The Arizona Diamondbacks have ushered in a new… well, returning era in Major League Baseball after they re-introduced the bullpen cart, which will escort relievers from the pen to the pitcher’s mound after being called into the game:
This is actually happening.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) March 6, 2018
It is the first time since 1995 that the bullpen car is making its way back into MLB stadiums, per ESPN’s Darren Rovell; three years before the Diamondbacks were even established as a franchise.
With pace of play becoming a hot-button issue in the majors this offseason, the re-introduction of the helmeted vehicle may be a step toward shaving some time off of the average 3-hour-and-5-minute games that set a league record in 2017.
It could also just be another opportunity to squeeze some more money out of sponsors. As you can see above, the Diamondbacks’ bullpen cart is sponsored by OnTrac Shipping.
Either way, it’s a nostalgic return of a vehicle that first made its debut in 1950 and was an iconic part of the game for more than 40 years.
Granted, they weren’t always as flashy as they were beginning in the 1970’s:
— Kris McEwen (@krismcewen) June 7, 2012
It wasn’t until then that the bullpen carts got their famous look:
— Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) March 6, 2018
Actually, it doesn’t get more 70s than what the Houston Astros pulled off here with their cart:
I just asked this Astros bullpen cart to be my Valentine. pic.twitter.com/nYiST2iWDe
— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) February 14, 2018
The cart even made its way to the silver screen as Jake Taylor’s temporary means of transportation when chasing down Lynn Wilder in Major League:
Sure, there will plenty of fans that will look at this as a gimmick while the younger fans might not understand what the heck is happening with a glorified go-kart on the field. But for some of the older fans or MLB traditionalists, this move by commissioner Rob Manfred is just fine.