Category Archives: unmitigated disaster

Focusing on the positive.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I could write more about the continued sketchiness of the Dave Dombrowski firing. I could write about the losing. The atrocious bullpen. The catfight between Jose Iglesias and James McCann, which is the biggest Guys please can we just NOT of the moment. All of that. But I am tired. My head hurts. Let us focus instead on the positives, at least for right now.

–The rally squirrel helped the Tigers to a win.

–Miguel Cabrera might be on his way back sooner rather than later.

–Fiesta Tigres was a success and Placido Polanco was back in town, lookin’ pretty good, shark tooth necklace and all.

–JD Martinez exists.


–After the Royals, the AL Central is pretty egregiously bad this year, so despite everything the Tigers are somehow not completely buried yet.

–The uniforms still look great, especially on players who wear their socks up. There has been no unnecessary rebranding– we’re lookin’ at you, NBA.

–It is still possible, on occasion, for the Tigers to win a game of baseball.

–We could be Miami, or Philadelphia.

That’s all I got.

Pandas are bad and should be avoided.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Nasty brutish dangerous creatures. Can’t be trusted with tourists or food-sized children or fastballs or sliders. Terrible animals that lull you into a false sense of security with their kindly faces and adorably roly-poly bodies only to MAUL THE LIFE OUT OF YOU and also to HIT THREE HOME RUNS IN ONE GAME.

Pandas: they are just no good.

For the well-being of the planet, I believe we must make them even more endangered. It is the only logical solution to the problem. The panda problem.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Some people are really big fans of the whole amusement park schtick. Teacup ride? Hell yes. Wave pool full of pee? Endless fun! Rollercoaster? Even more fun, and not vomit-inducing at all!

For me, no thank you: I would rather not be on the rollercoaster at all. I know that it can be very exciting for people, gives ’em a thrill, gets the ol’ adrenaline flowing and whatnot, I have a basic understanding of the biochemical and psychological theory behind its attractiveness and so on and so forth. For me, it is just too much excitement. I am but a tender gentle soul, prone to bouts of nervousness; no kind of person who should be subjected to the unbearable stimulation of a high-flyin’ rollercoaster.

But this is the state of the Detroit Tigers at this moment. Sweep the Wrong Sox, lose two of three to the freaking Racist Logos, get swept by the Rally Monkeys, and split (thus far) with the Wrong Sox again. The highs are high enough to make the lows seem horribly low and it’s all happening on the edge of a razor-thin coaster rail as we careen headlong into the playoffs, or not the playoffs, depending on how reliably we can keep the little cart on the curve.

Are you vomiting from the excitement and the g-forces yet?

Run-on sentences on water and cats and things.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

–The umpires chose to end last night’s game in the 6th inning with the bases loaded and two outs for the Tigers, and Franklin Morales (middle relief) pitching for the Sox. The Tigers were down by 3 so the tying run was on first and the potential leading run was at the plate. And I mean YES it was pouring and had been raining steadily all game to that point and YES the Tigers had already stranded so many runners and had thus shown no particular ability or inclination to do anything with cats already on the bases and there was no real reason to believe that Omar Infante or anybody else would change the course of that trend there in the 6th because apparently the Tigers have Problems in Boston, be those problems park factors or mental issues or what-the-cat-ever, BUT

I am still calling this one CONSPIRACY. Because, you see, it HAD really been raining all game, and you wait until the Tigers have the bases loaded but are within scoring reach and the Sox are into their bullpen and THENNNNNN you call the game?!? ACCOUNT FOR THYSELVES, FOUL CONSPIRATORS OF BASE BALL ADJUDICATION.

–Josh Beckett left the game after 2.2 innings due to “back spasms,” but it looked like he was complaining about the mound before he went, soooo… who knows. The crowd certainly was not sympathetic, and booed the coprolites out of him as he left the field. Boston has about had it with all things Josh Beckett right now.

–So I mean there I was all expecting the game to take a serious Tigers turn because Beckett was out and Clayton Mortenson is totally just some dude named Clayton Mortenson and you would think– ALL LOGICAL AND CORRECT-MINDED PEOPLE WOULD THINK– that this would be a recipe for scrumptious Tigers success. But it was not. Flavorful run pies were not baked. I have no explanation for this behavior but I know that it needs to stop. Mama cat needs to EAT, boys!

–I guess that is the end of Justin Verlander’s Always 6 Innings or More Streak, but who cares.

–The trade deadline turned out to not be a big deal for the Tigers, which is fine, except for the fact that obviously the current formulation of the team is somewhat less-than-effective and maybe a shake-up would have helped that but I mean WHATEVER. OVER IT. I was at this game with a Phillies phan so that lent a little trade deadline perspective. There is a difference both quantitative and qualitative between the struggles of the Tigers and whatever it is the Phillies have been doing this season and we should probably all remember that.

–Seriously take a moment to proffer thanks to your personal deity, to the ghost of Hank Greenberg, to Paws, or whatever. We could be Kansas City. Or Colorado. Never 4get.

