As you probably say, earlier this week Major League Baseball decided to banish pitching intentional walks. Instead the manager will just give a signal to the umpire from the dugout to let them know that they want to give the batter first base. This is yet another push to cut down MLB game time. The reaction as been from “I don’t really care” to “this is going to ruin the game of baseball.” However, there really haven’t been a lot of people saying that this is great for the game.
First off, if you’re one of those people saying that this will ruin the game, get the hell out of here. Do I personally love the rule? Not particularly. But do I care? No, not at all. But the notion that getting rid of intentional walks will somehow get rid of one of the most exciting plays in baseball is asinine. Yes, if something funky happens during an intentional walk, it’s a great story. It’s fun to watch and it’s a neat memory, but the amount of times that something has actually happened on an intentional walk is like .07%. Maybe once a year someone will get a hit off of an intentional walk like Gary Sanchez did last year. Other than that? I kind of agree it is just a waste of time.
HOWEVA, the thought that this is going to save time in games is just as asinine as thinking that ridding the intentionally walk is going to ruin the game. Intentional walks take maybe 30 seconds? A minute? Wow yeah that’s going to pull in billions of young fans.
Now I love baseball. I love the nuances, the cat and mouse games between the runners and pitchers, the strategies and all that good stuff, so I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with the game, but I understand that the casual fan probably gets annoyed with the length of the game and all of the, shall we call it “dead air.”* I don’t think the intentional walk needs fixing and I certainly don’t think they need to start extra innings with a runner on second like some kind of softball beer league.
I guess though that if the baseball PR people were pushing the commissioner to do something to shorten games, I can settle for this. It’ll have little to no effect on the game, though if they want to increase viewership, they should have said that the pitcher can just bean the batter with a fastball instead of throwing four balls for the intentional walk. Nothing gets fan’s dicks harder than someone getting beaned, even if it’s like a 68 mph curveball that got away.
*This is a completely hardo baseball thing to say, but as the self-proclaimed baseball guy here at WCS, I feel that I’m obligated to say that if you are like me then there is no such thing as “dead air” in baseball. There’s always something going on. It’s a hardo thing to say, but everyone’s a hardo in with something so deal with it.