You know those old, ancient phones that managers of baseball teams use to call down to the bullpen whenever they think a pitching change is necessary? It seems that those could soon be a thing of the past.
Earlier this week at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, T-Mobile introduced some technology that will change the way managers call their bullpens during a baseball game. T-Mobile recently signed a deal with Major League Baseball to do away with the landline dugout phone and replace it with a wireless cell phone. In the upcoming season, T-Mobile will install specialized wireless systems in select major league dugouts. While nothing groundbreaking, the partnership is pretty cool.
The phones, which will be the Samsung Galaxy S3, will be docked in a docking station in both the home and visitors dugout. Once a manager picks up one of the phones from the docking station, it automatically calls the bullpen. The bullpen coach can then answer the call with a simple swipe. The phones can only be used to call from the dugout to the bullpen, which means the backup catcher won’t be able to play Angry Birds or talk unlimitedly with T-Mobile cell phone plans while waiting to finally pinch hit.
In addition to the geofencing, there will also be a dedicated tower so the phones can only communicate with each other. That’s in place so angry fans can’t text their manager requesting to pull the starter. The dedicated cell tower is also in place so the phones always have service. If you’ve ever been to a sporting event and tried to use a cell phone, you know how hard it is. Thousands and thousands of people all trying to use their phones jams the tower. It would be unfortunate if a manager tried to call the bullpen coach, only to be met with a “your call cannot be completed as dialed” message.
In addition to the partnership, T-Mobile has stated that they intend to improve cell service inside Major League Baseball parks.
The MLB stated that they intend to use this technology first for the World Baseball Classic in March, and if everything is successful the phones will be in dugouts by April. If this is the first step to bring more advanced technology to baseball, it’s an interesting one. If nothing else, the T-Mobile sponsorship is great for the wireless carrier, as it is a great branding of an iconic peace of sports. It remains to be seen whether or not Bruce Bochy will Instagram a picture of the World Series trophy.
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