Nick Laham/Getty Images

Yankee Stadium Bullpen

Jeff Montgomery, the all-time leader in saves for the Royals, was a three-time All-Star during his 13 MLB seasons, 12 of which were with Kansas City. Montgomery is in his eighth season as a broadcaster with the team, and he is the author of a new release, If These Walls Could Talk: Kansas City Royals, written with Matt Fulks. Here is an excerpt in which Montgomery selects his favorite MLB bullpens on the road:

I'm often asked about my favorite stadiums in the major leagues. It's different for me than it is for fans and probably other players. I enjoy the history of the stadiums, but ultimately for me it comes down to the bullpens. So, in alphabetical order, here are some of my favorite bullpens and some random memories about others.


wikimedia commons Camden Yards

Oriole Park at Camden Yards was the first of its kind, as many of the cookie-cutter stadiums and the domes were giving way to more retro stadiums. I pitched at the old Memorial Stadium, but that old place didn't have a lot of character. At Camden Yards fans are literally above you on a railing, looking down on you, and they could really let you have it. They'd let you know that Cal Ripken Jr. was going to take you deep. They were solid fans in terms of knowledge, so they'd let you know that they saw you give up a home run to Kirby Puckett earlier in the week.


wikimedia commons Fenway Park

It was always a thrill to warm up in Fenway Park's bullpen. I wasn't a big fan of Fenway Park as a player because the clubhouse was as big as a closet. Otherwise, I loved the environment of the ballpark, especially in the bullpen. The fans in Boston, as much as anywhere on the road, were the best. They were the most conversational, nicest, and most knowledgeable. They knew the name of our girlfriends in the sixth grade. We'd be scratching our heads, trying to figure out how they knew that. The fans there are so close that we could warm up and give a fan a high-five at the same time. Fenway is a park that didn't have a tunnel, so we had to walk across the field. At certain times of the year, April for instance, it could be cold at Fenway and downright frigid in the bullpen.

Chicago (Old Comiskey Park)

wikimedia commons Comiskey Park

The visitors' bullpen in old Comiskey was in right field beyond the fence. A lot of the old bullpens used to be down the lines. New stadiums changed that. Comiskey, though, was unique. Usually, a right hander warms up on the right-hand mound, and a lefty warms up on the left-side mound. At Comiskey the bullpen was so narrow that a right-hander, especially someone like Quiz, could scrape his hand on the wall.

Chicago (Wrigley Field)

wikimedia commons Wrigley Field

As one might expect, at Wrigley Field their bullpens were down the lines in foul territory. So it's a bullpen where the relievers are basically an extra row of seats with the fans. Although this didn't involve us, I think the best proof of that is the game in 2000 when the Los Angeles Dodgers were at Wrigley, and catcher Chad Kreuter, who was with the Royals the season before, climbed into the stands to go after a fan who'd taken Kreuter's hat and hit Chad in the back of the head. That moment aside, their fans were great. The Cubs weren't a real good team when we played them at Wrigley in 1997 and '99, but their fans were still into it. We have a lot of Royals fans making the trips up to Chicago, especially the few times we've played at Wrigley, which makes it fun to go there. The funny thing about Wrigley is that when I went there with the Cincinnati Reds, I didn't pitch and I went twice as a player with the Royals, but I also don't remember ever pitching there. They've renovated recently, but when I went there as a player, we practically had to get dressed in shifts because the clubhouse was so small. It was also a maze to get to the clubhouse. We had to go into the dugout, up a tunnel, and upstairs to get to the clubhouse itself.


flickr / Arturo Pardavila III Cleveland Ballpark

The bullpen in Cleveland wasn't anything spectacular, but after they built Jacobs Field in the early 1990s, that was one of the loudest places to warm up. Remember, they had an amazing streak of 455 consecutive sellouts at Jacobs from June 12, 1995, until April 4, 2001. The way the bullpen was set up, it was loud. Fans were crazy. They were trying to get in your head. After we got warmed up, the noise level was unbelievable when going into the game. That was one of the toughest places to close a game in the early '90s.


wikimedia commons Tiger Stadium

We called the bullpen at old Tiger Stadium the submarine because we sat in a pillbox-sized underground area down the right-field line. Before going into the bullpen, we'd "ask permission to come aboard." Assuming we didn't get a concussion from banging our heads trying to get in, once we were in there, we could barely see the game. There were only a couple of feet that were above ground, and we were looking through an ancient wire mesh screen with 100 coats of paint. Good luck seeing through all of that and then you're at knee level. It was not an easy place to watch a game. But the benefit is that the Tigers were owned by Domino's Pizza and then Little Caesars, so there were pizzas everywhere. For a couple new baseballs, getting pizzas was easy. The mounds were out beyond foul territory. That's where we'd sit.


flickr / Barrel Man Sammy Milwaukee County Stadium

Speaking of food, that reminds me of Milwaukee's County Stadium. The bullpen itself wasn't very good. It was a two-level bullpen in right field. The Brewers' bullpen was just past the outfield wall, and then ours was elevated above that. But the bratwursts were awesome there. For a couple of baseballs, we could get all the bratwursts we wanted. Before the strike baseballs were somewhat of a premium. The bullpen coach had a quota of baseballs he had to keep. So, in certain ballparks we'd snag a couple extra batting practice balls and drop them off in the bullpen to use as barter. We'd be asked a couple dozen times a game for a baseball; everyone loves a baseball. A dad may ask for a couple baseballs for his two sons, so for a trade of brats in Milwaukee, they could be had.


wikimedia commons Metrodome

One thing that got me interested in television broadcasting was my fascination that started at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Whereas most places have a production truck for their TV broadcasts, the Metrodome had a room for the production. After the first pitch, I'd go up to the clubhouse if I needed to stretch. Walking back to the bullpen, I'd stop and watch the production room for a few minutes. Seeing them produce the broadcast was incredible. Over time I got to know the people there. Now that I'm doing TV for the Royals, some of those same people are still working in the truck in Minnesota. Everything that goes into putting on a television broadcast is amazing to me.

New York (Old Yankee Stadium)

Nick Laham/Getty Images Yankee Stadium

The thing I remember most about old Yankee Stadium was being in the bullpen for the national anthem. We were literally standing by Monument Park with Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle and all their Hall of Famers. So much great baseball history is literally right in front of you. I don't remember this in any other stadium, but I'd get chills at Yankee Stadium when the anthem started playing. Regardless of your team affiliation, that was a very special place to be. The only catch is that we had to be careful about a flying object possibly coming from the stands. The objects could be batteries or quarters or beer cans. Dave Win eld had this section that he provided for underprivileged kids, and it was always a rowdy section. I don't know if they were baseball fans or not, but they were teenage kids and they were rowdy.

-- Excerpted by permission from If These Walls Could Talk: Kansas City Royals by Jeff Montgomery With Matt Fulks. Copyright (c) 2017. Published by Triumph Books. Available for purchase from the publisher, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. Follow Matt Fulks on Twitter @MattFulks.