Bringing Back The Bullpen Cart?


Mar 15, 2015; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies pitcher Kyle Kendrick (38) warms up in the bullpen prior to the game against the Kansas City Royals at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Some late night fun reading for you guys… there’s a fascinating piece up on by Jerry Crasnick that debates whether or not baseball should bring back the bullpen cart (or car, for some) to move pitchers to the mound more quickly in light of the game’s efforts to speed the pace of play.

The piece began with, interestingly enough, Walt Weiss (who kind of starts the entire debate off), and also quotes former Rockies reliever and current Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto.

Weiss, to our friend Thomas Harding on the bullpen cart idea and why it might fly in Colorado:

"“Some guys like to run in there, some guys like to walk. In Colorado, you’re a mile high. Guys don’t like to run to get in, and be winded when they get to the mound. That’s the one that you might have to adapt to more than anything else.”"

And some more on what he thought of it during his playing days:

"“I like the idea of the bullpen car. I brought up the bullpen car. Growing up, watching games, man, that was cool. When they went to the bullpen and you got to see the guy come in the car. I think Milwaukee even drove them in a Harley. Good stuff.”"

That set Crasnick off into fun-land on this one, discussing bullpen carts of the past and interviewing players young and old about it. Take some time to read it, especially if you’re younger and don’t necessarily remember the bullpen carts being used in games at all, because I’m in that boat.

Maybe forty or fifty year olds will find Crasnick’s piece pretty average, because you’ve seen a bullpen cart in use before, but as a 28-year old, I certainly don’t remember a time when anybody used one. In fact, they are so foreign to me (and, I think probably to my generation) that they seem… cheesy as hell.

Case in point, here’s Dipoto, to Crasnick, about using it as a reminiscent moment:

"Dipoto recalls Yankees center fielder Mickey Rivers playfully throwing himself in front of the bullpen cart that was ferrying in teammate Goose Gossage and screaming, “No, no! Not him! We want to win!” … “I think people would like it and players would like it,” Dipoto said of reinstating the bullpen cart tradition. “It’s a promotional opportunity. It’s different. It’s quirky. It’s another matchbox car you can sell in the team shop. It’s fun, and it reminds you of when you were young.”"

He’s thinking like a general manager regarding promotional opportunities, but that last sentence is the crux of why I find this so fascinating; it doesn’t remind me of when I was young, and my attachment to it isn’t the same as someone who’s, say, 40 or 50. Maybe I’d like it? Maybe I’d hate it?

But in a brand new era of baseball that’s been a full 20 years since the last bullpen cart was in use, an entire new generation has joined the game and nobody remembers the carts. Either way, it’d be fun to see somebody try it. I’d love to see the reaction on social media.