MLB

Bullpen calls go wireless in 2013

This diagram shows how how the new on-field communication system will work.
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Jon Paul Morosi

Jon Paul Morosi is a National MLB Writer for FOXSports.com. He previously covered baseball for the Detroit Free Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He began his journalism career at the Bay City Times in his native Michigan. Follow him on Twitter.

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We’ve seen it countless times on television: With the rally mounting and pitcher in peril, a bench coach reaches for the old-school dugout telephone with instructions to get the reliever ready.

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Well, calls to the bullpen are about to go wireless.

Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that its new official wireless sponsor, T-Mobile, will institute an On-Field Communication System beginning with the 2013 season.

Dugouts and bullpens across the majors will be equipped with new wireless phones that only work for calls between those two locations. In-game phone use is restricted, so the signal will be cut if devices are taken outside of those areas.

Existing wall-mounted phones will remain in place, to accommodate coaching staffs that would like to stay with the mode of communication that has persisted for decades. But now teams won’t have any excuse if their bullpen instructions are mangled because of crowd noise — as happened to the St. Louis Cardinals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington during the 2011 World Series.

Coaches can take advantage of the wireless devices to move to quieter locations within the dugout and bullpen, ensuring that plans are understood correctly.

A Tuesday news release from MLB said the league and T-Mobile have entered into a “multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership” that will include wireless applications for fans.

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