Category Archives: photoblog

2009 in Amusingly Amateur Photo Review


all photos by Samara Pearlstein

It’s once again time for our annual Year in Amusingly Amateur Photo Review tradition here at Roar of the Tigers, where we look back at the few Tigers games the RotT camera attended in the past season. I know you have totally forgotten about it been waiting in desperate anticipation for this year’s post. No trips to Comerica this year, which is obviously tragic, but there’s still some good stuff upon which you can feast your bored, bored eyeballs.

April 17, Safeco, Justin Verlander vs. Felix Hernandez (6-3 Mariners)

This stupid game. Verlander was perfect (literally) through four, then had a visit from the Spazzosaurus in the 5th, where he gave up five runs. Then he settled down again. He threw 108 pitches in 7.1 innings, which wasn’t too bad, but was also massively inflated by that 5th inning. It was still early in the season, so we did not yet realize that this was going to be Verlander’s modus operandi for the year. SIGH.


Beautiful hairs… how we miss you so…


humping Brandon Inge


Love it. Except when it’s working against us.


We all felt like that after this one, Justin.

More shots from the game can be seen here.

April 18, Safeco, Edwin Jackson vs. Erik Bedard (2-0, Tigers)

Edwin Jackson was a catdamned hero in this one. He threw 7.2 innings of scoreless ball. As in the previous game, the Tigers barely put up any offense, but they managed to ~manufacture~ a couple of runs, and that was all they needed.


the hug-strangulation of Nate Robertson


Safeco is a pretty cool park, RotT recommended.


SeayLyon!


beautiful, beautiful Edwin

More shots from the game can be seen here.

August 1, Progressive, Rick Porcello vs. Jeremy Sowers (4-3, Tigers)

So much going on in this game. It was the first game after the Victor Martinez trade, and it just happened to be Victor Martinez bobblehead night, so that wonderful timing led to a LOT of depressed Racist Logo fans in the park. The guy Martinez had been traded for, Justin Masterson, made his Cleveland debut, alongside rookie Wyatt Toregas, who made his Major League debut and caught the game. FredFred pitched an amazing game– one run over 8 innings, under 100 pitches– but Fernando Rodney blew his first save of the season (fitting that I was there), sending the game into extras. The Tigers won after Jose Veras forgot where he was and balked in a run in the 12th.

Between the two teams, eleven pitchers were used in this one. Oh, and there was a pregame ceremony inducting Sandy Alomar Jr. into the Racist Logo Hall of Fame. Oh, AND it was Throwback Uni Day. Because, you know, there wasn’t enough going on here.


Hey, as a Red Sox fan, I was very happy to get a VMart bobblehead.


Slider gnawing on Bob Feller’s head.


Edwin Jackson and Justin Verlander, seat buddies 4eva.


Andy Van Slyke threw water onto Mustard as it ran by, for some private, disturbed reasons of his own.


Placido Polanco and Adam Everett, perfectly in stride. (insert single dramatic tear here)


Here’s my scorecard from the game, if you’re interested. Click to actually see, obviously.

More shots from the game can be seen here. Photo Review 09 continues after the KEEP READING link!
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Photo Contest results and winners!

Oh I know you are just about crying from excitement, ladies and gentlecats. THE FIRST EVER ROAR OF THE TIGERS PHOTO CONTEST OF INCOMPARABLE AWESOMENESS is over, and some of you have submitted images, and now everyone will look at them and know happiness.

Over here we don’t believe in things like ‘suspense’ and ‘holding the readers’ attention until the end’, so your FERotTPCoIA winner, receiving a copy of the 2010 Bill James Handbook, is:

Andrea (and Everett!), because they took LittleVerlander and photographed him in front of BigVerlander’s Real Actual No-Hitter Baseball at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Um, that is STRAIGHT UP AWESOME. And look at his little glove hand, he’s all gesturing at the baseball, all “Gaze upon my glorious enshrined history, friends, it is here for you to see!” Excellent use of the given cartoon form, simple yet delightful concept, excellent shot location. Plus they risked the potential public humiliation of waving LittleTigers around in Cooperstown.

They also submitted this photo, which features Brandon Inge being eaten by A REAL LIFE COUSIN OF THE SPAZZOSAURUS. Further adventures of Inge and Verlander are up right here.

