Category Archives: White Sox kill kittens

A sweep to follow being swept.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

What are you supposed to do when you’ve got a great big pile of the Wrong Sox? I can imagine only one real solution: you’ve got to sweep them up. You let the laundry go too long and soon you have no proper socks anymore, plus you have more dirty clothes than you can fit in one load and if you have to do more than one load at once, why, that’s simply terrible, especially if you live in an apartment and need an endless supply of quarters to wash your stuff, and sometimes that means you have to go out and spend money specifically so that you can get quarters back as change, you know, you go out and buy an Adam Dunn or whatever, before you know it you’re blowing tens of millions of dollars just to get some laundry quarters, it’s all a terrible waste. That’s what happens with Wrong Sox. They’re just the worst.

In fact, let’s refer back to that pile– you’ve probably let it go too long already, and now those socks are all stiff and moldy and gross for whatever reason, like maybe your closet has the climate of an Amazonian swamp, who knows how that happens. Not a good environment for socks in general, but particularly awful for one great big matted pile of nasty old Wrong Sox. When they get to that point, is it even worth it to try to launder them? Probably not, right? Better to just sweep up the lot of ’em and let the cats down at the dump deal with it.

Which is, happily, just what the Tigers did.

After having been Royally humiliated, that was a very necessary cleaning. The wild card is not getting any closer– in fact, given the way the A’s, Orioles, and to some extent the Rays are playing, it seems like it’s still getting farther away every day– so the race for the Central is becoming more and more important. AJ Pierzynski’s disgusting footwear is the only thing standing between the Tigers and a playoff spot in the division, but there’s a whole mess of baseball in their way if they try to get in via wild card.

Now, you can take my (our) reactions after the KC series and reverse them to get a fair approximation of my (our) reactions after taking down the Wrong Sox. May we consider that an emotional wash? There are three games against the Racist Logos to get through, with yesterday’s having already been a loss (ugh), then three in LA (ugh), and then the Tigs are back in Chicago and we get to freak out about Games That Mean Ever So Much again. It’s not just our mental well-being as fans that’s at stake here, and of course every game counts at this point, but the way the Tigers play over this next stretch will have a horribly real and immanent impact on their ability to keep playing in a venue other than their own no-doubt spacious backyards on into October.


excuse you, Chicago

Sorry things have been quiet around here! I have started a weirdo art grad program and apparently they like throwing ALL THE WORK THERE IS at us right from Day 1. I know, I know, this is what grad school is. I’m still adjusting. Things should proceed more smoothly as I figure out a routine that works.

The Tigers have won 11 in a row. The last time this happened (according to Mario) was in 1968. Think about that.

In any event, Terrible Cartoons will be coming, but in the meantime I leave you with this screenshot, captured during tonight’s game. A most unfortunate confluence of lights and statuary indeed.

the Society to End the Abuse of Alex Avila

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Friends, citizens, fellow felines, I must bring this to your attention. Are you tired of seeing a foul tip by the opposing team result in a scene like the above?

Are you tired of seeing Alex Avila grimace in manly pain as his mask gets knocked off, or he gets a bat to the helmet, or yet another foul ball goes screaming off his instep? Does it sadden you to see this noble catcher, a true national treasure, threatened by carelessness, incompetence– even sometimes malice? Does your heart cry out in sympathy, as indeed it must for all intelligent, caring, red-blooded baseball fans?

Did you know that the All Star catcher is an endangered species? It’s a fact.

Don’t let this majestic creature disappear in a flurry of bruises and semi-concussions. Take notice. Take action. Raise awareness. Join the Society to End the Abuse of Alex Avila today.

(SEAAA, pronounced see-AAAAAHHH, like the body of water followed by a hearty beardy-man scream)

Two more things:

July 27th was Max Scherzer’s birthday. He turned 27 years old. July 27th was also Dave Dombrowski’s birthday! He turned 55 years old. Unfortunately the Tigers could not get a win for Max and Mr. D on their special day (extra-unfortunately since Max pitched relatively well, and was stuck with the loss). To make up for this oversight in some small way, I’ve given them a bouncy castle.

Everyone likes a bouncy castle.

