Category Archives: Zoom

a few snippets of spring news

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

The Minnesota Twins signed Joel Zumaya. That is a fact. Why did they sign Joel Zumaya? About this, we can only speculate. Their hearts were filled with optimism and hope… or maybe they find velocity mysterious and seductive… or perhaps they simply saw a small but non-zero chance to really stick it to the Tigers. Maybe they anticipate their bullpen being just that bad.

Whatever the reason, they did it, and Tigers fans everywhere sighed and shook their heads and made all sorts of “oh, you’ll see,” statements. We knew, of course. We’re a bit beyond optimism and hope where Zoom is concerned. Velocity is a lot less seductive when you’ve seen what it can do to an arm in its raw, untrammelled state.

The season has not started yet. Heck, Spring Training games haven’t even started. Zoom is already out for the year. Torn UCL. The UCL attaches at the elbow. Given the nightmare-inducing things that have happened to Zoom’s elbow in recent years, nobody can call this surprising. At this point it is merely depressing.

Word on the internet street is that Zoom is going to have Tommy John surgery. Does this point to a continued belief that he can pitch in Major League Baseball? Or does he need the Tommy John simply to return his arm to some semblance of normal civilian functionality? It’s hard to believe that the former is a possibility, but he is only 27, and baseball is pretty much all he knows how to do.

CHEERFUL, I KNOW. So here’s the ongoing second base competition, for something both less awful and actually related to the 2012 Tigers.

the latest in RotT BlogNews

Just a couple of things Roar of the Tigers had been up to lately out there in the vast reaches of the Internet.

Thing the First:

Old Time Family Baseball has been running a blogathon. He blogged for 24 hours straight yesterday, and today has turned the site over to a series of guest posts so he can get some sleep.

The point? To fill the Tumblrs with all manner of baseball facts, fictions, weirdnesses and wonders. Also, to raise money for Doctors Without Borders, a cause arguably more important than, say, love poems about Vin Scully. If you haven’t already, you should totally go give them some money.

I will have a guest post going live there at some point today. The image up top is a little preview. You can keep an eye on OTFB, or just wait until I see it post and update this post with a direct link, but either way, seriously– go help make this baseball blogathon a thing of success and beauty.

ETA: Here’s the post! Go look, go donate!

Thing the Second:

The Society for American Baseball Research (which most of you may know as SABR) has an ongoing Baseball Biography Project. A while back, one of their biographers got in touch with me because of an image he had seen on this very website. He liked it so much, for some unspeakably deranged reason, that he wanted to use it for the SABR profile of that player.

And now the Roar of the Tigers touch shall forever be upon the history of LimaTime.

Paws help us all.

eta: Thing the Third:

Joel Zumaya has signed a deal with the Twinkies. As Jason Beck correctly points out, Target Field was where he threw the pitch that broke his arm and murdered his Tigers career once and for all. Fun memories, I’m sure!

Given the amount of time and hope the Tigers invested in him, it would be difficult to see Zoom come back 100%, or even 90%, with Minnesota. But we should remember that Zoom staying healthy for a full season now is about as likely as the life of a mayfly is long.

the Alaskan Assassin and other such cartoons

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Apparently Daniel Schlereth, who was born in Anchorage, wishes to be known as The Alaskan Assassin. True fact (thank you, Mr. Beck). Who am I to deny Daniel Schlereth? So here he is, attired for Alaskan climes, with his sidekick seal and a knife for assassinatin’ folks.

Of course everyone already knows about Papa Grande/the Big Potato. Brayan Villarreal says that he has been calling Al Alburquerque ‘Avatar’; Jason Beck says like the movie, but I don’t really get what he has to do with the movie… it doesn’t matter anyways since I’m just going to keep calling him AlAl. Brad Thomas does not get a nickname because everyone has been content to simply make fun of his accent, which is stupid because his accent is awesome. Still! There are other worthy nicknames in the bullpen!

Villarreal is Zorro. The explanation given for this was “the hair”, even though I thought Zorro didn’t have particularly long hair, he just had that pencilly mustache thing. But… I mean… whatever.

Ryan Perry is Cyclops, because of his recent eyeball-related DL stint. Before that he was apparently called Agent P, and also the Platypus, for reasons completely unknown to me until I googled it and discovered Perry the Platypus. This is sort of amazing and as soon as the eyeball thing has faded from the forefront of our collective memory a little bit I am going to start drawing Ryan Perry as a platypus at all times.

Magglio Ordonez’s bat has been waking up a little. Thank cats.

Joel Zumaya is having exploratory surgery. He is probably done for the season (as if anyone expected otherwise?), he is possibly done forever. At least with the Tigers. Everything is very dire and sad and filled with wistful what-ifs and coulda-beens. If you own Guitar Hero, take your controller outside and burn it as a fitting memorial.

