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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Caple: The bullpen cart is alive and well with the Sugar Land Skeeters

Last month, [Will] Startup¹ and his Sugar Land teammates became the first relievers in almost two decades to ride to the mound in a bullpen cart when the [Sugar Land] Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League started using one. It isn’t just the biggest development for bullpen cart fans since Tom Berenger drove one in pursuit of Rene Russo in “Major League,” it’s also the best news for the U.S. automotive industry since the turnaround…

The last such motorized shuttle in the majors is believed to be the Brewers’ Harley Davidson motorcycle and sidecar in 1995… Since this is 2012, the Skeeters’ cart is suitably eco-friendly—it runs on a battery—and has air-conditioning (a ‘must’ for a team located just outside Houston), leather seats, a backup camera, a sound system and a cup holder… The Skeeters have something else in mind, though: They plan to add a bubble machine to the cart so it will leave a trail of bubbles floating behind it…

several Japanese teams still use a bullpen cart. I just hope the bullpen cart returns to the majors soon as well, because they might finally lead to the end of the one-inning closer.

¹ Yes, this is a real person’s name, although this is not him.

The District Attorney Posted: June 09, 2012 at 06:57 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: atlantic league, bullpen carts, independent leagues, minor leagues, sugar land skeeters, will startup

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Bruce Markusen Posted: June 09, 2012 at 07:16 PM (#4152648)
Love the bullpen cart! Bring it back.
   2. Jacob Posted: June 09, 2012 at 07:18 PM (#4152650)
I just hope the bullpen cart returns to the majors soon as well, because they might finally lead to the end of the one-inning closer


Although I have a few theories, why would that happen?
   3. Bote Man Posted: June 09, 2012 at 09:03 PM (#4152674)
Although I have a few theories, why would that happen?

Excessive use discharges the battery, thus no other pitchers can come in.
   4. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 09, 2012 at 09:37 PM (#4152697)
I still love many things of the baseball of my youth, but I have always considered the bullpen car an abomination.

   5. Bob Tufts Posted: June 09, 2012 at 10:43 PM (#4152716)
The Yankees used to have a car drive you in from the bullpen.

In my one appearance at the Stadium, the driver had to put on the windshield wipers because fans threw food and beer at the car as it went by the left field stands.

   6. Jacob Posted: June 10, 2012 at 12:22 AM (#4152794)
In my one appearance at the Stadium, the driver had to put on the windshield wipers because fans threw food and beer at the car as it went by the left field stands.


Must've been Royal's fans. Zing!
   7. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 10, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4152853)
Why on earth are the Sugar Land Skeeters in the Atlantic League, and not the American Association? The Atlantic League has been around for 15 years and has never had a team closer to Texas than Waldorf, Maryland. This has to be a sign of some sort of desperation.
   8. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4212469)
Why on earth are the Sugar Land Skeeters in the Atlantic League, and not the American Association? The Atlantic League has been around for 15 years and has never had a team closer to Texas than Waldorf, Maryland. This has to be a sign of some sort of desperation.
I think it's actually the opposite, the Atlantic League wants to expand west.
   9. Lassus Posted: August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4212477)
Tell a youngster, how long and how frequently was the bullpen car in use?

Honestly, it seems plain stupid, but I'm willing to be convinced.
   10. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: August 20, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4212491)
Indy ball has serious problems, but I view this as an attempt by the relatively strong Atlantic League to grab some sweet Texas markets.

Will Startup was an interesting relief prospect once upon a time - posted a 2.19 ERA in AAA at age 22 (and had pretty good numbers prior to that) and was traded as part of a package for Royce Ring. Ring didn't work out - neither did Startup who struggled, got hurt, and never got back to where he was.

Here's Paul Lukas on the history of the bullpen car(t).
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: August 20, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4212558)
Here's Paul Lukas on the history of the bullpen car(t).


From FA:

1982: The Mariners introduce a nautically themed bullpen conveyance called the Tugboat. It gets off to a rocky start on Opening Day when pitcher Bill Caudill steals the keys during pregame festivities, leaving the Tugboat stranded on the left-field line and delaying the start of the game.

That's fantastic.

   12. MM1f Posted: August 20, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4212575)
I still can't believe Will Startup never made the majors. He breezed through the minors with the Braves, looking like a solid future lefty reliever, then got dumped off to the Padres and blew out his arm. Go Dawgs!
   13. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: August 20, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4212610)
three way crosspost:
The Skeeters have reportedly signed Roger Clemens to pitch for them.
(and I'm heading off the inevitable McCready joke... now)
   14. puck Posted: August 20, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4212638)
Bullpen cars were great for merchandising. I hope they still sell the toy cars even though there are no bullpen cars anymore. When I was a kid I happily blew my allowance on the toy bullpen car. That thing must still be in Mom's basement somewhere.

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