And here is what I think about every time I have to watch John Danks pitch:

The Dank Danks in its reeking Chicago-pinstriped cave. A most horrible lurking creature indeed.

ETA: Oh, I nearly forgot. ROAR OF THE TIGERS WILL BE AT COMERICA FOR THE SATURDAY AND SUNDAY GAMES. This weekend! Weather permitting! On Saturday I will be wearing a 2009 Brandon Inge All Star Game jersey (haters gonna hate, etc). On Sunday I will be wearing this shirt. If you see me, feel free to say hi. Or stare awkwardly. You know, whatever.

This is Justin Verlander’s world, we’re all just living in it.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

At first there was cause for alarm. Justin Verlander was not himself. It was almost as if he was, maybe, perhaps, just possibly locked in a struggle with a certain dangerous creature— a titanic struggle that would split the earth beneath our feet, shake the stars free of their moorings, rend asunder the very molecules of the air.

In short: Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer in the first inning. His batting average is worse than that of the late lamented Brandon Inge. That is not ok.

The Tigers came back to take the lead in the sixth. But in the bottom of that very inning, Paul Konerko hit another two-run homer to tie it. Verlander bent over on the mound in a paroxysm of agony. The gnawing! The gnawing! O, the terrible gnawing!


The Tigers small-balled in a runner in the top of the 8th, thanks to the quick feet of Andy Dirks (!!) and an RBI single from Wilson Betemit (sigh). The lead had been regained. Verlander, who had already thrown thousands of pitches, came in for the bottom of the 8th.

Juan Pierre and his oversized batting helmet grounded out. Alexei Ramirez and his alien face walked. Stupid Paul Konerko foul tipped out, technically, but it was in truth a strikeout of such overpowering force that Tigers fans watching in the stands and on TV fainted dead away, overcome. Verlander’s 120th pitch of the night was 100 mph and constructed of pure filth.

And what of Adam Dunn, the Spazzosaurus-accomplice from earlier in the evening? He was simply set up with 99 mph heat, then absolutely destroyed with 82 mph curveballs.

Justin Verlander made a fist and did a much more sedate, white-dude version of a Papa Grande dance. He (Duane) bellowed into the night sky, a wordless cry of triumph and defiance. For he is JUSTIN VERLANDER, and he will not be held down by the Wrong Sox, be they aided by Spazzosauri or satanic forces summoned by AJ Pierzynski or otherwise. He will rise from the ashes of Adam Dunn home runs like a phoenix with the Olde English D on its wings, and if those ashes have to be stirred by the bat of Wilson Betemit to help the phoenix rise, so be it. Justin Verlander is not above accepting help from his teammates. But he IS above the Wrong Sox. Thank cats. Praise be to Paws. Hail Verlander.

the Wrong Sox are mean to kittens, plus a hot foot

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

I know this is not a surprise to any of you, because we are all well aware of the fact that every time the Wrong Sox win, it results in cruelty to kittens. But this sad truth was even more evident in Monday night’s game, as the Wrong Sox were mean to Duane Below and Chance Ruffin specifically, and these are two of our most kittenish Tiger cubs right now.

SHAME. Shame on you, Chicago. It takes a truly heartless beast of a team to be so mean to fluffy baby Tigers.

It was Chance Ruffin’s big league debut. Obviously this was not the way he would have liked to come into the majors (he came in with the bases loaded and ended up letting two of those runs score, plus two of his own). But it was just one outing, against a rude team that had the taste of blood in its mouth already, so hopefully he will not let it get to him too much.

Jim Leyland’s response, when asked about the roughness of Ruffin’s first appearance? “Well, yeah, so what?”

I assume everyone has heard about and seen the hot foot from Sunday’s game by now. The video is really good enough on its own, but I thought it deserved a TC just for posterity.

Don Kelly was the victim. He is an innocent, trusting soul and was oblivious for a while, letting the flames reach an impressive size before he noticed them, or had his attention brought to them. His teammates, because they are all 10 year old boys, were in hysterics.

Justin Verlander was the likely perpetrator. Kelly first accused him because Verlander was carrying a cup of water around almost as if he knew it might be needed to avoid some sort of flame-related problem. During a FSD broadcast the next day, Verlander refused to confirm or deny his involvement, until Kelly caught him out by praising the quality of the hot foot he had been given, asking Verlander if it was his first one.

