Just yesterday, reports surfaced that MLB commissioner Rob Mandfred has changed how teams will invoke the intentional walk in 2017.
Another baseball tradition has just been toppled. Just as pitch clocks are becoming all the rage in the minor leagues, and with the outrage behind a potential extra inning shakeup in full swing, MLB has come to terms on a change in how the intentional walk is implemented.
According to ESPN.com, MLB and union officials have agreed on a departure from the four-pitch intentional walk to just simply signaling the decision from the dugout. This is yet another attempt by Manfred to speed up the pace of play. Something that he has discussed at length over the offseason.
Major League Baseball has a perceived problem by many that the games are too long and drawn out. In an attempt to bring in younger viewers, the league may be upsetting the traditionalists that follow the game.
However, in ESPN’s report, they state that the change would result in a cut of, “a minute per walk”, which in the scheme of things, is a noticeable difference.
Detractors of the switch to a simple dugout signal from the manager may be point to the fact that there are occasions where pitchers have not been able to accurately throw an intentional walk. There have also been hitters who have been able to put the ball in play because of the clear motive of the pitcher.
Hate it or love it, the change appears to be set to start this coming season with spring training just beginning across MLB facilities this past week.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has yet to make any direct comment in regards to the rule change.