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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Verge: Major League Baseball dumps landlines for dugout-to-bullpen cellphones

T-Mobile and Major League Baseball announced a partnership this week that will make the carrier the Official Wireless Sponsor of the MLB. That’s mostly a pointless marketing phrase, but it does have one very real effect on baseball going forward: the dugout phone, the one that calls the bullpen to bring in a new pitcher, is about to become a cellphone. The “On-Field Communication System” will eventually expand to other parts of the game and stadium, but only after it’s tested in the bullpen at the World Baseball Classic in Arizona — the league needs to be sure that T-Mobile’s network lets us tell apart the names of the Astros’ relievers before the technology is rolled out more broadly.

Edit: Link and tags fixed. (When posting please put only one tag in the “Primary Tag” field.) Jim

Tripon Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:42 PM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bullpen, dugout, mlb

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. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 09, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4342692)
I was going to suggest that at the first sign of a visiting pitcher being in trouble, the home fans all need to start making calls to flood the network except that so few of them would probably be T-Mob subscribers that it still won't swamp their nearest cell site.
   2. Matthew E Posted: January 09, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4342696)
There can't possibly be an advantage to this. The dugout doesn't move around. Neither does the bullpen. So the ability to carry the things wherever you go doesn't factor into it. How could cellphones, be they never so awesome, outperform a dedicated landline? Or do they figure Girardi's going to be playing Angry Birds on the thing while Rivera warms up?
   3. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: January 09, 2013 at 10:19 AM (#4342698)
There can't possibly be an advantage to this.


No, but there is sponsorship money to be gained.
   4. DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2013 at 10:21 AM (#4342700)
If I know ballplayers they'll spend most of their time texting each other the location of girls in the stands.
   5. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: January 09, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4342705)
If I know ballplayers they'll spend most of their time texting each other the location of girls in the stands.

And if I know ballplayers, they will spend most of their time sexting girls in the stands.
   6. villageidiom Posted: January 09, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4342706)
I look forward to the Jack Keefe post commenting on the replacement of the dugout phone with a leather-clad woman on a motorcycle.
   7. villageidiom Posted: January 09, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4342708)
There can't possibly be an advantage to this. The dugout doesn't move around. Neither does the bullpen. So the ability to carry the things wherever you go doesn't factor into it.
Can the phone be brought to the pitcher's mound by the manager when he's out there delaying the game to let the reliever get a few more warmup pitches in?
   8. Dale Sams Posted: January 09, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4342709)
I look forward to the top ten highlight of a manager borrowing a cellphone from someone in the crowd when the dugout phone doesn't work.

   9. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: January 09, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4342716)
I would sign off on this sop to the future on the condition that the Yankees bring back the 1978 Toyota Celica bullpenmobile.
   10. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: January 09, 2013 at 10:49 AM (#4342717)
Dugout: Get rivera UPTOWNGIRL
Dugout: Sorry, autocorrect
Bullpen: LOL
   11. morineko Posted: January 09, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4342719)
It's a sponsorship deal, sure, but it also looks like an interesting new technology. The system this is supposed to run on is geographically limited (so if the phones move a certain distance from their base stations, they stop working) and running on a different part of the wireless network from ordinary mobile traffic. I can see where this would be marketed for use in other situations and I'm interested to find out more about it as it is used (that isn't marketing puffery)
   12. tshipman Posted: January 09, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4342747)
If you're going to chase stupid corporate tie-ins, and I think we can all agree that MLB is going to continue doing this, then these are kinds of stupid corporate tie-ins to chase.

It does no actual harm to the game, and makes people extra money.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 09, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4342751)
Dugout: Get rivera UPTOWNGIRL
Dugout: Sorry, autocorrect
Bullpen: LOL


This would have given TLR a bit more cover during the 2011 WS.

TLR: Warm up Restitution.
TLR: Warm up Renaissance.
TLR: Dammit. Warm up Retribution.
TLR: Damn autocorrect. Warm up Marc R. The lefty.
   14. Matthew E Posted: January 09, 2013 at 11:25 AM (#4342755)
If you're going to chase stupid corporate tie-ins, and I think we can all agree that MLB is going to continue doing this, then these are kinds of stupid corporate tie-ins to chase.

It does no actual harm to the game, and makes people extra money.
Yeah, until Joe Maddon can't get a signal, and has to call for Fernando Rodney with Connie-Mack-like hand signals, and they get it wrong, and lose a game because Reid Brignac had to pitch to David Ortiz with the bases loaded in the ninth.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: January 09, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4342761)
Yeah, until Joe Maddon can't get a signal, and has to call for Fernando Rodney with Connie-Mack-like hand signals, and they get it wrong, and lose a game because Reid Brignac had to pitch to David Ortiz with the bases loaded in the ninth.


It's too bad Sam Fuld was unavaialble.