No,” Justin said, almost immediately realizing that by bragging of his hot-footing credentials he had totally incriminated himself. On camera. GUILTY. It was pretty obvious he was guilty even before that, though, because Justin Verlander may be very very good at throwing a baseball, but he is absolutely terrible at pulling a poker face.

And here’s Brent Morel for no reason at all.

taking care of Chicago

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Two out of three. Yes.

And how about a Ryan Raburn grand slam? I haven’t laughed so hard at a Tigers hit in a long, long time.

baseball grotesqueries

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Brandon Inge is on the DL with mono. Since I also follow the Red Sox this doesn’t seem as out-of-left-field (har har) to me as it might to some of you, because the Sox JUST WENT THROUGH THIS with Jed Lowrie last season. But really… what the heck? How can players on BOTH my teams get hit with mono in consecutive seasons? Ugh.

It took forever for Jed to get healthy after he was diagnosed, and he ended up out for basically half of last year. He had to spend ages in the minors slowly working himself back up to full strength, because every time he tried to rush his rehab, he’d start to feel like coprolites again. But hey, no worries! Not that we know anyone who starts chomping at the bit the second they get DL’d… not that we know anyone who drives his wife crazy when he has to sit at home doing nothing… nobody we know who’d try to rush back from mono… mmm, nope…

After all, it’s not like we know anyone crazy and determined enough to PLAY BASEBALL, at home and ON THE ROAD, while he’s probably been suffering from MONONUCLEOSIS for AT LEAST A MONTH…

Sigh. What can we even do with Brandon Inge? He’s basically incorrigible. I guess this could go some distance towards explaining the massive power outage in his bat, and the way he has seemed to struggle getting to balls he usually smothers at and around third lately. Suffering from a pernicious virus that brings with it a host of symptoms, including INTENSE, LONG-LASTING FATIGUE, hmm, yes, that might do the trick.

(Let me just note that mono is, of course, infectious. I don’t expect it to shoot around the clubhouse the way colds and stomach bugs tend to do, but IF anyone was sharing drinks with Inge, confusing their Gatorade cup with his in the dugout, etc… well… it has the potential to be rather unpretty. That’s just what every team needs: a mid-season mono outbreak.)

Anyways. Inge is on the DL. Let’s see what that does. Danny Worth is filling in at third for right now, and I guess Don Kelly will get some at-bats there too. I know a lot of you cats complain about the Modern Day Inge, but a Danny Worth/Don Kelly combo does not exactly make my heart sing a love song to third basemen. So… whatever.

As for the game! Andy Oliver was worrying, Charlie Furbush gave up his first run, freakin’ Juan Pierre hit a home run, AJ Pierzynski remains a loathsome creature, much woe. Casper Wells hit a three-run homer that was much appreciated, but it was not enough to stave off the horror that now requires us to view the following:

Look at this, Tigers. Think about what you’ve done.

Things we learned from a series sweep of the Wrong Sox.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

–Max Scherzer is good at throwing a small white ball near the midriff sections of Chicago-employed creatures. Like, really good. Really REALLY good. There are people out there who will talk about Max Scherzer’s arm and Max Scherzer’s knowledge of the lineup and even Max Scherzer’s rapport with Savior Avila. But we all know the real reason for his success.

Max Scherzer is so good because he is seeing the strike zone in extra dimensions, far beyond what normal human beings can see. And this, of course, is because of his magical eyes.

–Every time the TV cameras zoom in for a closeup on Max Scherzer’s eyes, a kitten gets gently, lovingly hugged somewhere in the world.

–Brent Lillibridge is a wood elf. Brent Morel is a mushroom. Nobody should trust a team with this many Brents on it.

–Alexei Ramirez is an alien who crash-landed at Roswell and is trying to remain hidden in plain sight by joining a professional baseball team. Evidence.

–It doesn’t really matter how the bats perform when Ryan Raburn gets the start at second base, it is still going to give us a horrible spine-tingling shiver every time we see him penciled in next to that 2B.

