Category Archives: General

Let’s hope for new cat beginnings in the new year.


image by Samara Pearlstein

Happy Rosh Hashana! Happy Eid ul-Fitr! Happy The-Tigers-Have-Won-Three-in-a-Row! This is plainly a time of great celebration for all people.

Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year, a holiday for happiness (we survived another one!), reflection (oh man, what did I do this past year?), and renewal (er, better do some things differently this time ’round). And eating, of course, but that’s most Jewish holidays.

It comes at a weird time for the Tigers. It’s not the start of the season. It’s not the end. The Tigers are 12.5 games back, and the wild card is coming out of the East anyways. It hardly seems like the time to contemplate fresh endings or new beginnings. Some might take this as a sign to… oh, I don’t know… concentrate on Real Life for once and leave baseball out of it, on the assumption that this is some sort of proof of the fact that baseball can’t possibly relate to all things.

Ha HA! Foolish idea. Baseball is life, life is baseball, etc.

Instead let us reflect on the fact that right now it’s a little after the September call-ups, which means there are lots of new kittens in the house! OK, most of these kittens have been up for a while due to injuries and weird position vacancy issues (e.g. second base and center) and general awfulness, but you know what I mean. Many of these cats will be a big part of The Future. The Tigers are going to be looking at them as the season winds dismally down. In many respects they are THE important part of the rest of the season, almost as important as keeping everyone else from being more injured than they already are (that’s enough, Miggy and Papa Grande).

THE FUTURE!! Like the new year, it will happen even if we don’t actively do anything to make it happen. But you aren’t supposed to just coast into the new year. You’re supposed to look back at what happened, and actively work to improve upon it in the time to come. This is exactly what the Tigers are doing right now if they’ve got any brains at all. And they have Dave Dombrowski, and also zombie Bondo, so, you know, brrrraaaaaiiiinnns.

Look back at what the kittens did this year, and what they’re doing right now, scrabbling along on a team whose best shot at doing something worthwhile is just to be as annoying as possible to the Twinkies and Wrong Sox. Evaluate those kittens. Judge them for the 5 tools: claw strength, ability to detect the sound of a tuna can opening in the next room, speed chasing a laser pointer, afternoon sunspot detection, and fluffability.

Then someone has to ask the tough questions. Is there enough kitteny fluff on the current team? Will we go with the kittens we already have, hoping they’ll be able to keep up with the real big Cabrera Tigers? Or is there insufficient fluff? Will we need to look elsewhere to up the fluffiness quotient, and if so, where do we go to pick up these cuddlemuffins? Now is the time to take a good hard look at the team and start figuring out where all these felines fit in the Near Future Plan.

In other words, the perfect Rosh Hashana frame of mind. With kittens.

So here’s to the new year! May 5771 be better for the Tigers than 5770 was.

RotT gets carded

The other day I picked up my first 2010 Topps cards (these included Jose Valverde as an Astro and Aubrey Huff as a Tiger). For some reason it seemed like a good idea to look back at the past few years of card designs so that we could all discuss the finer points of their design without really knowing what in the hell we’re talking about. It is the finest RotT tradition we have.

2005

Oh, look who it is!
things I liked:
–relatively simple team-color border on white
–use of team-specific font
–year easily visible on the front (if I have multiple cards of the same player, I sort them by year. Having to hunt for the year on the back just slows me down, yo)
things I disliked:
–holy redundancy, Batman! (Ugie repeated twice, Tigers repeated twice. Plus the photo is clearly of a guy on the Tigers, so… WE GET IT)
–border side tabs. Useless as per above point, and it’s annoying to have text oriented multiple ways on the front.
–naked metallic text at the top. This is a gold foil, and it is much lighter in real life than it is in the scan.

2006

things I liked:
–simple team-color border
–player positions listed on the front
–no redundancy
–visually interesting but not overly gimmicky name banner
things I disliked:
–TigerS
–placement of the Topps logo

Overall this is my favorite of the recent designs. It’s clean and classic while still looking like a baseball card and not some space-age modern monstrosity. The design is centered and symmetrical, the text and border don’t overwhelm the player photos. It avoids aggressive stupidity. It also looks much sharper in real life, where the silver bits actually look silver, and not whatever funked-up color they’re going to be for you here. Love you, 2006!

