Tuesday brought news of a relatively small but noteworthy change being implemented by MLB this season: Intentional walks will now be granted to hitters with a signal from the opposing dugout, rather than by having the pitcher throw four obvious balls. While the baseball powers that be, such as Commissioner Rob Manfred, see the move as helping speed games up, not everyone is thrilled to see the four-pitch intentional walk go the way of the dodo.
For one thing, while it seems like the simplest of acts to lob four pitches to a catcher standing well away from the batter’s box, things can and do occasionally go awry, which is always fun. Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis pointed out on Twitter that he has twice scored on errant pitches during intentional walks, one of which was featured in a video posted by another Twitter user.
The flip side of that scenario comes when a pitcher actually gets his lob a little too close to the strike zone and an intrepid batter goes for it. That’s fun, too!
Some online commenters made the case that the rule change will be so inconsequential, it’s hardly worth it.
Others, not surprisingly, took things in a less serious direction.
But if the ol’ four-pitch IBB must go, can we at least have some fun with the dugout signal? Twitter certainly thought we should (note: there were lots of middle-finger suggestions that won’t be passed along here).