The bullpen phone is dead. Long live the bullpen phone. In its place, teams have the option of using the above (gaudy) T-Mobile cellphone dock as part of a new MLB sponsorship.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell has the details on the new sponsorship, which will use T-Mobile’s 4G network and Samsung Galaxy S3 phones.
The T-Mobile phones that each team will have in their dugouts and bullpens will have an encrypted network that fans or other people in the stadium won’t be able to access (yet, at least), and the network will also be geofenced, meaning that the phones won’t work if taken into the clubhouse or stands.
However, despite the new technology available to all of the teams in the league, the bullpen phones will remain for the time being for those hesitant to embrace change.
Teams who currently have a sponsorship deal with another carrier can opt out of the MLB agreement, rendering the pink and black display moot in their stadiums. But this is a step in the right direction for the league at the end of the day.
The bullpen phone was such an antiquated relic of a past era that the league really needed to move on. I also like the idea of geofencing and an exclusive network, though I’m not sure if they’ll be able to hold strong when 50,000 fans in a stadium are all trying to text or tweet at the same time.
At any rate, it’s cool that the league is moving in this direction, even if T-Mobile is the fourth most popular carrier in the country (trailing Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint) and the dugout display is an eyesore.