Bullpen Phones Go Wireless. What?

Baseball is a sport steeped in tradition. It moves slowly, it changes slowly, the game is played…slowly. So it comes as a big shock to me to imagine managers picking up a cell phone to call the bullpen.

But there you go. And this magical new communication will be powered by T-Mobile.

I guess the old fashioned bullpen phone will be the story I tell my kids. Like my dad told me about the bullpen cart.

While I normally am usually somewhere between unfazed and mildly annoyed by new ads and sponsorships appearing in front of every part of the game, I like that this is a functional partnership. Even if a cell phone may not really be necessary bullpen technology.

Under the agreement, T-Mobile will provide MLB with a new On-Field Communication System, powered by T-Mobile’s powerful nationwide network technology. The first use of this technology will be in a wireless voice system connecting managers in select Major League dugouts to coaches in bullpens. This dugout-to-bullpen system will start to roll out in 2013 and the new On-Field Communication System solution will offer greater mobility as well as options for future innovation within the game.

— http://www.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130108&content_id=40895452&vkey=pr_mlb&c_id=mlb&tcid=TMO_TW_010813&partnerId=aw-5954574031703122309-996

It’s a strange switch on the face of it, and I would prefer MLB address technology like “instant replay” or “iPads for managers in the dugout” before upgrading (downgrading?) the bullpen phone, but MLB (through MLBLAM) has been on the forefront of tech for a while so I’m watching with…medium interest.

Tony LaRussa, Manager to the Stars

One of the baseball’s most legendary managers called it quits Monday. Just a few days after winning his third World Series title, his second with the St. Louis Cardinals, the bullpen manager hung up his cleats for good.

Will Albert Pujols follow his lead out of town? Will LaRussa return to manage the NL All-Star team? We’ll find out as the offseason kicks into gear.

One thing is for sure, Tony LaRussa left a lasting impact on major league bullpen management.