The minor-league Sugar Land Skeeters have announced, not that we noticed, that they will be bringing back the not-so-noble tradition of the baseball-shaped bullpen cart when they start play next year.
"The yet-to-be-named cart will be visible with every Skeeters pitching change and will be supported by video board and public address announcements during the games," the team announced, promising gripping bullpen-cart action that might be hard to deliver. PA announcements? Be still our hearts!!!
"Being able to bring back such a fun memory from childhood is very exciting and an example of our take on the baseball experience," said Skeeters V-P Christopher Hill.
We think the Skeeters should go whole-hog in bringing back the horror that was bullpen transportation.
Bullpen rides began in the 1950s but reached epic proportions in the `70s. Most teams used a baseball-shaped golf cart to help their pitchers manage the 100-yard hike to the mound, but there were some eccentricities.
There was the Seattle Mariners tugboat:
1982: The Mariners introduce a nautically themed bullpen conveyance called the Tugboat. It gets off to a rocky start on Opening Day when pitcher Bill Caudill steals the keys during pregame festivities, leaving the Tugboat stranded on the left-field line and delaying the start of the game. Things don't exactly improve over the next few days, as fan Lyle Huber later recalls: "The Mariners' pitchers refused to ride in the thing. I remember laughing hysterically as I watched Ed Vande Berg sprint in from the bullpen with the Tugboat racing along behind him. This lasted for about a week before they gave up."
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And then there were the Yankees. For a while in the `70s, the team that prides itself on its dignity used a pinstriped Datsun to bring in relievers.
Go all in, Skeeters. Sacrifice your dignity.