Category Archives: imaginary baseball world

Your Detroit Tigers 2015 Season Preview: Part II

We are so close to Opening Day! Like, oh gosh, so close! But we still have time to sneak in a few more preseason predictions that are absolutely sure to come true due to the incredible insight that Roar of the Tigers has into the minds and bodies of the Detroit Tigers and their entire management team. That’s right Brad Ausmus, I’m reading your mind right now and I’m loving it.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

–Ian Kinsler goes kosher, Bubbies everywhere plotz.

–Dave Dombrowski will, like Miguel Cabrera, have a slow start to the season. But where Miguel’s slow start is at the plate, Mr. D’s slow start is on his torso. It will be way too cold in April, and possibly some of May, for short-sleeve striped polo shirts at the ballpark. But eventually the temperature will rise, and the second-most realistic tiger stripes* worn by a Detroit employee will once more be displayed before our adoring eyes.

(*obviously the most realistic stripes belong to Paws)

–Every single time Justin Verlander is injured, K*te Upt*n gains a year of life thanks to her dabbles in the black magicks of app wizardry.

–Bruce Rondon throws 105 mph exactly once, and never again.

–Joe Nathan is so old and so out of touch with the modern age that he begins pitching not forward, into the future, but straight down, through geologic time. It is as if his ancient bones are yearning to join their brethren beneath the soil. Dinosaurian remains beckon. He knows he belongs among them more than he has ever belonged here among us. If he cannot yet go among their ranks, he can at least send his pitches there.

–It doesn’t much matter, though, because by August MLB has pushed through the controversial First Name Enforcement (FNE) rule, banning all players with two first names from the league, on the basis of it making for confusing and annoying jersey name-on-back situations (which everyone knows are no good for merchandising). Joe Nathan, Alfredo Simon and Kyle Ryan are promptly banished to independent ball. There is lively argument for a while over the fate of Rajai Davis; at the end of the season his case is still being decided by the commissioner’s office.

–JD Martinez switches his name around, becomes involved in an intense DJing battle with the Rays’ DJ Kitty.

–In an unexpected bid to become the new Don Kelly, Andrew Romine starts teaching himself how to play catcher. He also begins to aggressively befriend Jim Leyland, leaving little gifts of cigarettes and Barbra Streisand CDs on his desk. Brad Ausmus is slightly hurt but will never let on.

(But I can tell, because I’m reading his mind.)

—-

Now, this is kind of unrelated, BUT if you like baseball cards you may find it to your liking. An artist friend and I have been working together on this weird, goofy project for quite a long time, and we finally got it to the point where it’s ready to become real.

It’s called Art World Universe Series One, and it is a set of trading cards for a deranged world where contemporary artists are superheroes and supervillains and Legends (who transcend those former categories).

As I said, it is more about art and comic books than it is about baseball, but it is a set of trading cards and I did draw them all, so I figured I should let you guys know about the project. We have a Kickstarter where we are trying to make this dumb thing happen– take a look, read about the project, check out the cartoons, enjoy the video, and hey, if you happen to see a reward that you want, go ahead and grab one!

Where in the Midwest is Ugueth Urbina?

The ongoing photo journey of a very special former Tiger!


all photos by Samara Pearlstein

Where is Ugie? We rejoin our intrepid hero on the Irene Hixon Whitney Footbridge over I-94 in Minneapolis, Minnesota! This bridge is so freakin’ cultured that it has a John Ashbery poem all over it. Ugie just loves Culture.

The bridge leads to the Walker Art Center, where Ugie is happy to run from grass dot to grass dot. They’re like a series of pitcher’s mounds, representing Ugie’s varied path through the Majors, skipping from team to team.

The tags for the John Waters-curated Absentee Landlord exhibit at the Walker seemed to anticipate Ugie’s arrival.

Ugie poses with a Wolf Vostell print. Does this mean that Ugie has been qualified into Art? I THINK SO.

Of course, there is no way Ugie could go to Minneapolis and fail to check out Spoonbridge and Cherry, the iconic sculpture by Claes Oldenberg and Coosje Van Bruggen. Don’t pour that gasoline into the art, Ugie!

