The “New” Intentional Walk Rule in the MLB Sucks

I know it’s not brand new this season, but while watching the Reds game last night I found myself annoyed with how much the new intentional walk rule sucks. Since way back in 2017, the manager has been able to call for an intentional walk, giving the batter first base without making the pitcher throw four pitches outside of the strike zone. I can understand the desire for this rule in theory, but it sucks a load of… donkey stuff… in practice. The idea behind the rule, or so I assume, is to help speed up the game and eliminate additional pitches that can cause wear and tear on a pitcher’s arm. Is that worth sacrificing some of the greatest and funniest moments in baseball history for? I say no.

Imagine yourself as a pitcher in a high pressure situation. Maybe you weren’t scheduled to be available out of the bullpen so you indulged in $17 worth of Taco Bell for lunch thinking there was no chance you’d have to take the mound late in the game. But then the game went into extra innings and the manager was left with no choice other than to burn through all of the arms in the bullpen despite their lunch decisions. Is there anything worse than finding yourself front and center in the bottom of the 12th with bubble guts in a tie ballgame? Maybe one thing:

Poor Lance Odom. He woke up a Lancaster Barnstormer and went to bed a Lancaster Bumstormer (I’ll workshop other names and update the blog in real time after your feedback). The poor fella was so programmed to throw strikes that he just couldn’t bring himself to throw eight straight balls to load the bases to allow a force-out at any bag. I just got chills down my spine hearing someones parent yell “any base!” from their canvas chair next to the minivan. 

The first batter was successfully walked, but if you keep watching, he wasn’t so lucky the next time around. With runners on first and third he pulled a Mayor Mark Mallory (or as I called him during our weekly checkers game, 3M) and let the winning run score.

mallory first pitch

Man, Eric Davis sure could rock the shit outta that baggy suit, couldn’t he?

Anyway, this is what’s at risk. If this game were played under the new MLB rules, it would’ve been a boring 12th inning. The bases would’ve been loaded and the Barnstormers would’ve gotten their much needed force-out at home followed by a deep fly ball that made all the fans gasp in anticipation of a home run. Lucky for us, and unlucky for Lance Odom (no relation to Lamar, I checked), this rule wasn’t around in 2007.

It’s not always wild pitches that lead to cool moments via botched intentional walks either. Take Miguel Cabrera for example:

Miggy wasn’t gonna let Todd Williams (no relation to Ted, I’m guessing. I didn’t check on this one) get away with a lackadaisical attempt at an intentional walk. He knew he had the go-ahead runner on second with a field full of Orioles that had been lulled to sleep by the anticipation of four straight balls and having to live in Baltimore. And amigo, if they give you something to hit, lo golpeas. We can thank Miguel Cabrera for a few things here. One, he gave us a great video to watch accompanied by the finest words ever written in a blog. And two, he did it in a Marlins uniform before they ruined their look during the re-branding to the Miami Marlins. Is it too much to ask for teams to stick with classic looks instead of trying to be cutting-edge with jacked up uniforms? That crap might fly in soccer or basketball, but baseball is a game built on tradition, so get off my lawn and take your neon colored fonts and goofy patterned shoulder stripes with you (I’m looking at you, Miami and Arizona).

Without the four-pitch intentional walk rule, Rookie of the Year would’ve ended completely differently.

Did the MLB even take Thomas Ian Nicholas’ feelings into account with this rule change? Now when his kids are old enough to watch his movies (they should prolly skip the Tara Reid scenes from American Pie), they’re gonna look at him like he’s a fraud because they don’t understand the lost art of the four-pitch intentional walk. Poor kids, and poor Thomas Ian Nicholas (no relation to Jack Nicklaus, obviously).

This is what we’ve lost, people. Think about how often you see an intentional walk. It’s not as common as you’d think now that Bonds is out of the game. Was this an attempt to speed up the game, or is Lamar Lance Odom working in the league offices after his minor league career came to an end? We’ll never know. One thing I do know is I feel bad for the next generation of baseball fans and Thomas Ian Nicholas’ children that won’t get to see incredible things like this happen. Seems like a pretty miserable life to live, just having to watch guys like Bryce Harper and Cody Bellinger hit bombs and live off of American Pie residuals rather than seeing middle-aged relievers throwing the game away in the wee hours of a school night. Is this the game we want to leave for Thomas Ian Nicholas’ children? Do you think his kids hang out with Jason Biggs’ kids? Why did Jason Biggs disappear after the first two seasons of Orange Is the New Black? I have so many questions.

While I sit back and wonder what all of my American Pie friends and their children do in their free time, you can check out some more intentional walk blunders that a very noble internet person put together and I stole from YouTube.

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