The Detroit News’ Tom Gage and Lynn Henning caught an earful yesterday from Tigers first base coach Andy Van Slyke, learning the former Pirates/Cards outfielder shares Larry Bowa’s distaste for the new rule requiring baseline coaches to wear protective headgear.

As usual, Van Slyke didn’t like wearing a helmet. In fact, he hates it.

“I don’t ever have headaches,” he said, “but because of the heat, I’ve had a headache after every game I’ve had to wear it. But I guess some of the new general managers, the Ivy League ones, believe it solves something.

“I’ve had Randy Johnson, in his first start in the big leagues, not knowing where the ball was going, coming so close to me that I felt the wind under my chin. So I think I have a pretty good idea about how to get out of the way of a baseball. The rule is eyewash.

“I’m not going to break the rule, but some coach is going to have a heart attack this year because of how hot he gets with a helmet on. It’s going to be brutal.”

Bear in mind this is the same Bonds-bashing Van Slyke who two seasons ago characterized Ozzie Guillen as someone who “gets a little upset and a little excited about the littlest, silliest things.”