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Intentional Walks to be handled by a signal instead of 4 pitches

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As part of its initiative to improve pace-of-game play, Major League Baseball has approved a change to the intentional walk rule, going from the traditional four-pitch walk to a dugout signal, team and union sources told ESPN's Howard Bryant.

MLB has studied various ways to quicken games.

ESPN's Jayson Stark reported earlier this month that MLB had made formal proposals to the players' union to usher in both raising the strike zone and scrapping the practice of lobbing four balls toward home plate to issue an intentional walk.


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On average, there are 1250 intentional walks handed out during a full MLB season.  That works out to 0.51 INT-BB per game.

It takes 4 pitches to issue one.  Each pitch takes 17.3 seconds (faster than the league average of 24.1 seconds because the pitchers don't reset or check the runners typically).  4 of these will save 69.2 seconds.  With 0.51 of them happening per game, this rule will speed up the average MLB game by approximately 35 seconds.

Thirty-five whole seconds.

Fuck that.  I like that pitchers throw all 4 pitches.  If the batter falls asleep they could fire one in for a strike.  If the pitcher fucks up and throws one in too close, the batter can swat at it and knock it out of the park.  It's a part of the game and is HARDLY a gimme - there's no practical reason to remove it and very little measurable benefit (35 seconds?) for doing this.


Besides, there's an easier way to give a player first base without throwing 4 pitches.... just bean him.

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