–What is the problem the Tigers have in Boston though. What is that. WHAT IS IT

why is baseball

When I searched for the keyword ‘why’ in my cartoon bank, I got the following:

So that’s Joel Zumaya suffering after one of his innumerable injuries, Jim Schwartz being angry, and Paws asking why there are no Japanese players on the Tigers. I don’t know what any of this has to do with anything, but let’s go with it.

Why is this happening? Why are the Tigers losing so much, and so miserably? Why do they have to lose to the Racist Logos? Why is Delmon Young? Why does Ryan Raburn, even from afar, curse the very ground upon which Paws walks? Why is Alex Avila hurt (more) (again)? Why did I see “Young, M, LF” in the box score just now and think, Wait a tic, since when do we have Michael Young? Since when does Michael Young play left field? before I remembered that Matt Young was a cat whom we have now?

There are no good answers to these questions. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and sometimes bad baseball happens to (nominally) good teams. You see, I am trying to achieve some sort of pseudo-zen state about this, as a way to preserve the tattered remnant shreds of my own sanity. It’s totally working. INSERT STRAINED TOOTHY GRIN HERE.

ETA: And now it turns out that, although it is not yet official, Alex Avila will be headed for the DL with a Hamstring of Doom. WHY.

Extra bad things happening in extra innings.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I don’t like it. No, I don’t like it one bit.

feelings on this first postseason game of 2011

I have a lot of feelings about the way this game went down, and here they are, summed:

So that’s that.

should you wish to recreate the feeling of having watched these past two games

image by Samara Pearlstein

Here’s a fun activity for you to try at home!

Step 1: Get a large glass and fill it with lukewarm water.

Step 2: Put as much of that water as you possibly can into your mouth. Don’t swallow it, just pour it in there until your cheeks are bulging like Placido Polanco’s head. It’s ok if some of the water escapes. Don’t be afraid to get messy in the name of home science!

Step 3: Go to the nearest bathroom. Make sure the toilet seat is up.

Step 4: Standing over the toilet, bend over a little and open your mouth.

Step 5: As the water pours out of your toothy face cavern, make noises like BLURBLURBLUR and BLARRRGGHURRRRH. This really enhances the experience!

Step 6 (optional): Without wiping off your face, go find the nearest car. Slam your thumb in the car door. This will let you feel really close to Brennan Boesch right now.

Step 7 (optional): Find some neighborhood kids who play Little League, or your local aluminum bat equivalent league (Cal Ripken, etc). Pay them $5 to beat you with their bats. Make sure they get a nice distribution and beat you all over– your limbs, your head, your core. This will give you a nice sense of what Alex Avila is feeling these days!

Congratulations! You have now experienced two consecutive losses to the Racist Logos, one of them a 14-inning game that was lost on a walkoff hit-by-pitch, the other a blowout where Jason Kipnis kicked Rick Porcello repeatedly in the kidneys.

~Just like being there!~

Our only chance to salvage the series will come with Justin Verlander tonight. No pressure, Justin!

the same team that swept the Wrong Sox was just swept by the Mariners

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I mean, what am I supposed to do with that information? How am I supposed to feel about the sort of team that can beat up the Wrong Sox, and then get swept at home by the worst team in the AL West? Do I feel good about them? Do I feel bad about them? Do I simply join them and reel in shared terror at the sight of Eric Wedge’s mustache? I just don’t know.

–The thing with Eric Wedge’s mustache: it fits EXACTLY on his upper lip, so it is hard to see where his mouth ends. He has let the mustache grow very wide, right to the sides of his face. Consequently, it looks like his mouth extends across his entire face like some sort of terrifying muppet or a Canadian on South Park. Most unsettling.

–Michael Pineda looked like he was going to be unhittable after he started the game with 4 consecutive strikeouts. Then Brennan Boesch doubled, Ryan Raburn walked (!!!), and Alex Avila doubled them both in for two runs. I thought for sure Pineda had been rattled and Things Were Going to Be OK. Turns out those were the only runs Pineda would give up. The OKness, not so much.

–Jim Joyce was behind the plate today (no perfect games to ruin), and holy cats is he ever loud. But I have to ask: is he actually saying “STRIKE!” on each call, or is he just screaming “HREEEEEEEEEEE!” back there? Because it really sounds more like the latter.

–There was a moment in the 5th inning with one out, men on the corners. Milton Bradley was up. Brad Penny stepped off the rubber. Avila started towards him, then stopped and went back behind the plate. The cameras didn’t show what Penny did to make him retreat, but I imagine he gave a single snarling bellow, like a grizzly bear.

–Miguel Olivo homered again. It went over Raburn’s head and he didn’t have to help it over the wall this time, but don’t you think that when he saw an Olivo fly ball heading in his direction again, he started crying a little on the inside?

–They were showing various cold people in the crowd, and at one point they focused on a group of fans that included a guy wearing a Padres hat and a Padres jacket. That poor Padres fan. This is not the weather for which he is best equipped.

–Avila is trying a goatee. We’ll see if he can keep it up, or if the rest of his beardy hairs will simply take over, as they have every time before.

