bullpen in the MLB

PETA Wants MLB to Start Calling the ‘Bullpen’ an ‘Arm Barn’ over Treatment of Cows

In an effort to show kindness to animals, and humans alike, PETA wants Major League Baseball (MLB) to stop using the term ‘bullpen.” Instead, they suggest using the phrase “arm barn.

Is the term ‘bullpen’ insensitive to cows? Does it degrade the athletes who play baseball? Not many people are out there wondering about the etymology of words during the Worlds Series. For many, the term is just another phrase that has been used for as long as they can remember.

On Thursday, a press release from PETA stated why they think the change from ‘bullpen’ to ‘arm barn’ is necessary.

“Words matter, and baseball ‘bullpens’ devalue talented players and mock the misery of sensitive animals. 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,” PETA executive Tracy Reiman said to TMZ.

“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,” PETA wrote on Twitter.


What is a Bullpen to MLB?

In the world of MLB (or just baseball in general), a bullpen is where relief players warm-up before heading to the mound. Usually, pitchers will throw pitches to warm their muscles up and get a few good stretches in to prevent injuries. However, the word does hold more than one meaning.

In an office, the term is used to describe a place where the serious brunt of hard work is done. It’s an open area, full of desks, without any walls or cubicles. Most tech startups employ the use of a bullpen structure in order to keep everyone on a level playing field. No one is more important than the other, and everyone can see their co-worker.

Even Marvel Comics refers to its in-house staff of writers and artists as the Marvel Bullpen.”

The first official "Marvel Bullpen Bulletins" page, from The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (Dec. 1965)
The first official “Marvel Bullpen Bulletins” page, from The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (Dec. 1965) – Wikipedia

It’s not like the word is new or suddenly came about recently. It’s been used since the 1800s, and MLB is unlikely to switch up its lingo because of a PETA request.

“According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest recorded use of “bullpen” in baseball is in a Cincinnati Enquirer article published on May 7, 1877. As writer O.P. Caylor noted in a game recap, “The bull-pen at the Cincinnati grounds with its `three for a quarter crowd’ has lost its usefulness.”


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Bullpen or Arm Barn?

Which phrase will you choose to use when speaking about MLB? Bullpen, or Arm Barn? It looks like CBS Sports tweeted “Astros going deep into the arm barn this game,” during game 3 of the MLB World Series this Friday So, maybe it is catching on after all.

Cattle Behind Wire Fence during Daytime
veeterzy – Pexels

Sure, we all need to be sensitive to the things we say and how they can affect others – even animals. However, some believe there are other much more worthy battles to fight than ones consisting of vernacular trivialities.

“It’s unclear why PETA decided to call for a change now after over a century of the term’s use, though doing so during the 2021 World Series between the AL champion Houston Astros and NL champion Atlanta Braves ensured the request would receive attention.”


What do you think? Share your thoughts with us below, and tell us how you feel about this request for MLB to change its wording.

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  1. PETA TO MLB RENAME ‘BULLPEN’ TO ‘ARM BARN’!!! … It’s Insensitive To Cows.” TMZ. October 28, 2021.
  2. PETA wants MLB to change ‘bullpen’ to ‘arm barn,’ and not everyone is against the idea.” Fox59 News. Peter Snarr. October 31, 2021
  3. Bullpen Bulletins.” Wikipedia
  4. PETA Wants MLB to Start Calling the ‘Bullpen’ an ‘Arm Barn’ over Treatment of CowsBleacher Report. October 28, 2021.