Category Archives: Rod Allen

What we learn from the Rod Allen Drinking Game.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

There are times in our lives where we look back and realize that, in retrospect, what seemed simply a lot of Experience was, in fact, something of a different caliber. These moments, so full in their own time that we cannot even process them, upon long and careful reflection reveal themselves to us. This process cannot be rushed. Understanding comes on its own schedule. Knowledge resists force. But if one is patient, and open to the totality of the Experience, then that knowledge may eventually arrive, and with it, the possibility for true Enlightenment.

Long story short, my roommate and I played the Rod Allen Drinking Game.

We laughed, we cried (especially after my roommate took a champagne cork to the face), we hung on every word of Roderick Bernet Allen as he did his commentator thing up there in the booth. Here are the facts.

What were we drinking? A punch made of guava nectar, passionfruit juice, a smidgen of orange juice, Malibu rum and champagne. There were crazy straws and cocktail umbrellas, for purposes of festivity.

What did we count as a drink? A sip, counting seconds. The way the game is constructed, some Rod Allenisms are ‘worth’ up to 20 drinks. Most are in the 3-7 drinks range. If you treat this as full drinks, you will die. For a seven-drink Allenism, we would sip while counting to 7. This worked out well.

You are supposed to select a well-known FSD commercial which, when it appears during the broadcast, will require a certain number of drinks. Which commercial did we choose? We decided to go with the Ace Hardware Rod-Allen-vs-lawncare advertisement, on the grounds that it was the Most Rod Allen commercial available as an option.

What adjustments did we make? We added a few Rod Allenisms that seemed deserving of recognition, but somehow had not made the list. We gave one drink to “turn and burn,” two drinks to “better to be lucky than good” and “hitting shoes,” and an honorary drink for Mario Impemba completely losing his cool in the face of a Prince Fielder home run.

What did Rod Allen say/do? Rod referred to opposing players by nickname four times. He mentioned a sponsor six times. He said “big fella” only once. He mentioned talking to people before the game twice. Twice something was “filthy” and twice something was “tremendous”. He was wearing his black hipster glasses. He correctly answered the trivia question. Someone got a “steady diet” of some pitch, and there was a reference to “country strong”. He referenced his playing time in Japan, and said that a broken bat “died a hero” (both high-scoring utterances). There were other miscellaneous things scattered throughout.

Was there any ‘general silliness’? This category applies to both Rod and Mario and is not defined precisely; one must be a veteran of the Rod and Mario broadcast to properly play, because ‘general silliness’ can only be recognized reliably by the expert. Yes, there was general silliness– five instances of it, by my count.

What did Rod not say/do? Rod did not call Mario “pahdnuh” at any point during the broadcast. Nobody “flat out” did anything. He did not say “Cabby” once. There was no “oh no he didn’t” and nobody was instructed to “stop it”. There were no comments on the pleasing chunkiness of players’ bodies.

Most surprisingly… Rod did not see anybody in this game, i.e. the classic phrase, “I see you, [Tigers player]!” was not said once.

What did we learn? The Rod Allen Drinking Game materially improves the game-viewing experience. Perhaps especially now that I am in grad school, I miss more games than I would like, and when I am watching them, it’s often while I’m working on something else on the computer, or I’m listening while drawing in the studio. Do not mistake me, I am grateful that baseball is a game that allows for this, and it is an unavoidable necessity given my life at the moment, so it’s not as if this is going to change any time soon. But the point is that I often watch the game with half an eye and half a brain these days.

What the Rod Allen Drinking Game does is focus your attention. You have to pay extremely close attention to the broadcast, because every single thing that Rod Allen says could be a potential drinking event. As a result, you bring the full power of your entire conscious brain to bear on the Tigers game. The only times I have paid equal or greater attention to a game on TV is probably during the playoffs, or a developing no-hitter.

The reward system of the Rod Allen Drinking Game is divorced from the reward system of the baseball game– that is, it matters not if the Tigers are winning or losing, all you need to have a good time is Rod Allen being himself, which, necessarily, he generally is. This increases the possibility of any given game being a positive viewing experience.

