The bullpen car is coming back after being gone for an entire generation of baseball fans.
The Arizona Diamondbacks will use a helmet-clad golf cart for the first time since the vehicle left Major League Baseball more than two decades ago.
“I think it wore out its welcome,” Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall said. “There were these new stadiums, and the focus shifted to the guys running through gates and onto the mound. We think the time is right to bring it back.”
“Everyone was used to watching the carts with the hats on them as a kid,” said Diamondbacks bullpen coach Mike Fetters, who pitched for the 1995 Brewers. “I think what happened is that a couple guys who came in on it, got lit up and then it became a superstitious thing to stay off it.”
Within a few years, relievers started having entrance songs, including New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who adopted Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” in 1999.
Fetters said he thinks today’s pitchers will give the bullpen cart a try, though the Diamondbacks won’t tell the pitchers what to do.
“Whatever makes them comfortable,” he said. “We’re not going to force it.”
The Diamondbacks’ carts will come from the bullpens onto the warning track, head down the first- and third-base lines and stop at the dugout. The pitchers will then make their way to the mound.
MLB’s only rule regarding the bullpen cart is that it must be offered equally to both the home and visiting pitchers and that using the cart doesn’t grant the pitcher any extra warm-up time.
Leo Howell: As Eric mentions above, I have long been a fan of McCullers, and I think he has the most upside here. The first half of 2017 showed us his ceiling, and it’s backed up by some fantastic stuff in his arsenal.
You can’t use any one statistic without context, but even with his poor second half post-injury, McCullers finished with an FIP of 3.10 — right in line with his totals from the previous two seasons. Among pitchers with 100 or more innings pitched, that ranks No. 10 for 2017. He’s a special talent with all of the upside in the world, and as long as he’s not the first pitcher on my roster, he’s always the name I’ll select around this spot in the draft, happily taking the gamble on his health and consistency.
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