Warm Thoughts for a Cold Winter: Bullpen Carts

mets_cart.jpgYesterday, I wrote about stadium organists, a feature of the game that is quickly dying out. Another aspect that’s already dead is one that probably shouldn’t have lived to begin with: bullpen carts. Yes, once upon a time, relievers were shuttled from the bullpen to the mound in vehicles of varying size–sometimes a full-sized automobile, but more often golf cart-type contraptions.

In a weird way, the bullpen cart feels like it should be a more recent innovation. After all, today’s athlete is supposed to be spoiled rotten, so it would stand to reason they would insist on being chauffeured to the mound like the fancy boys they are. But no, it was the supposedly blue collar relievers of yesteryear who were slowly puttered onto the field in embarrassingly tiny go-carts.

Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch wrote an exhaustive history of the bullpen cart a few years ago. My favorite tidbit:

1986: With happy fans spilling onto the field after the Mets’
division-clinching victory on Sept. 17, Mets fan and former Shea
Stadium vendor Eric Bennett heads straight to the bullpen, where he hijacks the team’s bullpen buggy. He takes it for a brief outfield joyride before the engine conks out.