Category Archives: Sheffield

there is a new Gary Sheffield-shaped hole in our lives

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Well! THIS was unexpected. Just a week away from the start of the season, the Tigers have released Gary Sheffield.

It’s not like we had some perfect spot in the lineup for Sheff. He can’t really play the field anymore (no matter how much he likes to think that he can), and there are approximately seventy squillion other Tigers who can (and, in some cases, SHOULD) DH. But I think that a lot of us had pretty much resigned ourselves to at least most of a season of Gary Sheffield wallowing in the lineup, preventing other oldsters from giving their withered limbs a rest, flailing away to get that 500th home run, getting into vaguely passive aggressive media quote fights with Jim Leyland, saying hilariously inflammatory things about steroids. Such was to be our lot in life!

But now the Tigers have released him. I must admit that I am wicked surprised. Since when have the Tigers been willing to cut away veteran dead weight when they still owe that poundage a lot of money?

Sheff is just as surprised as I am:

Sheffield, who has 499 career home runs and is on the verge of becoming just the 25th player in history to record 500, said that he was surprised by the move and that he didn’t consider it a possibility.

“I never really thought about it, to be honest with you,” Sheffield said. article

Basically, the Tigers have chosen Marcus Thames over Gary Sheffield. Which makes sense when you consider the fact that Gary Sheffield is older than dinosaurs and The River Thames, while no spring chicken himself, is not, but again: surprising. Since when have the Tigers ever decisively chosen Thames over anyone? As recently as, like, yesterday there was talk of trying to trade Thames away.

I also have to admit that I’m a little uncomfortable with the timing of this move. I’m going to assume that the Tigers had to wait until now to pull the trigger on Sheff, for whatever reason (maybe they needed an extended look at him in camp, or something), but Sheff now only has a week to go through waivers and try to sign with someone else if he wants to be on someone’s roster come Opening Day. I mean, I’m not unhappy about the removal of the Gary Sheffield Experience from the Detroit roster, but I’m not particularly fond of the possibility of screwing him over by holding onto him all spring and releasing him right before the season starts.


Also: oh NOOOOO, we may never find out how this story ends! Will he ever get to exact his revenge? How long is his memory? Now we may never know. Sadface.

On a positive note, the move does bring us this truly glorious snippet of reporting genius from Jason Beck:

The move caught teammates by shock. As Sheffield talked with reporters, he shook hands with Cabrera when he arrived at the locker next to him.

“I’ll see you,” Sheffield said.

“Where are you going,” Cabrera asked.

“I got released,” Sheffield answered.

Cabrera’s jaw dropped. article


ETA: A couple more AMAZING quotes, via FOXSports (commenter Paul M alerted me to them, so that all may know of the lulz):

Leyland, the Tigers manager, said he had a hard time sleeping Monday night, knowing he was going to release a future Hall of Famer.

“I lit two Marlboros at the same time,” Leyland said. “I couldn’t sleep. But I feel better that it’s over with than I did at 3 in the morning.” article

Jim Leyland, you are everything we imagine you to be and more!

I literally laughed out loud at this one:

“Jim (Leyland) said, ‘We’re going to go with versatility.’ When he said that word I thought to myself, ‘I’m probably the most athletic guy on this team.’ But they’re entitled to their opinion,” Sheffield said. article

I’m probably the most athletic guy on this team.

I’m probably the most athletic guy on this team.

Ha ha ha hahahahahahahaha ohhhhhh man. Oh, Gary. Hee. Thank you for that one last hearty guffaw.

Tigers vs. Spring

I feel like I draw kind of a lot of Gary Sheffield cartoons. This one, naturally, is because our BFF Sheff took a batting practice ball off of his elbow and I guess that he did not have his regular season armor plating on or something, because it actually hurt him.

Things do not sound too dire, though. He should be back wagging his bat and stiffly lumbering around the bases soon enough, and it’s kind of nice to get this out of the way early– you thought Gary Sheffield was going to be uninjured this season? Ha! Think again, fool.

The latest minor ouch involves Jeremy Bonderman, who was supposed to start on Saturday but will now pitch a simulated game instead due to concerns about shoulder stiffness. As with Sheff, it does not sound like things are too horrific, and Bondo was allegedly annoyed that he was being held out of the ‘real’ game (of course, given his history, I am not thrillingly convinced of Bondo’s ability to correctly gauge his own level of Hurt, but, you know, whatever).

