If You’d Like To Make A Call, Please Hang Up And Dial Again

CITIFIELD – The Dodgers’ dugout-to-bullpen phone fiasco of Wednesday night has been explained – kinda.

“It was hung upside down,” explained a denizen of the Dodger bullpen just before Thursday’s getaway matinee here. The denizen shall remain nameless because we didn’t want to risk trying to make a phone call to get approval from the team. “That’s how it was explained to us, anyway. So it couldn’t ring and nobody could hear anything.”

So the receiver was where the microphone should’ve been and the microphone was where the receiver should’ve been? “A little more complicated than that. But I’m not sure how exactly.”

Further probing by the estimable Ben Walker of the Associated Press suggested that the way the phone had been placed back on its cradle had tripped a wire that rendered the whole bullpen without communications. As delightful as it might be to imagine a major league coach screaming “Hello? HELLO?” into the end of the phone with the cord coming out of it, it wasn’t that simple.

Baseball had supposedly fixed the phone problem – which was, er, called into prominence by the Cardinals during the 5th Game of the 2011 World Series – by replacing the cranky landlines with state-of-the-art cellular communications this season. But the new system has not reached CitiField and the old one has now twice had problems or, if you prefer, hang-ups.


  1. Emerson Burkett

    Hmmmmm, Hanky Panky with the Bullpen phones? LOL (Patricia, I agree). You don’t suppose the home team had anything to do with it, do ya? Not the first time this little prank has been pulled. Too funny!

    • patriciaellynpowell

      Surely no one in baseball would interfere with communications! This is reminiscent of an adorable photo Mr. O posted, showing himself as a baby speaking into an upside-down phone. Prophetic, I say! Nothing phony about it! Call me maybe. 😉

      • Emerson Burkett

        “Surely no one in Baseball would interfere with communications!” Or steal signs? Or scuff the ball? Or throw a spitter? Naw, not in Baseball! LOL again.

  2. Mary Caruso

    I could see how this could be disconcerting to men but coming from a different perspective it appears to be quite normal for women. He don’t call, he don’t text or tweet….. What’s a woman to do? So I do hope they upgrade to the 21st century and resolve the problem. Otherwise they may have to utilize flags or smoke signals as a last resort. The sign did say ‘Fly Your Own Flag’. Is that what they were hinting at? Too funny!

  3. SamYanksMetsGiants

    So Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt wasn’t just ordering a pizza, as Gary Cohen suggested?

  4. Michael Green

    Brother Olbermann surely remembers Moe Drabowsky finding out that the phone lines in the old stadium in Kansas City made it possible for the visiting bullpen to call the home bullpen, and calling the Kansas City A’s bullpen, imitating manager Alvin Dark, and ordering one of his pitchers to start throwing … and then, the next day, calling the coach, imitating Charley Finley, and chewing him out for the mistake. I think Drabowsky also once used a bullpen phone to call Hong Kong and order Chinese takeout food. Really.

    This might shock people, but at one time, there weren’t bullpen phones in baseball.

  5. patriciaellynpowell

    Amen, history! My phone says…”If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and then dial the operator.” Reminds of a local lawyer’s ad that says, “If you have recently suffered injury or death, please call…” Problems, solutions, and communications in general get convoluted. This is a superb reflection of the “disconnect” in life!

  6. The Cub Den

    I’ve always wondered why the dugouts don’t come up with a better solution to the creaky phone lines. Look at the situation in Chicago, there is so much friction with the plans to go ahead with the video signs that has prompted Ricketts to suggest moving the team, which I don’t think will happen, but I love baseball and the Cubs, however, some things should change.

  7. Matt Spinella

    How fitting that such an inept franchise like the Mets fails to “catch up with the times” with the installation of simple cellular lines of communication. It’s bad enough that baseball has taken this long to institute this method of communication to begin with.

  8. Reva Pearlston

    Sorry, Mr Olbermann, but that problem wasn’t first highlighted in the 2011 World Series. Think back to game 4 (the rain-delayed, 15-14 Toronto game) of the 1993 World Series, in which phone problems between the Toronto dugout and their bullpen meant that the wrong pitcher came out of the pen in the middle innings.

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