Bullpen Mafia: Introducing the “Wahoo Princess” bag
Baseball is full of unique traditions that are handed down from veterans to the younger players on the club, and members of the Indians bullpen have their own specific ritual to help break in their youngest member.
When relief pitcher Cody Allen was called up to the Indians for the first time in July, he became the latest in a long line of relievers to perform an important duty for his senior bullpen teammates. Before each game, Allen must haul a load of supplies from the clubhouse to the bullpen, and he must carry them in a pink bag nicknamed “Wahoo Princess”.
Allen’s fellow reliever Vinnie Pestano carried the bag for a time last season, and revealed some intriguing details to TribeVibe: “The youngest guy in the bullpen has to take the bullpen bag down,” said Pestano. “It’s got various things in there – things that are top secret, but keep us busy and entertained and ready to go when we’re in the pen waiting.”
When Allen first arrived in Cleveland he wasn’t surprised to find the bag, which is a well-known commodity throughout the Indians’ minor league teams, and he accepted his role as the unofficial Bag-boy for the team’s bullpen.
“You got to embrace it. You got to have fun with it, and you got to enjoy it,” said Allen. “There are a lot of people that would kill to carry that bag in the minor leagues, so I just try to do the best I can, keep it full with stuff the guys like, and just carry it with pride.”
The tradition has evolved over time, with different players joining the bullpen, and new bags being brought in to keep things fresh. Pestano carried a different bag last season and has watched as new teammates and new bags have been welcomed to the Indians’ clubhouse.
“Last year I had a pink one with Disney princesses on it,” Pestano explained. “We had a different bag at the beginning of the year, but now that Cody’s up – and obviously it’s his first time up – we had Nike make a bag for him, so he’s been rocking that out there every day. It says ‘Wahoo Princess’ on it. It’s just one of those duties – one of those paying your dues kind of things.”
Allen says he is still enjoying his part in the unique Rookie ritual, but would be prepared to pass on the bag-toting duties should a younger player join the ‘pen.
“It would probably be weird the first couple times, walking out there without carrying the bag, but I think I’d be OK with it,” declared Allen. “[The new guy] would inherit the pink bag. They would inherit it, and they would love it.”