Category Archives: Dombrowski

On release.

Dave Dombrowski has been released. Released??

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein









Released like: RELEASED FROM HIS CONTRACT aka politely asked to move on aka FIRED (and I do tend to think it was a firing, instead of the much bandied-about ‘mutual decision’… if it was mutual it just seems like the kind of move that would have happened after the season and not during it, no matter how wretched the Tigers’ record).

The trading of David Price saddened me, but was understood. The Yoenis Cespedes move makes a kind of sense, especially if the door is open to bringing him back next year. I can handle the idea of a ‘reboot,’ even if it forces me to think of the Tigers as a collective cybernetic organism, or like a Power Rangers-style mecha or something. You know, something that can actually be rebooted. Maybe this is another cartoon? But this… this… I just don’t know.

Al Avila will be taking over, and while I know that he has done good work for the Tigers, Dave Dombrowski’s 14 years up top of the organization have been some of the most solid GM/pres/CEO work in baseball. They haven’t won a World Series, and of course there have been questionable decisions along the way– certain managerial choices spring to mind, and the entirety of 2003– but on the whole he has been a Good Solid Positive Influence for the Tigers. He has been heavily invested in the team for a long time, and there was no reason to think that that was going to change any time soon.

This release smacks of a kind of… I don’t want to say panic, or desperation, but it has certain overtones of both those things. It feels like an attempt to prove something: that the team is not content to say that 2015 is in any way okay, that the Tigers are still capable of being major players, that a record like this will not be tolerated. Something. But the fact that it seems to have gone down with little (or insufficient) notice given to Mr. D, the timing, all this does not give the impression of a coolly reasoned decision.


I don’t know about you cats, but this move makes me uneasy. I don’t feel good about the way that it seems to have gone down, and I am not very happy about the decision itself. Mr. D is not perfect. He made decisions that sometimes did not work, and sometimes did not work in spectacular ways. But the majority of the time, as a crazed fan of this fine feline team, I had a lot of confidence in him, and was pleased to know that he was at the helm.

Nothing against Al Avila, but I wish we weren’t pushing him into the captain’s chair just yet.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

This is an accurate depiction of me right now, even down to the flashing emergency vehicle lights, as an ambulance went screaming by my apartment in full wail at the very moment I received the textual message informing me of this trade. For a brief moment I thought the local EMTs had started employing some sort of precog system and they were coming for me.

Let’s take a look at this in bald print:


Additional facts, or semi-facts:

–Prince Fielder did not perform well in the postseason. The reasons, or potential reasons, for this do not even fall under the category of ‘semi-facts’ at the moment, so let us not even go there. But that he did not hit the baseball in a timely fashion, that is known and documented.

–Ian Kinsler has been to the All Star Game three times.

–Ian Kinsler is signed through 2017, with an option on 2018. Prince Fielder is signed through 2020. Ian Kinsler is owed $62 million, or $69 million if that option is picked up. Prince Fielder is owed $168 million. That is a difference of $106 or $99 millions of American dollars.

–The Tigers will also be sending the Rangers $30 million, according to the Freep. This is not exactly getting out of Prince’s contract scot-free, but given the amounts in play it is close enough to be functionally astonishing.

–Therefore we must now come to grips with the fact that Dave Dombrowski might be a real life actual wizard.

There are many things that can happen now– the extra money freed up for the Tigers should allow them to extend Max’n’Miggy, and maybe pursue some much-needed help in other areas. There are now newly created needs, like someone who can intimidate opposing pitchers into not avoiding Miguel Cabrera’s place in the lineup, and someone who can be Miguel Cabrera’s new BFF. We have already seen what life is like without a functional Prince backing up Cabrera, but we can’t go forward with some weakling who won’t command pitcherly respect in the cleanup spot; that way a Major League record for intentional walks lies.

I don’t know. In all honesty, this move came so completely out of the Detroit navy blue for me that I am still too stunned to react in any intelligent way to it.

