Major League Baseball is cutting the landline phone from its dugouts and will now be going mobile…just like the rest of the world.
Sometimes, baseball is, well, just too (well) steeped in tradition. One tradition you won’t be seeing much longer, however, is the landline phone in the bullpen. With 34% of American households now cell phone only, MLB bullpens will soon be joining the trend and cutting the landline. This is the landline bullpen phone that has been around since the 1930′s and the one that nearly cost the St. Louis Cardinals the 2011 World Series against the Rangers.
During the 2011 World Series, manager Tony LaRussa made the proverbial call to his bullpen in game 5 only to have the bullpen coach misinterpret what he said due to crowd noise and a bad connection. The result was that the normally flawless Cardinals’ manager did not have the proper reliever warmed up to face Rangers’ slugger Mike Napoli. Napoli’s hit gave the Texas Rangers game 5 and put the Cardinals in a 3-2 hole–a hole that the Cardinals overcame with victories in the final two games.
T-Mobile’s deal with Major League Baseball was announced yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. On hand to make the announcement was Miguel Cabrera, Bryce Harper, Joe Torre, and Frank Thomas. Tony LaRussa was conspicuous by his absence.
The new technology will use T-Mobile’s G4 and Samsung phones. The bullpen phones will be geofenced meaning that they won’t work outside of the bullpen area. Hence, bored relievers won’t be able to call the hot girl flirting with them in section 135.