Please, Commissioner Manfred, Don’t Change the Intentional Walk Rule
I have read recently that Rob Manfred, the commissioner of baseball, and the rest of the management of Major League Baseball are contemplating changing the rules for intentional walks. I do not consider myself to be a baseball “purist,” and I do not mean to toot my own horn, but I am well-versed in advanced metrics and novel strategy, and you can read my thoughts on revamping modern bullpen management and roster construction elsewhere on this blog. I do not think the shift should be outlawed. I do think that both leagues need some sort of uniformity when it comes to the designated hitter, and I do not necessarily think that guys like Clemens and Bonds should be held out of the Hall of Fame. Sure, some of these views fall under the umbrella of “baseball purist,” but when taken as a package, they do not reflect any specific ideology but my own.
While the intentional walk is an integral part of baseball games, it does not happen that often. Only one in roughly every 180 at bats (that’s once roughly every two to three games) results in an intentional walk, and I do not have the numbers on this, but my guess is that a not insignificant number of those intentional walks are used to put the eighth hitter on base so the pitcher on the hill can face the opposing pitcher in National League contests. I can give you my opinions on instating the designated hitter in the National League at a later time, but for now I can only address intentional walks while having in mind that pitchers in the NL hit on a regular basis.
(Image Credit: Major League Baseball via Cut4)