2007

things I liked:
–no redundancy
–if you’re going to do silver metallic text, better to do it on black than white, I guess.
things I disliked:
–THOSE DOTS
–Topps logo is more prominent than the team name
–stupid fake signatures on the player photos
–all-black card
–those dotttsssssssss

Sad that my absolute favorite was immediately followed up by my least favorite of the recent designs. Basically, at all times I live in abject fear of the possibility that Topps will decide to recreate their 2007 cards. NEVER AGAIN THE DOTTED TIMES.

2008

things I liked:
–top-weighted design
–prominent use of team colors
–very simple border lets player photos speak for themselves
things I disliked:
–stupid fake signature
–team name design makes me read it as T. I. G. E. R. S… Terrific Inge Grittily Earns Raucous Salutes!
–also kind of makes me think of a circus

2009

things I liked:
–positions listed on the front
–lots of space given to the player photo
–first design in this bunch to deploy the Olde English D
things I disliked:
–minimal use of team colors (no orange, and the blue under the silver dots in the corners is an aqua blue, not Tigers-navy)
–team name is tiiiiiny
–lots of angled design elements, but they’re all small, so the overall effect is less excitingly slanted and more… wonky
–inexplicable dotted triangles

2010

things I liked:
–team font returns!
–orange returns!
–it’s tough to see in the scan, but the ‘Nate Robertson’ text is actually black with a silver outline. So much better than naked foil.
–player position small, but present on the front (lower left corner)
things I disliked:
–soft fade between the orange bit and the player photo
–basically all text stacked on the left
–border swoop translates really poorly to horizontal cards

I don’t buy full sets of baseball cards or anything, I just pick them up on a random and very occasional basis, so it’s always exciting for me to get Tigers cards. It’s like an unexpected bonus of stripey joy. I realize that this is a baseball-specific form of madness (and a slightly anachronistic one, really), but it could always be worse, you know? I could be one of those folks who still yearns for the 1987 wood-panel borders. THOSE PEOPLE ARE THE REAL FREAKS.

And the replacement slogan for Who's Your Tiger? is….

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Always A Tiger.

Eh. I am less than impressed.

I should start by saying that I loved the Who’s Your Tiger? campaign. It was full of excitement! And thrills! And really awesome things! Who among us did not shout the phrase at fellow Tigers fans, over and over again, until we had received a satisfactory answer? It was punchy, and it was catchy without being overly obnoxious.

(and I know some wet sock is going to pipe up and say that they found it wicked obnoxious, but in a relative sense [April in the D] it was in fact fairly innocuous)

It connected fans and players, by making the slogan about BOTH, not one or the other. Who’s YOUR Tiger? It was a question ABOUT the players, addressed TO the fans; it asked the fan to pick a favorite player and claim him for their very own. This is not just an ad about Chad Durbin, it’s an ad about MY TIGER. Not that they ever made a Chad Durbin ad, but if I said to a Tigers fan, “Chad Durbin is MY Tiger!” they would immediately understand what I was saying and where it was coming from.

It was, as a team slogan, almost infinitely flexible, in that it could be applied to any Tigers player, or minor leaguer, or coach, or whatever. Who’s Your Tiger? Dave Dombrowski is my Tiger! Carlos Guillen’s surgically repaired knee is my Tiger! PAWS IS MY TIGER! When new Tigers joined the roster, via call-up or trade, the slogan could be immediately applied to them. It was wonderfully update-able and was versatile enough to encompass Tigers of both the present and the past, semantically if not in the form of actual TV ads.

Always A Tiger is not, in and of itself, a terrible slogan. It’s nostalgic, and looks to the history of a team that has more history than lots of current Major League teams. It puts emphasis on players who will always be associated with the franchise (never a bad thing) and it recalls the glory days of the team and those who wore the Olde English D (an especially good thing in the wake of the cringe-inducing ’08 season).

But it pales in comparison to Who’s Your Tiger. It’s pleasant enough, but it lacks punch, and if I was a bettin’ cat I would be willing to bet that it will never develop the near-viral memeness of Who’s Your Tiger.

Who’s Your Tiger was essentially a call for fan participation; Always A Tiger is a completely passive slogan. Are you going to yell Always A Tiger! at your Tigers fan friends? Do you feel any particular need to interact with the slogan at all? You probably don’t, because it’s not interactive. Who’s Your Tiger was.