The FERotTPCoIA runners-up, receiving prints of a RotT photo of the Porcello/Youkilis brawl, are:

Less! Because this is a recreation of Edouard Manet’s famous painting, WITH CARTOON TIGERS, and when I realized this I literally laughed out loud, helplessly wheezing, for like a solid minute. Wonderful, only slightly disturbed genius.

Heitk1le! This is “New Shortstop”, and it works particularly well because
a) the dog is in the correct shortstop position with regards to Inge,
b) the dog is really into that baseball, which is exactly what we want from a shortstop,
c) the dog could probably be signed for the major league minimum, which would strongly appeal to the Tigers,
d) the dog is just as blonde as Adam Everett, and
e) Inge is positioned, with the jazz hands, like he’s saying, SURPRISE! IT’S A DOGGIE!

A big round of paws-applause for the winners! Additional entries are below, for the lols of all.

PudgeforPrez gives us insight into the mind of a tiny Gerald Laird, about to be crushed by a giant baseball. She informs me that this baseball came from Tigers batting practice and was in fact touched by the hand of BigLaird himself.

Jennifer from Old English D bravely went to a Lions game, and shared the suffering with our old friend Placido. Let the record state that this was the game where the Lions beat the Browns, thereby proving something insane about cartoon Tigers and the rare state of Lions victory.

FrogMan has great taste in beer, but nooooo FredFred! You’re not old enough yet! Hold on for a couple more weeks! (Yes, kids and kittens, our little FredFred turns 21 on December 27. They grow up so fast, snff.)

Librarymonkey sends Brandon Inge to the skies, where of course he naturally dwells in his capacity as a high-flyin’ acrobatic third baseman.

Lisa sends along the intriguingly titled “Uncle Jim tells a story”. What happened here? She found a sculpture/statuette/thing in El Burrito Loco of Grand Rapids Township (where they were apparently very accommodating, and lightly amused), decided that it had a Jim Leylandish air about it, stuck a cigarette in its mouth, and draped it with cartoon Tigers. Fabulous.

Trammaker sent this with no explanation whatsoever, and I stared at it for a while before I finally got it. It’s FredFred with a BALL OF YARN. Because he’s a kitten. You guys are nuts and that is why I love you all.

Because I am, in the end, a ridiculous sap, I actually have something to mail out to everyone, so if you participated and would like your wee ‘prize’, email me your snail mail address. Winner and runners-up definitely do so. Thank you to everyone who participated in the First Ever Roar of the Tigers Photo Contest of Incomparable Awesomeness! It was, indeed, incomparably awesome.

Miguel Cabrera is an idiot manchild and that is why we love him

A photographic offday essay.

begging inge to throw baseballs at him

coolest dude on the team

glove soccer

boxing

nooooooo stay away noooooo

All this happened in a mere two days of baseball. All photos by Samara Pearlstein, blah blah, the usual.

The Brawl, revisited

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

So I said I would have things for you to look at after this weekend, and I am kind of slow, you know, this is a lot of material, but here it is. This can no longer be called “morning” by any stretch of the imagination but at least it’s still Monday.

You can click that drawing to look at it bigger, by the way, although I’m not real sure why you’d want to do so.

In addition to the inky reenactment up above, I have finished with the photos from this first game (still working on shots from the other two Tigs/Sox games I went to). There are kind of a lot of them. Highlights below! (and remember to click the “read more” link)

Typical Inge.

Clete and Miggy shoving one another. They were playing keep-away/soccer with one of Miggy’s gloves. The game ended when Miggy booted it into the dugout.

It wouldn’t be a true Dave Dombrowski sighting without a striped shirt being involved.

How ridiculously adorable is this team?

That adorable.

Lots of shenanigans from Cabrera and Inge.

Miggy reacting to getting hit on the hand, and commiserating with Youkilis at third shortly thereafter. Which is kind of hilarious, of course, because not too long after that:

(click to continue!)

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Tigers in Seattle, in photographic form!

Would you like to see a blog with photos from Tigers games that happened a couple of weeks ago? Actually I don’t know why I am asking, because you are getting them anyways!

