Crasnick: An ode to the intentional walk

From SABR member Jerry Crasnick at on July 2, 2016:

Someday, an enterprising baseball writer will break new ground with the book, “Great Moments in Intentional Walk History.” It will be a relatively short work, in the mode of “Yordano Ventura’s Guide to Baseball Etiquette” or “Great Icelandic Baseball Heroes.”

People who enjoy their baseball at a quicker pace regard the busywork entailed in an intentional walk as perhaps the most worthless interlude in the game. To them, it’s duller than a visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the brief time that the pitcher and catcher spend playing catch isn’t long enough to accommodate a restroom break or concession stand visit. So what’s the point in continuing it?

That thinking helps explain why Major League Baseball might be on the verge of eliminating the routine. As’s Jayson Stark recently reported, MLB’s competition committee has discussed a package of changes to reduce dead time and help speed the pace of play. One proposed change calls for a batter to take first base on an intentional walk without the formality of the pitcher having to throw four wide.

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Originally published: July 5, 2016. Last Updated: July 5, 2016.