Who’s Your Tiger was about the team NOW, in whatever form it was taking at the time; Always A Tiger is about past Tigers almost exclusively and attempts to drum up enthusiasm for the franchise without addressing the current roster in any meaningful way. How many of the current cats will ‘always’ be Tigers? Granderson and Verlander, hopefully; Inge, although I know a lot of you folks would rather get rid of him. Bondo? Maybe? There’s not a whole lot of continuity in MLB these days, and many of the current feline fan favorites had firmly established histories with other teams before coming to Detroit.

Who’s Your Tiger worked equally well for the dude in the Sheff’s Chef hat and the squealing Magglio fangirl and the vaguely bewildered but stubbornly loyal Jeff Larish fan. Always A Tiger has little to say to any of those people. Always A Tiger works for the couple who insist on wearing Hank Greenberg jerseys to the park no matter who’s on the team, but Who’s Your Tiger worked for those folks too.

It’s not that I think the team should ignore longtime, hardcore, SABRtoothed history-buff fans in favor of the ~*~but Curtis is so dreamy~*~ crowd. It’s not even that I think you have to BE a longtime, hardcore, SABRtooth to appreciate Always A Tiger, or that I think hardcore SABRtooths can’t or shouldn’t at the same time be people who happily objectify the hell out of ballplayers in tight pants.

But Who’s Your Tiger? was such a wonderful slogan in part because it was stupid and silly and fun to say, and in part because it had broad appeal and reached out to ANYONE who was a fan OF ANY TIGERS PLAYER, EVER. Always A Tiger looks at that level of inclusiveness and falls flat on its textual little face.

Who’s Your Tiger gained its near-viral status because of all these things. It appealed to everyone, so everyone was reached by it. It invited participation, so everyone paid attention to it and thought about who THEIR Tiger was. It was dynamic, pithy and fun, so it made a great statement to yell at people, and as dumb as it sounds, I really think it DID get people excited about Tigers baseball.

Always A Tiger lacks all that. It’s a fine, inoffensive slogan, like so many MLB slogans. But in a time when the team will probably need to actively work to regain the enthusiasm of its reeling fan base, I just don’t think it’s a good choice.

Something we can all agree on, though: April in the D needs to DIE IN A FIRE.

tiger-striped Thanksgiving

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Things to be thankful for:

– The ARod danger has passed. Stop the debate, embrace the Inge.

– Jimmy Rollins had almost the same year that Curtis Granderson had. Jimmy Rollins won the NL MVP, and Curtis Granderson wasn’t even the best MVP candidate on his own team. I reckon this means that we are AWESOME.

– 2003 is firmly in the rear view mirror. Although our team does have a lot of ancient, potentially decrepit players on it, we also have a bunch of young guys with some mad baseball skillz, and it just doesn’t seem possible that we’ll backslide into the deep dark pit of 2003 any time soon. We may have some years coming up that aren’t as good as ’06 or ’07, but they should not be as bad as ’03, and for that we should be VERY thankful.

– Dombrowski is a level head at the helm. Look to the lack of panicky moves so far this offseason. Not the lack of moves… just the lack of panicky ones.

– Mr. Ilitch gives us cash, cash, cash. Of course a team can have success on a much smaller payroll than what the Tigers have. But the amount of money Illitch allows the team to spend makes guys like Pudge possible, and makes it easier for the rest of the front office to go out and get the guys that they’ve targeted. Thank you, Mr. Ilitch.

Magglio’s hair. Although I saw a photo floating around somewhere of Maggs visiting with some children in Venezuela this offseason, and he had on a suit (nice) and his hair all slicked back (emphatically NOT nice). Let the curls breathe, Maggs. Avoid the goop. Everyone, including your own hair, will thank you.

– It’s possible that THIS will be the injury that teaches Zoom he needs to treat his arm more carefully than the average cat off the street. He’s got to learn the lesson SOME time, right? Right?

– Carlos Guillen being good to his knees. I am thankful.

– Verlander’s no-hitter, and the memory of it, which we may savor on cold baseball-less days this winter to recall the fact that there is glory in the world, and it wears a laughable goatee.

– The exciting prospect of a possible eventual Vance Wilson return to action! GET PSYCHED, TIGERS FANS!

– Anything and everything to do with Placido Polanco.

– Photoshop.

– Another year of turkeycats. Yum yum!

Happy Thanksgiving, cats and kittens!

