The key to any good bullpen is the people who are in it. With that in mind, I've come up with an ideal—yet representative—crew of guys I've served time with.
•Jim Schaffer, bullpen coach
A bullpen coach is part pitching coach, part equipment manager and full-time babysitter. He pretty much regulates the fun, how much you can and can't have. Schaff was good about that. I'll always remember the time in Milwaukee when our manager, Dick Howser, called on the phone while Bill Castro and Mike Armstrong were warming up. Dick asked, "Which one looks better?" Schaff answered, "They're both ugly."
•John Wathan and Jamie Quirk, backup catchers
The key to being a good backup catcher is to be comfortable with your playing time, no matter how minimal it is. You have to be ready to play at any time, but you can't be grousing if you're not playing. The backup catcher is a tool; that's why he's known as Black & Decker. John and Jamie were both top-of-the-line Black & Deckers.
•Ken Brett, left handed reliever
He had a great mind—he could talk about classical music or impressionist art or vintage wines, and 30 seconds later, he could be just as stupid as the rest of us. What I liked best about Kemmer, though, was his reaction when he got the call to pitch. Most of us, when we get the call, get this intense stare in our eyes. But Kemmer would put on this great smile and go running out onto the field, skipping or giddyapping or zigzagging until he got to the mound. He always reminded us that the game was fun.
•Frank DiPino, lefthanded reliever
Very quick-witted and tough with opponents. Any bullpen is always begging for runs, and you already know about rally caps. But Frank has what he calls "the blind rally." For a blind rally, you have to get out of sight of the game, with no peeking at the scoreboard, and guess what's happening just by the crowd noise. Frank believes it really produces runs, and although no exhaustive studies have been done, I think it's a fairly effective method. At any rate, it was hard to be bored when Frank was around.
•Marty Pattin, righthanded reliever
A great barbecue chef. He would bring his grill to Royals Stadium and cook steaks and chicken right out there in the bullpen. Marty was known as Duck because he was so good at talking like Donald Duck. We often enjoyed his Duck rendition of the national anthem. He wasn't much help in the scouting department, however. His answer to everything was, "Hard sliders, away." Naturally, he's a college coach now.
•Bud Black, banished starter
There are always one or two guys in a bullpen who feel they don't belong there, but Buddy handled it better than most. Not only could he dance and sing, but he was also a fine bowler. He made up this game where he would line us up like bowling pins, and then he would roll a baseball and determine which of us would fall to the ground.
•Renie Martin, righthanded reliever
My alltime favorite playmate. Before he got them fixed, Renie had these big, protruding teeth that we used to play like a piano. He didn't mind. He also liked to draw cartoons in the dirt. He could dance stupid steps, he would say stupid things and he could tell stupid jokes. It's very important to have a guy like that in your bullpen.
I thought about retiring after last season, but the camaraderie of the bullpen—the feeling you get out there—is one of the main reasons I decided not to. When I do finally retire, I'll probably want to sit in a tight, enclosed area every once in a while and have people yell at me. Maybe I'll put some chain link fence in front of my TV.
Dan Quisenberry, who joined the San Francisco Giants this season, has previously pitched for Kansas City and St. Louis; with 244 saves, he is ranked fourth on the all time list.