In one of the most click-baity, attention-grabbing moments of the past week, PETA decided to take on the MLB in the most bizarre way: by attacking the bullpen. PETA claims that the term bullpen refers to the area in which cows are held before slaughtered, thus is offensive to animals, or people, or something? I guess their attempt to grab attention worked because I’m writing about it, so mission accomplished. For me, the most interesting part of the whole story is the new name they suggested for the bullpen, the “arm barn.” While I don’t really care for the reason it was suggested, I love the name.
We have yarn barns for sewing supplies, shoe barns for footwear, and bedding barns for all things sleep-related, why not have arm barns for pitchers? It’s catchy and fairly accurately describes what it’s like when you put a group of men in their 20s and 30s together in a small space for 3+ hours nearly every single night. In an animal barn, when the door opens, all the animals stand and hope they are going to get some attention from the person or people entering. In the arm barn, the phone rings and all the pitchers on the bench perk up and look with anticipation to see whether their name will be called to warm up and come into the game.
Just like animals in barns, the confined space can get to pitchers after awhile. Around hour 2 or 3 of a baseball game, you’ll see pitchers stand and stretch, pace around the few feet they have, and grab a drink of water. Pitchers all dream of someone opening the door and letting them run through into the larger, still fenced in grass area. When the time comes, they burst through the door and sprint 200+ feet like they’ve been held captive, because, well, they have been in a small rectangular space for hours and hours with only each other.
Now close your eyes and imagine the PA announcer saying, “Now warming up in the arm barn, Adam Ottavino” or Dennis Eckersley saying on the TV broadcast, “Sale is starting to lose command of his cheese, time to get the arm barn going” or “The Red Sox have one of the best arm barns in all of the MLB.” If that doesn’t bring a smile to your face, then I don’t know what will.
It’s a perfect solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, which is what we all need. We don’t need to address the actual issues with the game of baseball, because the arm barn is the priority. The “speciesist roots” of the term bullpen is a joke (and I’m not 100% convinced it’s not a actual joke), but now I can’t imagine going forward without making the change. The time is now to ‘raise’ the arm barn.