2006 in amusingly amateur photo review

photo by Samara Pearlstein

The 2006 season was of course unforgettable for many reasons, and here at Roar of the Tigers it was even more remarkable because I got out to a grand total of 7 games. I know that doesn’t sound like very many, but bear in mind that I spend most of the baseball season living back east in Massachusetts. And through several strokes of ridiculous good fortune, some of those games ended up being “special”… the home opener, all three games at Fenway, and Game 2 of the World Series. I am a lucky blogger, yo.

If you’ve ever been to a game with me (and some of you Tigers bloggers have had that unfortunate experience), you know that I am usually somewhat uncommunicative because I either have my face buried in a scorecard, or the back end of my camera. Even if I’m sitting up in the hinterlands and haven’t a chance of getting anything approaching a decent shot.

So I think I’ll do a review of the games I went to in 2006 with some of my favorite shots from the season. Really this will only serve to make me miss baseball even more right now and to cause me to quietly curse the great temporal distance between now and the start of Spring Training, but I DO IT FOR YOU, CHERISHED READERS, ALWAYS FOR YOU.

(Disclaimer: All photos by me. I do not have a DSLR camera so, y’know, it’s not made for shootin’ sporting events or low light or anything that, uh, characterizes most baseball games. All shots taken from wherever I happened to have seats in the ballpark, which varied from “Wow amazing but behind this bloody net” to “So far up I can see Canada from here”. Expect photo quality to vary accordingly. I’m shooting with a Sony DSC-H1, if anyone cares, which I suspect none of you do. However! Onwards!)

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shhhhhh

There is a signing in the works that would make me very, very happy. You probably know what I’m talking about.

But stop emailing me about it, because I am not going to post anything more concrete until it is 110% signed, sealed, and official. No jinxing! THIS IS TOO IMPORTANT.

Of course, if it does get done, expect an outpouring of completely illogical glee from these quarters. I’ll leave the real analysis of the move to other blogs for this one.

Bobby Jenks is a cane toad.

Yeah, that’s right, you heard me. Bufo marinus, Bobby Jenks. It’s a SCIENTIFIC FACT and I will scientifically and not in the least bit bitterly prove it. Behold a presentation by the zoological corner of the Roar of the Tigers brain.

Why Bobby Jenks is a cane toad:

– The cane toad, or Bufo marinus, has many names. It is also known as the marine toad, giant toad, and bufo toad. Bobby Jenks (Homo sapiens) likewise has many names… Robert Scott Jenks, the Fat Kid (to Ozzie Guillen), giant pitcher, and bufo jenks.

– The cane toad is brown to grayish brown with a creamy yellow belly. Bobby Jenks has a brownish pelt and, while I hesitate to use the phrase “creamy yellow belly” in reference to him because it might make me vomit a tiny bit inside my mouth, he’s certainly large and pale enough to make the disturbing image a likely possibility.

– The cane toad, when not in its native wetlands, is found mainly in “disturbed areas”, such as in urban spots, around buildings, in waste lots, and so on. Bobby Jenks, when not in the moist confines of his own home, is found mostly in US Cellular Park, which I have been to, and in my expert opinion definitely qualifies as a “disturbed area”.

– The cane toad eats “insects, vegetation, small birds, mammals, snakes, table scraps, and pet food”. Bobby Jenks, judging from his physique, has a remarkably similar diet.

– The cane toad is “most noticeable in the spring in the wet season”. Bobby Jenks is only just getting to Spring Training in the spring in the wet season. His weight therefore should be at its peak right then, after a hard winter of sitting around eating Cheetos, so it is fair to say that he would be “most noticeable” at that time.

– The cane toad starts calling for mates in late March, and its breeding call sounds like “a tractor in the distance”. In late March Bobby Jenks is emerging from his winter semi-hibernation and calling out to the Spring Training ladies in order to warm himself up for the season. I have not had the pleasure of hearing his breeding call, but “a tractor in the distance” does not seem unreasonable. The cane toad’s breeding season is from April to September. Bobby Jenks calls this “the regular season”, or alternatively, “prime groupie season”.

– A pictorial comparison. The similarities will be clear to you.

The mating rituals of the cane toad.

The mating rituals of Bobby Jenks.

– Now this is fascinating. “Males [cane toads] are able to reproduce as both sexes because they possess a rudimentary ovary that becomes operative if their testes are removed or damaged.” Bobby Jenks, hermaphrodite? We wouldn’t be surprised.

– The cane toad secretes a toxin from its skin that can be deadly to small animals and is a powerful irritant to humans. Bobby Jenks secretes a fastball that can be deadly if it strikes small animals and is a powerful irritant to all humans who are not the White Sox.