Thus far the Tigers have been relatively lucky and have not suffered horrific injuries and losses in what are basically meaningless games and practices. Let us hope that the trend continues.

(And do you think we should start worrying about Miggy, Armando, Curtis, Maggs, Carlos, and Ni now, or should we wait until the WBC actually starts? I wouldn’t want to keep them from getting their proper amount of nail-biting by not starting early enough.)

A-Rod's tearful confession, blah blah blah

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

So I suppose we all know by now that Alex Rodriguez has admitted to using steroids. Paws knows there’s nothing much going on in the Big Cat World right now, so we may as well talk about it.

A few things stood out in this whole glorious, glorious mess. First of all, A-Rod claims he had no idea what he was taking, blaming youth and naiveté and baseball’s acceptance of Mr. Met’s giant steroid-enhanced head for his unquestioning use of whatever he was given. A-Rod was 25 when he got to Texas (which is when he claims his steroid use began) and had already been in the big leagues for 7 years (five full years). Naive? OK…

He also never says where he got it, even though Peter Gammons specifically asks. This is despite the fact that according to reports he tested positive for testosterone and Primobolan, the latter being an anabolic steroid that is illegal in the US. Not questioning something your doctor or team trainer gives you, that I can understand, but the likelihood of A-Rod getting this stuff from a doctor or team trainer is pretty low, as it can’t be prescribed in the US. I reckon that he evaded this question (the only one, I think, that he straight-up sidestepped) for one of two reasons:

–to avoid implicating someone else… perhaps another player? We’ve seen how popular that sort of thing made Canseco,


–to avoid shedding light on the obviously illegal channels through which he acquired the stuff, which would make it clear that he knew at the time that what he was doing was wrong. This is something that he has basically denied; he repeats over and over that he was stupid, that he was negligent, but the implication is still that, at the time, he thought whatever he was taking was on some level delicious chemical rightness. This is reinforced by his repeated mentions of GNC and the fact that there are things players could get there that would show up on a drug test. Prior to serious steroid testing in MLB, there are few players who would have mistrusted something they bought at a mainstream store like GNC. THAT is perhaps naive. It’s hard to claim naiveté when you’re getting stuff through some plainly illegal route.

Primobolan is not something that A-Rod could have purchased at GNC. I guess my point here is that some people are going to applaud A-Rod for “coming clean” about his steroid use. Even if you set aside his point-blank lie in his 2007 interview with Katie Couric (“Have you ever used a steroid or performance enhancing substance?” “No.” Wah wahhhhh), the fact is that he’s not coming completely clean even now. He saw what happened to Roger Clemens; he (and Scott Boras) knew that he had to admit that he used at the very least. This isn’t really something to commend.

Now, as Tigers fans, what do we care? We already know that having a steroid user on the team doesn’t much affect our day-to-day fandom. I don’t think there’s anyone still delusional enough to believe that Gary Sheffield didn’t use some sort of PED (with the possible exception of Gary Sheffield himself), but if the Tigers needed a big hit and Sheff was at the plate, fans rooted for him, no question.

And, of course, we’ve had plenty of time to recover from the pain of the Nook Logan steroid use revelations– although o! how deeply did they wound us!!

Here’s the thing. One of the things? Here’s A Thing. The positive that snagged A-Rod was one of 104 positive results in a supposedly anonymous 2003 test. Now, despite everything I said above, and despite the fact that I’m not an A-Rod fan for a variety of other, mostly shameless Red Soxian reasons, I do think it’s pure coprolites that his name came out here.

If the test was anonymous it should have friggin’ stayed anonymous. How on earth are they going to get players to submit to anonymous testing for anything else if they know there’s a chance it won’t truly be anonymous at some point down the unethical Road of Ha Ha, Got You Now?

And if names are, for whatever reason, going to come out, it is COMPLETELY unfair that A-Rod’s is the only one we’re hearing. There are 104 players involved here. Maybe none of the others are big, Madonna-humpin’ names. Maybe they’re 103 Fernando Vinas. Maybe some of them tested positive for substances that DID come from places like GNC, substances that were more ambiguous in legality at the time.

