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Major League Baseball dumps landlines for dugout-to-bullpen cellphones

Joe Torre T-Mobile MLB

T-Mobile and Major League Baseball announced a partnership today that will make the carrier the Official Wireless Sponsor of the MLB. That's mostly a pointless marketing phrase, but it does have one very real effect on baseball going forward: the dugout phone, the one that calls the bullpen to bring in a new pitcher, is about to become a cellphone. The "On-Field Communication System" will eventually expand to other parts of the game and stadium, but only after it's tested in the bullpen at the World Baseball Classic in Arizona — the league needs to be sure that T-Mobile's network lets us tell apart the names of the Astros' relievers before the technology is rolled out more broadly.

Major League Baseball has long been ahead of the game technologically, from MLB.tv to MLB.com At Bat. Landlines were the one flaw on its 21st-century resume, and we can only hope T-Mobile's going to bring America's pastime into the present once and for all.

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