– The cane toad toxin is mostly made of cardioactive poisons. Anyone who has ever watched Bobby Jenks pitch inside to their team will agree that his fastball is most assuredly a cardioactive poison.

– The cane toad is an introduced species that has uses in its natural environment, such as keeping the cane beetle (a pest on cane sugar crop plants) in check. But it runs rampant when taken out of its natural environment and becomes a pest itself that forces out native competition and eats like a beast. Bobby Jenks has his uses, such as keeping the Twins (a pest on the AL Central) in check, but taken out of this context he becomes a pest himself, beating up on the Tigers and eating like a beast.

– The cane toad is best killed by putting it in a plastic container, putting the container in the freezer for 3 days, and then burying the dead body. Bobby Jenks may be disposed of in much the same manner.

Convicing data, isn’t it?

Toad information mostly ganked from the University of Florida Bufo marinus info page, and some info gotten from the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web page.

a thought on a rainout

Doubleheader tomorrow (today), and here’s something to chew on.

Two games on the same day means that we’re more likely to see more of the Yankee bullpen. They’ve been having their issues lately, not least of which is overuse and fatigue. This could be a very good thing. Basically, if we make them pitch Scott Proctor at all, it’s a small victory, because Scott Proctor has pitched in every game played this year basically and is [–] this close to having arm go all explodey.

Our pitchers need to listen to whatever it is that Kenny Rogers has to say and get their collective nuts gathered up for this series.

I guess the night game is nationally televised? I’ll try to watch it, but it’s my last night at home before headin’ out to jolly old Ann Arbor for the semester, so we’ll see. Hopefully, roommate and cable company willing, I’ll be seeing a lot more Tigers baseball very soon.

how to recover from a pirate cod slap

I think we’ve done so quite nicely, actually. Information has been short for me this series, as I’ve been out on Cape Cod getting sunburned and watching Cape League games (did you cats know Brewster is the Whitecaps? They’ve got the same color scheme as the Western Michigan Whitecaps too. It was kinda mind-bending). Why, just now I was sitting on a bed in the only room in this house that gets internet, leeching wireless from one of the neighbors, waiting to see if the Tigers could pull out another west coast win.
Even Gameday seemed a little startled at the idea of a one-two-three Todd Jones outing, throwing out their little indicator icon ball things in fast clumps, like it was expecting something else. After the number of pitchers we went through, I can’t blame it. Still, the All Star break is nipping at our heels, so you can’t complain about it.
This is definitely the best way to recover from a cruel slap to the face with a pirate codfish. A(nother!) dominant outing from Bonderman, and this passable effort from Miner. It would’ve been nice to see Bondo get the complete game, I guess, and he must’ve wanted it like anything, but as WE ALL SAW IN PITTSBURGH, it is easy enough to give up a vast lead very quickly if you’re not quick on the trigger to the bullpen and, again, the AS break is here. Leyland could afford to give the ‘pen a little extra work and it’s probably for the best that he did.
And the Proper Sox have been knocking the White Sox around a little bit which, quite frankly, does wonders for my peace of mind. On both fronts.

pendulums swing back and forth too, but they don’t make you want to cry like bad offense does

Bonderman good! Everyone happy! Magglio makes the ball lie down at his feet and do pushups and run off and get him his evening cup of tea! Tigers fans everywhere heave a huge sigh of pleasantly vindicated relief.

Then the offense gets a look at John Lackey and runs screaming like little girls in the other direction and Tigers fans everywhere look sufferingly up at the sky and say, “Oh right, this again.”

It was bound to happen, though. If you’re winning close games, you’re going to start losing games. I realize how utterly stupid that sounds, but it’s true enough of the Tigers.

Anyways, sorry it’s been a bit slow around here lately. I’ve been in the midst of FINALS, which get all caps for how horrible they were, and MOVE OUT, which is a special kind of terror all its own. I’m now at my grandmother’s house and her computer is using Windows, which makes using the internet a bit like hitting a dead squirrel with a blunt stick.

I’ll be at Comerica Park tonight to watch Nate take on Brad Radke, and you had best believe I’ll have a good solid ton of photos to show for it, but I’m driving back to MA Saturday, so you’ll probably have to wait until I can hook my computer into the internet again on Sunday to see them. We’re sitting on the first base side this time, for those of you who were immediately concerned that I’d just be shooting Brandon Inge again.