I have said many a mean thing about Major League Baseball. How it's draconian laws on video use has curbed its growth among youth in the digital age. That its lack of salary cap is a death sentence to small-market teams. Its treatment of minor-league players borders on indentured servitude, or that it lionized Bud Selig, a man who actively covered up scandal after scandal. But, God help me so, I do love the game. And whenever I get down about the sport's future, there are moments like Sunday to remind me that America's pastime might be okay.
For, during a tilt between the Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks, the bullpen cart made its return to baseball when Astros reliever Collin McHugh. And it. Was. GLORIOUS.
The Diamondbacks have had the cart since Opening Day, but McHugh was the first to commandeer it.
"It was there, they provided it for us, so I decided to give it a shot,'' McHugh told reporters afterwards. "I am still new to this whole bullpen thing so I don't think I have too much of a routine to deviate from.''
Making its debut in the 1950s, the bullpen cart grew in popularity, particularly with fans, during the '70s. However, many pitchers grew to disdain the cars, considering them an embarrassment to their profession—a bold claim, considering hurlers spend half the time in the bullpen figuring how to get pizza delivered without the skip noticing. The carts dropped in usage during the '80s, with the Milwaukee Brewers the last team to employ it during the 1995 season.
For what it's worth, the ride seems to have helped McHugh, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings. We're all-in on the bullpen cart's return, if only for the prospect of a fight breaking out. Because it's one thing to seem imposing with a dispassionate jog from the outfield. Different ballgame if you have eight animals hanging off the side of a gigantic helmet cart ready to tangle.