The Chicago Cubs bullpen is going wireless.
Starting June 13, the Cubbies' pitchers will be able to talk to coaching staff over a Push-to-Talk wireless network using an ultra durable Motorola i580 phone that meets military specifications for withstanding blowing rain, dust shock and vibration.
Installation of the new phone system is being treated as history-in-the-making. Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame will be in attendance to witness the first wireless call to the bullpen by Cubs Manager Dusty Baker or Houston Astros' Manager Phil Garner, according to the press release. And following the game, the Motorola i580 phone will be taken to Cooperstown, home of baseball's Hall of Fame, and placed on display.
Wrigley Field, the second-oldest major league ballpark in the country, was opened in 1914. The first phone system from the dugout to the bullpen was installed in the 1950's by the phone company, which ran a cable from the dugout to the pen. In 1979, the Cubs rebuilt the dugouts and installed a traditional phone system.
"We are very proud to be the first team in Major League Baseball history to introduce wireless communication between dugouts and bullpens," said John McDonough, senior vice president of marketing and broadcasting for the Chicago Cubs. "This technological advancement will just add one more element to the historical significance of Wrigley Field."
Call me crazy, but I think the use of the first push-to-talk phone in baseball might rank quite a bit lower in terms of historical significance compared to some other incredible baseball moments that took place at Wrigley Field.
For example, Babe Ruth's "called shot," when Babe Ruth allegedly pointed to a bleacher location in Wrigley Field during Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, and then hit Charlie Root's next pitch for a homer is more hall of fame worthy to me than a new phone. Or when Pete Rose made his 4,191st career hit, which tied him with Ty Cobb for the most hits in baseball history. Of course, Rose has never made it to the Hall of Fame, but that's another blog entirely.