Of course, you cannot play the Rod Allen Drinking Game for every game, in part because most of us don’t have the ability to dedicate that much attention to each game in the long MLB season, and in part because your liver would shrivel up and die a horrible death within your body cavity. But as a treat– say, a once-per-season treat– it is a glory and a wonder that might, just might show you a new way to love and appreciate our already (mostly) beloved Tigers.

What else did we learn? At one point near the end of the game there was a score crawl on the bottom of the screen, and the score for something called Real Zaragoza rolled by. I was not sure if I was hallucinating or not at that point, but it turns out this is a Spanish soccer team and is a real thing that exists in the world and is absolutely not a science fiction alien superhero.

How did we feel the next morning? All things considered it was not too bad. This may seem surprising, but we were also as responsible as one can be while playing the Rod Allen Drinking Game– we ate a lot of Chinese take-out, drank water continuously while playing, and planned it for a night when neither one of us had anything planned or anywhere we needed to be the following day.

What do we now think of Rod Allen, here on the other side of the Rod Allen Drinking Game? Rod Allen is a genius, a gentleman, a poet and an artist. We are lucky to have him and his weird phrases, his seeming love for the game and his job, his gigglefits, his predilection for the husky ballplayer, his ability to See. Haters gonna hate.

What of Mario Impemba? Mario is a mensch.

It should be noted that if one does not drink alcohol, for whatever reason, there are other ways to play the Rod Allen Drinking Game. You could try it with spoonfuls of Nutella, for instance, or, I don’t know, handfuls of cheese curls. The key is for it to be something you find delicious, but something that you know will possibly make you sick if you have too much of it too fast. This is where the fun lies in the Rod Allen Drinking Game– the fine line between toothsome pleasure and physiological danger.

Should you wish to attempt this for yourselves, good luck and Pawsspeed, brave Cats. Roar of the Tigers sees you all.

Happy ValenTigers Day!

drawings by Samara Pearlstein

Just a little Tigers affection for all you cats!

Eight Nights of Terrible Chanukah Cartoons 2011: Night 8!

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I think this is a fitting way to end this year’s holiday Tigers barrage. I hope everyone who was celebrating had a good one, and everyone else enjoyed the Terrible Cartoons anyways. Ah freilichen Chanukah, kids and kittens!

surfing lessons with the Tigers

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Or just one Tiger, really. You see, a couple of days ago, Rod Allen said this:

Well, you can understand what had to be done here. If there were photos of this momentous occasion it would obviously be better for everyone, but in the absence of such documentation, we will have to be content with a Terrible Cartoon.

Tigers drag in Leyland’s 1500th win with agonizing slowness, but there it is.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

It may not have been quick, it may not have been tidy, but it was a win. And that makes it Jim Leyland’s 1,500th win as a manager! Only Tony The Russa has more. This is something to be celebrated, preferably with a dedication to achieving the 1,501st win, the 1,502nd win, and so on.

–This win also puts the Tigers back at .500 with a 7-7 record. Weak yay!

–Someone had a vuvuzela at this game. Impossible to know if it was an Oakland or a Detroit fan, but whoever it was stuck around for the whole thing, because that sucker was buzzing away alllllll night long.

–Rod recognized some of Kenny Williams’ ‘lieutenants’ in the stands, scouting the Tigers. Look, nothing gets past Rod Allen, ok? He spies on the spies. He knows everyone, and he knows all. You aren’t going to pull any wool over our eyes so long as Rod Allen is on high watching, Wrong Sox.

–Extra innings in a game that started after 10:00pm for many of us are just… ugh. I appreciate the effort and all, but it’s almost 2:30am now because I forced myself to write this stupid blog and there were extra innings and, you know what, I blame Brian Fuentes. He seems responsible.

