There have been rumors and rumblings for a while now about the bullpen buggy possibly making a return to MLB ballparks, and yesterday the Diamondbacks made it official: They’ve purchased two carts and will use them for the upcoming season.
A few notes and thoughts:
• According to reporting by my ESPN colleague Darren Rovell, who broke this story, D-backs pitchers will not be required to use the cart. The team’s bullpen coach, Mike Fetters, said, “Whatever makes them comfortable. We’re not going to force it.”
• Per MLB rules, the carts will be made available to the visiting teams, as well as to the D-backs.
• The design is similar to the old style from the 1970s, but with some modifications. Here’s a side-by-side comparison (click to enlarge):
The design definitely pushes some nostalgic buttons, but I’m surprised they’ve made so few changes to the original style. Why stick so slavishly to the original template, complete with the gloves in the headlights and all of that? Why not go with something snake-themed, or Arizona-themed, or maybe one of the more modern-looking carts that they’ve used in Japan?
• As you can see, the D-backs have sold ad space on the cart. That’s disappointing but not unprecedented, as you can see on this old Padres cart from the 1970s:
• D-backs team prexy Derrick Hall has said that the bullpen carts could speed up the game, although I’m not so sure about that. The cart’s route will reportedly be from the bullpen to the warning track to the area in front of the dugout (i.e., the cart will not drive directly across the outfield), which is the same way most teams handled it during the original bullpen buggy era. I grew up watching those games, and I recall the carts taking a lot longer than today’s pitchers jogging in from the bullpen. But we’ll see.
• Hall also said he expects other teams to follow the D-backs’ lead. I’m trying to decide how I feel about that. Would you want your team to have a bullpen buggy this season? If so, would you want it to follow the ball/cap format, or would you rather see something new?
If you want to learn more about the history of bullpen carts, I wrote a fairly thorough history of them back in 2007, and then MLB.com expanded upon that with an even more thorough piece last year. Good stuff.
NBA ad update: After a nearly four-month dormancy, the NBA’s uniform advertising program rumbled back to life yesterday, as the Clippers and Mavericks announced that they’ve become the latest teams to sell space on their jerseys (and the first to do so since the Hornets in mid-November). Both ad patches made their on-court debuts last night.
In keeping with the policy I outlined last October, I will not show the ad patches or name the advertisers (if you need that info, it’s extremely easy to find). Instead, I will show how an ad patch makes a team’s uniforms look like crap. Here (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):
There are now 21 ad-clad NBA teams and nine ad-free teams, so we’ve passed the two-thirds mark. Sigh. #NoUniAds
(My continued thanks to Nic Schultz for his superb Photoshoppery.)
Brannock update: I called the Syracuse Chiefs yesterday to learn more about the details of their upcoming Brannock Device Night promotion. Unfortunately, the woman who answered the phone said that the team’s entire executive staff was stuck in a meeting, although she took down my information (including the fact that I have a Brannock tattoo, which she was a bit puzzled by) and promised that someone would call me back. As it turned out, that didn’t happen, so I’ll call them again today. Stay tuned.
ESPN update: Really sorry that yesterday’s “link coming soon” on the Jags redesign results turned out to be a tease. My ESPN editors decided to hold the piece until at least today. I know it’s frustrating, but the editors often have their own reasons for scheduling (or rescheduling) stories to run at particular times. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything about it.
I’m hoping the piece will run today — we’ll see. Update: The piece is now available for your enjoyment.
Meanwhile, I expect to have another ESPN piece today, about notable uniforms in Big East basketball history. This piece is pegged to the start of this year’s Big East tournament, which tips off tonight, so I’m pretty sure this one really will run today. Link coming soon, I hope.
T-shirt reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, our latest limited-edition Uni Watch T-shirt, designed by the great Todd Radom, is now available. It comes in a wide range of colors (including deep royal, as shown at right; click to enlarge) and is available from now through next Thursday, March 15. You can order it here. If you want a color that isn’t shown, get in touch and I can take care of you. My thanks, as always, for your consideration.
