It isn’t true I oppose every baseball rule change. Just nearly all of them.
Baseball’s rules should be treated with great reverence. Change them not at all unless some compelling need arises.
Making the intentional walk “automatic” is not a change that really needed to be made. It’s not like fans, players and owners were agitating for it.
The notion, apparently, is that the automatic/instant intentional walk will speed up games. Because of all that time sucked up by throwing four pitches wide of the plate.
A total of 932 intentional walks were given last season. In what is supposed to be a 2,430-game season.
That works out to one IBB every 2.5 games or so. Not exactly a common occurrence, is it.
Thank goodness, though, we will be spared, in the future, the eternal process of four wide ones. That must take, what, a minute?
Seems like a lot of baseball people like this move. (Or are not willing to rock the boat.) For a couple of reasons.
–The intentional walk screws up pitchers by asking them to make a pitch that is not like a competitive pitch. Four times. And we wouldn’t want one of a team’s six pitchers that day to feel discomfited, would we?
–Occasionally, weird things happen during an intentional walk. A guy reaches out and pokes a single. The ball gets away from a catcher and it turns into a run.
I like both of those outcomes. I think they are good.
An intentional walk should be an enterprise with some risk.
The team in the field believes it is getting an advantage by taking the bat out of the hands of the guy at the plate. Meanwhile, most of the fans of the guy that didn’t get to hit are a bit frustrated. The guy himself is probably very frustrated.
The slight possibility of something going awry during the process … that seems fair.
A walk is four pitches outside the strike zone. If a guy gets to go to first base, he should get his four pitches out of the strike zone.
This might even lead to more intentional walks. Nothing can go wrong, right? And it’s virtuous to speed up the game. More free passes!
What the hell, let’s do it. We need more plays where nothing at all happens. Just send guys to first base despite no one pitching and no one swinging. Half the fans will wonder how that batter just went straight to first, but it happened quickly, at least.
That’s what made the game great.
I wonder what improvement will be next? The sacrifice fly rule never made much sense to me.