I know, I know. On some level, a lot of us don’t even really care anymore. We can recognize that there’s unfairness on all sides: acceptable supplement guidelines are not clearly explained to the players (especially the non-English-speaking players), anonymous testing is anonymous in name only, the development of new undetectable PEDs continues to outpace MLB’s ability to test for them, players are apologetic about cheating only when they’re caught, and on and on and on. And, like I said, on an everyday, ‘this dude is playing for the team I desperately want to win because I am a rabid fan’ level, it’s hard to give a rat’s pelvis.

Still. Just imagine your favorite Tiger in A-Rod’s position. Not the greatest feeling, is it?

I have rambled far afield (as is my wont). Tigers fans, and indeed all baseball fans, should care at least a little bit about A-Rod– and Clemens, and Pettitte, and Giambi, and McGwire, and Sheffield, and Brian Roberts, and Rafael Palmeiro, and Alex Sánchez, and Barry Bonds, and Nook friggin’ Logan. Why? Because if we don’t care, that’s just one more reason for these guys to keep on being naive. They’re going to carry on with the boo hoo hoo stupidity.

The prospect of Trial by Court of Public Opinion isn’t going to stop a player who’s determined to cheat his balls off (literally). But if we deride the snot out of guys like A-Rod, maybe, just maybe, somewhere down the line a couple of players will start thinking twice before slathering themselves with sketchily-obtained creams.

Gary Sheffield hungers for delicious revenge

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

This time Sheff is gunning for uberagent Scott Boras, and Boras is gunning for Sheff right back. There are some people who would view this as two trains full of rabid opossums racing towards one another at full speed on the same track.

Because of all the website shenanigans I’m a bit late getting to this story, so I assume you guys already know the general plot, but just in case you don’t:

Boras represented Sheffield at the time of his January 2002 trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Atlanta Braves. Sheffield was due $9.5 million in 2002 and $11 million in 2003 in the final two guaranteed seasons of the $61 million, six-year extension he originally had signed with Florida in April 1997, and Boras negotiated the elimination of an $11 million option for 2004.
Associated Press story via ESPN

So the Braves had an $11 million option on Sheffield, as a holdover from the contract he had signed with Florida (which had been passed on to the Dodgers, and then to the Braves). Sheff wanted this option gone, presumably so that he could hurl himself into the murky waters of free agency unencumbered by any fishing hooks, and Boras, being Scott Boras, got it done.

Sheffield then fired Boras and represented himself in negotiating a $39 million, three-year contract with the New York Yankees covering 2004-6.

[Arbitrator Joshua] Javits ruled that Boras was entitled to five per cent of the $11 million option that Boras was able to eliminate. Boras had sought to be paid based on the entire Yankees’ deal.
Associated Press story via ESPN

I assume the contention here was that Sheffield would not have been able to sign that deal with the Yankees if the $11 million option had still been in place for the Braves to exercise, and so Boras’ crucial role in the elimination of the option entitled him to at least a cut of the subsequent Yankee deal, even though Sheff negotiated that one himself. I think. Maybe. I’m not entirely clear on this, but it’s probably something along those lines.

In any event, the arbitrator clearly did not quite agree with Boras (since he didn’t end up with a big cut of the Yankee salary) and did not quite agree with Sheff (since Boras did end up with SOME money, acknowledging his role in the signing of that Yankee contract, even if it was in absentia).

Five percent of $11 million, by the way, is $550,000. That’s not absurdly huge money by baseball standards, but over half a mil is definitely nothing to sneeze at.

This is where it gets fun, though. The case is being settled right now. Sheffield made the following comments about the case and Boras in FEBRUARY of this year.

“I shouldn’t have ever introduced myself to him [Boras]. Period. Bad person,” Sheffield said then.

Sheffield promised to say a lot of “ugly things” about various topics when the case is resolved.

“It ain’t going to be pretty,” he said then. “No fine is going to be big enough. No suspension is going to be long enough.”
Associated Press article via ESPN

Gary Sheffield LOVES promising to exact a painful and bloody revenge. It is one of his absolute favorite things to do. Why, he did it at the end of this very season! I eagerly wait to see if he makes good on any of his threats, because if he does, it is sure to be a veritable goldmine of comedy for all.

(Possibly excepting Sheff’s target at the time.)

And of course in this case, he’s entirely right. Scott Boras IS a bad person and a ween and is full of pomposity and smarminess and scrod vomit. He is the Stinky Cheese Man of baseball, in a suit and tie.

And although Sheff posturing threateningly at him is funny just on principle– I really do think that a Gary Sheffield making ever so delicately unhinged threats to other people in baseball is my favorite sort of Gary Sheffield– it is even more enjoyable because, this time, the target of the mighty Sheff Rage is so very, very deserving.