–Coco Crisp cut his ‘fro way back. I know it’s wicked difficult to maintain one as large as the puff he was sporting yesterday, but from a pure fashion standpoint, it’s disappointing. Anyways, this is what it USED to look like:

–The game felt so filled with struggles and angst and Not Hitting in the sixth that it was really remarkable that the score was only 1-0. It felt like the Tigers should have been down 10 by that point. Somehow, they weren’t. This failure on the part of the A’s to take advantage was what left the door open for the late feline rally, and turned a soul-crushing drag of a game into an unlikely Tiger win. If you let a not-awful team hang around for that long, they’ll make you pay for it eventually. Let this be a lesson to you all.

–Phil Coke was a wrestler in high school.

So when he challenged a Tigers reporter to a match during an early Spring Training appearance, he was being serious.

“I had a two-inning start and didn’t break a sweat,” Coke said. “I didn’t even get my adrenaline going. So I asked ‘Want to wrestle?’ He kept saying, ‘No, no, no.’ I said ‘There’s a soft sofa I can body slam you against.’ It wouldn’t have hurt at all.” Eymer

I… what?

–According to Rod, Al Alburquerque was so excited to be up that he got to the ballpark 6 hours early yesterday. Mario’s reaction: “What was he doing??” Good question. Rolling around on the grass, that’s my guess. It’s what I would do, anyways.

–He was wearing his socks up. YES. Also, when he came in, it was AlAl replacing FredFred, pitching to AlAv, which is the very thing we had all hoped for so much. There may or may not have been tears of joy in my eyes at the time.

–Rod: “Got that Mr. T starter kit on, I see!… That’s a big rope!”
Mario (laughing): “Did you just call it a rope?”
Rod (indignant): “That’s what they call it!”

They were talking about Alburquerque’s chain necklace. Although really it wasn’t all that big, he was just wearing it along with a beaded rosary, and the two together looked like one massive necklace at times.

–Brayan Villarreal’s hair looked extra soft and fluffy– dare I say snuggly?– in this one. I’m sure under the hat it looked like wet roadkill but the bit sticking out from the back was particularly nice tonight. I dunno. I wanted to pet it.

–At one point, after the game had gone to extras, they showed Miguel Cabrera sitting with Austin Jackson in the dugout. They were both kind of slouching on the bench, talking about something. Miggy says something that makes Austin laugh. They bump fists, bro-tastically. End scene. WITH LOVE.

–It was Jackie Robinson Day, so everyone was wearing 42. With no names on the uniforms and no identifying numbers, Jackie Robinson Day forces you to pay attention to and recognize the players themselves, by their faces, if you want to keep things straight. As an unintended consequence of the tribute it’s actually quite fitting.

Anyways, I drew a thing.

Could’ve used more reference… oh well. Deal.

–You know what’s the worst? I will tell you. It’s when the last thing you watch is a very late night FSD Tigers broadcast, where they play April in the D commercials at seemingly every single commercial break, so one of the last things you hear before trying to go to bed is the April in the D song. Yeah. You know where this is going.

The April in the D song gets stuck in your head when all you want to do is sleep. Sweet, sweet unconsciousness, I just want to slide headlong into you, but I cannot, because APRIL IN THE D APRIL IN THE D FOX SPORTS DEEEEE TROIT OH BLESSED PAWS SEVER MY BRAIN FROM MY SPINAL CORD AND END THIS AGONY

Brayan Villarreal goes shopping and other Terrible Cartoons

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

There were 3 good things that came out of the Monday game: Will Rhymes bat production, two scoreless innings from Brayan Villarreal, and the following story (as related by Rod Allen, naturally).

Villarreal was pitching, and Rod said (with no preamble) something about Villarreal needing a new suitcase. See, when they got to Baltimore, Rod realized that he had forgotten to pack his socks. Tragedy! But Rod Allen does not panic in the face of adversity. I guess there was some sort of clothing store either in the hotel or in the immediate area, because he took charge of the situation and ‘went down’ to get himself some emergency socks.