–Miguel Cabrera is what opposing pitchers and managers see when they fall into uneasy, nightmare-riddled sleeps. So he’s going to be walked intentionally 5,000 times until Victor gets healthy again, and a couple thousand more times after that.

–Brandon Inge has been kind of yippy in the field lately, but we must take deep breaths and remember that things will be OK and we can’t let the words of the haters take up residence in our minds. Make your mind a happy place for Brandon Inge, and happiness for you will follow.

–Sure is nice when good pitching is backed up/rewarded by good hitting.

–When mascots interfere with FSD broadcasters, everyone wins. On Sunday Trevor Thompson got bothered by both Paws and the giant Easter bunny, and it was good.

–Rod Allen eats his hot dog with mustard, a little ketchup, and a few onions. He also likes it slightly burnt.

–Casper Wells takes a foul ball to the shin, Brandon Inge decides this means he needs to draw an Easter egg on it. This actually happened. I want to know who thought it was a good idea to allow Inge a silver sharpie.

–The essence of true happiness cannot be found in something so prosaic as the result of an early regular season baseball game… but when you decisively sweep the Wrong Sox, you can come quite close to it.

Justin Verlander’s beautiful 1000th strikeout

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Initially this entire post was going to be about how awful the weather at Comerica looked, and how impressed I was with the people who actually bothered to show up and then sit through all or most of the game. I mean, it was like 40 degrees, and mist-raining, and foggy, and generally awful. It looked like the kind of weather that gets inside your bones so that you’re cold all the way through and it feels like you can never ever get warm again, giving you a horrible unwanted insight into what it’s like to be Joel Zumaya’s right arm.

Then I saw Juan Pierre batting and this post was going to be about the fact that he wears stirrup socks with little Wrong Sox logos over the stirrups, and he also wears his hat under his batting helmet. How is it possible that Juan Pierre is only 33? He seems like he’s just barely younger than Omar Vizquel, who is of course as old as the game of baseball itself.

BUT THEN! Then Justin Verlander threw a nasty changeup to strike out AJ Pierzynski and end the 7th inning. Verlander was still throwing heat at this late point in the game– two at-bats previous, he had thrown nothing but fastballs, 7 of them at 98mph or faster– but he took a craftier approach to Pierzynski the Loathsome.

He set up the at-bat with 97mph heat, then dug in with a changeup, two curveballs (one fouled off), and then that final tailing change. Pierzynski was badly fooled and took a stupid-looking swipe at the ball as it went by, but he tipped it straight into Alex Avila’s glove. Fieldin Culbreth signaled it all nice and clear once he saw that Avila still had the ball. Boom, strike three, inning over.

Pierzynski yelled something after the tip (at himself, I guess). Verlander stared at him with his Srs Pitching Bzns face on part of the way back to the dugout, because AJ Pierzynski is a terrible person and Justin Verlander is freakin’ awesome and also will not be trifled with.

It is worth going over this strikeout– Verlander’s 8th of the game– in loving detail, because it turned out to be

Justin Verlander’s 1,000th career strikeout!

Justin, of course, is unfazed by his own greatness.

Since Verlander was watching Pierzynski, he couldn’t see the message on the scoreboard behind him about his 1,000th career strikeout. He didn’t know about it until he stepped into the dugout and got the ball from head athletic trainer Kevin Rand.

“I said, ‘OK, great. What’s it for,” Verlander said. “A thousand strikeouts? All right. Cool. I’m not really one to follow statistics like that, so I’m glad somebody was paying attention.”
Jason Beck/

Whatever, man. We’ll be pleased and impressed on your behalf.

Sidenote: this has nothing to do with anything, really, but it was noted during the broadcast today that Pierzynski the Loathsome had gone above and beyond the usual catcher-painting-fingernails-for-visibility thing. They showed it, and sure enough, he had painted (or otherwise marked in white) his fingers halfway up to his knuckles. Like so:

I just thought, huh, I can’t remember seeing that before. Or maybe I have seen it before and just wasn’t paying attention? Either way, it was kind of cool, or would have been if it had involved anyone other than AJP.

a philosophical query

That game was stupid, so while we’re playing the Wrong Sox, here is something else for you to ponder.

Think about it.