After just about a month of the 2017 baseball season there have been a few things that are now clear. The Red Sox offense misses David Ortiz. The Yankees are looking scary. Eric Thames is looking scarier. And lastly, the intentional walk rule is awful. Baseball has made a couple rules over the last few years to attempt to speed up the pace of play the newest of which is that when the manager wants to intentionally walk someone they can just throw up four fingers and the runner can walk down to first base.
There have been a couple things that have came out of this new rule. One, MLB has sped up the pace of the game by about 30 seconds. Two, they have eliminated a part of the game that has been around forever. Although it doesn’t happen often, sometimes the pitches in an intentional walk can change a game. Pitchers sometimes get relaxed during the pitchers to take an extra base which could be the decisive run in the game. Sometimes they will overthrow a pitch allowing runners to score or simply take an extra base. All of this is eliminated with the manager simply holding up their fingers and letting the runner take first base. Rarely is a batter ever intentionally walked without runners on base unless they are named Barry Bonds.
The game has not been sped up by the new intentional walk rule. Games are still averaging around the same time and intentional walks only take about 30-50 seconds as it is. Hopefully next season the MLB will realize that this rule is doing nothing for them and change the rule back to how it has always been.