I did promise, you know. I do this for you, readers! Also because I make a conscious effort to reject the instant-gratification nature of digital media in this blog in an attempt to make people think more deliberately about how they consume information online! Maybe also I was kinda busy.

We are looking at photos from the first two games of the Seattle series here. The Friday game was on April 17, it was the Justin Verlander/Felix Hernandez matchup that the Tigers ended up losing 6-3. Yeah. That one.

Serious Miguel Cabrera is serious.

This one will be hard to see unless you click through to view it at the much larger size, but what I have done is enlarged the inscription on Brandon Inge’s bat, and it reads, “Handcrafted for Brandon Inge THE ROCK 15“.

Ummmm WHAT. The company only makes custom bats so far as I can tell, so ‘The Rock’ is not a model name. It must be referring to either Brandon Inge’s specific bat, or to Brandon Inge himself. I demand an explanation, because the idea of Inge calling himself or his bat ‘The Rock’ is currently rendering me dead with hilarity.

Gerald Laird sees what you did there.

This following is particularly marvelous, in my humble bloggin’ opinion. The photos themselves are not spectacular or anything, but the Tiger interaction they represent is.

Inge and Cabrera were both (casually, not particularly attentively) taking infield BP. Inge had crouched down to wait for a ball to come his way. Cabrera decided to have a chortle at his expense…

…by humping him.

Inge was not, you know, thrilled when he realized what Cabrera was doing, and leapt up out of his crouch.

In retaliation he tried to pull Cabrera’s glove away from him so that he could, I don’t know, chuck it into the crowd or something.

But Cabrera is so much stronger that he was easily able to keep his glove out of Inge’s grasp.

It was all OK in the end, because everyone has a sense of humor. Happily.

More photos under the ‘read more’ link!

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Where in Seattle is Ugueth Urbina?

So much to say about the baseball I saw in Seattle. Verlander, PERFECT through four, then disaster! Edwin Jackson ascendant! The bullpen!(!!) Miguel Cabrera’s hardest-hit singles imaginable! Jim Leyland’s reactions to pregame ceremonies! So VERY many hundreds of actual baseball photos, to come, erm, eventually.

But first, this.

Where in Seattle is Ugueth Urbina? the continued photo journeys of a very special former Tiger.

Where is Ugie? We join our intrepid hero somewhere in the air between Boston and Seattle, on an Alaska Airlines plane. Did you know that Alaska Airlines gives you a psalm with your food? Yeah. ‘Cause they do. And Ugie is all over that.

His first stop is the Seattle Aquarium! Delicious fishes! Not pictured: Dave Dombrowski out for a morning jog as we walked from our hotel to the Aquarium at 9:30 in the morning, surprising the hell out of me and Ugie both. Pictured: Ugie and a blue tang.

Stop menacing that river otter, Ugie! It will fight back using its powers of Adorableness, and that’s the type of fight that can get MEAN.

Next he heads to the Pike Place Market, in search of fresh local produce to fuel his rages.

Click the ‘read more’ link to continue!

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let's talk Tigers Photo Day

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Photo Day! Not Roster Photo Day, those are the standardized shots that end up on MLB websites; Photo Day is when the team brings in a photographer to do proper studio portraits of the players. Sometimes they’re pretty straightforward, sometimes they are artsy and deranged. This spring, as it happens, the Red Sox and Tigers had the same photographer, and he used the same general concept for both teams.

It’s… um, interesting. Since RotT is ALL about the art and the photography, I reckon we’re gonna need to talk about it.

You can see the Tigers shots over here. They’re by a Getty Images photographer named Nick Laham. The first image that comes up on his personal site, at the moment, is Fernando Rodney, which in and of itself is good for a hearty chortle or several. If you poke around his site, or search for him on Getty, you’ll see that he has a lot of really nice work, so it’s obviously not like he doesn’t know how to handle studio lights or whatever.

I also feel obligated to point out that he’s responsible for this wholly amazing Braylon Edwards photoshoot (start there and click to the right), which is just… yes.

Ahem. Anyways. The Tigers photos! There are a few things going on.

First off, I’m not sure exactly what lens he’s using, but whatever it is, he’s shooting it WIDE open (my initial guess would be some sort of 50mm f/1.4 lens, but that’s probably my own bias talking– I love that lens like burning). The result is a wicked shallow depth of field.

