Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has been talking about improving baseball’s pace of play issues for what seems like an eternity. Although I think he probably overblows the issue a bit, I won’t deny that it is a problem that puts off casual fans. The game moves too slowly. Tuesday night, reports came down that they’ve arrived at a new rule to help out in this regard. Are you ready for this? Drumroll, please....
According to ESPN’s Howard Bryant, MLB and the Players Association have agreed to institute a dugout signal for intentional walks. WOOOOO. CAN YOU FEEL THE EXCITEMENT.
On the one hand, this rule really does absolutely nothing for pace of play. There’s no one out there who was on the fence about watching more baseball this year who has converted because there won’t be any more intentional walks. They happen so rarely, and the whole process takes such little time, that this doesn’t put a dent into anything.
On the other hand, this doesn’t really affect anything about the game. Going through the process of intentional walks always felt weird and pointless. To be fair, every once in awhile weird things happen like Miguel Cabrera hitting a single on an intentional walk.
That’s fun! The pitcher totally didn’t mean for that to happen! LOL LMAO
These events occur every few years. In between, there are thousands (probably more! I’m not about to research an actual number) of normal intentional walks. The catcher stands up, sticks his arm out and catches a 70 mph toss from the pitcher. The hitter doesn’t move a muscle. Repeat three more times. That’s not baseball, that’s the time you go grab another beer from the fridge.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: I can’t bring myself to care either way. Those who are against this rule are absolutely right in their argument. MLB isn’t accomplishing anything in terms of pace of play, and the league is sacrificing some wacky moments. Those against it are also right. Intentional walks are mostly boring, so who cares if we lose them. I could take them or leave them, but at the end of the day we’re talking about intentional walks and I’m going to fall asleep if I keep talking about them.