So, that’s where I am right now as I read that a growing number of Major League Baseball teams are prepared to bring back the bullpen cart.
Yeah, I get that it’s designed to speed up the game, which is a good thing. But the time savings is minimal and if MLB was really serious the league would go to 15 seconds max between pitches, widen the strike zone and force batters to keep one foot in the box.
No. Instead, we get one of the worst ideas of the 1970s, the bullpen cart. I stumbled across this last month when the Arizona Diamondbacks they were bringing back the carts and it was “really happening.”
This is actually happening.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) March 6, 2018
Not all teams are going there, yet. The Twins have been kicking it around. I thought maybe the Diamondbacks were a one-off. And then on Friday I saw the Tigers are rolling their cart out now.
— Todd Radom (@ToddRadom) April 13, 2018
It’s pretty obvious here: The carts have more to do with advertising than speeding up the game.
They are literally advertising vehicles.
Maybe the cart thing was cool in the ’70s and ’80s when most of the stadiums were dark, round soulless caverns.
Now, though, MLB stadiums except for one (We’re looking at you, Tropicana Field), are beautiful landscapes that on glorious summer days beg baseball players to run them.
That’s the answer. We need to order relievers to run hard from the bullpen to the mound. You want speed and urgency? Watch the 2014 version of Phil Coke run to the mound:
That’s what we want, MLB.
These gimmicky things get out of control fast. Let’s not go there.
And if you need a reminder of how ridiculous things got way back when, here is a picture of the Seattle Mariners tugboat-themed cart:
— Baseball (@baseballminutia) August 14, 2016
It’s not too late to end the madness.