Tigers pondering bullpen car; Twitter laughs

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — There’s going to be a whole lot of newness at Comerica Park this season. New faces. New eats (Nutella spring rolls, y’all!). New ... errr, no ... expectations.

And this should put a smile on your face: The Tigers also are contemplating the introduction of a bullpen car.

“Under consideration,” team spokesman Ron Colangelo told The News on Tuesday.

Given the Tigers’ bullpen plight over the years — speaking of which, if you have an hour to kill, here’s how that got so bad — you can imagine, Twitter had a good chuckle at that little revelation, two days before Opening Day in Detroit.

The Tigers, best we can tell, have never had a bullpen car. Which makes sense. That was mostly a 1970s fad, they fizzled in the 1980s, and were gone completely in the 1990s, and the bullpens at Old Tiger Stadium were located down the base lines, barely a miniature-golf par 3 from the pitcher’s mound. It would’ve taken longer to drive the car in from center field and pick up the pitcher than it took the pitcher to walk to the mound.

But the Comerica Park bullpens are beyond the wall in left-field, a much-longer walk — or sprint; we’re looking at you, Phil Coke! — for a reliever.

Other teams had some memorable bullpen cars, though, especially the Indians (made famous in “Major League,” when Jake Taylor hastily drove it over to an ex’s house), Mets, Astros and Mariners, whose, of course, was in the shape of a tugboat. Most of them were shaped like baseballs.

Because MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is so obsessed with shortening games, if even by a second, he’s floated all sorts of wackadoodle ideas. Pitch clocks. Starting runners on second base in extra innings. Actually limiting the number of pitching changes a manager can make. None of those have come to fruition, and probably none of them ever will.

The bullpen car, though, that’s works for everybody. It serves a purpose, and it’s fun. Which is why they’re making a comeback this year, at the request of the players' union.

The Arizona Diamondbacks were the first to announce they would field one.

Several other teams have acknowledged they are considering them.