You may notice that Zoom is in civvies here. I just can’t reasonably draw him in a Tigers uniform anymore.

Paws had a birthday! He turned 16 years old, and is now legally able to drive, but he still cannot partake of celebratory champagne (if the Tigers ever start playing consistently and skillfully enough to deserve such things).

There is no real reason for this last, but Brandon Inge has been playing some cruddy baseball lately and I am angry with him, so he gets tattoonsulted. Also, have the rest of you noticed that we’re over a month into the season, and the goatee is still absent? I’m going to keep drawing him with it, though, so as to not upset the balance of the world.

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.

Zumaya is both more and less injured than expected.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

You knew that Joel Zumaya had been hurt. You were aware of the severity of the injury (exploded elbow bones). But you were listening to all the predictions and timetables, everything that was saying Zoom shouldn’t be too far behind come spring. You thought that he was going to be ready to go come Opening Day.

Ha HA! FOOLS! Joel Zumaya will always be more injured than you anticipate. He’s totally not going to be ready to go for Opening Day. Duh.

Initially he was being held out because some soreness had developed in his elbow, and we were told that he had torn some of the scar tissue that developed in there after the horrible break he suffered last season. OK, gross, but whatever: they said it wasn’t serious, in fact it was expected, and I was naively ready to believe that. I considered it such a non-story that I didn’t even bother making a post about it at the time.

But this is Joel Zumaya! Of course it didn’t end there. No, the soreness persisted, apparently beyond what they thought reasonable for a normal (?) bit of busted scar tissue. There was pain. There was inflammation. Start the tests! SHUT IT ALL DOWN. Now, the most recent tests don’t appear to have unearthed any obvious fresh damage. Great! But the Tigers don’t know what IS causing the inflammation in Zoom’s elbow (not the irritation of some free-floating scar tissue, I guess?).

“It could be as simple as [the elbow] adapting to the stress of throwing again,” head athletic trainer Kevin Rand, “but we don’t know.”
Jason Beck/

In any event, as Tom Gage points out, Zoom hasn’t thrown since February 27 and most likely won’t be cleared to pitch again until March 14 at the earliest, which means he’ll be at least a couple of weeks behind and probably won’t be Opening-Day-ready.

How could we have expected anything else? We knew it was going to come to something like this. It is the Way of Zumaya, the yin and the yang of his career, the velocity-drenched potential set up against and simultaneously enfolded within the surety of traumatic injury. Meditate upon it and learn about the fragility of the human arm, and the inevitability of life.

So Zoom will be ready eventually, maybe, assuming this is just recovery inflammation and it will go down soon enough. But why should any of us be comfortable with that assumption? He’s probably going to fall into a pit of alligators and have his entire right arm eaten (Brad Penny’s fiancee has been feeding them, so they’re probably getting comfortable around Tigers). Or he will trip and fall and Gene Lamont will emerge suddenly from the crowd to run his arm over with a golf cart.

Eight Nights of Terrible Chanukah Cartoons: Night Five

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

This one’s up a little late, sorry. In any event, it’s never too late to remember that festive menorahs are also potentially bearers of FIERY DANGER. This danger is most acute for those who are prone to knocking things over, or those who are just generally injury/disaster-prone.

So it’s no surprise that Paws would want to take the protective and cautious route where certain individuals are concerned.

Joel Zumaya’s arm has exploded.

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Lying on the ground… shaking with pain… arm hanging limp and useless… yes, just what we all wanted to see from Joel Zumaya.

Basically it seems like his arm just exploded. I don’t know what part. Maybe the elbow, maybe something in the shoulder. Maybe something in that much-abused forearm. Actually who am I kidding, every part of that arm could be described as ‘much-abused’ even before this.

Zoom is a tough dude. Whatever happened with his arm, the pain was incredible. I have never seen him react like that before. But some vital piece of arm just suddenly and violently stopped doing what it was supposed to be doing, and I imagine that would be very, very painful. Oh, and terrifying. You know, for anyone, but especially for a pitcher.

I don’t want to just say things without knowing for sure what happened, but this is a blog, so… Zoom is probably done for the year. Maybe forever. He can’t keep injuring that arm and trying to come back from it and then reinjuring it in new and horrible ways. That’s not a sustainable practice. This particular injury looked severe enough that he might not even be able to come back from it anyways.

Now, maybe we just saw him blow a ligament in real-time and he will need Tommy John surgery and he’ll recover from that as many baseball players do and all will be well a couple years down the line. But it didn’t look good. It didn’t look good at all. I am depressing myself right now.

How sad/telling is it that I already had the below cartoon sitting around on my computer, from like a year ago?

Oh, Joel.