Ugie does love his churches. Here he takes a look at the Basilica of St. Mary, the first Basilica in the United States. It was built between 1907 and 1915, and was blessed by the Pope at the time in 1926 (which is what makes it a Basilica, I guess).

Where’s Ugie now? He’s LHAO at this ridiculous Minneapolis radio billboard.

Did you know that Minneapolis has a public bike network? Ugie is making that discovery here. It’s called ‘Nice Ride’, because the Midwest is all about everything being nice. (Boston is about to start a similar program, which will probably be called ‘F-U Cars and Pedestrians’.)

Kirby Puckett may be hollering at him, but Ugie will not be kept away from baseball! He’s got a career 2.40 ERA against Minnesota– he loves those wacky Twinkies.

This is Ugie’s first trip to Target Field, because he only ever pitched in the Metrodome when visiting Minnesota.

Ugie is quite a fan of outdoor baseball in Minnesota. Not so much a fan of the brutal summer heat and oppressive humidity in Minneapolis at the time, but outdoor baseball in general, yes.

Continue reading

the Tigers will be the smartest team ever and if that doesn’t translate into wins, oh well, it will still translate into AWESOMENESS


photo by Samara Pearlstein, come back Curtis, we are making a team for you!

OK, I know I just posted and seriously go look at that post, but I had another thought and wanted it to be its own post. It’s my blog. Whatever. Shut up.

We already have Will Rhymes and we know that he’s smart (William & Mary! Molecular biology!). We already have Max Scherzer and we know that he’s smart (Scrabble!). Everything is pointing in one direction! Or just two things, but two shiny attractive things, so… again, whatever. I believe that the Tigers’ new goal is clear.

They need to become THE SMARTEST TEAM IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL.

I started thinking about this because Dirk Hayhurst was released by the Blue Jays, or not re-upped, or something. The point is that he’s available. I know he made a million typos in that blog entry but the dude wrote a book and probably actually reads printed material on occasion, therefore we can assume that he is smart– especially by pro ballplayer standards (“wat are a book?? I don understnd, gimme mah gun”, love Luke Scott). SIGN HIM NOW.

Who else? Obviously we have to get Curtis Granderson back. If we’re putting together a team of smart baseball players, Curtis Granderson has to be on that roster. I know Curtis Granderson is basically perfect and thus gets along with everyone, but it would probably be nice for him to be around people who don’t stare blankly when he uses a word with more than two syllables in it, so really we are doing this for Curtis Granderson’s own good. Also it would make his mom happy.

Miguel Batista is still a free agent, right? He’s an author. He wrote a novel about a serial killer, and a book of poetry. POETRY. How many ballplayers even know that poetry exists outside of simple rhymes about poop? Think about that. Then think about how Miguel Batista is perfect for this team we’re putting together. SIGN HIM.

Well wait, at least one other ballplayer knows about poetry, because Fernando Perez got a degree in creative writing from Columbia. HE UNDERSTANDS ABOUT THE POEMS. He also willingly participated in this video, so we know he has a sense of humor to go with the brains in his head. Why isn’t he ours right now? Because life is unfair and he’s stuck in a region that on the whole doesn’t give a flying cartilaginous fish about baseball. Detroit cares. Give him to us.

The Racist Logos have a kid named Frank Herrmann who has too many extra letters in his last name and an economics degree from Harvard. He had a column in the Harvard newspaper, like Todd Jones, except it was the Harvard newspaper so… not like Todd Jones. BOOM. That was the sound of us stealing him away from the Racist Logos, who plainly don’t deserve him because they’re the Racist Logos.

Of course we must also have Ross Ohlendorf. He has a mind and he uses it. Here’s an article about, among other things, his thesis that I totally do not understand because I studied art and biology in college and hurr durr numburz. I mean, his major was ‘Operations Research and Financial Engineering’. At Princeton. I don’t even know what that is. The thesis, I mean. I know what Princeton is.

Chris Young also went to Princeton and was so dedicated to graduating that he stuck with his senior thesis even after he had been drafted, working on it for two months “from the back of a minor league bus”. The title of his thesis? “The Impact of Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball on Racial Stereotypes in America: A Quantitative Content Analysis of Stories about Race in the New York Times”. Yeah. He used the word ‘quantitative’. Get on this team at once, Chris Young.

