Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Four pitches no longer equals an intentional walk...



Last September, the Tampa Bay Rays decided to give Gary Sanchez a free pass with an intentional walk.  First base was open and there was a runner on third.  Sanchez opted not to play and swung at the first ball outside, lifting a fly to center that scored the runner.  At the time, the Yankees were only up by 2 in the 8th inning.  It was an unneeded insurance run, but with the announcement that Major League Baseball has revised the Intentional Walk, that play can never happen again. 

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, in a statement that won’t win many friends at the MLB Players Association, said there won’t be any meaningful rule changes for the 2017 season “due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA”.  Nevertheless, it has been reported that MLB will be eliminating the four outside pitches to force an intentional walk.  Managers will now be able to signal for the intentional walks from the dugout with no pitches thrown. 

It’s not a substantial rule change but it will eliminate plays like the one Sanchez collected a sac fly RBI.  I always get the image of Vladimir Guerrero.  The dude could hit anything inside or outside of the strike zone.  The bat has literally been taken from the intentional “walkee” and he’ll now get a polite signal to advance.  They should at least make it interesting and mandate that the signal for an intentional walk is a raised middle finger.

It was amazing that Richard Bleier stayed on the 40-man roster as long as he did.  He finally became a DFA victim when the Yankees announced the signing of slugger Chris Carter.  Still, I was surprised when it was announced that Bleier has been traded to the Baltimore Orioles.  It wasn’t really about the return as “cash or player to be named later” essentially equates to two cans of Mountain Dew.  The bigger surprise was the inter-division transaction with a noted rival which does not happen very often.  Bleier was never going to be a key part of the team but he is capable of getting a single out in a tight situation.  I wish him the best in Baltimore.  Say hi to Buck for me.

So, Alex Rodriguez has officially announced his retirement.  I always thought that he’d try to give it one more shot to reach the 700 home run milestone.  But he has proved me wrong by saying that he has no desire to play again.  I am glad that Alex is no longer an active Yankee but the work he is doing with the team is very good.  The younger players obviously respect Alex and he is an excellent communicator.  He made an exorbitant amount of money as a player, but his post-playing career should be similarly lucrative.  Happy Retirement, Alex!

I still can’t stand Randy Levine…

13 comments:

  1. Let's not forget the pitcher having the opportunity of balking or more importantly throwing a wild pitch.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think I saw Jason Kipnis say that he's scored at least twice on overthrown intentional walk pitches.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The whole overthrowing the intentional walk, the balk possibility and the rare occasion where an intentional ball gets thrown over the plate and crushed (or almost crushed in Gary Sanchez's case last season) are fun... but rare.

    I'm all for changing and/or improving the game without huge and drastic changes, if that makes any sense. Yes it sounds contradictory but I'm okay with changing small things in the game. Just wiggling four fingers and giving the guy the base is one of them I'm not going to blink an eye at. Limiting visits to the mound, stalling for relief pitchers to get ready, etc. is another one I'm not going to lose sleep over.

    What I don't want to happen is (and Manfred said this would only happen in instructional and developmental leagues thank goodness) putting a runner on second base starting in the 11th inning to end the game in an arcade style shootout.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I haven't seen it here, but elsewhere people are saying that this rule won't cut much time off of the game at all. That's not the point. The point is "pace of play", meaning fans/viewers will not have to sit through four pitches where nothing happens (at least the VAST majority of the time).

    Although it won't affect my fandom, I don't think it's a bad thing. The worst part about watching baseball is sitting through actionless moments like intentional walks, pitching changes, mound visits, and the like. Eliminating those can only help keep "casual" fans engaged in the game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. I could care less about the intentional walk rule. But like Daniel said, I'm completely against the runner at second rule. I also don't want to see a clock on the pitcher. What I want to see limited are the trips to the mound, and the throwovers to first base. Also, when a pitcher comes in from the bullpen, he's ready to go. He shouldn't be allowed "warm up pitches" on the mound. If he's not ready to go, he shouldn't be brought in.

      Delete
    2. I like your Bullpen idea, however I like the intentional walk to be played out on the mound. Too many things can happen, human error that can affect an intentional walk

      Delete
  5. How do you limit throws over to first without creating and advantage/disadvantage thing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I would put this in the hands of the umpires. There's a difference between holding the runner and wasting time. I don't know what the penalty should be though.

      Delete
  6. Every pitcher needs to throw off the mound a few times to get the feel of the mound, as everyone of them is different.
    We use to have the same rule in the big leagues, the catcher would get the call from the Mgr. and turn to the Ump and tell him they wanted to walk this hitter and hold four fingers for everyone else to see this was an automatic walk.
    As Bryan said one has to throw to first unless one says the runner can't advance which takes away from the game.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Reed-Iknew you were going to mention the differences in the mound! Maybe we've all been conversing too long. Just kidding, that couldn't happen. It doesn't matter what differences are in the mound. Part of the game. Home field advantage. Deal with it. That's my opinion Reed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry Jeff, as an old time pitcher, believe me when I say it is very important to feel the mound and where your foot is going to land how steep the hill is etc. Those are things that one feels, not really thinks about.

      Delete