   16. DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4342764)
How long before all bullpen moves are done via Twitter?
   17. OsunaSakata Posted: January 09, 2013 at 11:58 AM (#4342798)
Autocorrect from the sister of baseball writer.
   18. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4342806)
Is there a Spiderman 3 logo on the phones?
   19. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4342811)
The land line is one of the most dependable technologies ever invented, or at least it seems to me.
   20. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4342818)
The system this is supposed to run on is geographically limited (so if the phones move a certain distance from their base stations, they stop working) and running on a different part of the wireless network from ordinary mobile traffic.


Also geographically limited and not running on the network of ordinary mobile traffic: land lines.
   21. Swedish Chef Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4342835)
The land line is one of the most dependable technologies ever invented, or at least it seems to me.

It was lousy and unreliable for a long time, and even after AT&T and others telcos made it function well in the West it continued to be crap in most of the world all the way until it became obsolete.
   22. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4342838)
It does no actual harm to the game, and makes people extra money.

No harm to the game on the field, but I'm not particularly looking forward to every single pitching change being turned into a commercial for T-Mobile as the result of a manager's "T-Mobile call to the bullpen."
   23. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4342842)
No harm to the game on the field, but I'm not particularly looking forward to every single pitching change being turned into a commercial for T-Mobile as the result of a manager's "T-Mobile call to the bullpen."


They already are for many teams/broadcasts.
   24. DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4342866)
Watch them put a femtocell in the clubhouse and one in the bullpen to ensure 100% coverage and no dropped calls. That essentially makes it a cordless phone.
   25. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4342869)
Dale S.: Get Dntrlle up
Lester S.: LMAO
Dale S.: Im SRS
Lester S.: 4 realz?
   26. ColonelTom Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4342871)
Amazing! Next thing you know, they'll have long-distance wireless transmission of high-quality audio, and they'll use it to broadcast unique genre-specific playlists curated by knowledgeable professionals.
   27. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4342874)
They already are for many teams/broadcasts.


The Braves already have the Verizon Wireless call-to-the-bullpen. I guess now it will be the Verizon Wireless call to the bullpen, brought to you by T-Mobile.
   28. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4342881)
If this ends with a moment like Ozzie Guillen making the "get me the big fat guy" gesture during the 2005 World Series for Jenks I'm Ok with it.

Reid Brignac had to pitch to David Ortiz with the bases loaded in the ninth.


Recent history of left-handed Red Sox sluggers against position players pitching in key spots is not that encouraging.

   29. Gamingboy Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4342882)
Jim Leyland will think it witchcraft and refuse to touch it.
   30. bunyon Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4342884)
Was there a rule against using cell phones for this before? I mean, the players have their phones and often text/tweet during games. Surely someone in the dugout has the number of someone in the bullpen and could maintain contact that way long before this deal.
   31. DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4342903)
Why are there four phones in the picture? If I recall the previous setup they had one phone and a series of different numbers used for contacting other different phones.
   32. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: January 09, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4342914)
Amazing! Next thing you know, they'll have long-distance wireless transmission of high-quality audio, and they'll use it to broadcast unique genre-specific playlists curated by knowledgeable professionals.

They could probably find professionals working the corner, that are more knowledgeable that the ones they are currently employing.
   33. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: January 09, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4342917)
Was there a rule against using cell phones for this before? I mean, the players have their phones and often text/tweet during games. Surely someone in the dugout has the number of someone in the bullpen and could maintain contact that way long before this deal.

AFAIK by rule, there are no electronic devices in the dugout.
   34. Rusty Priske Posted: January 09, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4342934)
I haven't read the article, and the comment above MAY have been in jest, but the question I want to know is... can the manager, pitchign coach, whatever, take the phone with him onto the field? Can they call the bullpen or bench or trainer's room or their bookies or wherever from the mound?
   35. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4342942)
Major League Baseball dumps landlines...


Anybody else read this as "Major League Baseball dumps land mines..."?
   36. Weeks T. Olive Posted: January 09, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4342950)
Hopefully this means some tie ins and appearances with the T-Mobile girl
   37. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 09, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4342986)
I can't be the only person who immediately thought "I can't wait to see Charlie Manuel trying to use a smartphone". Unfortunately it appears that the cell phone use is optional so he probably will stick with the landline.
   38. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 09, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4343011)
"And Maddon is up in the dugout, looks like he's headed for the phone, and that'll be it for McGee. No, he's going to the clubhouse to take a leak."
"Wait, it looks like he's made the pitching change WHILE taking a leak."
   39. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: January 09, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4343012)
Damn, this came a year too late for Bobby Valentine.
   40. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 09, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4343022)
Why are there four phones in the picture?


So when a manager gets pissed and slams one into the ground shattering it into many pieces he has a backup.
   41. McCoy Posted: January 09, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4343028)
It was lousy and unreliable for a long time, and even after AT&T and others telcos made it function well in the West it continued to be crap in most of the world all the way until it became obsolete.

Wait, what? Are you saying the telephone as we knew it was lousy and unreliable? Obligatory
   42. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: January 09, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4343029)
How long before all bullpen moves are done via Twitter?


Depends on if Ozzie Guillen gets another job.

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