Let us all bow our heads for a moment in silent tribute to the latest casualty in baseball’s absurd war against the timeless tradition of a timepiece-free sport — the four-pitch intentional walk.
As has been widely reported, with 923 IBBs last season in 2,430 games, this rule change would have sliced an average of 1.5 pitches — or about 35 seconds– per game league wide.
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That’s one more small step for Commish Rob Manfred and his merry band of shorter-game-is-good scammers; one giant leap toward a game full of crazy shortcuts and nonsensical omissions leading to the end of the sport as we know it without a clock.
Think that’s unlikely?
You may have heard a new clock has been speeding up the time between the last out of each inning and the first batter in the box for the next one. Perhaps you noticed there’s often already a ball and strike count on the hitter when MLB telecasts return from their commercial breaks? Or maybe you didn’t notice because you’re still in the bathroom; taking your usual length of time to do your business, but thought you just don’t have the same velocity you used to when you finished and the game was already back.
You probably already know warm up pitches for starters and relievers have been drastically limited, and that visits to the mound by catchers and managers — often used to allow a pitcher with a tired or sore arm to give it a brief respite – have been severely curtailed.
And yet the mystery of all those shoulder and elbow injuries continues to confound this mastermind Commish who proposes putting a runner on second base in the tenth inning to shorten games; not grasping the fact that doing so for each team does virtually nothing to increase the chances of a shorter game but greatly enhances the chances of a bunting festival — a scenario sure to attract swarms of formerly disinterested potential fans to ballparks.
A pitch clock is already in use in the minors. Does anybody believe that isn’t intended to be a shakedown ahead of an appearance in major league ballparks?
Photo: Getty Images
Basically, they’ve shaved every second they can off the game and yet last season games were longer than they’ve ever been, much to Manfred’s dismay. But rather than accept all these silly moves have made no impact and rescind them, he presses onward and downward with this latest move to eliminate the intentional walk — and deny us forever the unexpected splendor of moments like this one from El Kraken last season.