imagine it just as easily.

X-ray vision is not as easily weaponizable a skill as flaming fireballs, so Scherzer should not be in as much danger from potential kidnappers as Verlander generally is, but, lacking the escape skills of FredFred, he will still need to rely on Paws for some protection during the season. I am not sure what protection system Arizona had in place, but hopefully he will not find it too difficult to transition to the Tigers’ system and Paws’ secretive, protective ways.