Category Archives: Joaquin Benoit

All Star Tigers and other cartoons.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Your 2013 All Star Tigers starters: Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Miguel Cabrera. Let’s talk about this trio, just all the sexy baseball-playin’ ability a person can imagine inside their brain and outside their brain in the statistic-gathering websites. And by ‘let’s talk about’ this I mean ‘well uh you can look at that picture which also you can click for bigger.’ Why are they standing in a star-shaped light-filled pit? Because ALL STAR GAME. Let us be clear: if I had access to these three, and also had access to a star-shaped light-filled pit, and Sports Illustrated was asking me to do an All Star Game photoshoot, this is totally the photoshoot that I would do. Sadly for you, me, and the universe, this will never come to pass, so it shall remain a scenario that can only exist in drawn form.

You know what is even more exciting than the fact that the Tigers have 3 starters in the All Star Game? You probably already do know because I am making this post pretty late in the game, but it is the fact that the Tigers actually have SIX players in the All Star Game. SIX.

Jhonny Peralta, Torii Hunter, and Prince Fielder: ladies and gentlecats, your reserves, which can also be clicked for bigger:

Why are they riding star-shaped flying surf boards? BECAUSE ALL STAR GAME.

Now I just have an assortment of cartoons sitting around, because due to External Circumstances it has taken me forever to scan and color things. I could try to integrate them gracefully into this post but like the SI photoshoot it is just not going to happen. We will all have our disappointments on this day.

That thing happened where the Tigers gave Toronto a very special present on Canada Day, because Paws is nothing if not a charitable cat. Look, foreign policy is touchy for the United States on many fronts nowadays; it was important for the Tigers to do their bit for international relations.

Hey remember that time when Jose Valverde was lol ok nope me neither nevermind.

Max Scherzer is 13-0, amazing the greater baseball community and possibly also Max himself. Obviously he has been gazing at things with the blue eye, as we all know that is how that works.

“Spotlight on Drew Smyly.”

Is Victor Martinez finally pulling up his woeful very low no good BABIP? Statistics says: at some point, almost certainly!

In Matt Tuiasosopo do we have the new Magglio Ordonez? No. But in terms of hair… still no, but he may well be the closest thing we’ve got right now, and that deserves remark. More than that: it deserves commendation. The time of Magglio’s hair was a magical time for us as Tigers fans and as human beings. If even a fraction of that former glory can be recaptured, we will owe Mr. Tuiasosopo a shampoo of thanks.

I can’t help it. Joaquin Benoit is up for the Final Man Vote for the All Star Game, which he will inevitably lose because a Yankee and a Red Sock are also in the running, but in any event the Tigers have been using the hashtag #BackBenoit on the Twitters to try to drum up a voting campaign for him, or something. Every time I see it, this is what I think.

Back that thang up, Joaquin. Go Tigers.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

If you watched that entire game and survived the experience, congratulations. You have been through your Trial by Fire, or more precisely Trial by TBS, and you have emerged all the stronger for it. Unless you’re viciously hung over today, that is, in which case you have let TBS win. I’m sorry.

It was as if that game was specially tailored to torment everyone watching it. You want a quickly resolved, emotionally easy Game 5? NOPE. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. You want clean plays and pleasingly paced innings? NOPE. NONE FOR YOU. You get instead AGONY and the fine sensation of YOUR HEART TRYING TO ESCAPE YOUR CHEST CAVITY VIA YOUR MOUTH and TENSENESS AS YET UNKNOWN TO MODERN-DAY ENGINEERING and any number of other things carefully constructed to raise your blood pressure, induce the emergence of bile, and melt key portions of your brain so that it subsequently leaks out of your ears and possibly eyeballs.

Good times!

It seemed like none of this was going to be the case at the very start, because Don freaking Kelly and Delmon Young hit back-to-back homers early to put the Tigers up on Ivan Nova. It was basically magical and full of wonder, like so:

Nova was out of the game after two innings. Hooray, one would think! But the Yankees REALLY wanted this one, and managed their pitchers accordingly. They didn’t want to give Nova any room to deepen the sinkhole, so we were treated to the spectacle of, at various points, both Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia in relief. Le eek.

Doug Fister only went 5 innings, but he also only gave up one run, so compared to the Yankee starter he was positively masterful. Like so:

Not one to be outdone in Taking This Game Seriouslyness, Jim Leyland had Max Scherzer come on in relief of Mister Fister. Although he was technically responsible for the second Yankee run (the first was a Cano homer off Fister), his only real contribution was a Derek Jeter single. Unpleasant, certainly, but not unforgivable… except for the fact that this single prompted Scherzer’s removal from the game, to be replaced by Joaquin Benoit.

When he came out to the mound, Benoit had a large band-aid on the side of his face. The band-aid, like most (especially at that size), was peach-colored. Joe Girardi came out and demanded that he remove said bandage, because it was “distracting”. Quote:

“I’m not trying to play a mind game or anything, but it was a pretty big Band-Aid and it was somewhat distracting, I think, it’s hard not to look at,” Girardi said. “I’m sure he had a legitimate reason, and it’s not something I necessarily wanted to do, but to me it would have been distracting.”
NY Daily News


Ahem. Anyways.

Benoit loaded the bases and walked in a run and generally turned the 7th inning into the sort of baseball that ought to come with warning labels for those of delicate dispositions or preexisting conditions. BUT IT WAS OK. He pulled through, more or less, and then Valverde pulled through, more or less, and the Tigers won the catdamned baseball game in front of ARod and Spike Lee’s terrible hat and Little Victor and John Smoltz and the world and everybody.