In this clothing store he saw Brayan Villarreal, who was being attended to by Jose Valverde and Enrique Gonzalez. They were buying Villarreal suits! Jackets and pants and things! I wasn’t taking notes so I forget Rod’s exact wording, but it was something like ‘getting the young man some nice threads so he’d look good on road trips’– you know, something along those lines. There was no indication that Rod interacted with them, so we are left to imagine him standing quietly off to the side, clutching his fresh socks, watching this tender team-building scene unfold with Olde English Tiger Pride tears in his eyes.

I know the whole Buy the Rookie a Suit or Two thing used to be big, but I didn’t realize it still was. In any event, I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT SO MUCH, and as soon as I heard this story I knew that it had to be a cartoon. THE WORLD NEEDED TO SEE.

Rod never did bring the story back around to the suitcase comment, but viewers who were paying attention could conclude that Villarreal would need that new suitcase to hold all of his new clothes.

Wait, I lied, one more good thing to come out of that game:

The sight of Will Rhymes and Derrek Lee standing on first base together. Lee is listed at 6’5. Rhymes is listed at 5’9 and may be shorter than that. It was a beautiful thing to behold.

Also, congrats to Jose Valverde and Mrs. Valverde for creating a baby! Jose Miguel Valverde (according to FSD) was born several weeks ago. There is already a daughter Valverde (Montserrat), so this is the first boy. Papa Grande has another Tater Tot.

So many Tigers are sick right now. It sounds like Verlander’s is food poisoning, but everyone else probably just has a stomach bug.

LEARN THE WAYS OF THE HAND SANITIZER, BOYS. I know germs fly around a big league clubhouse faster than a kindergarten classroom, and I know ‘professional baseball players’ and ‘impeccable personal hygiene’ don’t really go hand-in-hand, but seriously. Hand sanitizer. It’s your friend.

(Only the alcohol-based ones, though, not the ones with anti-bacterial chemicals in them. Those just contribute to superbugs.)

Really hope the rest of this series goes better. I do not enjoy being bothered by the Orioles.

Finally, you all know that I’m a Wolverine. But you may not know that the RotT little brother went to UConn, so when they aren’t playing Michigan or playing against Michigan’s interests, I root for the Huskies.

Aw yeah.

Tigers things that have been happening, in Terrible Cartoons.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Was anyone in the world surprised by the ‘news’ that Joel Zumaya and Carlos Guillen will not be with the team come Opening Day? Of course not. The only way this would have been surprising is if both of them were bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and sound in every limb. That would have been truly shocking.

Zoom has soreness in his elbow (the one that shattered so horri-memorably last season), Guillen has some sort of shenanigans surrounding his knee. They will rest, and maybe the inflammation will go down. At that point they will come off the DL, play a few games, and promptly get injured again. So It Is Written.

Let us remember that I already have an entire cat-egory for Carlos Guillen’s surgically repaired knee, and the only reason I don’t have one for Zoom is because there are too many body parts involved.

Will Rhymes has (at least temporarily) beaten out Danny Worth and Scott Sizemore for the starting job at second base.

This is a positive decision from a Roar of the Tigers viewpoint, so I can only hope the Tigers stick with it, and that Will Rhymes continues to wear his hair long. If he decided to start wearing his socks up too, that would pretty much make things perfect. Oh, also he should continue to hit the baseball in a useful manner. Really, though, this is a good thing. Danny Worth is freaking difficult to render in Terrible Cartoon form, and Scott Sizemore just always looks worried. Not when he’s wearing baseball jerseys that defy the mind and eyeballs, but at most other times: worried. WHAT DOES HE KNOW THAT WE DON’T?

Anyways, I feel safer with Will Rhymes. How can you mistrust the second base-defending skills of someone capable of remaining so calm when he’s about to get his face ripped off by a werewolf?

He is also obsessed with Chipotle burritos. OBSESSED. He can talk about them for a disturbingly long time.

Phil Coke is going to be the fifth starter whether we like it or not, but the Tigers don’t actually need five starters to begin the season. The way the schedule is staggered will let them get away with just four until they get to the weekend of the first home series. So that’s an extra 8 games where Coke gets to hang out in the bullpen with all the other relievers who thought they had gotten rid of him. NOPE.

