In case you live under a rock (or don’t like baseball, which I don’t know why you wouldn’t), Major League Baseball announced yesterday that it is getting rid of the intentional walk and instead allowing managers to use a signal from the dugout.
Getting rid of the old-fashioned intentional walk would eliminate about a minute of dead time per walk. In an age when intentional walks actually have been declining — there were just 932 all last season (or one every 2.6 games) — that time savings would be minimal. But MLB saw the practice of lobbing four meaningless pitches as antiquated (ESPN).
If I’m lucky, I see one IBB a game. Whoo, we’re going to save a minute. Intentional walks are fun to watch. I mean THIS HAPPENED YESTERDAY. THE SAME DAY MLB GOT RID OF THE INTENTIONAL WALK:
Now this will never happen in the majors. And that’s a darn good way to end a game. If I had the time, patience, and resources, I’d look up how many MLB games have ended in a walk off wild pitch during an intentional walk. And cherish them.
To reminiscence, you can read this SB Nation article breaking down the pros and cons of the new rule. Or you can check out the career leaders of intentional walks on Baseball Reference (fun fact: David Ortiz led the American League the last two seasons in IBBs. Thankfully he retired before this stupid rule was implemented).
Hopefully Rob Manfred will stop taking away the things that make baseball weird because we need our weirdness. It’s what makes us special. Because now I’ll never accomplish my dream of swinging at a pitch during an intentional walk.
(ALSO: I’d like to point out that NFL games are just as long as MLB games, but you don’t hear Rodger Goodell complaining. He’s too concerned about improperly disciplining players for off the field incidents. And #Deflategate.)