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Bullpen carts returning is one pace-of-play measure we could all get behind

Bullpen carts, just like this old one used by the St. Louis Cardinals, could be making a comeback. (St. Louis Cardinals)

It’s a weird time in baseball. The start of February is usually when excitement for the new season really begins to build. However, with the owners and the players union seemingly clashing over everything, from a slow free agent market, to teams spending habits, to proposed pace-of-play changes, the collective discontent is casting quite the dark cloud.

The next thing everyone agrees on this winter might be the first thing. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we might have found the best bet for a universal accord: The return of bullpen carts!

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This isn’t just a wishful thought either. It’s a real suggestion from the players’ union according to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, and apparently the league is taking it under consideration.


With MLB commissioner Rob Manfred weighing every possible option that might increase pace of play around the league, including but not limited to pitch clocks and less mound visits, it’s actually a surprise it’s taken this long for bullpen carts to enter the conversation. As the saying goes, it’s better late than never.

With roots that go back as far as the early 1950s, bullpen carts hit their peak in the 70s before vanishing almost completely from MLB during the 80s. The most likely place you’ll find one now is at an auction. However, baseball fans yearning for some nostalgia must be overjoyed with the mere suggestion of their return.

Even if for one day only, who wouldn’t love to see their closer enter the game in one of those beauties?

We’re not sure it would actually save time. Sometimes just getting out of the enormous, maze-like bullpens can take a few seconds. The drive to the hill might cut those seconds back off. The difference in time probably wouldn’t be noticeable. The difference in fan interest in pitching changes would be noticeable, as would the increased opportunity for advertising.

Honestly, it might make more sense for the manager or pitching coach to hitch a ride to the hill. Those slow, plodding walks often waste more time than anything during the game. But hey, if the players and league agree that bullpen carts will speed up the game, who are we to argue?

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Yahoo Sports Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!