The Boston Red Sox Need to Take Their Bullpen Cart Out of Retirement
I have a lot of fond memories of seeing the Red Sox play at Fenway Park when I was young. In the late 70s and early 80s it Fenway was a lot different. No ads on every space of the walls, no Green Monster seats and the music was only from the organist. Instant replays were shown on the centerfield scoreboard, but it was monochrome and low resolution, so you could barely make out what was happening.
Tickets were cheap then too. $15 got you box seats behind the Red Sox dugout. With inflation, that seat would be about $70 today when in actuality it's $170 to over $200. It was definitely a different time. A time when the Red Sox had a bullpen cart?
If you've been under the right field stands at Fenway Park, you may have seen the Red Sox bullpen cart on display. It's a modified gold cart that has a Red Sox cap for a roof, two Louisville Slugger bats supporting the roof and two baseball gloves holding headlights.
The baseball cap on the bullpen cart was originally red with a navy brim to match the Red Sox uniforms from 1972 to 1978. For the 1979 season, the caps switched back to all navy and so did the cap on the bullpen cart. You can see the original color scheme in action here.
The cart was used when pitching change was called and would come out of the center field door, drive over to the bullpen to pick up the relief pitcher, and would drive them around the warning track to drop them off along the first base line. It would then continue around the warning track until it reached the center field door again where it would wait until it was needed again.
Many Major League Baseball teams had these carts, and most of them looked just like the Red Sox cart, but in each team's logo and colors. Turns out the pitchers didn't like riding in them so they were phased out in the late 70s and early 80s.
There has been a resurgence lately of the bullpen carts for a handful of teams including the Washington Nationals. These new carts look virtually identical to the ones from the 70s.
The thought process of bringing these back is to move the game along. If the pitcher doesn't have to walk all the out from the bullpen to the mound, you can shave some time off the game. I'd just like it back for nostalgia's sake and if you save a minute of time, that's just a bonus.
I'm sure the old cart isn't ready for the job after 40-plus years, but a modern replica would be fantastic at Fenway.