365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

T-shirt #362 - The Detroit Tigers White Long Sleeve

TODAY'S COUNT: 03 blog posts remaining in the T-shirt year!!

T-shirt #362 - The Detroit Tigers - White Long Sleeve
Spring Training has been going since mid-February, and I am catching the Baseball fever once again. (I hope you know I like to capitalize Baseball.)

I thought I had only one Detroit Tigers shirt left, a new one that I bought after the Tigers lost in the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox. But then I found this shirt in a box. It is actually a very nice shirt. And then I also remembered that I had not yet shared the shirt from the Final Game at Tigers Stadium. So, counting this shirt, I actually have three Detroit Tigers themed shirts to share.

Looking at my remaining shirts and the number of new shirts I shared this year (38 because there's one I have not published yet but exists in draft form) and then considering the box of almost two dozen new shirts that I have not even photographed or laundered yet since receiving them as gifts, I realize that I may have not needed so many new shirts to complete my year. Though I am still letting the blog be the count, and I am resisting the urge to make a manual count, I estimate that I have possibly as many as two dozen shirts that I owned before starting this blog that will not be posted during the main blog year.

Given that I have posted sixteen times about the Detroit Tigers (though this number does not represent sixteen Tigers shirts as some posts were Tigers content but not Tigers themed shirts), this shirt may not be the most deserving of being the three-hundred and sixty second post with only THREE posts remaining. But I did mention that I would limp to the finish line, didn't I? No huge revelations and epic entries rattling excitedly in the web form in these final days. I am busy with work and life and paying bills. And I will eventually share all of my shirts in blog posts.

Then again, maybe making a Detroit Tigers shirt one of my final ten posts is very significant and worthy. If I am listing shirts that mean the most to me and that I cherish, there's the comic book themed shirts (logo ones for sure), some ultimate shirts, and then probably Detroit Tigers shirts even over my prize Star Trek or BSG shirts.

As always at this time of year, I am excited for Baseball season to begin. I am drafting fantasy teams and reading about player news quite often. And yet, no bold predictions. After the Detroit Tigers failed to win the World Series, after getting in to the series, in 2012, I did not proclaim that they were an automatic lock in 2013. And see what happened? And so, once again, of course, I would like to see them win the World Series, but this is not an easy thing to do. As such, I am tempering my expectations.

And yet, the Tigers look very good this year...

I am encouraged by the run output this spring in which the Tigers have scored runs in the double digits four times in the last week.

The pitching looks great. Sure, Porcello is working up to form. But Scherzer looks hot, and Justin Verlander is all recovered from surgery. And though Iglesias, the short stop, will begin the season on the DL (and possibly spend the season there), the offense looks very good, even for spring training.

GO TIGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the shirt I was
wearing this morning, but
I am not now...
OFFICIAL BOILERPLATE TEXT OF THE LAST TWENTY POSTS COUNTDOWN: Hi. Thanks for reading. I am posting this "boilerplate" text everyday for the last TWENTY posts in the T-SHIRT blog year, which started on March 22, 2013. I will close out daily transmission on March 21st, day 365 of my T-shirt blog-tastic extravaganza spectacular. I will give myself a short hiatus of total non-transmission or  publication for an as yet undetermined period of time, though I am estimating about two weeks. After my blog vacation hiatus, I will resume T-shirt posts on a regular basis, also as yet to be determined (weekly? Twice monthly?) to finish blogging about all the T-shirts that were not featured in the blog year. At some point, once I feel I am rolling along nicely, I will begin regular posting through my main blog: SENSE OF DOUBT. T-shirt posts will direct to the T-shirt blog from SENSE OF DOUBT. I will continue to post THE WEEKLY COMIC LIST, the features of occasional T-SHIRTS I AM WEARING THIS WEEK, book reviews, comic book reviews, and other popular culture nonsense as I have been for a year now but all will go up at SENSE OF DOUBT and some will direct back here to 365 T-SHIRTS. Ultimately, I will begin Internet publication of my fiction, primarily the comic book satire episodic story called POP! among other projects. So, in summary, 365 T-SHIRTS will continue though intermittently. SENSE OF DOUBT will host my main blog presence and fiction writing as well as links to any T-shirt posts shared here. I hope you will continue to follow me in my journey as a writer and a content provider. Thank you for your kind attention and time you have spent with me on this and/or any other day this year. I am humbled and blessed by your readership. - chris tower, blogger, originated 1403.02
To close, I am posting some of my past Tigers content. I cannot say too much more than I have already. 

