Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Intentional Walk Rule Just A Band-Aid On Pace

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred—who we generally like—has slipped a few rule changes into the game this year without much vetting or fanfare. The most surprising is the change in the intentional walk rule. Starting this season, a pitcher simply needs to signal for an IBB—no need for four out-of-the-zone pitches. It's estimated that this will save a whopping fourteen seconds off every game. Another new rule will limit instant replay review to two minutes. This makes sense—if you can't tell if the foot beats the throw in 120 seconds, it's probably not worth the controversy. The bigger issue, however, is the stealth manner with which these new rules have entered the game—a process rightly protested by the players "union". Manfred wants even more fundamental changes for next season (a pitch clock, limiting trips to the mound), but Tony Clark and the union are balking. A 'clash of the titans' seems to be brewing. Stay tuned!