The sport of baseball has been a prominent part of American culture since the 1800s making it a given that there are traditions or parts of the game that are outdated and even offensive. In a recent tweet PETA, a well renowned animal rights organization, announced that the ‘BullPen’ in baseball be changed to ‘Arm Barn.’ The reason behind this was that the term BullPen “mocks the misery of animals” and “devalues players.” While PETA has proven their worth time and time again, this is not one of those moments. The upheaval and confusion this change would cause is not worth the miniscule justice it would bring about.
In 2017 the Washington Redskins changed their name to the Washington Redhawks, proving that change in professional sports is not only possible but that those in charge are aware of the issues within their leagues and are willing to address them. This leads to the question of why would the NFL be willing to change the name of one of their teams but the MLB not be willing to change the name of the bullpen? The answer is simple. The annoyance that the term Bullpen brings to few does not have the same gravity as offending an entire race of people with the derogatory slang ‘Redskin’ by continuing racist portrayals of Indigenous people as animals or mascots.
Some might counter this argument by saying that no matter how small a problem is, it should still be addressed even if there are issues bigger than it. Yet if we bring that theory into context it makes no sense. Hypothetically, if the MLB were to change the term Bullpen to ArmBarn the confusion it could cause, the adjustment required, and the overall biter humor it would be received with would take away from that actual game of baseball.
While not all names in sports should stay the same, the Bullpen should. If PETA wants to make a difference they need to direct their energy to bigger, more important issues that affect a larger pool of people. The Bullpen is here to stay and the Arm Barn is getting taken out back.