Coming: Cell phone calls to the 'pen

Coming: Cell phone calls to the 'pen
January 9, 2013, 8:45 am
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The phone beeps in the Orioles bullpen. It’s a text for Jim Johnson.

“wrm up. need ur help in bot 9. btw, 123 inn wld b nice. :-)”

Now, we’re not saying that’s how Buck Showalter is going to start communicating with the ’pen, but he could. This week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Major League Baseball announced a deal with T-Mobile to supply dedicated dugout-to-bullpen cell phones starting with the 2013 season.

MLB isn’t getting rid of its landlines from dugout to bullpen, and no one is really anticipating texting will become the new standard of communication, but imagine if then-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa would have had that option during the 2011 World Series. If you recall, messages to the bullpen, muffled by the noise at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, ended up being misunderstood and the Cardinals had the wrong pitchers warm up twice.

If La Russa had texted “Jason Motte” back then, there’s no way the bullpen would have thought he wanted Marc Rzepczynski. Though a guy could strain his thumbs trying to type in Rzepczynski’s name.