Once upon a time, bullpen carts were all the rage. Catching on in the mid 1960s, they made sure no relief pitcher would have to touch his feet to the ground when traveling from the bullpen to the mound. They eventually went out of style, as most fads do, and disappeared altogether in 1995.
But the Arizona Diamondbacks aren’t content to let history be history. The franchise is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018, and have decided to bring back this beloved baseball artifact part of the festivities.
That is definitely a bullpen cart. And it’s even got that classic look! The body is shaped like a hollowed out baseball, and the baseball is wearing a giant hat — because why wouldn’t a baseball wear a hat? — and two bats are holding up the brim at the front of the cart.
The cart on its own is amazing, but somehow that’s not even the best part. The Dbacks as a franchise are too young to have ever had a bullpen cart. The Milwaukee Brewers had the last bullpen cart in baseball (it was actually a motorcycle with a sidecar), and they stopped using it after the 1995 season. The Diamondbacks weren’t founded until 1998. They missed out on the bullpen cart craze the first time around, and now they’re making up for it.
Introducing a bullpen cart is a cool idea, but what do actual Diamondbacks relievers think? They’re the ones who are actually going to have to ride in it, after all. Yahoo Sports caught up to a few Dbacks relievers at spring training, and they certainly had opinions.
Archie Bradley was undecided, but mostly excited. “I’m kind of in between. I think it’s a really cool idea, because I think baseball, in the last few years, has really taken a new wave of technology. Replay, stuff like that. So this is kind of an old school kick, bringing it back into the new school type of game. I don’t know the format and how it’s going to work, but I’m sure I’m going to give it a try.”
T.J. McFarland was a little more succinct. “Truthfully, I thought it was a joke, but I guess we’re doing it.” So opinions are mixed!
Bullpen carts were always more fun than functional. The distance from the bullpen to the mound isn’t far, and walking it doesn’t take a lot of effort. The point of them was to delight the fans, which they definitely did. How could you not smile when you saw actual baseball players riding around in a glorified golf cart decorated with bats and an enormous plastic baseball cap?
The Diamondbacks will be the only MLB team using a bullpen cart in 2018. But if it’s popular, other teams could catch on. Maybe the D-backs are starting a brand new bullpen craze.
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