I will however say this:

I am going to miss Prince Fielder. Not Postseason 2013 Prince. But the fun, huggable, mysterious-handshake-doing Prince, with his desire to always run hard down the line, even when it meant jettisoning his batting helmet into center field with a slide. The Prince Fielder who went into a potentially terrible situation, with the shadow of his father still looming large in Detroit, with as good a will as one could ever hope for. The Prince Fielder who seemed to have fun on the field; the nacho-stealing Prince Fielder. The Prince Fielder who saw a Tigers fan hanging out quietly behind the dugout during batting practice on a cool July day in Boston and went out of his way to go up and ask if she wanted anything signed.

This is a very different Prince from the one we’ve been hearing about, with greater or lesser degrees of accuracy, in whispers and half-statements and flights of speculative fancy ever since the postseason. But that’s the one I’m going to think about when I think about Prince Fielder in Detroit. Haters to the left.

Now, Ian Kinsler…

Let’s just say it’s going to be, for the first time in a VERY long time, an extremely special Chanukah here at RotT. Get psyched.

Why Spring Training is exciting.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

The Spring! A magical time of renewal and rebirth, birds stretching their wings and beginning to think about those long migrations, Canadian geese settling down to poop all over your city, a time for fresh green buds to appear only to be immediately buried by the next snowstorm. A time for people in cold northerly climes to sit transfixed by photos and videos on their screened devices, showing them what Florida looks like. A time for Ryan Raburn to be employed, although not, for once, by the Tigers. A time for the joyous resumption of baseball activities and all that that entails. But what does it entail? So many wonders. Let us share them, friends.

The Spring brings us Dave Dombrowski’s arbitration-stomping dance, executed with great style each year, this year no less than the others. Should a potential arbitration arise, there he is, our President/CEO/GM/savior-in-stompy-boots, ready to dance like a veritable superb bird of paradise, to dazzle his players and beat any hint of arbitration down into the dirt where it belongs. Filthy process.

The Spring also brings us a stunning new array of striped polo shirts for Mr. D to display at the ballpark, as is only fitting and proper.

(note: those are all Detroit News photos from this Spring)

The Spring brings us a healthy Victor Martinez, his knees filled not with loose shards of bone, or excess fluid, or anything else likely to cause pain, terror and trips to the DL, but instead filled with sunshine and flower petals and the tender breath of sleeping kittens.

Bound freely upon those knees, O Victor! But not too freely. Let us keep them nice and unhurt, yes?

The Spring brings us a delightfully fresh crop of quotes from Jim Leyland, such as when he says that one of his own relief pitchers is “rowing with one oar.” He says it with love, mind you. But it is a very Jim Leylandian species of love, one that blossoms best and most readily in the low-stress environment of early Spring Training and in the presence of one Phillip Douglas Coke, which must of course not pass unremarked.

You row that boat, Phillip. You row your little heart out, with your singular oar and your quixotic determination in the face of this impediment.

The Spring brings us an opportunity to gaze upon the sizable noggin of Bruce Rondon, so that we may wonder at his potential ability to be a Major League closer with the assistance of visual aids instead of the cold words and numbers that have tried to form our perceptions of him all this long winter. Can Bruce Rondon close? Let us look at him and see.

The Spring brings us a stimulating debate on the topic of the new batting practice hats. Are they good? Are they hairball-inducingly bad? Are they naught but mediocre? All have thoughts and feelings on the matter. We do not even have to debate the BP hat. We may engage in a BP hat dialectic if we find that mode of communication more pleasant and useful. All these things are permitted in the Spring.

The Spring also brings us Justin Verlander’s super super dorky golfing outfits. It may in the final estimation be the best wonder that the Spring has to offer.

Happy Holidays from Roar of the Tigers

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein (click for bigger)

Triple Crown? Or one very fancy crown and two festive holiday hats? Given the season I think we can all figure out the appropriate answer to that question.

Happy Holidays from Terrible Cartoon Miguel Cabrera, and Roar of the Tigers!

One other holiday present from me to all you cats: Yahoo’s Big League Stew recently had a joke list ranking MLB GMs by hotness. Dave Dombrowski made it into the top 10, at #6. There are some very debatable choices– Brian Cashman is absolutely not hotter than Dombrowski, and there is no WAY Kevin Towers is #1– and of course if Theo Epstein was still a GM instead of a President of Baseball Shenanigans or whatever his title is with the Cubs now, he’d be the undisputed champion. But Mr. D has still brought great pride to the city of Detroit with his magnificent hair and magisterial chin. Obviously this cannot go unremarked or uncartooned.