By Alex Hider
Baseball News: Mets INF Wilmer Flores is the latest MLBer to adopt the faceguard attachment. … Tim Lincecum will wear No. 44 for the Rangers, in honor of his late brother, and teammate Matt Moore will continue to wear No. 55. … Good piece on how the Cubs break in their new gloves (from Mike Chamernik). … Whoops — MLB’s online store listed a Yankees hat for sale under the Mets section (from Tyler). … New logo and caps for the Daytona Tortugas, the Class-A affiliate of the Reds. … The Class-A Salem Red Sox will wear Autism Awareness jerseys on April 27 (from @peskys_pole). … The Canadian mint has unveiled a new coin design to mark the 150th anniversary of the first baseball game in Canada (from Jorge Cruz). … Rick Rutherford notes that the Mariners, who wore matte batting helmets last season, have been going with glossies in spring training. [I’ll try to find out if this is just a spring thing or an official change. — PL]
NFL News: There will be one less referee in a tiny shirt next season, as Ed Hochuli and his giant arms have decided to retire…. Brad Eenhuis was scrolling through Facebook and found that a friend of a friend has a pair of Bears jeans that include team numbers, striping, and the George Halas perma-memorial. … Alex Bennett has updated his “Gridiron Mismash” piece, which attempts to show the history of football in one image. He’s still taking suggestions to fill in the gaps.
Hockey News: Some McNOB inconsistencies for the Panthers: Derek MacKenzie and Jared McCann each wears a base-aligned “c,’ while Jamie McGinn’s “c” is raised (from Brian C. Johnson). … The Predators have painted “1320” behind each net at Bridgestone Arena, which commemorates GM David Poile becoming the winningest general manager in NHL history with more than 1,320 wins. … More Clover Watch from Bryan Martin Firvida: The NHL has its problems with four–leaf clovers, but also gets it right in more than a few instances. … Speaking of Clover Watch, the Chicago Wolves of the AHL are using a four-leaf clover, rather than the proper three-leaf shamrock on their St. Patrick’s Day sweaters (from Jonathon Cain). … The Reading Royals of the ECHL will wear autism awareness sweaters on March 24 (from Jackie Tyler). … Attendees of Mario Lemieux’s fantasy camp get to wear Penguins sweaters — only the maker’s mark has been moved to the front collar, and the back includes the camp’s logo (from Zack Tanner and Noah Kastroll). … The women on the McGill University hockey team took a pretty sharp team photo in 1927 — you can’t beat that chest protector with a skull and crossbones! (From Nick Maibroda).
Basketball News: The Bucks are holding “Noche Latina” on Friday and giving away this T-shirt (from Garrett). … The Washington Post has a great piece about how James Madison clinched a spot in the 2013 NCAA Tournament while wearing sweaty, unwashed uniforms (from John Gagosian and Paul Friedmann). … Lots of St. Mary’s players are doing the Under Armour roll. More on that phenomenon here (from Jared). … Mike Knapp found a pair of Ohio State game programs from 1948, both of which list home games as being played “here” on the Buckeyes’ schedule.
Soccer News: New home kits for Cruzeiro of Brazil’s Serie A (from Ed Zelaski). … ACF Fiorentina and Cagliari FC of Italy’s Serie A will both retire No. 13 in honor of Davide Astori, who tragically died this weekend at age 31 (from Anthony Emerson). … It appears that Liverpool is covering some seats at Anfield in red in order to obscure advertisements spelled out in empty seats for Champions League games (from Matthew). … FC Cincinnati has sold ad space on team shorts in addition to the ad it has already sold on jerseys (also from Ed Zelaski). … MLS used an old Philadelphia Union crest as the thumbnail on one of its videos recently (form Noah Fischer). … Deer Park Rangers FC, a rec league team based in Louisville, has some pretty slick home kits (from Kevin Smith).
Grab Bag: Recently, Bunbury Senior High School in the southwest of Australia celebrated its 100th anniversary. Allan Jennings sent along some old uni-related photos from the celebration, including a shot of the 1923 field hockey team, a 1958 Aussie rules football match between the basketball and hockey teams, and 1950s shot of the football team. … Sonja Bata, who opened the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto (NYT link), died Feb. 20. Her museum has more than 13,000 shoes (from Tommy Turner).