FROM T-SHIRT #132: I still have not opened the jar of Billy Sauce.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

T-shirt #132: Detroit Tigers Stadium and Billy Sauce

T-shirt #132: Detroit Tigers, Tigers Stadium, and Billy's Hit-a-Ton Barbecue Sauce & A BIG ROUNDUP OF RANDOM STUFF!!


Good morning from the Bloggy Carnival of Towerness. By the time I finished writing this one, it was no longer morning.

It's Wednesday the last day of July 2013, and it's a good day to be a Detroit Tigers fan.

I was actually watching last night, and I was actually hoping with the power of my mind and heart for the very outcome that occurred as Alex Avila clubbed a two-out, grand slam in the sixth off one of the best pitchers in Baseball, the Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg. It was Avila's first career GRAND SALAMI.

Usually, if I send a Twitter message during a game, crowing about something that happens in the game, I jinx the outcome, and the Tigers lose. Last night, I sent the message, and the Tigers still won, by a score of 5-1.

In other Tigers news, a big trade went down last night that will bring Boston shortstop Julio Iglesias to the Tigers as a backup in case regular and All-Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta is suspended by the MLB on the bogus Biongenesis scandal. The Tigers gave up OF Avisail Garcia and RHP Brayan Villarreal in the deal.

Stories. I love Baseball's stories and I love its statistics. History and numbers. The history of numbers. The human interest of stories. The numbered story of history. The personalities and the oddities. Today, I am going to feature a little bit of all that delightful big country buffet in one roundup blog post.


I have been disloyal.

I bought barbecue sauce featuring a Kansas City Royals player named Billy Butler or as he's known by the nickname: "Country Breakfast."

And this was not an impulse buy in the store. I sent away to Kansas City for this sauce and paid extra fees in Federal Express shipping.

In my defense, proceeds from the sale of the sauce benefit a Kansas City food pantry and community kitchen charity called the Bishop Sullivan Center.

Also, hey, I kind of like the Royals. There, I said it.

The Kansas City Royals would not be on my list of "most hated" Baseball teams. I kind of like the current crop of young players who are making a run in the AL Central. And I have always liked the franchise, going back to the days of George Brett. If a team is going to duke it out with the Tigers down the stretch, I would rather see the Royals in the fight than the Indians and Twins (whom I do hate) or even the Chicago White Sox (about whom I am on the fence).

Plus, I like Billy "Country Breakfast" Butler. He was a pick up on my main fantasy Baseball team a few years back (is anyone surprised that I play FANTASY BASEBALL? I thought not.), and he has "hit a ton" for me ever since.

Plus, in these days of summer, I am keen to try specialty BBQ sauce. And Kansas City intrigues me as a great place to visit.

And though the Royals have produced "Fear the Sauce" T-shirts, I do not expect to purchase and wear one of those shirts. Sauce for another team I will try; T-shirts for another team, a RIVAL team? No way.

and also from  T-SHIRT #132:


It's difficult to have a favorite Detroit Tigers player. For a while, I was a Brandon Inge fan, and then an Alex Avila fan. But how could I not love Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera? And what about Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta, Doug Fister, and Joaquin Benoit?

They are all favorites. They are all special because they are on my favorite team. Even when the Tigers acquire someone I did not like previously, such as Jose Valverde, I have to come to like the player because he is now a Detroit Tigers player.

I already liked Max Scherzer before reading the Sports Weekly article from July 18th, which is mostly cribbed from these articles by Jeff Seidel of the FREEP:

Detroit Tigers first-time All-Star Max Scherzer takes modesty, intellect to mound


Detroit Tigers' Max Scherzer (10-0) shows all his talent, strength.

There's also a good blog post here:

What I read in these articles makes me love Max Scherzer all the more. He was an under-valued, smart pick up from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and he's having a career year following a very good year to prove it.
I learned how competitive he is, how much he studies the game, that he loves scuba diving, that he is a kid at heart, and most importantly that he's a life long learner, learning and reading all the time, getting into what he calls "Google Freefalls."

I also learned that his nickname on the team is "Mad Max."

Go Mad Max.



"Where were you in 2003?" I would ask these suddenly emerged from the closet Tigers fans wearing their new, crisp, creased Tigers gear.

Where was I in 2003? Listening to games. Watching games. Often, my favorite of tandem of TV on mute and radio broadcast on full volume. I listen in the car. I listen in bed at night. I carry my portable radio around with me from room to room, outside, on trips, at the ultimate field, at the dinner table. I listen to or watch games whether the Detroit Tigers are winning or LOSING.

