New Manager: Ah, hello, so nice to finally be running a real major league baseball team.
Manager’s Union: Welcome aboard.
NM: I’m really looking forward to doing all sorts of innovative things with my bullpen. Playing matchups, allowing relievers to go multiple innings, I’m going to revolutionize the game. Get the most out of my 7 guys.
MU: Great! We only request that you follow a few simple rules.
NM: Oh, really? You guys have rules?
MU: Yes, we find that if we all do the same thing with our bullpens, then no one can get mad at us for mismanaging the bullpen.
NM: But…so you all use closers, set-up guys, LOOGYs, because you don’t want to look bad?
NM: Even though that’s not a proper way to run a bullpen?
MU: Since we all do it, it doesn’t really matter, and this way we create another star. Get your Joel Hanrahan jersey while supplies last!
NM: So, what can I do? Can I use John Axford in the 7th?
MU: Well, you can as long as he hasn’t pitched in 3 days and the team is either winning or losing by more than 6 runs. You know, if he needs to get some work in and no save chance will be forthcoming. We call it a Vase.
NM: But not in a close game? What if I need to get a righty out in a high-leverage situation?
MU: We don’t know what that means, but if you need to get a righty out in the 7th you’re required to use Jose Veras.
NM: What? I can’t use K-Rod or Loe? What if I need a double play?
MU: Unless you designate Loe as your 7th inning guy, he is not permitted to pitch the 7th inning. If you would like to induce a double play in the 6th inning, or in a blow-out, you can use Loe then.
NM: Why would I care about inducing a double play in a blowout?
MU: Oh, we find that members like to show off their creative sides during blowouts. That’s when you may have a pitcher stay in at a defensive position for a batter or use a starter on his throw day. You know, that kind of thing.
NM: So I can only use K-Rod in the 8th inning?
MU: Well, if it’s close. 8th-inning pitchers must be used to bridge a save. Failing that, mop-up pitchers or specialists may be used.
NM: So of my 7 available pitchers, I can only use 3 of them in certain designated situations?
NM: And if those situations fail to arise, I’m stuck using the other 4?
MU: Well, not exactly. Of the other 4 we require that at least one be a specialist. Ron was in constant violation of this policy which is why we fired him.
NM: Wait, YOU fired Ron? And for not using a LOOGY? I thought it was because he was incompetent?
MU: Well, not incompetent enough for us.
NM: So I have to use Parra as a LOOGY then?
MU: Or recall Dillard. Ron could have just saved his job by ROOGY-ing Dillard, but NOOOOOOOOOO, he had to make him the mop-up guy.
NM: So I can do whatever I want with Loe, Livan, and Thornburg, provided that it’s not the 7th, 8th, or 9th innings and not a close game?
MU: Actually, you may have heard us mention “mop-up guy” before.
NM: That’s a position? But that’s insane!
MU: We made a deal with the League of Washed-Up Elderly Pitchers and the AAAA Hurlers Alliance. The mop-up guy exists to create a position for them. You should feel honored as the president of the LOWUEP is in your bullpen!
NM: Wait, wait. What if a save situation comes up 4 days in a row?
MU: Axford must pitch all four.
NM: But what if he gets hurt?
MU: Then we sell more K-Rod Jerseys. Win-Win!
NM: I think John would disagree. So I can use Loe or Thornburg.
MU: Thornburg is actually long relief. You may only put him into a game if a starter fails to get out of the 4h.
NM: GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! None of you are managing at all! You’re just following a bunch of stupid arbitrary rules!
MU: They’re not arbitrary. Not completely. They protect us, and create all-star players. You ever wonder why relievers make the All-Star game at all? Starters were getting sick of risking themselves, so we created a new class of bullpen star.
NM: But I want to use a true fireman!
MU: You’ll come around. Occasionally we let someone try it, but you’ll find the team announcers, undermining fan confidence in you pretty quickly. Talk radio will bash you. We have ways to keep you in line.
NM: Screw you; I’m doing whatever the hell I want.
MU: That’s exactly what Macha said.