Hanging by a cord: How the bullpen phone lives on

Together, technology and sports have come a long way... except in the dugout

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Baseball’s always been a little slow to adapt to the times but they’re getting there.

At Coca Cola field, they’ve introduced the pitch clock this year and in major league baseball, they now have instant replay.

During Bisons games, you can go on your cell phone and watch the game pitch-by-pitch, but there is one way that baseball is keeping it old school.

Really, really, old school.

News 4 Sports Director Josh Reed decided to take a closer look at one of the most archaic parts of baseball, the Bullpen Phone.

“I managed in Norfolk for five years and they had a cheap phone there,” Bisons manager Gary Allenson told Reed. “It was a ten-dollar phone. I would pull it off and the whole phone would come out, so it was just hanging by a cord. I ended up yanking it out and pulling it down and telling our general manager that we needed a new phone.”

Josh then turned the Bisons players, to get their take on the out dated piece of equipment.

“It’s got a cord on it..there’s no reason to have a phone with a cord on it anymore, is there?” Josh asked.

“There’s not, but i don’t see it changing,” relief pitcher Colt Hynes said. “I mean, you could make the same argument for umpires with the technology that we have and they’re not going away anytime soon so I guess we’ll just deal with the landlines.”

“Last year on my previous team, we had walkie-talkies, so it wasn’t a phone,” fellow reliever Matt Dermody added. “We did get something messed up because the signal was pretty bad, so we got a different guy warming up than who was supposed to get in the game.”

Determined to find an answer for the use of the extinct corded phone Josh returned to the Bisons’ manager.

“At any point, does the cell phone replace the dinosaur that is the landline?”

“No, no. because then you would have guys playing their, what is it, Pokemon Go stuff?” Allenson responded.

“Have you ever run into an instance where it’s been an issue trying to get a hold of the bullpen?”

“You know, we just had that in Rochester this year where the phone didn’t work. The phone rings, you can’t get somebody, you’re standing outside the dugout, you’re waving a towel. You’re going out to the umpire saying ‘hey, my phone doesn’t work!'”

“There will be no hanging up on the landline?”

“No.”

“It’s gonna stick?”

“Yeah.”

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