Baseball is back, and it couldn’t have returned soon enough.
For this writer, there’s nothing quite like watching a game played on a mix of dirt and grass. Football has the gridiron. Basketball has the court. But baseball, however, has the diamond.
That’s never been brought any closer than watching a spring training game. The most recent I attended was the San Francisco Giants hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers at Scottsdale Stadium on Wednesday night.
As I sat on the lawn, I wondered which of these new prospects would rise to the occasion. Which of these hopefuls would get the call for Opening Day?
Then, my mind drifted on the new rules in place. Specifically, the ban of the intentional walk piqued my curiosity.
The Major League Baseball brass recently passed a rule regarding the intentional walk. Instead of four pitchouts, the manager will signal the No. 4 to the home plate umpire. The batter at the plate will take first base.
It’s controversial, but also clever when you think about it. The game has evolved in so many ways that it needs to catch up with itself. That evolution extends to the players’ approach (training, for example), and that transcends America’s Pastime.
Take a look at those who’ve hit instead of taking intentional walks. Detroit Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera got a single off of the Baltimore Orioles while as a member of the Florida Marlins. That took place 11 years ago.
The most recent example comes from The Bronx. New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez capitalized on a failed pitchout from the Tampa Bay Rays. Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly so deep that it was a few inches away from going over left-center field.
Eliminating the intentional walk might create even more tension in the dugout. What if a walk is called and the pitcher on the mound doesn’t necessarily agree with it?
The dynamic between manager and player is even further defined in a more complicated way. That human element gets unintentionally stronger than ever.
In other words, getting rid of intentional walks do more than just speed up the game.
Some changes will be good, while others not so much. Regardless, time changes. The players are changing, and so must we baseball fans.
Baseball is evolving faster than any of us could ever dream of. It is up to us to follow suit and rally behind America’s Pastime in their quest for a prosperous future.
Remember to check out the Facebook page for the Update. You can also check out my professional website for my other works and accomplishments. Don’t forget to like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and keep on reading. Until then, watch sports you knuckleheads!
Copyright @ 2007