Chattanooga-(WDEF) Since relief pitchers are separated from the team in the bullpen, Lookouts manager Jody Reed says they're in a world of their own. "They are a subculture all to themselves. You have to be a different animal to be out there." Said reliever Kyle Cofield,"We kid around in the bullpen. We say this is a zoo back here. Don't feed the animals through the cage."
Fans have better seats than Lookouts relievers, and fans enjoy better conditions as well. Said Cofield,"Lot of gnats out here. Lot of mosquitos. Any type of bug you can imagine, they're all out here. We have candles during the game. We have five different sprays we put on during the game."
Imagine how hot it gets in the bullpen. Said reliever Steve Smith,"There's really not too much air flowing through there. When you come out here and play catch with the outfielders. That's when you get your air flow through you. Get your breeze."
While the conditions may be lacking for relievers, at least they stay entertained. Said Cofield,"We toss the ball to the plate (in the bullpen), and see who gets the closest. That keeps us entertained for about an hour." Said Smith,"We have a ledge up there. We take two cups. Try to toss them halfway full of water. Try to get them to land on the ledge." Added Cofield,"Well I wasn't here last year, but they said there were fireworks shot out of here for every homerun that was hit."
Given those hijinks, will the manager ever make the call to the bullpen, just to check up on them? Said Reed,"There's so much going on up here with running the game. Not too often do you give them a courtesy call, and say hey guys, are you okay down there?"
But when that bullpen phone does ring, it's go time. Said Cofield,"Well, your heart starts to pound." Added Smith,"You just have to be ready to go at any time. That's what basically being in the bullpen means."
But multiple calls to the pen, is not a pleasant sound. Said Smith,"Usually it's not good when it's ringing four or five times. (laughter) You're just sitting there going oh my gosh, come on. Somebody get through like three or four innings or something."