PETA Demands the Game of Baseball Remove a Classic Term from Its Vocabulary
The World Series is in full swing, and many Americans are focused on the pinnacle matchup of the MLB season. Meanwhile, PETA is concerned about a classic baseball term being offensive to animals.
“As the World Series turns into a pitching duel, PETA is pitching a proposal to the baseball world: Strike out the word ‘bullpen,’ which references the holding area where terrified bulls are kept before slaughter, in favor of a more modern, animal-friendly term,” the organization said in a news release Thursday.
In lieu of “bullpen,” PETA suggested that MLB instead refer to the area where pitchers warm up as the “arm barn.”
“Words matter, and baseball ‘bullpens’ devalue talented players and mock the misery of sensitive animals,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement.
“PETA encourages Major League Baseball coaches, announcers, players, and fans to changeup their language and embrace the ‘arm barn’ instead.”
The group, which temporarily changed its name to “Arm Barn” on Twitter, also posted a tweet Thursday in support of the idea.
“Bullpen” refers to the area of a “bull’s pen” where bulls are held before they are slaughtered—it’s a word with speciesist roots & we can do better than that.
Switching to “arm barn” would be a home run for baseball fans, players, and animals ?⚾️ pic.twitter.com/2FzSpDG9mQ
— Arm Barn (@peta) October 28, 2021
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, its writer was the first to use the term in baseball, with O.P. Caylor writing on May 7, 1877, “The bull-pen at the Cincinnati grounds with its ‘three for a quarter crowd’ has lost its usefulness. The bleacher boards just north of the old pavilion now holds the cheap crowd, which comes in at the end of the first inning on a discount.”
The origin of “bullpen” in the sport has been the subject of debate, the Enquirer said.
Many people believe the term came about because Durham Bulls tobacco advertisements adorned outfield walls in various parks.
“As baseball relievers would warm-up behind these billboards featuring cattle, the ‘bull pen’ phrase was allegedly born,” the outlet said.
Another theory is that the term came from pitchers “shooting the bull” before entering the game or from pitchers sharing space with a stockyard at New York’s Polo Grounds.
None of those explanations seems to fit PETA’s characterization of the word as a means to mock frightened animals.
On Twitter, it was the animal rights group itself that received its fair share of mocking.
“You do know there are not really animals in a MLB bull pen,” one user said in response to PETA’s tweet.
You do know there are not really animals in a MLB bull pen.
— A Jacobs (@RossShaw83) October 28, 2021
Another user posted a meme of Steve Carell from “The Office” to poke fun at PETA.
PETA: Stop saying bullpen
— Geoff Magliocchetti (@GeoffJMags) October 28, 2021
From the general response to the group’s request, it appears Americans’ main concern during the World Series is not whether the term “bullpen” is offensive to bulls.
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