MLB Has the Right Idea with the Intentional Walk

For some bizarre reason, the idea of eliminating the four pitches required for an intentional walk is causing a stir amongst MLB fans. Really people?

Let’s face it, some of the ideas put forth by the MLB to speed up the game have been utterly idiotic. A runner on second to start extra innings? Sad, to quote Donald Trump. Yet, some ideas, like a pitch clock and limiting the amount of time to ask for a challenge are solid ideas. Let’s take the non-action out of the game.

And that is what the MLB is attempting to do by eliminating the four pitch intentional walk. Now, a manager and simply signal from the dugout, allowing a batter to head towards first base. We no longer need to see a pitcher lob four balls behind the opposite batter’s box, with the inevitable result coming a minute or two later.

Naturally, this idea has been met with a great deal of uproar. “You can’t eliminate those pitches!” the naysayers have proclaimed. “What about those ‘balls’ that were put in play? You’re taking away a possible hit!”

Okay, it has happened where a batter has swung at a pitch during an intentional walk and put it into play. However, since that has happened either 11 or 15 times since 1892, it’s not like this happens very often. Approximately a dozen times in the past 125 years? Not a great stretch there.

Now it is possible that a wild pitch or a passed ball could happen. An attempt to throw a ball away could result in just that, with a pitch ending up heading to the backstop and any baserunners moving up on the play. But, again, how often does that happen? For the most part, the intentional walk is one of the more boring parts of the game.

Of course, pitchers could eliminate the intentional walk in other ways. If some pitcher wanted to channel their inner Don Drysdale or Old Hoss Radbourn and fire a pitch into the batter’s ribs, it would serve the same purpose. But the game has evolved, and with it, the rules have changed. This is simply another step in that progression.

The intentional walk as we had come to know it is going away. The times have changed, and the game must evolve with it. I will, however, miss that chance to get a beer from the fridge without missing anything.

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