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MLB switching from land line bullpen phones to cell phones

Jan 8, 2013, 8:37 PM EDT

MLB and T-Mobile just announced a multi-year sponsorship agreement which makes the former the Official Wireless Sponsor of the latter. That’s well and good because business is business, but it has a baseball implication too: wireless bullpen phones. The setup is going to look like this:


It’ll be a joy to watch Charlie Manuel try to use one of these. You think they’d try to ease him into it with a flip phone with big numbers or something.

Anyway, the T-Mobile phones will operate on a closed point-to-point network, which the league and T-Mobile illustrate thusly:


As long as it works.

As for that: the test run is going to come in the World Baseball Classic, where Joe Torre will be using it as he manages the US team. Gonna be hard for him to program the thing to NOT automatically call Scott Proctor, but I’m sure he’ll figure it out by then.

  1. zalbatt07 - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    And they think T Mobile will make things better? lol at that

    • dickclydesdale - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:23 PM

      Blue Tooth would be a better option.

  2. dondada10 - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Excuse me while I put my purist hat on.

    No. No, Bud. Get rid of this the same way you got rid of those Spider-Man bases baseball almost used one year.

  3. cruuuzcontrol - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    This is so stupid. What the heck is the big problem with the land lines? Ugh… Just an excuse to slap some more advertising in MLB parks.

  4. djm426 - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    R they going to text in the switch… Dumbest idea ever,agree that it’s just another advertising ploy

  5. mrwillie - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Whose going to be the first manager to blame leaving a pitcher in too long because the bullpen cell phone was on vibrate?

    • zzalapski - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:38 AM

      Dusty Baker

  6. thebadguyswon - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Selig and a semi should rendezvous on a freeway somewhere.

  7. Francisco (FC) - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    I have great reception at the ballpark. then again, it WOULD be embarrassing if Rogers Centre DIDN’T have great cell phone coverage.

  8. nygdriveforfive - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    I get terrible reception at the skydome aka rogers Centre

  9. Ben - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Can’t wait for the inevitable bullpen phone sexting scandal

    • cur68 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      There it is! You beat me to it, Ben. Given some of the shenanigans purportedly got up to in the BP, I’m CERTAIN the season will be but a month old before someone’s John Thomas graces the BP Cell Phone image files. The only wagering line is who will be The Man and to whom will the image of his junk be sent?

      • historiophiliac - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:04 AM

        Naturally, it will be Greg Maddux and Dale Murphy sending pics of their butts back and forth until Torre catches them and says, “Knock it off, you guys.” Of course the story will get leaked and there will be a to-do about the coaches not coaching and how this makes the US look bad in international competition. Someone will have to apologize and Japanese bloggers will be trying to explain Craig’s dry humor about it all.

      • cur68 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:52 AM

        Its Craig’s fault, then? I knew it would be.

  10. sdelmonte - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    The Cylons are happy, if nothing else.

  11. dgforreal - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    1,2 Kalamazoo
    3,4 Jersey Shore

  12. cosanostra71 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    do they have to be pink?

    • historiophiliac - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      Are you kidding me? I so want to see Jim Leyland consternated at having to be grouchy into a pink phone. I hope the boys bedazzle it as a joke.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:43 AM

        Jim Leyland: “Which phone is mine? I think it’s this one.”
        Gene Lamont: “No, that one’s mine. Yours is Hello Kitty.”
        Leyland: “Are you sure?”
        Lamont: “Yes, they put My Little Pony on mine. Hello Kitty is you.”
        Leyland: “Oh, for God’s sake! I’m going out for a smoke. Tell Rojas to send Dotel out.”
        *Call Me Maybe plays*
        Rojas: “Dora speaking.”
        Lamont: “He wants Dotel.”

  13. paulydefense - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    I wonder how long it will be until one of those phones gets hacked?

  14. chill1184 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    Im looking forward to the future bullpen shenanigans this upcoming season

  15. kash71 - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Why not network two tablets together and use VoIP ?

  16. mazblast - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    My technology-minded firends tell me that it’s much, much easier to tap into a cell conversation than one on a land line. Someone’s going to do it and know every move the opposition is planning.

    • mazblast - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:10 PM


      Declining typing skills. sorry.

    • indaburg - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:33 PM

      Teams will still have the option to use land lines if they prefer. I guess it will depend on the manager’s comfort with technology and/or level of paranoia.

      Just out of curiosity, what could a team learn by tapping into the bullpen cell phone that they couldn’t tell just by looking into their opponent’s bullpen?

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:10 PM

        Finding out where the after party is.

      • 갈색잠바 띠보르 - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:32 PM

        Aren’t the opposing team’s bullpens obscured from view from the dugout in some ballparks?

        Also, I guess there’s a chance that you might hear some info about a player’s injury situation or something that’s not a public knowledge yet. *shrug*

        All in all, it’s probably not gonna be a major tactical advantage or anything, but still, an advantage is an advantage, I suppose.

  17. ndnut - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    So MLB us the Official Wireless Sponsor of T-Mobile? How does that work?

  18. snowbirdgothic - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    “Warm up the lefthander. And somebody tell me how this @#$@#ing Angry Birds thing is supposed to work.”

  19. bjbeliever - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:30 AM

    If it aint broke dont fix it

  20. dallasstars9 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    I would have loved to been a fly on the wall in the manager’s office when they received their shinny new “trainer” phone.

  21. thepunkyqb - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    Of all the US Carriers…they go with &*$%^& T-Mobile!?!? I am absolutely dumbfounded by this move. Verizon has the best nationwide US Coverage for voice HANDS DOWN, no questions asked. If they wanted to go with a $hit network like T-Mobile, they may as well have gone with Sprint. God this is going to blow…can’t wait till this crap causes a reliever to be left on the bench too long and not warming up. The Commish of the NFL and MLB should have a duel and somehow hopefully kill each other. Both are a joke now

  22. stampnhawk - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    So I assume the phone can be used outside the dugout…can’t wait to see a pitcher piss off the coach or manager and have them pull the phone out of the pocket on the mound.

    • indaburg - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:47 AM

      I was curious about this too. My understanding is that they’re employing some sort of geo-fencing and the phones won’t work if taken outside of the dugout or bullpen.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:15 PM


  23. jdd428 - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    Wouldn’t this be a conflict of sponsor interest at US Cellular Field?

  24. yankeepunk3000 - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:15 AM

    lmao on the Scot proctor line…F…Joe Torre!!!

  25. vox vetus - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:50 AM

    example communique: ‘get lefty up fast! were gettin killed LOL!’

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