Striped polo shirts are so in.

Tigers things on a Lions Thanksgiving

photos by Samara Pearlstein

That is what I was doing on Thanksgiving, but of course you can’t go down to Ford without getting an eyeful of Comerica in its winter plumage. Here are just a few Tigers things that we stumbled upon on an otherwise very football-centric day.

The ferris balls have been bagged up.

Champions of the Central, champions of our hearts.

Ford/Comerica face-off.

Dave Dombrowski was there! Just walking around like any other mere mortal! Not, alas, wearing a striped polo, but wearing Tigers orange, which is almost as good. I did not run after him and make him aware that he had been recognized, because that would have been creepy. Not that taking a photo from afar isn’t creepy, but at least it’s a type of creepy that didn’t bug him in person. Right? Right.

So unseasonal, so beautiful.

Found these on the windows of the Germack Pistachio building out by Eastern Market. Germack is a nut supplier for the Tigers (and other Detroit teams), so I guess it makes sense for them to have baseball-related decorations in their windows, but these generic baseball decals are somehow unexpectedly funny– and much more charming than an outdated mini-Fathead of Magglio or whatever.


a variety of Tigers things, related in the usual manner

So I haven’t posted in a few days. Things have been busy in RotTLand, you know, a bunch of work stuff, some friends I don’t get to see much up to visit, cat vomit to clean off the carpet, the usual. Anyways. Here’s a round-up of some of the things that have been happening.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

You know I was in Detroit, right? It was hot. It was WICKED hot.

But it was OK, because I got to see Jacob Turner’s debut! So exciting for Rick Porcello; for one brief moment, he was the baby in the rotation no longer. Of course then Turner went right back down and Porcello was back to being the tiniest kitten.

I mean, there are rookies on the team, and FredFred (in his third season!) is still the youngest. It must be kinda rough. He’s probably hoping Turner comes back in September and then Porcello can say things like “KIDS THESE DAYS” to someone in the clubhouse who’s not Little Victor.

We were THISCLOSE to seeing Justin Verlander throw another no-hitter in the Sunday game. I have never seen a no-hitter in person and although I get out to a fair number of baseball games, I rarely get to see them in Detroit, so I was sitting there (roasting in the sun), thinking… oh man, imagine if Verlander does this and I get to see him do it, at home! Also, it seemed only fair that we be rewarded with a truly remarkable game if we were going to sit in those scorched frying pan seats for 9 innings.

Alas, such riches were not to be mine. Justin was still immense, though, and it was still A Thing to See.

I finally met @WhosYourTiger and he took me around the ballpark to look at some things I would not have looked at otherwise and it was exactly like this.

What else has been happening? Hmm.

Austin Jackson made a RIDICULOUS catch. Like an old school Torii Hunter Spiderman move, but he was catching air, so it was more of a Superman. I drew him with a cape but that’s really the only thing that I changed. He saw the ball going over the wall, said to himself, “Mmm… nope,” and stole that home run away. The kind of play to give a fan with a delicate constitution a proper attack of the vapors.

If you haven’t seen it already you should really watch the video, if only to hear Rod’s call and way his voice breaks from sheer joy.

Victor hurt his knee doing one of his weird little dances at the plate. He is back in the game tonight, which is how behind I am on Current Tigers Events, but it was still not pleasant to see at the time. My first thought was OH NOOOO and my second thought was Oh my goodness I hope Little Victor is not watching this.

He’s DHing tonight and right now he’s 1-for-3, so that’s OK, I guess. It’ll definitely be something to watch, though: even Jim Leyland has admitted that Alex Avila has been beaten up a bit too much at this point in the season, and now his backup has this knee strain or sprain or whatever that has nominally healed, but you KNOW how those things are when it comes to recurrences and re-tweakings, especially when it comes to the Tigers. And Victor has a ton of wear on his knees already, lots more than Random Infielder X would have, on account of his accumulated years of catching experience.

So we all say that Avila has to rest more, but do you really want to take Victor away from the DH spot too often and risk him getting hurt, or more hurt, or whatever? Do you bring up another catcher and hope you can limp along on a slightly smaller bullpen or bench until the rosters expand in September (unlikely)? Do you tell Don Kelly to start getting his gear ready again? DO YOU JUST WORRY ABOUT EVERYTHING EVER, LIKE ROAR OF THE TIGERS?

Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland were both signed to contract extensions. Leyland is locked up through the 2012 season and Mr. D is on board for four more years, through 2015. My thoughts on this move are really disorganized and I’m not sure you need to hear them, but generally I am in favor. Generally. I would like Leyland to actually DO something about the players he overuses, though, instead of just giving the overuse lip service.

I mean, the fact that he even acknowledges it now is some progress, but let’s take this thing all the way to the pot of freshly rested ballplayer gold at the end of the rainbow, you know?

I also hope the Dombrowski contract contained a Striped Shirt clause.

And for no real reason, here’s Doug Fister wearing Hulk Hands.

the Society to End the Abuse of Alex Avila

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Friends, citizens, fellow felines, I must bring this to your attention. Are you tired of seeing a foul tip by the opposing team result in a scene like the above?

Are you tired of seeing Alex Avila grimace in manly pain as his mask gets knocked off, or he gets a bat to the helmet, or yet another foul ball goes screaming off his instep? Does it sadden you to see this noble catcher, a true national treasure, threatened by carelessness, incompetence– even sometimes malice? Does your heart cry out in sympathy, as indeed it must for all intelligent, caring, red-blooded baseball fans?

Did you know that the All Star catcher is an endangered species? It’s a fact.

Don’t let this majestic creature disappear in a flurry of bruises and semi-concussions. Take notice. Take action. Raise awareness. Join the Society to End the Abuse of Alex Avila today.

(SEAAA, pronounced see-AAAAAHHH, like the body of water followed by a hearty beardy-man scream)

Two more things:

July 27th was Max Scherzer’s birthday. He turned 27 years old. July 27th was also Dave Dombrowski’s birthday! He turned 55 years old. Unfortunately the Tigers could not get a win for Max and Mr. D on their special day (extra-unfortunately since Max pitched relatively well, and was stuck with the loss). To make up for this oversight in some small way, I’ve given them a bouncy castle.

Everyone likes a bouncy castle.

And here is what I think about every time I have to watch John Danks pitch:

The Dank Danks in its reeking Chicago-pinstriped cave. A most horrible lurking creature indeed.

ETA: Oh, I nearly forgot. ROAR OF THE TIGERS WILL BE AT COMERICA FOR THE SATURDAY AND SUNDAY GAMES. This weekend! Weather permitting! On Saturday I will be wearing a 2009 Brandon Inge All Star Game jersey (haters gonna hate, etc). On Sunday I will be wearing this shirt. If you see me, feel free to say hi. Or stare awkwardly. You know, whatever.

Dave Dombrowski’s superpower, and the probable end of Armando.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

It’s not his ability to wear the heck out of a striped polo, although you may be forgiven for thinking that’s it. No, Dave Dombrowski’s superpower is his ability to


Dave Dombrowski has been in charge of the Tigers since 2002, and in that time he has not ONCE gone to arbitration with a player. Guys, it’s 2011. Think about that. It’s obviously a superpower. What else could it possibly be, at this point?

The arb-eligible Tigers this time around were Ryan Raburn, Joel Zumaya, and Armando Galarraga. Obviously they signed the Rhino. They also signed Zoom to a one-year, $1.4 million contract, hoping that he will actually be able to stay healthy for the bulk of the 2011 season (I won’t say the whole season… can’t get crazy, now).

Then there was Armando.

The Tigers signed him to a one-year, $2.3 million contract, avoiding arbitration. The rotation at this point consisted of (in no particular order) Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer, Brad Penny, Phil Coke, and Armando. Obviously that’s too many cats, but that was a good thing. FredFred had some roughness last year that may or may not be firmly and finally resolved, Brad Penny could oh-so-easily get sore again, I’m still waiting for Justin’s arm to fall off, and Phil Coke might end up pitching like a reliever. Having Armando around meant that if any of those scenarios came to pass, the Tigers wouldn’t have to immediately dip into the Toledo kittens (the Andy Olivers and Jacob Turners of the world) to stabilize the rotation. All seemed well.