In 2003, my beloved team lost a lot. Despite significant changes to the team and leadership, the Tigers set a new record for most losses in American League history with 119. EIGHTY-SEVEN years had passed since an American League  team had been so futile: the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics lost 117 games. The Detroit Tigers narrowly avoided setting the major league record of most losses in a season held by the 1962 New York Metroplitans with 120 losses. Entering the last week of the 2003 season, the Tigers were well on the way to over 120 losses, if not for a mini-winning streak with victories in five of the final six games of the season, which saved the team from making ignominious major league history.

I loved the 2003 Detroit Tigers as much as I loved the 2006 Detroit Tigers as much as I loved the 1975 Detroit Tigers or the really awful (though not epic in losses) 1996 team. Still, I felt there was a lot to like in 2003. Illitch had finally jettisoned Randy Smith, the worst GM in all of Tigers (if not all of Baseball) history. Enter Dave Dombrowski, wiz kid of the Florida Marlins and a graduate of Western Michigan University here in Kalamazoo. Awesome. Dombrowski hires Alan Trammel, my favorite Baseball player of all time, to manage the team with several other of my favorite Tigers as coaches, such as Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish. The Tigers had some young talent with potential, such as Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Cornejo, Carlos Peña, and even Matt Anderson, who was the inexplicable Number One draft pick of Randy Smith in 1997, the same year the teams that followed selected players, such as Troy Glaus, J.D. Drew, Vernon Wells, Michael Cuddyer, and LANCE BERKMAN.

So back to my question for these fans coming out of the woodwork: "where were you in 2003?"

Was I bitter? Maybe, a little. Bandwagon fans. Not a fan of the band wagon. But did I want them to stop supporting the Detroit Tigers? Not really. I could do without how the fair-weather fans drove up ticket prices and made tickets more scarce, and yet I will take all the Tigers fans the team attracts. The more the merrier. We are an exclusive club, united by one sole common virtue: we all LOVE the Detroit Tigers.

This brings me to 2006. After some rebuilding and smart acquisitions, the team had performed better in 2004 and 2005, but they had not earned winning records yet. Sure, 70 some wins are a near 30 win improvement over the dismal 43 win season of 2003, but I tend to be a realist, especially about the Detroit Tigers. Let's not get too excited.

On Opening Day, someone I knew claimed the Tigers would go to the World Series. I scoffed. 2003 was still too fresh in my mind. In the early part of the 2006 season, things did not look good at all for a post season run of any kind let alone a WORLD SERIES appearance (the first in 22 years). But the Tigers started to win and win A LOT. By August, the team was 40 games above .500, and yet they almost let it all slip away. The Tigers lost the division in an epic September collapse, and they entered the post-season as a Wild Card. Given how the team was playing, I had little hope that it could beat its first post-season opponent: The New York Yankees.

The Yanks and Tigers split the first two games of the ALDS. I attended game three, the first home game,  in which Kenny Rogers smoked the Bronx Bombers. SMOKED! Embarrassed. AWESOME. Other than the last game at Tigers Stadium, this game three was the single best baseball game I had ever attended. Suddenly, winning some post season games did not seem so unlikely. The Tigers won game four also and a trip to the ALCS.

This is the 1968 commemorative World Series hat for the
Detroit Tigers, which I wore on Opening Day 2013.
I did not get to attend any more Tigers games in 2006 after the ALDS as ticket prices were out of sight and work commitments kept me busy at home. But I bought the shirt. I did not expect the team to win the series, and it didn't. But I wear the shirt with pride. It was a wild ride, one of the most fun seasons I had been able to share with my beloved team. And then 2007-2010, the Tigers could not put it together. But now, in 2011 and 2012, two years of making the post-season. AL Central Champs both years and American League champions in 2012. And another World Series loss in 2012. (And yes, sentence fragments, so shoot me; they work.)

Is 2013 the year that the Detroit Tigers wins it all?

I am excited.

But let's not get too excited.

It's Baseball. Anything can happen, and it usually does.

-chris tower 1304.06 10:25



My all-time favourite Baseball player is Alan Trammell and has been since 1984. I did not have one favourite Baseball player let alone one Detroit Tiger prior to crowning Trammell as my champion. I had many favourite players and many favourite Detroit Tigers.

Trammell was everything I wanted to be. He was smart and consistent. He was intense and focused. He was a winner. He was smooth and defensively solid. He was quiet. He led by example. Did I mention the smarts?