What does that mean?

Check out this terrifying image of Miguel Cabrera. Ignore the horror of the chin pubes, if you’re able, because the only person we can blame those on is Miguel himself. Do you see how Miggy’s eyes are in sharp focus, but his nose is blurry, and his face falls off into blurriness as it recedes backwards from his eyes?

Imagine that Miggy’s face is divided up into vertical slices or planes. Some of them, like the slice containing the tip of his nose, are closer to the camera lens, and some of them, like the slice containing his ears, are farther away from the lens. A shallow depth of field means that only a very narrow group of slices are going to be in focus, and everything in front of and behind them will be out of focus to some degree– the farther away something is from the in-focus slice, the blurrier it will be.

A camera takes photos through a little opening in the lens. A photographer controls the size of this opening (aperture), making it bigger or smaller. A relatively big aperture (the lens ‘wide open’– at 1.4 or 2.8, for instance) will result in a shallow depth of field, while a relatively tiny aperture (the lens at 8 or 11, for instance– yes, it’s backwards, don’t ask) will have a deep depth of field, where foreground, mid-ground, and background will mostly be in focus together.

Shallow depth of field. See how blurry the background gets?

Broader depth of field. See how the foreground, mid-ground, and background are all mostly in focus?

Miggy’s eyes, eyebrows, the tops of his cheeks, and some of his (ugh) chin pubes are all on more or less the same plane, so they’re in focus. This isn’t actually bad– you’re usually ‘supposed’ to have your sharpest focus on the eyes, if you’re shooting a portrait, and that’s clearly happening here. But my personal preference, at least, is to try to avoid a big blur in the middle of the face. Mr. Laham did it with the high key shots (see how Miggy’s nose is blurry, but less blurry than before, and more of his face is in focus? I’d guess that the aperture isn’t quite as wide open, which means more depth of field– more slices are in focus at the same time), so you KNOW not doing it with the blue background shots was a deliberate choice. Harumph.

The other main issue here is the lighting. It’s not one of the standard portrait lighting set-ups, which is FINE– I went to art school, yanno, I LIKE when things are weird and different and ~*~edgy~*~. But this… this is something that was probably better as a concept than photographic reality.

Let’s use this shot of Granderson as an example, because it takes a special sort of WTF to make Curtis Granderson look less than perfect. You can see the depth of field shenanigans clearly here too, but ignore that and look at the lighting on Curtis’ face.

The main light sources are off to the sides, kinda angled in– you can actually see them reflected in Curtis’ eyes. Now, I don’t know if this rig consists of two lights, or a light and a reflector, or how many fill lights there are, or whatever, but the result is that every Tiger, to a greater or lesser degree, has a shadow line down the center of his face. It sounds like a cool concept, EXCEPT FOR THE PART WHERE IT MAKES THEM ALL LOOK CROSS-EYED.

You can see more examples of this problem in the Red Sox photo day shots, which, as noted above, were done by the same guy, with the same (or a very similar) lighting set-up. I said this elsewhere, but poor Michael Bowden barely even looks human, and Rocco Baldelli’s photo almost makes ME go cross-eyed in sympathy.

What’s going on?

This sort of side lighting doesn’t just draw a pretty shadow down the line of the nose: it also creates shadows on the inside halves of the eye sockets. You darken someone’s eyes where they’re close to the nose, and that person is going to look insane and cross-eyed. It’s that simple.

Since there’s plenty of evidence that Mr. Laham knows how to light a face so that this DOESN’T happen, I can only assume that it was intentional. So….

Roar of the Tigers at Spring Training

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Well, Orioles Spring Training. But there were a couple things that may be of mild interest to Tigers fans, and I thought I’d share with you lot. Totally not forcing this one at all. Nope. Not a bit of it.

(clicking these takes you to their respective Flickr pages, where you can see them more clearly)

Yes, it is our old chum Jamie Walker, representin’ in the spring with a pretty awful mustache. I still have a soft spot for Jamie, because he was mostly quite good with Detroit, and he was always armed with a glorious and occasionally hick-tastic quote or two, and he always seemed to genuinely want to play in Detroit, which is something you certainly cannot say about everyone.