ETA: Jason Beck sez elbow. It’s just after midnight on Tuesday right now. MRI to come later today. I guess we’ll hear when we hear.

ETA2: Casey Fien has been called up to replace Zoom. The Tigers did put Zoom on the DL, but we still don’t know what the actual diagnosis is, aside from ‘elbow’ and ‘incredibly painful’ and ‘not good’.

ETA3: It’s an elbow fracture. He is done for the season. Just try to imagine throwing a ball, and that motion being so bad for your arm that it BREAKS YOUR ELBOW. Seriously, just try to imagine that happening to your own arm. Poor Zoom.

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.

Continue reading

Lakeland, land of sun and hurt

Postcard Paws by Samara Pearlstein

Ah, Spring Training. Where nothing means anything, unless someone gets hurt. But who cares? THERE IS BASEBALL (of a sort).

So far it has all been good meaningless fun, as no one has gotten hurt yet… wait, I lie, poor Brennan Boesch took a baseball to the face and had to go to the hospital to get stitches. It doesn’t sound like anything is broken, displaced, or otherwise complicatedly maimed, and I haven’t heard mention of any concussion symptoms, so hopefully this will just be an unfortunate cosmetic situation for our BB.

Other than THAT, the injuries have been kept down. Inge, as we all know, is ahead of schedule. Scott Sizemore, recovering from a broken ankle and desperately needed at second base this year, played in a game without hurting himself. Bondo pitched a couple of good innings today, did not hurt himself. Carlos Guillen, so far as I know, has managed to walk around and breathe and occasionally move his arms and things without hurting himself.

Joel Zumaya, also In Recovery, has remained uninjured. But he did injure someone else: pitching against Florida Southern on Tuesday, he hit one of the college kids in the back. Even if he’s not throwing triple digits just yet, I can’t imagine it’s terribly fun to get beaned by a Zoom pitch. It led to this:

“I got the ball, I started walking back and I heard the crowd,” Zumaya recalled Wednesday morning. “So I turned back and I see the kid getting held back. I take my hat off and I’m like, ‘Oh, you little kid, I hope you’re 18 years old, because I’m going to beat your butt.’

“When I started walking back, the kid winked at me, and I’m like, ‘All right, all right.’ And I’m like, ‘Come on. This is not time to play show. [Team president/general manager] Dave [Dombrowski] is in the stands right now.”

Zumaya met [Florida Southern outfielder Tyler] Benzel along the first-base line to apologize and shake his hand, completing a moment that would’ve made for a great highlight if the game had been televised.
Jason Beck/

Getting hit by Joel Zumaya, then posturing like you want to fake-fight him? Someone give that kid a high five from me, please. Most other college players or minor leaguers would have been either lying on the ground in agony, or soiling their sliding shorts in fear. Mr. Benzel, we are impressed/delighted.

Joel Zumaya falls apart again and other such pleasantries

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

What is this?! I leave for a few days, and when I come back the team is falling apart literally (Zoom) and baseball-ly (the Yankee series)? Unacceptable, Tigers.

It’s the same old injury for Zumaya, as he reaggravated a previous stress fracture . Which one? I think they mean this one from late 2008, which was almost certainly a continuation of this injury from the 2007 offseason.

So we’re looking at a shoulder injury here that has landed Zumaya on the DL three separate times, over the course of three years. Think about that for a minute.

I am really starting to think that his pitching motion is inherently unsustainable for his body, even more so than is usual for a power pitcher, and especially so in a shoulder that has suffered a serious acromioclavicular/coracoid insult. The original injury had nothing to do with baseball (damn you, overloaded cardboard boxes!) and as such is not really a type of shoulder injury that is common within the sport. I wonder if any power pitcher has ever come back from a similarly severe AC joint injury and been able to resume throwing hard without followup setbacks…. I honestly don’t know, but I am starting to think that it’s unlikely.

This is pretty bad for the Tigers right now, and is also not the greatest sign in the universe for Zoom’s continued career. Who knows? Maybe if he made some small mechanical adjustments or dropped a few mph from his fastball he’d have a more sustainable motion, but then again maybe if he dropped a few mph from his fastball he’d lose whatever effectiveness he had left.

What’s most worrying (to me, anyways) is that they keep declaring this injury healed, and then it keeps cropping up again. If a stress fracture is healed enough for everday activity, but refractures again in less than a year under the strain of pitching, is it really healed? Can it ever actually heal enough to withstand the strain of radar-gun-watching, Zoom-style pitching? You know what I mean?

Ugh. After that, I don’t really want to get into what the Tigers did (or didn’t) do in the Yankee series. When your starters allow one, two, and two earned runs, respectively, over the course of a series, and you lose all those games, UR DOIN IT WRONG. I’ll leave it at that.