BUT NO IT’S A LIE ALL IS LIES. Almost immediately after they had signed him, the Tigers turned right back around and designated Armando for assignment. That was… odd. What say you, Mr. Dombrowski?

In this situation, we thought long and hard. It was one that after Penny went through his physical and passed his physical, we were in a spot where for Armando, right now, we thought he goes in as a sixth starter. We don’t really look at him as a reliever. This is probably a better time to try to move his contract somewhere he can find a spot in a rotation, rather than come into Spring Training.
Jason Beck/

Okaaaaaaay. Like nobody was aware that they were going to suddenly need a roster spot when Penny’s deal was finalized? Or… what. It’s just weird timing all ’round and no matter how much they try to make it seem premeditated, it is hard to imagine this playing out like it did without some sort of last-minute ‘ruh roh we missed that one, quick, this is the only way we can fix it’ stuff happening. They DFA’d him six hours after they agreed to a deal with him. RUDE.

Now the Tigers have 10 days to try to trade Armando to someone who will use him as a starter. If there are no takers, they’ll probably try to outright him to the minors (they could also straight-up release him, but that seems unlikely) (then again, I would have thought this sort of rudeness was also unlikely) (so who knows) (aside from Paws, who knows all). But he would have to get through waivers first and with a one-year, sub-ridiculous contract, I find it kind of difficult to believe that he would make it through waivers unclaimed.

So it seems like this is goodbye.

Fare thee well, Armando! We will miss rolling all the Rs in your name, and your amazing sonic powers, and hoping for more perfection, and 2008, and your dog.


what to do for Father’s Day when you’re sort of an artist and also you’re out of your mind

FredFred is not all better yet. Edwin Jackson knows how to perform up to the occasion. Alex Avila makes a nifty block at the plate. Magglio Ordonez’s oblique is probably feeling better.

OK, now that we’ve dispensed with the Saturday night game, let us instead discuss Father’s Day!

Because I have problems with this. I know my dad enjoys Tigers-related things, but how shall I present him with such a thing? I can always give people nice prints of photos, but people who are directly related to me end up with, erm, rather a lot of photos after a while. I can always do drawings, or even a painting, but that stuff also starts to pile up after, you know. More than a decade.

A stuffed critter? Well, I could make one of those, but… eh. If I wanted to give someone a stuffed Paws, I could just BUY one, and where’s the fun in that? So I decided to make something that I thought he might get a kick out of, something that cannot (to the best of my knowledge) be purchased in a store but is still within the reach of my (definitely meager) abilities.



His shirt is striped! He clutches a scouting report! His hair is… you know… whatever! HE BOBBLES! (Seriously, the fact that he bobbles just like a real bobblehead is the bit that makes me happiest. I had no idea what I was doing and was afraid his head would, like, stick there awkwardly or something, but it doesn’t, it has great bobbling movement.)


Seeing him from all sides really gives you the sense of how I tried to maintain the Terrible Cartoon proportions. And yes, he is lumpy. Do you have any idea how long it had been since I last sculpted something? We’re talking years here, kids and kittens.

I don’t really know where this post is going anymore, but here are a couple in-progress shots, if anyone cares.

Nothing complicated. The main stuff is all SuperSculpey, the base is MDF from a bit of discarded cheap shelving that was just lying around (sawing this down was by far the worst part of the Dave Dombrowski Bobblehead Construction Process). There’s a dowel and a little spring to make the bobble happen, and the important bits are stuck together with epoxy. Throw in some acrylic paint, and there he is.

My dad will be getting this dubious marvel for Father’s Day. It is far (faaaaar) from perfect, but it’s the spirit of psychotic Tigers fandom that lets us enjoy a bobblehead of the team President/CEO/GM that counts. That’s something you truly cannot buy in stores, you know?

Yes, you all know. You are reading this blog.

Dave Dombrowski readies his weapons

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Cell phone! Blackberry-like device! Stat book! Free agent list! Scouting reports! Caffeine! Striped shirt!


Don’t forget to finish up your entries for The First Ever RotT Photo Contest of Incomparable Awesomeness! They’re all due on December 10! That’s this Thursday. I’ll accept ’em up until midnight EST. And then we shall all experience awesomeness, together, with ridiculous cartooned Tigers.