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Call To The Bullpen

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You see them at every game, whether it’s college, minor league, or the big leagues. That group of mysterious baseball players tucked away in a holding pen waiting their turn to make a grand entrance onto the field.  Lets breakdown this unique group and get to know them a little better.

There are roughly seven relievers in each bullpen.  The pitching roles are broken down as follows:  long relief, set-up, closer and the dreaded mop up man.  Also grazing around in the bullpen is either a bullpen catcher or the back-up catcher (these guys are mischievous and always looking for shenanigans).  Every once in a while the everyday catcher gets a day off and joins the bullpen staff for the day (he’s 10 times more mischievous and into shenanigans).

Now let’s see if we can identify these pitchers.

1. Fashion Show – This guy takes way too long to get into his uniform.  Although he’s wearing a hat, his hair is full of gel, putty, or some other type of styling product.  His jersey is perfectly tucked into his way too tight baby powdered up pants.  Cleats are spotless.  Glove is spotless.  Smells like he is hitting the club after the game.

  • Vitals – Guaranteed to throw 90 mph +.
  • Role – He’s your set up guy/closer.
  • Grand Entrance – Prances onto the field with grace, tucks in his oversized necklace on the mound, caresses the rosin bag.

2. Big Country – This guy is either literally a country boy or just a gigantic human being.  Awkwardly stuffed into his uniform he is a gentle giant that looks like he can throw about 112 mph.  Patchy facial hair and at least one dip can tucked away somewhere.

  • Vitals – sits 88 mph OR 94 mph – Just depends on how he feels that day.
  • Role – All and any – Rubber arm
  • Grand Entrance – Uses fingers to scoop the dip out of his mouth while leaving the bullpen. Slow jog to the cut of the infield, walking the rest of the way to catch a breath.

3.  The Informant – this guy is always disappearing and reappearing.  At the professional level he usually moseys out late to the bullpen with the inside scoop on who’s getting called up, sent down, or sent out. Rarely is it him.

  • Vitals – sits 85 to 90 mph
  • Role – Most likely the long relief/spot starter/mop up man.  Acts like a coach.
  • Grand Entrance – Nothing fancy, Since he’s usually late to the bullpen, he is likely to hit the bullpen 5 minutes before his name is called to pitch (like he already knew).  He’s on the field and off the field before you know it.  You can find him kicking back in the coaches office after the game.

4.  Latin Fireballer – This hombre is always laughing for no reason but has the ability to mean mug with the best of em.  He’s the fastest running pitcher on the planet and loves letting the gasolina fly at close range.  For whatever reason he has trouble sleeping on the bus when everyone else is trying to.

  • Vitals – 95 mph +
  • Role – Set up/Closer.
  • Grand Entrance – Awesome Sauce!  Anything and everything could happen.  Look for a side-step, shuffle, leap over the foul line and then a good paced sprint to the mound.  Possible jewelry tucking, a prayer and a slam of the rosin.  Also has a Grande exit.

5.  The Ticking Time Bomb –  Mr. Nice guy in the bullpen.  Plays mediator to the different personalities, tries to speak Spanish to the Latin players.  Always schmoozing with the fans.  Probably winks when he says something clever.  The team is waiting for him to explode.

  • Vitals – Throws straight fastballs and somehow gets away with it.
  • Role – Long relief/set up.
  • Grand Entrance – A little different every time, since he is a chameleon in the bullpen, his entrance also changes from game to game.

6.  Snacks – This guy is always eating or chewing on something.  Has numerous bags of seeds and countless pieces of bubble gum.  When he’s not chewing the seeds he’s flicking them at someone (usually the ticking time bomb in hopes of an explosion).  Makes frequent trips to the dugout to reload.

  • Vitals – 86 mph with crazy movement (sticky fingers)
  • Role – Set up man
  • Grand Entrance – Leaves small piles of trash everywhere, gum wrappers, seeds, water cups, etc.. Keeps a good pace to the mound and ironically cleans and grooms the mound after every pitch – like a dog trying to cover his mess.

7.  The Jack of All Trades – This guy is always up to something.  He is the go-to-guy for building weird bullpen gadgets, bubblegum wrapper darts, etc…Usually does as good a job as the grounds crew at fixing the mound. Very crafty with the ladies near the bullpen (that’s when he becomes everyone’s best friend)

  • Vitals – Can throw it all and at various speeds
  • Role – Whatever is needed
  • Grand Entrance – Usually something out of the norm, a path less traveled.  He is more concerned about getting back to the bullpen to see if what he was working on is still there….including the ladies.

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