Independent team brings back bullpen cart!
Another downside to the possible end of Jamie Moyer's career last week? There are no active pitchers left to teach proper etiquette for riding in a bullpen cart. Just ask Sugar Land Skeeters reliever Will Startup, who is dealing with that very issue now.
"You have these awkward situations where [the drivers] want to talk with you,'' Startup says. "It's like a blind date. It's our bullpen crew who drives the cart and they're great guys, but they don't know what to say, either. 'Hi.' 'How are you doing?' 'Good.' It just really isn't a good time to talk."
For that matter, Startup asks, what do you do when the bullpen cart driver drops the pitcher off at the mound?
"Do you hug him? Do you shake his hand? Do you fist-bump? I feel rude just getting out of the cart," Startup says. "Do you say, 'Talk to you later?' It's just awkward. There is no standard etiquette. Maybe at the end of the season, we can write some rules down."
Last month, Startup and his Sugar Land teammates became the first relievers in almost two decades to ride to the mound in a bullpen cart when the Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League started using one. It isn't just the biggest development for bullpen cart fans since Tom Berenger drove one in pursuit of Rene Russo in "Major League," it's also the best news for the U.S. automotive industry since the turnaround.
"The reaction has been amazing," Skeeters vice president Christopher Hill says. "You don't really know what to expect; and the first time it rolled on the field, a bunch of people stood up and started applauding. It was really cool. I like seeing the fingers pointing to it. You can always tell when someone is at the park for the first time because they'll be tugging at the person next to them and pointing to the cart."