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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. hieronymous27 - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:04 AM

    That is one butt-ugly phone unit. It hurts your eyes just looking at it.

  2. rythestunner - Jan 9, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    “MLB and T-Mobile just announced a multi-year sponsorship agreement which makes the former the Official Wireless Sponsor of the latter.”

    So MLB is the official wirless sponsor of T-Mobile? Someone needs to learn how to differentiate between ‘former’ and ‘latter’.

  3. southpaw2k - Jan 9, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    How long till we get a story about warming up the wrong reliever in the bullpen thanks to fat fingering a text message that comes out all jumbled and incomprehensible?

    Moreover, which manager(s) will hate the idea of texting most? Leyland? Sciosia? Baker? Showalter?

    And props to all the other jokes on this entire thread. This is probably the best string of messages on HBT in a long time.

  4. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    If they were smart, they’d do something similar to what Nascar does. Rent headsets for $10 a game that allows the fans to listen in to bullpen calls. When there is no bullpen call in place, they could have the headsets tap into the home teams broadcast of the game.

  5. chaseutley - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    I’m not one to take my ball and go home, but the first time I see a manager talking on a Bluetooth headset in the dugout, I quit.

    • dstark9 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      The NFL uses Bluetooth technology? Whats the deal with the MLB using it?

  6. wacco4flacco - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Next they will be putting iPads in the dugouts so they can Skype the guys in the bullpen

    • historiophiliac - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      And video-argue with the review ump up in the booth? Will Fox broadcast that?

    • sportsdrenched - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      To be honest. I’m not sure why managers don’t have at least a laptop/tablet open with baseball-reference..errr Rotoworld since this is an NBC Site, open to view splits and all that other smart-guy-sabremetric stats-stuff.

      …and that thing looks huge. Either the cell phones are already taking steroids….or MLB is just now getting to 1996 cell technology.

  7. unlost1 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Good thing Larussa retired. He doesn’t know how to text Motte

  8. historiophiliac - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    One more: Thank god it can’t auto-correct “Valverde” for “Verlander” anymore.

  9. historiophiliac - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Okay, okay, one more: Butt Dialing!!!!!!!

    • anxovies - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      You beat me to it. Imagine some text-friendly manager presetting his phone for different relievers and butt dialing for all of them in the first inning.

  10. carlosguillensbatflip - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    An anonymous source with some knowledge of something has said the league plans to ease Jim Leyland into the process by giving him a Jitterbug in spring training, it may also be shared with Gene Lamont.

    • flosox - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      Not just Leyland; its now been made official that both Florida teams will be sponsored by Jitterbug in order to reach their target demographic.

      The first 10,000 fans will receive a bright orange foam Jitterbug to place on their car antenna so they don’t get lost in the parking lot after the game.

  11. leftywildcat - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Charlie will have Ryno place the call for him.

  12. dstark9 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    It would be funny if service went out while they were trying to make a pitching change. I’m guessing this comment has probaly been said quite a few times, but I haven’t read to many comments.

  13. catcher50 - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    It actually makes sense. Those appear to be Samsung IIIs. I use TMobile and am very happy, but…

    That UltraPink setup is a bit much. Somehow, I picture it in Miami, with their bright green pads, awful statue, etc. and it would give me a severe headache to try and watch a game, from there.

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