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Dugouts, bullpens to feature wireless phones next year

Photo: Tim Umphrey/Getty Images

Managers will begin to use wireless phones to make calls to the bullpen next year.

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Even dugouts and bullpens might not need that old landline soon.

Major League Baseball and T-Mobile announced Tuesday that the cellphone company will provide wireless devices that managers and pitching coaches can use to make the call to get relievers warming up.

The wireless phones will have docking stations in both sets of dugouts and bullpens, but managers and coaches can carry them. The signal shuts off if the phones are taken outside those areas.

The landline made headlines during Game 5 of the 2011 World Series when St. Louis manager Tony La Russa's instructions were misinterpreted by the bullpen coach and the Cardinals didn't have the right reliever ready to face Texas Rangers slugger Mike Napoli. A go-ahead hit led to a Texas victory, although the Cardinals bounced back to win Games 6 and 7 and take the title.

The wireless phones will automatically ring when pulled from the docking devices, and a swipe when the phone is being carried will make the call as well. Both sets of dugouts and bullpens will have antennas to transmit the signals.

T-Mobile and MLB Advanced Media also are working on other ways to improve digital content for smartphones and tablets. Mike Sievert, chief marketing officer for T-Mobile USA Inc., says digital consumption in baseball is strong and "today's baseball fan is technologically savvy and data hungry."

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