The Popcorn Stand: MLB could lead fans to take intentional walk
The high muckety-mucks and players of Major League Baseball have decided to get rid of requiring pitchers to throw four pitches to intentionally walk a batter, making the pitchless intentional walk a reality for the 2017 season. Why stop there? Why should a second baseman or any infielder have to throw to first if they cleanly field a routine ground ball? Just make those outs automatic as well and save the arms of infielders so they no longer have to throw the ball on routine ground balls. You think Steve Sax would’ve liked that rule.
Since the MLB high muckety-mucks are so concerned about speeding up the game, no longer requiring infielders to throw the ball to first on routine ground balls will certainly shave a lot more time off games than making intentional walks automatic.
After all there was about one intentional walk per 2.5 games last year, so making the intentional walk automatic will save a grand total of about 1 minute per 2.5 games. I’m sure the person who thinks baseball is too slow is going to say, “they’re getting rid of the intentional walk and that’s going to shave a minute off every half week or so – why I’m going to start watching baseball right away.”
Everybody’s assuming the signal for the intentional walk will be what Mike Krukow refers to as the “four-finger salute.” I suggest managers be required to hold up a fist to represent the number of pitches that will be thrown on intentional walks, which is now zero.
So in it’s infinite wisdom, MLB has decided to take away moments like what happened in the 2014 playoffs when the San Francisco Giants scored the series-winning run in the playoffs against the Washington Nationals. Without that moment the Giants may not go on to win the World Series — and Carson City’s Matt Williams may still be the Nationals’ manager.
I would suggest MLB at least modify the rule to require pitchers to throw four pitches on a wild pitch if there’s a runner at third. An alert runner at third could always steal home if a pitcher falls asleep while intentionally walking a batter.
If the MLB high muckety-mucks keep mucking up the greatest game there is like this, it will be fans like me who will take an intentional walk.
— Charles Whisnand