Thanks to the way it being a cultural institution in Japan and throughout the globe, baseball has been made a part of the Tokyo Olympics as a major draw for both Japanese fans and the world alike. And as yakyuu (野球) begins and the Olympic teams take to the diamond, the mode of transportation that the relief pitchers are taking to the mound has already become a top attraction.
The bullpen cart for Olympic baseball ended up stealing the show on Friday, as the cart -- a jumbo-size and throne-like baseball glove on wheels -- caught everyone's attention and quickly became a social media highlight. The cart brings relief pitchers, such as Jose "Jumbo" Diaz of the Dominican Republic, to the field in style.
Diaz took the bullpen cart to the mound prior to a scoreless inning, as the Dominican Republic shut out Mexico in a 1-0 victory on Friday. The cart was also used in a matchup between the United States and Israel, which saw Team USA throttle their opponent in a 8-1 victory.
Bullpen carts have long been one of the tackiest and most-enjoyable sights in baseball, as they gradually evolved into the top wonders of automotive engineering after first being introduced in the 1950s. Classic bullpen carts were usually shaped like ballcaps, with other designs ranging from the thematically sound -- such as when the Seattle Mariners had their bullpen cart shaped like a tugboat -- to the outright goofy.
While bullpen carts ended up falling out of favor, they have made somewhat of a comeback in recent years. In 2018, the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrated their 20th Anniversary season by bringing back a bullpen cart of their own.