Comic book update!
Pencils: 100%
Inks: 75%
Lettering: 100%
Colors: 0%

So, obviously I have to finish up the inking and scan the sucker in so I can color it. I have vague hopes of getting it online by the weekend, but that may be horribly optimistic, as I really don’t have any idea how long the coloring is going to take. You shall have your terrible drawings in the eventuality of time, kids and kittens!

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!

Tigers find power in likely and unlikely places in misguided attempt to make the end of the season interesting

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Yes, those are your power hitting Tigers for the night. Gary Sheffield, who hit his 498th and 499th home runs, and Ramon Santiago. Ramon Santiago, who has a grand total of 10 home runs in his entire career thus far, three of which came in the past two games. Santiago is OPSing .909, which is better than nearly everyone on the team (of course he also has far fewer at-bats than most of the current starters, so it’s not a real indication of his mad crazy hitting prowess – it’s just funny to point out).

Sheff now needs only one more homer to hit the arbitrary but still vaunted 500 mark. WILL HE MANAGE IT THIS SEASON??!?!? WILL HE DO IT IN A TIGERS UNIFORM?!!??? DO WE ACTUALLY CARE???!@?

Truly these are wacky times in which to live.

Verlander ONCE AGAIN threw over 100 pitches in under 6 innings: 113 pitches in 5 innings, to be exact. He was struggling enough in the 5th inning (and had thrown enough pitches) to make Leyland and everyone else consider taking him out, but apparently Leyland wanted him to have the opportunity to get the W, and was thus determined to make him gut it out for the full 5 innings. Normally I would say fine, whatever, let the kid go for it, but! why pile up unnecessary pitches on Verlander’s arm in a meaningless game, in a season where he’s ALREADY had an unusually heavy workload?

It’s not even like he was trying to break even in his personal record: with this win, Verlander’s season total will be 11-and-17. Was that 11th win really all that important? As usual, this is the one place where I really tend to grind my teeth over Leyland’s managing.

Anyways. Todd Jones was in the booth today for the beginning of the game. He’s definitely no Curtis Granderson when it comes to broadcasting (the awkward pauses! the rambling! ever so much rambling! it was kinda painful), but whatever, these are some of the things I noted down (I was out for the end of his booth time, but I think I ended up seeing the majority of it).

Jonesy: “I enjoyed the fight in Cleveland… I didn’t realize the second baseman, Cabrera, I get messed up with his first name…”
Mario: “Asdrubal.”
Jonesy: “Yeah, you get in trouble with that! Heh. He got in a few good shots on Sheff.”

(On Dane Sardinha, who was batting at the time) “Dane, hitting right now, he’s a scrappy guy from Huh-WAH-ee. He’s starting to hit a little bit better…” (Sardinha strikes out) “…although he just struck out there.”

(On the replay of Santiago’s home run) “Hanging curveball, man’s best friend.”

As they go to commercial in the bottom of the second, Jonesy yells, “HE’S THROWING A NO-HITTER!” Sometime in the third, Jonesy says, “I have officially jinxed Justin, because now there’s a hit.”

(On Verlander) “He’s got the Word We Don’t Wanna Talk About Stuff every time he goes out there.” ‘Ace’? Are we not supposed to say ‘ace’ anymore? Since when did ‘ace’ become ‘Voldemort’?

(After a long free-ranging ramble during which absolutely no one so much as mentioned the on-field action)
Jonesy: “There’s a game going on, Tigers winning five-nothing, if anyone wants to know…”
Rod: “They can see it!”

(On why we shouldn’t blame Chuck Hernandez) “At the end of the day these are grown men who know how to throw a strike.” This is a blatant lie. For instance, I am not at all convinced that Kyle Farnsworth actually knows how to throw a strike (it’s something that he sometimes happens to do, much to his own bafflement), and Freddy Dolsi is in no way a grown man. Have you looked at the kid lately, Jonesy? He’s like six years old.

(On how it feels to blow a save)
Jonesy: “There’s these rollercoasters of emotion.”
Mario: “Really!” (Highly amused, obviously thinking Jonesy was making a joke on the whole Rollercoaster Jones thing.)
*longish awkward pause* (Suddenly filled with Doubt: was that intentional, or does he have no idea he was even making a joke, or what a joke even is.)
Mario: *more pause* “Nice!”