How about Jody Gerut? He went to Stanford and I don’t think he’s doing much of anything right now. He’s in someone’s minor league system, I think? Great. BOOM. Signed. Nobody will ever laugh at you for being “[t]he only Tribe player able to spell the last name “Teixeira” correctly for a [Racist Logos] stadium segment” (sauce) ever again, Jody. Now you are among friends.

Then there’s Craig Breslow, who has a BA in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale. He has been called the smartest man in baseball. He’s some kind of crazy genius and he torments left-handed bats and he hates cancer and he’s Jewish so basically he is perfect. If the Detroit Tigers loved me, they would have pried him out of Oakland by now. HE IS ALREADY A TIGER IN MY HEART.

WHY ISN’T THIS ALL REAL LIFE ALREADY. MENSA TIGERS 2011!

picking up Max Scherzer


image by Samara Pearlstein

Max, dahling, so good to see you again! How are you? My goodness, what a foolish question! We can clearly see that you’re simply fabulous at the moment. Don’t mind us, we’re just so very flustered by your presence. But can you blame us, rully? Such devilish good looks, such roguishly good pitching! The strikeouts! Truly, my dear, you do spoil us so!

Sixteen strikeouts and three walks in the past fifteen innings? Maxwell! Gracious, someone bring us our smelling salts.

We’ve no desire to be… you know… presumptuous. But you’ve just been too much lately. A fanbase can only be expected to restrain itself for so long. Now we’ve got to ask. Dearest Maxums, you simply must date us. Would you consider it? Could you find it in your heart? (Which we know, of course, to be pure and good.) All of us Tigers fans.

You are just too dreamy. We mean, with the eyes and the Ks and the winning and whatnot. By Paws! We know, it seems so sudden, but darling, you must have seen it coming. You’ve seen the t-shirts worn around Comerica. Not all those 37s are leftover Kenny Rogers shirts, you know.

It’s been a rocky basepath, of course. You had to go down to Toledo. And that’s Ohio, yes pet, we know, we’re so very sorry, but you went like the wonderful teammate we know you are, and when you came back you just decided that you were going to strike out everyone else in the league and be super effective and, well, that’s been working out just lovely. We find that very attractive in a pitcher, yes indeed we do.

So what do you say, dear Maxie? Do let it be yes. We can all go out to dinner together and sup on the finest foods Mexicantown or Greektown has to offer. Or we’ll all go down to Slows BBQ together and eat delicious meats and the mac’n’cheese that is so good it will make your tongue sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame, dahling, and then we can frolic down Michigan Ave together, all of us holding hands, and we’ll watch the sun set over the skeletal remains of Tiger Stadium, and we can all reflect on the grandeur of Detroit, the fragility and toughness intertwined, the duality of the city reflected in your very own heterochromatic eyes.

And then we will all make out.

Basically we’re soulmates, Maxkittens. You’re meant to be with us. Don’t you agree? Yes. Beautiful.

(Keep pitching like this, or we’ll totally dump you for Justin Verlander, even though he’s all bloated with pitch counts. We’re fickle like that. But let us not speak of such things, and enjoy this while it lasts, hmm? Splendid.)

the new litter of Tiger cubs


draft day cuddling by Samara Pearlstein

Ah yes, Draft Time. When ballplayers 99% of us have never heard of or seen before suddenly become relevant to our team-tied interests. None of the Tigers’ initial picks have been Big 10 or UConn players, so I will be totally honest with you, blog readers: I don’t know anything about these kids. I could run to go look at their college team pages (for the ones who are even old enough to HAVE college pages) and pretend that gives me fabulous insight into their upside even though all I’ve seen of their ability to play is MAYBE a compilation of poorly-filmed clips on Youtube.

Who needs that? Instead I’m just going to do what RotT does best anyways, which is make a bunch of stuff up.

Nick Castellanos
44th overall (1st compensation round), 3B, righty, 6’4, 18 yrs old, Archbishop McCarthy High School (Florida)

Edward McCarthy was the Archbishop of Miami from 1977 to 1994. In 1987 he had to plead with people to leave a speech the Pope was making (in Miami) due to the lightning rule, not unlike the regular proceedings at Florida Marlins games. He was a friend to and supporter of immigrant Cubans and Haitians in the Miami area. Unfortunately he got his start in Ohio, at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Nick Castellanos went to the high school named after Archbishop McCarthy, so we may expect him to be friendly with foreign-born players, calm under pressure, but untrustworthy in some fundamental, low-level, Ohioan way.

