MLB to Replace Dugout Phones with T-Mobile Cell Units

DENVER, CO - JULY 29:  Bryan Price #38 of the Cincinnati Reds talks on the bullpen phone in the eighth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 29, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.   (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2013

Major League Baseball teams are finally going to be able to catch up to the technology of everyone else in America.

ESPN's Darren Rovell reports that coaches in the dugout will now be able to use T-Mobile cellphones to call the dugout.

Rovell also showed a picture of what the docking station will look like on his Twitter account:

BREAKING: No more dugout phones in MLB. This T-Mobile unit will dock cell phones as part of sponsorship deal…

darren rovell (@darrenrovell) January 9, 2013

The driving factor in this move is the latest announcement that T-Mobile will be the official wireless partner of MLB.

Fortunately, the phones will be able to utilize the company's latest technology, according to Rovell:

T-Mobile built the new On-Field Communication System, which is encrypted and won't be compromised by the in-stadium wireless use by fans. The communication system uses geofencing, meaning the network won't operate if the phones are taken into seats or the clubhouse.

This is certainly better than someone in the upper deck making a pitching change with his iPhone

While there have not been too many issues with communications in the past, Tony La Russa insists that the bullpen coach's inability to hear a request cost the St. Louis Cardinals a game in the 2011 World Series.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, La Russa said "Get Motte going," and bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist heard him say "Lynn." The Cardinals could not get the right player to the mound and the team lost.

Hopefully, this type of issue would be a thing of the past with cellphones in every dugout.

Of course, this could lead to more problems down the line. Maybe the service will be bad and there will be more miscommunication. Maybe the coach forgets to use the docking station and loses the cellphone.

There is never a perfect solution to any problem, but at least baseball is making an effort to move into the 21st century for a change. 


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