According to reports, MLB is getting rid of the intentional walk. Instead of having your pitcher throw four balls outside the strike zone, now you’ll just be able to signal from the dugout.
The argument is they’re trying to speed up the game and I get that, but this is changing the curtains on the Titanic.
First off, intentional walks don’t take much time. It’s a dude throwing four pitches.
Secondly, intentional walks are pretty rare to begin with. There’s one every 2 ½ games, so you’re shaving what, 30 seconds off a game every three days. Not exactly a game changer.
Of all the problems facing baseball, the speed of intentional walks doesn’t even crack the top ten.
Plus, this move robs us of the glorious moment of watching a pro athlete trying to throw a soft toss outside the strike zone and accidentally heaving it into the backstop.
Or, even better, the occasional batter who leans over the plate and tries to poke an intentional ball the opposite way.
Other ideas for speeding up the game have been proposed – like a pitch clock, or limiting visits to the mound, but the players are going to fight the league on that, so they’re doing one thing that the players will agree with them on.
I’d say it’s better than nothing, but I’m not really sure that it is.