I watched the Mets game that was on FSND the other day, and Phil Coke said some things during his interview.

–“I felt like I was throwing like a little girl there for a while.”

–On how he knew things were going well in some sort of simulated game situation thing: “[It was just] about hearing a lot of foul language from the guys, ’cause I was throwing a lot of heaters down the middle.”

–On starting the season in the bullpen: “I get to hang out with my boys, man!”

–On not being able to run in from the bullpen to psyche himself up for an appearance: “Coming in like a bull from a china shop.”

–On whether he considers himself a ‘personality’ in the bullpen: “Ah, you guys say that. People are gonna believe what y’all tell ’em.”
Rod Allen: “That’s right!”

–On what he’s going to do now that he’s out of the game for the day: “I’m gonna go kick up my feet, put my hands behind my head (demonstrating), put my feet up on the coffee table and go watch some boob tube.”
Rod Allen: “You got a real nice lifestyle!”

He also recently said the following, after a bad outing:

“It was weird,” Coke said. “It was one of those days. Very rarely does this ever happen to me: I could hear everything today.”

After the bat slipped out of the hands of Lance Berkman and into the Tigers’ dugout twice — once in the first inning and again in the fourth, when it struck infield coach Rafael Belliard in the arm — Coke admitted his concentration was affected.

“Once my focus was interrupted, I was garbage,” Coke said.
George Sipple/Detroit Free Press

Fifth starter, ladies and gentlecats: psyched out by crowd noise. I’m not saying this is necessarily going to be an issue during the season, but it is a thing that happened in real actual life. Panic at the level you deem appropriate.

You know how sometimes during a broadcast Rod will just start to lose it, and Mario will continue to doggedly attempt to call the game, but you can totally tell that he’s one wrong word away from cracking up himself, and also he knows Rod is being distracting and incredibly unhelpful but he can’t get mad because Mario just can’t stay mad at Rod? You know what I mean. Anyways, I always imagine it like this. Noogies.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAPA GRANDE! Jose Valverde turns 33 on March 24. Put on a pair of glasses, squat down, bug your eyes out as far as they will go, and scream at the top of your lungs to properly celebrate.

The end.

Gerald Laird is still crispy, and other such things.

image by Samara Pearlstein, sadly

–Every single time Rod Allen says, “Gerald Laird’s back is still crispy,” as he did today, the above is what happens in my mind. I can’t help it. I know that what Rod really means is something along the lines of ‘Gerald Laird has some persistent soreness and general pain in the muscles of his back,’ but he SAYS ‘Laird is crispy’, and I just can’t run that through my brain without turning Gerald Laird into some sort of fried food item first. Tell me you thought the same. Come on. SOME of you did.

–Thank cats for the last two games, even though one was a loss. I was starting to worry that the Tigers had forgotten how to finish a baseball game in 9 innings.

–Ryan Raburn was not in the lineup Sunday, apparently because he is sick. But if he was sick, why was he sitting in the dugout during the game, all getting his germy hands on everyone else, all breathing his sickly breath on people, getting his pestilential saliva all over the place, hmm? It’s bad enough that ballplayers never use a tissue when a shirtsleeve or bare hand will do, but this seems to be courting team-plague disaster. You wonder how a simple illness seems to rip through every other guy in a clubhouse? THIS IS HOW.

–They had Brad Thomas warming up very very early, before Armando Galarraga was even in a panickingly huge amount of trouble. I assume they would not have had him starting if he had pain in his arm, but why have Thomas up so early? Maybe Armando was feeling ill too and they had to be ready to send someone in if he started projectile vomiting or whatever.

–Mario was making a real effort, but Rod refused to even try to pronounce ‘Ka’aihue’.

–Miguel Cabrera is back and, yes, he went 0-for-4 tonight, but phew. PHEW. It’s just good to see him out there, hopefully not reinjuring himself.

–Max St. Pierre got his first big league hit! For justice! For perseverance! For CANADA!

