Some ValenTigers for you.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Happy mid-February, everyone! What better time to proclaim one’s love for another? Here are some Tigers to share their feelings with you, their best beloved Tigers fan.

Meanwhile, here in Boston, there is no love, only a cold, frozen wasteland of snow and aloneness.

May the Tigers bring you greater warmth!

time to go a-caravaning

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

It’s time for the Winter Caravan, that annual collection of randomly delightful Tigers appearances in the cold and the snow and the dead of Michigan winter. I, with my Massachusetts location, will not be able to attend, but maybe you will? There are many wonderful options to choose from, such as

Rajai Davis at the Frankenmuth Snowfest, doing snow things, or

Nick Castellanos serving you Buffalo Wild Wings, which I know is your true wildest dream, or

Ian Kinsler posing seductively with cars at the North American International Car Show,

or any other number of magical things that will be happening with Tigers in and around them. Hospitals! Rotary Clubs! MudHens! Hockeytown! A police crime lab (??)! The US Customs and Border Protection Agency (??????)! Something at Oakland University that will be taking place on North Squirrel Road! Just what you need to warm up your winter.

Also, we now know how the Max Scherzer situation panned out.

So I suppose that is that. So long, dear friend. We will miss your spot in the rotation and your goofy good nature and most of all your beautiful, extremely cartooning-friendly eyes.

The hunt continues.











illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

BUT HOW WILL IT END??

And so.

The Joys and Perils of the Postseason


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

When your team reaches the postseason, it is a time of great excitement. Just making the postseason is not the big Win, of course, but it is the first step along the way, and it signifies a year in which at least some things got done properly. The players feel good and you get to watch them feeling good, usually with goggles and plastic sheeting and carbonated alcohol. Your artificially selected tribe has triumphed in some small way, and as your reward, you get to care about baseball for just a little bit longer.

And hey, we’re not just talking about the postseason here– the Tigers won the division! All the other players on all the other AL Central teams must spend the winter on call, catering to the needs and whims of various Tigers, whether that be snow shoveling duties (for that one insane Tiger who lives in the midwest year-round [we still have one of those, right?]) or babysitting duties or taking Astro for really long walks and scooping up all his leavings when David Price is just too dang tired and also it is rainy outside. That is why it is such a big deal, winning the division.

However.

Here is the problem: the Tigers, for much of this year, have just not been that good a baseball team. Obviously they have very good parts, and they have had very good stretches, and these things combined to get them into October employment. But anyone who has watched the team consistently this season has seen that their Dark Side is not so much a couplefew aberrations and bad luck moments, but is instead a constant shadowy companion, always almost perfectly in lockstep with the good bits of the team, ready to leap to the fore at the slightest stumble or hesitation.

And now that the Tigers are in the postseason, without the comforting buffer zone of large sample sizes, this is becoming incredibly obvious and visible to everyone— to casual fans, to normally oblivious national TV broadcasters, to that super annoying dude in your office who like really does not follow baseball but every year come October starts behaving as if he is practically a beat reporter who’s been watching games all year long and pronounces Nick Castellanos’ name some wild kind of inaccurate way.

There have been good things. Miguel Cabrera is Miguel Cabrera. Victor Martinez has been hot. JD Martinez has been the pleasantest surprise named JD this team has ever known. These cats are off and running. Certain other members of the team are having a, uh, let us say harder time keeping up.

And meanwhile, out in the bullpen…

That, quite plainly, is a problem.

Sunday the Tigers will either go on, or they will not. They will stand a chance of advancing to the next stage of ‘won some stuff that’s not the big Win but is still pretty nice’ victory, or they will not. The dual Martinez threat will lead the offense to spectacular victory, or Joba Chamberlain will lose a finger playing with explosives. Comedy or tragedy. Playoff baseball.

Go Tigers!

beware the pit


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

If that horrible bundle of creatures deep in the bowels of the earth there is the rest of the AL Central, I think we can call this a mostly accurate view of the Tigers right now.

Hang on, Paws! Hang on!

When it rains, it pours. Roars? No, pours (sadly).


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Nineteen inning games that go on for hours and hours and hours and end in tragedy? Multiple players hitting the DL at once? Verlander’s shoulder getting so sore that he has to jam his tender limb-bits into an MRI? Getting bumped from the top spot in the division by Kansas City, of all teams? Losing, and losing, and losing some more?

Apocalyptic rainstorms that dump so much water on the Metro Detroit area that basements are soaked and roads are flooded and all cats are sodden and sad?

Truly these are unpleasant times.

If you’re in the flood zones, stay safe, watch out for mold, and I hope your damage was not too great. If you’re in Toledo, I hope you’ve recovered from your own water-based drama, and have laid in a store of bottled water to last you a month. If you’re a member of the Detroit Tigers… please stop the deluge.