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In one of the strangest sequences in memory, the Cardinals sent Lance Lynn to the mound to face Ian Kinsler. Lynn intentionally walked Kinsler – a straight-up intentional walk, not just pitching around the guy. Then Lynn was pulled for Jason Motte. In the post game press conference, Tona La Russa attributed this bizarre set of pitching changes to the fact that the bullpen warmed up the wrong pitcher, sending him Lynn when he was expecting Motte to begin with.

The Cardinals now head to a must-win Game Six, and since this kind of problem could well recur I thought I would provide the Cardinals coaches with a useful tool to prevent a game from hinging on such a seemingly unnecessary mistake. I present to you the NATO phonetic alphabet:

 

Letter

Code word

A

Alpha

B

Bravo

C

Charlie

D

Delta

E

Echo

F

Foxtrot

G

Golf

H

Hotel

I

India

J

Juliet

K

Kilo

L

Lima

M

Mike

N

November

O

Oscar

P

Papa

Q

Quebec

R

Romeo

S

Sierra

T

Tango

U

Uniform

V

Victor

W

Whiskey

X

X-ray

Y

Yankee

Z

Zulu

Now the same communications technology used by our men and women in uniform can be used by our OTHER men in uniform to make sure the correct relief pitcher is warming! It may be easy to confuse "Motte" with "Lynn" (or at least, maybe after I finish this beer it will be). But how can you confuse "Mike-Oscar-Tango-Tango-Echo" with "Lima-Yankee-November-November?" It's fool-proof, I tell you!

Now if only there was a NATO-sanctioned way to tell someone not to tell Allen Craig to head for second base…

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andtinez
10/25
Huh, Lynn? Ok.
DrSeth
10/25
Isn't the important question why do they even use those phones? Can't motorola develop some type of headset? Heck, stl calls down there so much they should just keep the line open all the time anyway. How about a text message. Managers should have laptops or tablets anyway.
deepblue64
10/25
Interestingly enough there was an article about this the other day - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/sports/baseball/world-series-dugout-phones-last-bastion-of-the-landline.html
harderj
10/25
Yep, which included an instance where the bullpen phone wasn't completely hung up, so it was constantly busy...
jmercan
10/25
Text, Twitter, something.
Olinkapo
10/25
Fool-proof? Yeah, surrrreee... $20 says the first time LaRussa requests "Lima-Yankee-November-November," he gets Jose Lima trotting in from the bullpen. "Tony, I distinctly heard you say Lima, what are you on about?"
comish4lif
10/25
You mean the late Jose Lima?
briankopec
10/27
I'd pay to watch Zombie Lima-Time.
comish4lif
10/25
It would take longer to ask for: Romeo-Zulu-Echo-Papa-Charlie-Zulu-Yankee-November-Sierra-Kilo-India than for that guy to get warm.
mikefast
10/25
Especially if you spell it wrong and have to start over.
brownsugar
10/25
Two words: carrier pigeon. Imagine all the broadcast gold from Buck and McCarver as TLR ties a note to one of the pigeon's legs. Does he want Motte to get loose? Is he ordering a rum and coke? Let's see if one of the cameras was able to zoom in and see what he was writing!!
dpease
10/26
good options for tlr at 2 min, 54 sec http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-S-eeInJVk&t=2m54s and 3 min, 25 sec http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-S-eeInJVk&t=3m25s
PBSteve
10/26
Casey Stengel once called for a relief pitcher with a railroad lantern, the point being to suggest to the ump that the game should be called on account of darkness. He got run.
jalee121
10/26
If only there was some kind of device that could send and receieve short messages in a readable text format.
blcartwright
10/31
But I think there's a rule against electronic devices in the dugout