–The Monday game (a day game, remember) will be Wrong Sox Edwin Jackson vs. Max Scherzer. I really hope St. Pierre is catching. It could be Maxwell throwing to Maxim, and that would be aces.

I agree, Rod. I agree.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Rod Allen said this about Miguel Cabrera today. I reckon it pretty much sums things up.

Opening Day is awesome when you win. Today was awesome.

Yeah. That’s a win. You’re catdamned right it is. Photo by Samara Pearlstein, emphasis by Miguel Cabrera.

I took notes. I know these posts are your favorites.

Opening Day 2010. Justin Verlander vs. Zack Greinke. The game and what happened in it.

–The Royals are wearing their powder blues. I am a big fan of the actual royal blue, but these are kinda nice. They should’ve gone with the full royal blue hats, though, not powder blue with royal brims. Kansas City boos Johnny Damon lustily. You’re not so bad, KC. I could grow to like you a little bit.

–Carlos Guillen pops one up over the infield, nobody calls it, Greinke throws his hands out as if to say I DON’T KNOW GUYS WHERE IS IT I JUST DON’T KNOW. Bloomquist makes a last-ditch dive for it, but misses. Magglio scores from second I think, making it 1-0 Tigers. These are the Royals I remember.

–The FSND Verlander scouting report: Workhorse. Repeat delivery. The Butler did it.
Mario: I can’t believe you used that.
Rod: I said it!
Mario: Especially to a Spartan…
Shortly thereafter Mario calls Billy Butler “one of Verlander’s nemeses”.

–Here comes Scott Sizemore with his yellow body armor batting gloves. Rod calls Greinke “The Truth”, caps verbally implied.

–Verlander is riding at 97-99 mph so far today. In the second inning, Jose Guillen singles up the middle. A couple guys later, Yuniesky Betancourt survives a long at-bat to blast a two-run homer. 2-1 Royals. Whhhyyyyyyy

–Damon booed again in his second at-bat. Mmmhm. In the bottom of the third, David DeJesus strikes out on a 98 mph fastball way outside, then hops around several times because he can’t believe he let himself be beaten so badly. Mmmmhmm.

–Rod Allen describes Willie Bloomquist’s knee surgeries as ‘orthoscopic’. He means ‘arthroscopic’, unless Bloomquist has eyes in his knees. Although, really, what do I know about the physical mutations of the Royals?

–Scott Sizemore has an excellent HURR DURR batting face. He kind of lets one side of his mouth hang open when he’s concentrating really hard up there. Pretty great. He breaks his bat; the barrel flies all the way out to third, skipping just past Bloomquist’s feet as he goes to field the ball. Bats these days, why I tellya, they oughta take action, action I tellsya.

–Saturday at Comerica will be a Year of the Tiger celebration! Oh man, if you are going to that game, you better live it the hell up. That sounds amazing. In other important promotions news: the only bobblehead giveaway so far seems to be the Justin Verlander K-counter bobbleheads on April 30, which somehow manage to look nothing like him. There is a ‘Paws foam tail’ giveaway on July 11 that sounds intriguing, but it’s only for kids. I’m a kid at heart, shouldn’t that count? I think so.

–Fifth inning, two outs. Chris Getz singles up the middle. DeJesus, up next, shows bunt but pulls it back. Laird catches the ball cleanly, but while trying to transfer it to his hand somehow throws the ball straight up into the air (??). While he’s waiting for it to come back down, Getz steals second base. Not kidding. I’m still not entirely sure what happened here.

–DeJesus singles. A few pitches later he steals second, making a TERRIBLE slide. He faceplants about a foot and a half away from the bag, losing his helmet and somehow bollocksing up the front of his belt. He lies there for a few seconds in shame, then picks his head up and starts laughing at himself. We would laugh with him, but Verlander walks Scott Podsednik to load the bases, and Billy Butler follows that up with a two-run single to make it 4-1 Royals. Verlander threw Butler only fastballs, including the last two pitches in the at-bat, which were both clocked at 100 mph by FSND’s gun.

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