(On his rain delay Magglio hitting and sliding and hair impression from earlier in the season) “I always wanted to be a tarp guy… that should’ve told you I was gonna retire… that was on my bucket list of things.”

(On Gary Sheffield) “He’s got some kinda FlexAll thing that’s so hot other guys can’t even put it on a finger and he’s got it all over his back and knees.”

(On attending games now that he’s retired)
Jonesy: “I’ll be there with my puffy hand.”
Mario: “Your foam finger?”
Jonesy: “My puffy hand!”
*almost in unison, as they realize the problem* “The Claw!”

Saturday, 7:05 pm EDT. Dontrelle vs. Matt Garza. I guess we don’t have anyone random in AAA we could call up to pitch this one? A pity, a pity. Go Tigers!

Gary Sheffield knows where you sleep

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Is Sheffield getting crazier as he gets older, or is this just par for the course? I feel like I haven’t followed him closely enough in the past to say for sure.

As you all know, this past Friday Sheffield was involved in a rather spirited brawl with the Racist Logos. Many punches were thrown, many lulz were had, etc. Sheff’s been suspended for four games and he’s not appealing, so he’ll start sitting tonight.
The fantastic bit is what he said while talking about the suspension.

“It’s on,” said Sheffield, who added he wouldn’t appeal the suspension or the undisclosed fine announced by Bob Watson, vice-president of MLB on-field operations.

Sheffield said he received “cheap shots” during the melee and planned to take matters into his own hands.

“When guys take cheap shots, I take that personal,” Sheffield said. “When I find out who they are, they’re going to have to deal with me. They’re going to be penalized by me, too.

“You’ll see. I’m not one of those guys who talks what I’m going to do. I’m just going to do what I’m going to do.”
Steve Grinczel/ article

This is like a perfect nugget of crazy. I want to frame it and hang it on my wall.

Gary Sheffield is not going to talk [about? up?] what he’s going to do. He’s just going to do what he’s going to do. BUT WHAT IS HE GOING TO DO?? In case you weren’t sure, we do not in fact play the Racist Logos again this season. Is he going to let this hate fester in his heart until Spring Training? Is he going to spend the entire winter watching tape of the brawl over and over again until he knows with 100% certainty who it was that popped him in the back of the head, so that he may exact his bloody revenge when the ’09 season starts up?

Or is he going to track, like, Asdrubal Cabrera down in the middle of November and, I dunno, sneak up on him while he’s out buying groceries, ambush him, and punch him in the liver until he says ‘sorry’?

I don’t know. But Gary Sheffield knows. He knows that some dudes are gonna get PENALIZED!! ‘Cause IT’S ON!

(If you don’t get the image, please refer back to this post and the perfect nugget of crazy that came from that particular Sheff-incident.)

ETA: Wow, that game was no fun whatsoever. I don’t really want to post about it and I have to be up at 5 am anyways, so I’m leaving this post up and you can all enjoy Gary Sheffield’s belligerent insanity instead of reading about our deeply depressing fight for last place in the Central. Tuesday’s game is at 7:05 pm EDT, Freddy Garcia vs. Zach Greinke. Remember, these games now matter, not for the prideful excesses of playoff baseball, not for the marginally respectable goal of having a record at or above .500, but instead for the humbling struggle to not be the worst team in a bad division. Think about ending the season under the Royals, and tremble with that fear. Go Tigers!

the Spazzosaurus makes friends with Gary Sheffield, Gary Sheffield makes fights happen for the Spazzosaurus

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

He’s baaaaaack!

This game featured a(nother) excellent start from Armando (had some time to rest up, I guess), TWO two-run homers for Miguel Cabrera The Most Majestic of Pumas, and a triple (!) from Ramon Santiago (!!). There was also a brawl. The Tigers lost the game on a walk-off after having been up 5-2 at one point, so we’re mostly going to talk about the hilarious fighting.

A fight summary, as near as I could make out from the Cleveland broadcast:

Sheffield got hit by a pitch. He stared on his way down to first. He stared and stared and stared. He also carried his bat aaaaallll the way from homeplate to first, where he eventually handed it off to the batboy. Apparently it’s more threatening to carry your bat with you. Carmona kind of eyed him as he went, but he was also wiping his nose a lot so it didn’t seem like a big deal.

