DETROIT -- At home, the Detroit Tigers have it easy. Pick up the phone and talk to Matt Martin for instant replay. None of that fancy dialing, the box that houses the phone is black as opposed to gray for the bullpen, and there's no confusion. Good luck with that on the road.
There have been times on the road, not always, but times, when the Tigers have picked up the phone to see whether they were going to challenge a call on the field. They got the bullpen instead. See, at home, the Tigers don't have to dial in order to get Martin on the line, nor do they have to in order to call the bullpen.
But on the road, they do. Those big buttons that used to be on telephone booths, you know the ones: big clunkers where you put coins in for a certain amount of ... oh forget it I'm showing my age. Anyway, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus or whoever is calling has dialed the wrong number. When you're expecting to hear one voice and you get a completely different one ... yeah that's odd.
"We've done that by accident a couple times," Ausmus laughed. "Someone will call and say 'is that fair or foul' and (bullpen coach) Mick (Billmeyer) will go 'looked foul from here.' It hasn't happened here so much. It's on the road. Like in Minnesota, you have to actually dial to get to the bullpen, you have to dial to get to replay. I think we dialed the bullpen by accident."
And in case you're wondering: No, the opposing teams aren't going around putting up the wrong numbers to keep the Tigers from calling. It's not exactly a common occurrence when the lines get mixed up, but it might explain some of the lengthier wait times between deciding whether to challenge a call or not.
One thing learned in all this is that at least Billmeyer and the staff, at least have a sense of humor. It's a long season. Some levity goes a long way. And hey, it's a pretty funny story when you think about it.