Chance Ruffin
48th overall (1st compensation round), RHP, 6’0, almost 22 yrs old, Texas

Ruffin rhymes with ‘puffin’. Actually it might be pronounced ‘Roofin’, not ‘ruff-in’, I have no idea, but I want it to rhyme with ‘puffin’ so I am making a declaration of puffin-rhymation here. Great. Just so we’re all on the same page.

Drew Smyly
68th overall (2nd round), LHP, 6’3, 21 yrs old, Arkansas

True to his name, Drew Smyly has an immaculate grin. His teeth are blindingly white, which will go nicely with a home Tigers uniform. Elementary school taunts stunted his smile growth as a youth, but at Arkansas he regained confidence in his chompers and began a rigorous training schedule of awkward photos, first meetings, and other situations where a big smile is important but may be hard to naturally obtain. In this way he hoped to retrain his smiling instincts, so that he would be ready by the time he had to face big league cameras (video and still).

Rob Brantly
100th pick overall (3rd round), C, bats lefty, 6’2, almost 21, University of California (San Diego)

catcher catcher catcher catcher catcher catcher catcher catcher catcher catcher

Cole Green
133rd pick overall (4th round), RHP, 6’1, 21 yrs old, Texas

A mix of collard and kale, Cole Green is the cabbagiest player to ever be drafted by the Detroit Tigers. In fact he may be the cabbagiest player to ever be drafted in the entire history of Major League Baseball.

Alexander Burgos
163rd overall (5th round), LHP, 5’11, 19 years old, State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota

I’m sorry, there is a college in a place (or combination of places) called ‘Manatee-Sarasota’. How am I supposed to take this kid seriously? How can anyone? How did anyone going to school there keep from losing it every day? “Oh yeah, we can meet up after practice, we just have to swing by my house IN MANATEE first. Yes, that’s right, I’m living in manatee. What?”

John Holaday
193rd overall (6th round), C, 6’0, 23 yrs old, Texas Christian

catcher catcher catcher catcher catcher catcher catcher catcher catcher catcher

a few brief notes from the game

–MAGGLIO OBLIQUE NOOOOOOO

–Nice to see Brennan Boesch struggling early, but not losing his mind at the plate. He stuck with it and it paid off as soon as the Tigers got into the Wrong Sox bullpen. I’m, like, all kinds of encouraged.

–In the stands was a gentleman wearing a giant Tigers jersey, with ALLEN 12 written in duct tape on the back. Rod and Mario could not contain themselves, they were reduced to hysterical laughter and squeaky speech. After he had mostly gotten his laughter under control, Rod said, quietly, “It’s the thought that counts.”

–Ryan LaMarre (Michigan) was taken 62nd overall by the Reds. Matthew Miller (Michigan) was taken 159th overall by the Brewers. Jonathan Roof (MSU) was taken 256th overall by the Rangers. Alan Oaks (Michigan) was taken 257th overall by the Marlins. Tyler Burgoon (Michigan) was taken 312th overall by the Mariners. Chris Berset (Michigan) was taken 607th overall by the Reds. Matthew Skirving (Eastern Michigan) was taken 897th overall by the Pirates. I believe that’s all the Michigan college guys so far.

–In the late rounds, the Tigers drafted Jim Leyland’s kid. He’s a catcher. The Wrong Sox drafted Ozzie Guillen’s kid. Poor Rick Knapp had a kid waiting to hear whether or not he had been drafted. There’s one more day of draftapalooza, hang in there, kid-Knapp!

From the Hastily and Sketchily Drawn Sketchbook: 5 Things RotT Would Like to See the Tigers Get Done Before the Season Starts

#1

Sign Justin Verlander to a long-term deal.

#2

Refrain from signing Johnny Damon to any kind of deal.

#3

Team lecture on responsible alcohol use and safety.

#4

The regrowth of Magglio’s flowing locks.

#5



Kidnap Curtis Granderson, return him to his proper home.

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.