It was pretty obvious that Sheff thought the pitch was intentional, and it seemed almost certain that the pitch was NOT intentional, but you cats know how Sheffield gets. He takes things personally. Very, very personally. He also has been extremely frustrated by this season, and one may assume that this frustration is only increasing as the season goes on.

The ridiculous/amusing thing here is that it did not look like there was going to be any kind of altercation following the HBP, because, aside from the staring and the bit with the posturing with the bat, Sheff took his base without complaint. It was only when Carmona threw a ball over to first to check on Sheff that the trouble began, because at that point Sheff gestured sweepingly towards the batter and vehemently invited Carmona to quit bollocksing around and throw home.

Carmona said something that looked an awful lot like, “Oh, you want a piece of me?” Steps were taken by both towards one another.

Sheff charged in, taking the low route and… well, let’s not put too fine a point on it, he head-butted Carmona in the stomach. If it was not already incredibly obvious that Sheffield was fully in the thrall of the Spazzosaurus and his feeding-on-spazz-energy feedback loop, it was made clear at the moment when Sheff’s cranium made contact with Carmona’s jersey.

Although this position may have been momentarily advantageous for Sheffield, it quickly began to work against him, as Carmona got him in a headlock and started punching him on the top of his head, all Nolan Ryan style (although he didn’t seem to be throwing punches nearly as hard as Nolan Ryan’s; these were sort of like extra vigorous noogies). The Cleveland broadcasters would later say that Sheffield’s nose was bleeding, but it was hard for me to tell whether or not that was actually the case on my small pixelly window of glory.

You can see Carmona and Sheffield locked in a Spazzosaurian dance in the middle there. The hatless blonde dude on the right is Brandon Inge, who leapt into action to tackle Victor Martinez to the ground… not, apparently, to beat up on him, but just to keep him temporarily down and out of the way.

Scrum scrum scrum! In the top screenshot you can see Rafael Perez with his jersey all verklempt. One of the coaches fixed it up for him like a mom, it was very sweet. In the bottom screenshot you can see Dusty Ryan (52) on the right trying to jump on top of the pile. He didn’t really get up there.

After he escaped from Inge, Victor Martinez had to be restrained by Miguel Cabrera. Miggy and Magglio actually were very dedicated to Stopping the Violence here, and basically spent the entire brawl running around holding people back dramatically and probably shouting things like, “Why can’t we all just get along?!” The Spazzosaurus, so giddy with the abundance of feasting materials before him, must have overlooked them in the buffet or something.

Carmona was at one point being restrained almost entirely by Tigers players – here he’s being held back by a highly concerned-looking Magglio and what I am pretty sure is Kenny Rogers. His own team did pull him back eventually…

…including this touching moment with Sal Fasano, who tried to calm Carmona down the only way catchers know: with lots of, well, touching. Carmona pressed his fist into Fasano’s stomach, not hard, just as a kind of ‘arrrgh I am so riled up man I cannot even express’ gesture, and Fasano held onto his wrist as if to say, ‘I know dude, I know, I’m here for you.’ With lots more swearing on the part of Carmona.

Sheffield was eventually forcibly restrained by coaches, led away, and later herded away from the dugout exits by Gene Lamont, who did not seem to be having as good a time as Gibby had back in ’05.

Sheffield, Polanco, Carmona and Martinez were all ejected. The Racist Logos went on to win in stupid ARRRGH BULLPEN fashion. Some pretty amazing postgame quotes from Sheff:

“There’s a point I get to where it’s hard to come back from,” Sheffield said. “And when I get to that point, they’re going to have to deal with me — today, tomorrow and the next day, until I get you.”

“He called me out,” Sheffield said. “If you call me out, I answer the call.”

“I’m trying to throw him to the ground,” Sheffield said of Carmona. “That way, I can see what’s coming at me. But when I’m throwing him to the ground, I’m getting punched in the back of the head.”

He eventually discovered who was punching him. After he was ejected, he went into the clubhouse and watched replays to find out.

“I saw the tape,” he said. “I know who they are. And I guarantee you, they’ll have to deal with me.”

Those replays also showed Sheffield landing a punch on Carmona once they collided.

“I got the one hand I needed to get in,” Sheffield said, “and I guarantee you he felt it.”

“If he wants to do something, charge right there [after the hit-by-pitch],” [Victor] Martinez said. “He didn’t say anything. Just shut your mouth and keep playing the game.”

Sheffield took particular issue with Martinez, especially once he started yelling.

