Bullpen phone fails in Marlins new park, Rays’ Will Rhymes runs message from dugout

David Brown
Big League Stew

When technology fails in a brand new $515 million ballpark and a team needs to get word to the bullpen, whom do you call? And how do you do it?

After the dugout telephone didn't work in the seventh inning Sunday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Rays relied on utility man Will Rhymes to literally run a message from manager Joe Maddon to the visitor's pen at Marlins Park. Maddon said Rhymes "looked the fastest" and other players on the bench just weren't up to it. With right-hander James Shields struggling on the mound, the Rays needed left-hander Jake McGee and righty Burke Badenhop warmed up — and with no hang-ups!

From the Tampa Bay Tribune:

[Maddon] first asked security for walkie-talkies then told home plate umpire Chad Fairchild they needed time.

Rhymes raced to the bullpen and relayed the word, taking a bow as he re-entered the dugout, where he was greeted with high fives.

"It's hard work," Rhymes joked. "But somebody had to do it."

Eventually, the Rays got walkie-talkies to work, which got them through the rest of the game. Rays shortstop Elliot Johnson said he noticed Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen "playing with Joe, acting like he had yanked the cord out."

Ozzie, you trickster. If he really wanted to mess with everyone, Guillen would have hot-wired the bullpen phone to activate the Marlins' Home Run Thingie in the outfield. Epileptic fits for everyone!

One batter after Rhymes did his thing, McGee came on to relieve Shields. The Rays won the game 4-2 to complete a three-game sweep, telephones be darned.

Later on, Maddon made an obvious but necessary point about the Marlins' new stadium, which has come under scrutiny for how it was financed, among other things.

"That kind of stuff does happen," Maddon said. "But you'd like to think they got it right here the first time. You know, when Fenway breaks down, you kind of expect it."

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