Here. We. Go.

Happy Valentine’s/Spring Training Day!

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Welcome, new cats! We are ready and waiting to shower you with love! All you have to do is play the game of baseball reasonably well and not get injured or arrested. I feel like this should not be too much to ask, but since so many cats of our recent past have had issues with these seemingly simple restrictions, let me lay it out for you, as a roadmap to our hearts. It’s all in the spirit of the holiday!

Victor Martinez: You have possibly the easiest task of the three, because we have been carefully training our expectations for the catcher’s position downwards for the last few seasons. We’re horribly used to saying things like, “Oh, any offensive production out of this spot is a bonus, we’re really just in it for the defense. That’s what’s important. The rest of the lineup should produce enough to make this lineup hole a non-factor!” Has it ever worked out like that? Not really. We kept saying it, though, because that is how we keep from crying.

Last year you batted .302 and OPS’d .844. We haven’t seen catcher production like that since Pudge… actually, we haven’t seen a catcher OPS like that since the 2004 version of Pudge. Just remember that Alex Avila is your little buddy and if you feel like bending over to pick something up might hurt your knees or back, make him do it for you. He has a young body and a beard of great health. Don’t be mean to the pitchers and don’t develop a taste for firing balls randomly into the outfield, and I think we will be great friends.

An additional suggestion: don’t go to any Phoenix Suns games. And if you absolutely MUST go to a Phoenix Suns game, don’t bring your grandpa.

Joaquin Benoit: I know that you’ve only ever called obscenely hot places or domes home, and Detroit is most definitely neither one of those things, but it will be OK. Invest in some handwarmers, and maybe a headsock or giant furry hat to wear in the bullpen. It seems impossible to imagine with all the snow on the ground right now, but soon enough it will be too hot for normal people again and we will all be complaining about it.

Perhaps you could form some sort of elaborate ritual with Papa Grande? This would help you become a full member of the bullpen community. Remember that you are setting up, not closing, so don’t feel like you have to put too much pressure on yourself and get injured. Keep your head down and your strikeouts up and maybe learn a few Australian slang words.

Your eyebrows are really something, and your goatee growth always seems robust. With Phil Coke out of the bullpen, you may have to pick up some of the slack in the tonsorial department. How do you feel about mohawks?

Brad Penny: I saw you in Boston, buddy. You can’t hide from me. I know what you’ve done and you are ON NOTICE in the American League. I know we have that big scary thing called THE DH over here, and I know we’re lacking in the soothing lineup presence of a pitcher’s bat. You’re just going to have to deal with it, and you’re going to have to deal with it in a way that does not make us think of Edgar Renteria. You probably don’t have as convincingly wibbly a sadface as Edgah did, but trust me. We will know.

That said… again, expectations are not high. We don’t need you to be Justin Verlander. We don’t even need you to be FredFred or Max Scherzer, and we don’t expect you to be; FredFred is like a fetus compared to you, with a correspondingly fetus-fresh arm, and you don’t have Scherzer’s magical eyes. We just need you to be better than the ghost of Nate Robertson (last seen heading east with a 5.00+ ERA) and more consistent than Dontrelle Willis. Quite frankly, this should not be difficult. Paws is more consistent on the mound than Dontrelle Willis and they don’t even let him pitch.

You do wear the high socks, and this is a positive. Don’t ever change that. We’re counting on it.

We are ready to love you, Brad Penny. We are all standing here, gazing at you hopefully with giant melty kitten eyes. When it comes to the back end of the rotation, things have been hard for us, and our little hearts have been much abused. Honestly, our number five guy right now is Phil Coke. We are scared. We want to give you our hearts. Please don’t stomp on them.

Now let the spring commence and the love blossom in the shining Lakeland sun! Which does not shine on me, but whatever. I can imagine it. With love.

so I guess we have Joaquin Benoit now

image by Samara Pearlstein

So yeah, that happened, the signing of Joaquin Benoit.

He’s a reliever. He should be a bridge to Papa Grande, and maybe occasionally a fill-in if the Potato cannot go for some reason (overuse, injury, stretch of suckitude, etc). Fine. He was a Ranger for a million years up until last season, when he was a Ray. He had really good numbers last year, but he missed all of 2009 while he recovered from rotator cuff surgery. He usually sports a distinctive goatee. He will turn 34 halfway through the 2011 season.


The Tigers have signed him to a 3-year, $16.5 million contract. Allegedly. It’s not quite official yet, but it probably will be. Maybe. Assuming his shoulder is really as healthy as it should be post-surgery.

Maybe you are thinking that this sounds like a very large contract to hand out to some dude who isn’t even supposed to be the closer if things go well. It’s ok to think that. I am thinking it too. In fact everyone is probably thinking it, because

Benoit’s reported contract is believed to be the longest Dombrowski has ever signed for a reliever, and reportedly the largest given to any non-closing reliever since Scott Linebrink signed a four-year, $19 million deal with the White Sox three years ago.
Jason Beck/

Eeek? I guess this is what it took to get things done in a market where everyone and their pet pitching coach is drooling after relief pitchers who aren’t filled with awfulness. Mr. Benoit’s 1.34 ERA and 0.680 WHIP are definitely not drenched in awful, so that meant he was going to be pricey. I guess.

This cat will be 36/37 at the end of his contract and his shoulder has already reduced itself to ground beef once. I don’t really like to see the Tigers saddling themselves with long, heavy, awkward contracts for aging/already-elderly players right when they were starting to shed such things. But if this ends up working and Benoit has a great 2011 and helps the Tigers win the PENNANT, I won’t complain. Much.