“This guy, I don’t know how many years he has, but his act is tired,” Sheffield said, “all this macho [act], throwing the equipment off. … One thing I don’t like is when somebody’s talking and making a big scene and backing up. If you’re going to talk to me, be a man.”
Jason Beck/

Gary Sheffield is a crazy man filled with crazy. And anger. And more crazy. He will certainly be issued a suspension, and I would assume the same for Carmona at least.

Now, here are my remaining big questions about this and other important Tigers matters.

What did Polanco do to get ejected?
I’m not really sure. I thought I saw him grappling a bit with Martinez at one point, but it kind of looked like he was restraining the guy, not trying to spike him in the spleen. Sheff, Carmona, and Martinez were all fairly obvious tossings… I guess there’s always one random in every brawl.

Where was Kyle Farnsworth?
This brawl was nowhere near as good as The Last Great Tigers Fight, and this is in a significant way attributable to the distinct lack of Kyle Farnsworth going crazy and beating the baseball out of some opposing player. We finally get the guy back on the team, we FINALLY have a brawl, and he’s a non-factor? No pile-drives? No unstoppable evasion of desperate coaches? No holding a dude down and punching his face until he looks like a hockey player? I am SORELY disappointed in you, Kyle.

Why are the Cleveland announcers so annoying?
Nowhere near as annoying as the Wrong Sox announcers, of course, but they were 128% convinced that Gary Sheffield was the root of all troubles in the world, that Fausto Carmona had done nothing wrong and was the most innocent victim in this entire thing, and other such homerisms. Sheff WAS the instigator, clearly, but come ON, Carmona was barking back at him and that’s what set him off in the end.

If he’d ignored Sheff then Sheff probably would have huffed and puffed and blown himself out, and after the game he would’ve made some overly generalized and vaguely racist comment about Latino players (again) and we all could’ve put this behind us without anyone getting so much as a jockstrap out of place.

Plus they kept saying, “That’s it! Thankyouverymuch!” whenever a Tigers pitcher was pulled, and it got obnoxious.

How sad is Armando right now?
Probably pretty sad. Poor guy bounced back from a couple of bad games and had himself another quality start, only to watch it overshadowed first by a bunch of men in spandex pants jumping on each other, and then overshadowed again by a bunch of men in spandex pants completely failing to hold a three-run lead. He pitched 7.2 innings and didn’t walk anyone and struck out five and got nothing for his troubles.

Will there be photos of rookie hazing?
THERE DAMN WELL BETTER BE. Granderson was in charge of outfits this season, and the following rookies were tormented with the following costumes:

Freddy Dolsi — French maid
Armando Galarraga — Cha Cha girl
Chris Lambert — Bridezilla
Clay Rapada — Female cop
Dusty Ryan — Caveman with a club
Dane Sardinha — Hercules
Jeff Larrish — She-devil
Matt Joyce — Neverland fairy
Curtis Granderson/ blog

I would say that Sardinha and Dusty got off easy, but that really depends on whether or not their costumes include pants. Regardless: there had better be photos from someone, somewhere, and they had better be made available to the public. I’ve already seen/been traumatized by this year’s rookie hazing of the Red Sox and Padres kittens. The Tigers can’t fall down on the job.

The Race to .500!
is officially dead. With today’s loss there are NO SPARE LOSSES REMAINING and the Tigers are guaranteed to finish the season UNDER .500. Awesome. And by ‘awesome’ I mean ‘terrible’.

Saturday’s game is at 7:05 pm EDT, Justin Verlander vs. Jeremy Sowers. It will probably not be as entertaining as tonight’s game… unless Sheff is out there again and decides to exact the revenge he threatened in those quotes up above. You may want to watch for that. Go Tigers!

Dontrelle Willis comes back from the dead and other such pleasantries

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Defying expectations: Dontrelle Willis

Kind of? He went 5 innings, giving up 3 runs on 2 hits and 5 walks, with 4 Ks. All that was on 89 pitches. So, obviously, the control is still something of a problem for him, and you HATE to see a guy allow more runs than hits. But to be quite honest I was expecting/fearing something much, MUCH worse from him. Three runs in five innings was enough to keep the Tigers in it, and at times Dontrelle looked pretty good out there, like maybe he could actually contribute at some point next season (maybe), so we’ll count it as a positive. Consider my expectations defied.