Did you know that in 2006, his last season with the Tigers, Jamie Walker’s WHIP was 1.146? That is better than EVERY SINGLE TIGERS PITCHER in 2008, with the exception of Freddy Garcia, who only pitched in three games. Ah, memories.

Why, it’s 2002 Detroit Tigers first round pick Scott Moore! We ended up trading him to the Cubs in ’05 as part of the Farnsworth deal, and he’s bounced around in a desultory sort of way ever since, but, you know, there he is.

Pay no mind to that fellow in the front– the dude in the middle, fully facing the camera, is former Cub Rich Hill, or perhaps I should say: RICH HILL, MICHIGAN WOLVERINE. Is this related to the Tigers? Not really. Is this awesome? Yes.

Matt Wieters is a 6’5 switch-hitting catcher who will be 23 years old in May and hit .355/.454/.600 at a combination of high-A and double-A last season, after having kicked all kinds of butts at Georgia Tech. I have an insane baseball-fan-lust for his skill-set and hereby declare that he should be traded to the Tigers immediately. For Great Justice.

The rest of the photos from my (sadly all too brief) Spring Training excursion can be seen here. There is rather a lot of orange– which, as we all know, is a fine color for a baseball team to use.

It is also perhaps worth mentioning that Placido Polanco will not be playing in the World Baseball Classic after all. Of course this means that at least one of our worries has been somewhat alleviated.

2008 in Amusingly Amateur Photo Review

photo by Samara Pearlstein

As we limp towards the New Year (especially those of us who are also Lions fans), it is time to indulge in an annual tradition here at RotT: the Amusingly Amateur Photo Review, where we review the few scattered Tigers games I attended this past season, camera clutched in my stripey little paws.

Feeling nostalgic for a time that was not filled with vomitry and oblique injuries? Check out photos from 2006 and 2007.

April 25, Comerica, Ervin Santana vs. Nate Robertson (4-3, Angels)

I don’t have too many photos from this game because we were sitting way high up. It was a fairly fast game except for the 4th inning, when Nate experienced some sort of existential crisis and gave up four runs. He pitched three scoreless innings before that and three scoreless innings after, so the rest of his season remained as-yet unpredictable. O how foolish we were in our gentle optimism.

If you click this one to look at it a little larger, you will see that one of the tigers appears to be eating the sun. BALLPARK NOMS.

Yeah, that’s one row away from the top of the section. I am basically just trusting everyone else when they tell me Nate pitched this game; I know he was supposed to, but from up there I just had to take their word for it.

Many Tigers fans at the bar after the game. The joys of the Detroit nightlife!

A few more shots from this one can be seen here.

May 5, Comerica, Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Jeremy Bonderman (6-3 Red Sox)

Poor Bondo. He made it out of the first inning OK, but slowly fell to bits after that. His medical problems were discovered in early June, so he was almost certainly feeling the effects already. Dice K walked a ton of Tigers but STRANDED was the word of the day, and the Tigs did not have any extra base hits. ZERO. For added lulz, Edgar made two errors. It can only go up at shortstop in ’09, right? Right?

Chocolate tiger! This, plus of course the view, is really the highlight of luxury box seating for me, ’cause, you know: IT’S A TIGER WHAT.

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a delicious morsel of Tiger adorability to tide you over


photo by Emily Smith

I was just catching up on some of my Flickr contacts, found this ABSURDLY CUTE series of photos by awesome baseball photog Emily Smith, and thought I’d share ’em with you lot. What you’re looking at is Jaden, Gary Sheffield’s kid, signing autographs for Tigers fans.

I love how intent he is, how solemnly dedicated to signing balls and gloves for the fans. I love that there are fans out there now with stuff signed by Gary Sheffield’s kid. And really, just look at how serious he is with his little Sharpie AND HIS LITTLE PENCILS WITH THE BASEBALL ERASERS OMG.

If that is not the cutest thing you’ve seen all day, you must have a pile of wee kittens at home.

Anyways. If you haven’t yet seen yesterday’s important notice please take a look at that, and comics are still in process. I just figured you guys had to see these, because the postseason can be a sorrowful time when your team is not in it, but awwwwwwww mini-Sheff!