06/13/06 10:00 PM ET
Wrigley communication goes wireless
New bullpen phone system is easy to use and reliable
By Ryan Crawford / MLB.com
But on Tuesday, the Chicago Cubs became the first Major League team to use a wireless bullpen communication system in their stadium.
The Cubs and Motorola, who approached Major League Baseball for permission to devise the system, have been working to develop it since November. Tuesday's game with the Astros was the first time it has been used during a game.
Cubs manager Dusty Baker said they have tested the handsets thoroughly to ensure they work properly.
"When I was approached about the wireless system, I wanted to ensure its reliability," Baker said. "I have spent some time with Motorola discussing all of the potential scenarios that might arise during the season, and they have been able to prove to me that this system is effective."
The MOTOTALK system will feature two Motorola handsets that will operate on a secure, private channel.
"It's more of a two-way phone than a regular phone," Baker said. "No one can call in and you can't call out. You can just call each other."
The first phone system at Wrigley Field was a cable from the dugout to the bullpen and was installed by a phone company during the 1950's.
In 1979, the Cubs rebuilt the dugouts and installed traditional ring-down phones. Nine years ago a new ring-down system was installed.
While Baker is happy about the wireless system being used in Wrigley, he said his team has the most problems away from home.
"I think it's much needed and I'm hoping next year we can use it on the road," Baker said. "It seems like on the road is where things appear not to work -- phones don't work, TV's they have to see the bullpen, those don't work."
Houston manager Phil Garner agreed that the wireless system should be a good thing.
"I think it's a good idea," Garner said. "It's a good sales pitch."
Ryan Crawford is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.