The MLB doing away with the traditional intentional walk procedure is the first of many small changes fans are going to see commissioner Rob Manfred and the MLB executives make in an effort to shorten lengthy baseball games.
While I commend Manfred’s efforts to shorten the games, I think this really falls on the players. The amount of pickoff throws, stepping off the mound, stepping out of the batter’s box, adjusting of uniforms, walking around between pitches, giving signals, calling timeout all need to be reduced significantly. Is it really that hard to just play the damn game?
In regard to the intentional walk changes, I still believe the pitcher should throw the four balls because you never know what will happen. Those rare instances when the pitcher gets the yips and can’t execute the intentional walk create some great baseball moments (including one just a week ago in AAA)
Manfred and the competition committee also agreed to raise the strike-zone a few inches above the batter’s knee in order to create more balls put into play and reduce the number of walks. Rule changes still need to be approved by baseball’s playing rules committee and could be put into effect as early as next season.