The intentional walk is dead -- or at least the practice of throwing four pitches high and outside of the strike zone. It was killed by Major League Baseball and the its players' association on Wednesday.
Under the new agreement between MLB and the union, managers will now be able to put a batter on base, with an intentional walk, with a signal from the dugout. The move is seen as a way of speeding up the pace of games, something that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has been pushing for.
Not everyone is too keen on the change, including me.
Toronto Blue Jays reliever Jason Grilli told USA Today, "Every once in a blue moon you get an intentional airmail and it could score a run. So you're taking away potential bloopers, or potentially the difference in a game. It happens, there are mental mistakes. This game is played by humans and there are human elements, whether it's a bad call by an umpire or a miscue by a player, there's no formulas for that."
I agree with him. The traditional intentional walk is part of the game.
If MLB wants to speed up the game, maybe there should be a limit on the amount of time between pitches and the number of times a hitter an step out of the batter's box.
I actually enjoy the leisurely pace of most baseball games. What about you?
Source: USA Today photo credit - Getty images