Meeting expectations: Kyle Farnsworth

There’s nothing quite like giving up a grand slam and a two-run triple in two consecutive outings to make people question your ability to throw a baseball, eh? After last night I fully expected Rally Killer Kyle to be an emotional wreck on the mound, and so he was! He shook Inge off a number of times, although I’m not sure if that was a contributing cause of his struggles, or if it was just a symptom.

I was not really expecting another bullpen meltdown after a semi-inspiring offensive showing: that would have been TOO CRAZY. Surely it couldn’t happen TWICE, right? Shows what I know. This time it was Gary Glover who gave up the grand slam, but The Farns did his fair bit. Consider my expectations met, and perhaps exceeded.

I have to be up in less than five hours, so I’m just bulleting the rest of this thing.

Mario: And here comes Fabulous Freddy Dolsi!
Rod: You dropped a ‘fabulous’ on him, huh?

– Gary Sheffield hit his 497th home run. It was a screaming line drive to left field, as is typical for Sheff. Of course 500 is an arbitrary number that is no more or less inherently notable than 498, or 503, but whatever, we like zeroes, he’s shooting for it.

– Jim Leyland was ejected in the bottom of the 6th for arguing a hit-by-pitch call. He made it all the way back to the dugout before he got tossed, and he came CHARGING back out onto the field, prompting Rod and Mario to start cracking up and saying that they had never seen him move that fast before. He was all up in the face of homeplate ump Eric Cooper, and at one point Cooper (suppressing laughter, it looked like) made a gesture all up and down his own front as if to say, ‘Dude, you’re spitting ALL OVER me.’ Leyland was certainly close enough and, uh, vehement enough for that to be the case.

– The grand slam off of Glover was hit by Taylor Teagarden. It was his first ever at-bat with the bases loaded. Also his name is TEAGARDEN.

The Race to .500!

With this loss, the Tigers still need those 11 wins to reach the promised land, and only have 2 losses left to spare. Our prospects are grim.

Tuesday. 8:05 pm EDT. Zach Miner vs. Kevin Millwood. Miner’s ERA and WHIP are actually both better than Millwood’s, but Millwood’s middle name is ‘Austin’ and he pitches in Texas, so he may have mojo-rific powers on his side. We shall see what we shall see. Go Tigers!

Gary Sheffield's big game

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Five RBI? That’s what I’d call a Pretty Good Game, and that’s what Gary Sheffield did tonight. The solo shot was fun, but the grand slam? Well, it’s nice to see that the old dude’s still got some pop in his bat, and that brought him up to… what, 496, right? So if he can get four more homers this season, he’ll hit 500. That’s something left for the Tigs to shoot for, anyhow.

Miner didn’t pitch wonderfully in this one, and he kind of fell apart at the end of his (short) outing, but the bullpen was solid and for once the lopsided (in our favor!) pitching matchup that we had anticipated actually came to be. A rarity indeed, for this team.

Short post today, ’cause, uh, it was my birthday, I celebrated accordingly. It was also Billfer’s birthday, so obviously September 8th is the best day of the year for birthing Tigers bloggers. Parents, plan accordingly.

The Race to .500!

Onwards, upwards! or at least straight-line-wards towards the perfectly flat plane of even mediocrity. We need 11 wins to reach the promised land, and we’ve still got 7 losses to spare.

Tuesday is another 7:05 pm EDT game, Nate Robertson vs. Dana Eveland. Oh jeez. Nate’s back in the rotation because Kenny has a bum hip and a general sense of pitching malaise. At least Nate has starting experience? ‘Though of course, you know, we took him out of the rotation for a REASON… oy. I’ll be at the Sox/Rays game (assuming it doesn’t rain on us, which, with my luck, it will), so, I don’t know, just don’t embarrass us, Nate? Can you handle that? Probably not. Go Tigers!

ETA: The Red Sox game went super long and I am super tired, so, eh, if you want to comment on the Tuesday game, do it here. Nate gave it his all and did NOT embarrass us, so gold star for him and all that. Bobby Seay and Fernando conspired to ruin it for him. Black holes for them. We still need 11 wins to reach .500 and have 6 losses left to spare. The Wednesday game is at 1:05 pm EDT for, like, reasons and stuff. Armando vs. Sean Patrick Gallagher from Boston, aka The Most Irish Dude Possible Who Is Not Actually From Ireland. Ugh, I just realized he’s my age, too. I hate when that happens. Go Tigers!