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Why are pitchers kept in a "bullpen"?
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Paul Dickson, author, The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary: This is a very contentious issue. Bring it on! The first citing of "bullpen" as the place where pitchers warm up was in the December 1915 issue of Baseball Magazine. But why "bullpen"? Well, relief pitching emerged around the turn of the century. At that time, nearly every ballpark in the country featured a Bull Durham tobacco sign -- a giant bull-shaped billboard -- affixed to the outfield wall. Smokin'. All the games were played during the day, and relievers warmed up in the shadow of the bull. Over time, that area became known as the bullpen. John Thorn, editor, Total Baseball: That's horsesh ... oes! Relief pitching was virtually unknown until the 1890s, and "bullpen" was in use as early as 1870. It referred to the roped-off area in foul territory from where late arriving fans could watch the game. Moooo! As relief pitching developed, the term bullpen transferred meaning from a place for fans to stand to a place for pitchers to warm up. Any idea why? Well, fan bullpens were up the lines, which is likely where the pitchers were, too. Like in Wrigley. Steve Perrault, director of defining, Merriam-Webster: "Bullpen" is almost always used metaphorically, not in reference to a pen for male cows. Curious. In early usage, around 1850, it referred to a variety of enclosures, most commonly ones in which prisoners were confined. Why bull, and not, say, pig? It makes sense for prisoners, in that they're dangerous and need to be confined, like a bull, for safety's sake. But there's no evidence that relief pitchers are dangerous. Ever been to Shea?

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