–Penny was tossing a ball back to Joyce because it was scuffed or whatever. For some reason he let it fly wild. It ended up coming in and hitting Ichiro, who was just standing there waiting for it to be batting time. Ichiro turned to Joyce and said something that was probably along the lines of, “What the heck was that?” He wasn’t hurt– it was a soft toss, not a pitch– but he was baffled and maybe a little unsure if he should be annoyed or not. What is with Tigers pitchers and weird non-pitches lately?

–Rod Allen on why he didn’t score baseball games as a kid: “I was too busy running around trying to eat them hot dogs.”

–Luis Rodriguez hit a three-run homer. Luis freakin’ Rodriguez. It was his first of the year, and he has never hit more than two in any given season. But the most impressive part was the fact that when he got back to the dugout, he did a complicated celebration dance with Chone Figgins. I cannot believe they had a dance routine ready to go for the incredibly unlikely event of Rodriguez hitting a ball out of the park.

–A great thing from the Mothership:

Six words from Alex Avila summed up the last three games. He could’ve summed it up in five.

“The Mariners have our number, basically,” he said.
Jason Beck/

Jason Beck is getting editorial on Alex Avila! I love this most of all.

the Tigers are a mess and so is this blog post

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Hey so April 12 is Brennan Boesch’s birthday! He turns 26 years old. We’re leading with this because things have become so dire and awful that I think we need to concentrate on the positive. And what is more positive than Brennan Boesch with cake? I know, I know: Brennan Boesch with kittens and also cake. But there can only be one Matt Joyce, you know.

I was going to try to do some kind of comprehensive round-up of all the things that have happened since I last posted here, but I can’t handle something that organized so you’re just getting whatever is rattling around my head on the general subject of the Tigers at the moment.

Good like Brennan’s birthday: Phil Coke, Justin Verlander. Sure, they both ended up with losses, but they both pitched well and that’s what we like to see. Verlander, of course, pitched spectacularly well yesterday, and had no run support to back him up. Phil Coke is no Justin Verlander, but he more than held his own on Saturday as he went 6.2 innings, giving up only two runs on four walks and three hits (all singles). Heck, he struck out 7. Verlander only struck out 4 on Monday. Both had very encouraging outings that were ruined by the fact that the bats hate them. Apparently.


–Seriously guys, we need to stop it with the Bruce Chen thing. He’s Bruce Chen. But against the Tigers suddenly he morphs into Roy Halladay? It’s unbelievable. Everyone knows the universe can only support one Roy Halladay at a time.

–Joel Zumaya has been shut down again due to continuing arm pain. Are you surprised? Is anyone, anywhere surprised? Even Zoom’s arm itself is sitting there like, “Ugh, this again? I knew this was going to happen.”

–Now Magglio Ordonez is resting with soreness in his Achilles tendon. I am only mildly surprised by the specific injury– if they call out the Achilles itself, does that mean it’s NOT his Surgically Repaired ankle?– but not at all by the fact of the injured-ness.

–ERRORS. What in the bloody badgers happened on Sunday? There were errors from Porcello, Raburn, Inge, Schlereth… is it possible for a Major League Baseball team to be so deficient in the fundamentals? I mean, yes, obviously it is possible because the Tigers play Major League Baseball and the errors are things that definitely happened, but… but… you know?

–Deliberately putting Miguel Cabrera on base as the tying run, deciding you want to face the next batter in the lineup rather than give Miggy a chance to cut you down… this was precisely the sort of thing that Victor Martinez batting behind Miggy was supposed to eliminate. But the Rangers did it yesterday and it worked out perfectly for them (Victor grounded out to second). I have nothing interesting to say about this. It’s just super wicked frustratingly frustrating.

–Like, ok, there are some things we kind of knew were not going to work (Zoom’s arm, Carlos Guillen’s body). They failed very early, which is unfortunate, but we knew. There are things we hoped would work very well, and for the most part they are (Verlander in a vacuum, to a lesser extent Alex Avila). But there are also things that REALLY OUGHT TO BE WORKING and they just aren’t. Like Rick Porcello. Like facing the Royals at home. Like walking a guy to get to Victor.

These are the things that make fans want to gnaw their own hands off.

(I know it’s still April. But you can only tell yourself that for so long.)

–ALL THESE DAY GAMES. I know they’re trying to outsmart April in the D weather and so far it’s been working, but that doesn’t mean I have to unreservedly love it. Maybe this is why so many things have been so, for lack of a better phrase, topsy-turvy. This many day games in a row is just strange for MLB players. Their usual pregame routines are going to be all out of whack, their meal rotations… even their sleep cycles are probably different.

I am totally going to seize upon this as an explanation. It’s a comfortable one, because the day games won’t go on forever… of course as soon as this series of daylight baseball ends, the Tigers head west where they will be all wonked out on time zone differences. So they will still be off-schedule and tired, just for different reasons, and we will all miss games because we’ve fallen asleep, instead of missing games because we’re at work/school.


So, um… happy birthday, Brennan!