Bill James rated Alan Trammell as the ninth best shortstop in the history of the game in the same Historical Abstract book that I wrote about in T-shirt #115 and the Chicago Cubs (Ron Santo).

Trammell is Hall of Fame bound. He has been on the ballot since 2001. Eventually, he and Sweet Lou will be inducted. Not yet.

Trammell was World Series MVP in 1984.

He sat at Sparky's side and learned from one of the greatest managers in the history of the game. And though Tram's first run as Detroit Tigers manager was not the most stellar, he is getting more seasoning as Kirk Gibson's bench coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are currently in first place in the NL West.

Though Tram was not a power home run hitter (only 185), and though he did not hit enough to reach the lofty and exclusive 3000 hit club (only 28 players have so far in MLB history), he knocked 2365 hits in his career, which is not too shabby and a feat few have accomplished. Though I am not going to report Tram's position in MLB history with his career hit total, he is seventh on the all-time Tigers list after two of the Tigers in 3000 hit club (Ty Cobb and Al Kaline) plus Gehringer, Heilmann, Crawford, and Sweet Lou Whitaker (who has just four more hits than Tram, his infield partner for all those years).

Here's a great blog entry from last year that expresses many sentiments I share about the grand old ball park.


Trammell embodied the best spirit of that time and the very nature of Ernie's phrase "Bless You Boys!"

Commemorative hat from the
2012 World Series

The Tigers exploded out of the gate in 1984 like no other team that year, no other Tigers team in history, with one of the best starts in Major League history.

The Tigers cruised to a 35-5 record in the first 40 games and one of the top ten best starts by a team in major league history.

A writer collected these starts atBLEACHER REPORT.

The Tigers ended up  with 104 wins and 58 losses, which is not the best record in Baseball history, but it is one of the best. And in 1984, the Tigers' record was far and away the best of that year with the next best team back at 96 wins (The Chicago Cubs).

But 1984 is special to me because it brought me back to Baseball and reminded me of how much I loved the Tigers and Baseball.

Unlike the last time when the Tigers won the World Series (1968) when I was only six years old, the 1984 win meant a lot more to me because I was watching the games with my college friends (and sometimes my father) and engaging in adult conversations about the Tigers and Baseball.

The Tigers have not won the World Series since.

Most of all, I remember the summer of 1984 and how it re-kindled my forgotten love of Baseball.

I think puberty turned me temporarily insane. I didn't really fully grow out of the insanity until I was in my forties.

But early on, I remembered how much I loved Baseball, and I have been devoted ever since.

Hat is from Spring Training 2009
which I attended with my best pal.
Hat is a purged gift from him.
Photo courtesy of Robert Tower

I love books about Baseball. Here's a picture of me posing with some of my books about the Tigers (though not all of my books about the Tigers) and all my books written by Ernie Harwell, most of which are signed.

This love of Baseball books should not surprise anyone. After all, I am the writerly, bookish type. Naturally, one of the things I love best about Baseball is the study of Baseball: statistics, stories, and history. The LORE. This is what Ernie gave me a passion for: THE LORE. He told the legends of Baseball both big and small like no other storyteller I have ever heard speak about Baseball.

I have written eight posts (including this one) about Baseball since I started the blog. I have written all but one of these Baseball posts about the Detroit Tigers.

And if you think I am out of Baseball shirts, you do not understand me at all. I have much more to share about Baseball, The Detroit Tigers, the 1984 team, Alan Trammell, Tigers Stadium, and Ernie Harwell. Stay tuned. Oh, and I should not forget to mention: Sparky Anderson.


Ernie took over as the voice of the Detroit Tigers two years before I was born (1960) and finally retired the year I was 38 years old (which was also the year my mother almost died from bacterial meningitis). For 38 years of my life, Ernie was the voice of the Detroit Tigers. As I wrote in T-shirt #115, I think I nailed it:

"I love listening to Baseball on the radio. This is one of the central truths of my love for Baseball. It is presented in its most classic form on the radio. I grew up listening to the Detroit Tigers on the radio, the sonorous voice of Ernie Harwell crackling across my AM band, hand-sized transistor late into the night."
I am nothing if not self-referential and meticulous about the ongoing story I am constructing in these virtual pages.

Thank you, Ernie. I miss you.


COUNTDOWN TO END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 03 shirts remaining

- chris tower - first published - 1403.18 - 19:54
final publication - 1403.19 - 14:44