What would happen? [Question about walking in Baseball]

What would happen if a pitcher issued a batter an intentional walk the “old fashioned way?”, i.e. throwing 4 pitches high and way outside?

Now that the ridiculous new IBB rule is in place, would it somehow be a violation to throw 4 high and outside pitches?

Certainly not if the catcher was in a crouch and had to move out to get them. There might be some comment, if the catcher stood and held his hand or glove out in the standard IBB signal. But it’s not against the rules.

I guess the bigger question is, why would the pitcher want to intentionally walk someone the old-fashioned way, and burn four pitches? Personally, I think this new IBB rule is good for baseball.

I have edited your title to make it a bit more descriptive.

If the catcher were in a crouch, it would probably be assumed the pitcher had lost control. If he were standing and pointing outward, the ump would probably ask him why. But there’s nothing in the rules preventing it. In fact, before this new rule, I don’t think the rules even mentioned an IBB. At least, they didn’t have to.

I’m not convinced the new rule is an improvement. It’s objective is to shorten games, but there are very few IBBs in most games, so it’s not going to have much effect. And every once in a while, the old fashioned intentional walk would not work right. The pitcher, used to firing the ball in there, would not be able to shift gears and just lob an easy one outside. So it might be a passed ball and runners on base could advance, including scoring. This new rule elliminates such situations.

It’s a bad rule. Even if there are five IBBs in a game, how much time would that save? A couple minutes total, maybe. And how is it “burning” four pitches when the pitcher is softly tossing the ball the catcher?

The real question is, why does baseball need to be sped up?

Apparently, less baseball is better than more baseball.

That might be the attitude of people who hate baseball, I suppose. Why Rob Manfred feels obligated to do what people who hate baseball want is beyond me.

If the games are seen as being too long, it’s probably because of TV. A typical game takes about 3 hours, but running long is not unusual. Rain delays, extra innings, lots of hits/walks/scoring, even just a slow pitcher. TV schedulers hate long games.

If they really wanted to speed up the game, they’d add a pitch clock. That is, the pitcher would have so many seconds between pitches to the batter. Not sure what would happen if he takes too long. Probably they just call the pitch a ball. Purists would scream, though, which is probably why they haven’t added one. Also, what if it’s the batter who causes a long delay between pitches? He could be constantly stepping out of the box every time the pitcher is ready.

No, its objective is to speed up the apparent pace of play - Manfred has said he knows it’s not going to actually shorten games.

Because the pace of the games is very slow, and that makes it less fun to watch. There is absolutely no question about the first statement I made; baseball is measurably slower than ever. The second statement is subjective but a lot of people do fee lthat way, including me, a lifetime and obsessive baseball fan. And essentially no one really LIKES a very slow baseball game. Nobody really enjoys watching batters step out after every pitch to fart around with their batting gloves.

The question is whether the signalled IBB is a solution to the problem of pace. To my mind it obviously is not.

There’s nothing wrong with the new intentional walk but as others have said it’s not going to make much difference. Since any time it’s done with 4 pitches it would signal an attempted fake of some kind it’s only going to be used to annoy the opposing team from now on.

Apparently, you don’t have to finger wave four pitches - we had a game this weekend where the count was 3-0 and they just waved the fourth pitch. It would seem they were trying to get the batter to chase, and he wasn’t biting, so they punted on the fourth.

And it’s still a stupid rule. Want to speed up game pace - start calling strikes on batters who step out to rezip their gloves after pitches where they didn’t even move, let alone swing.

It is, but how much faster do we want it sped up? An average game now is 3 hours. Over the history of the game, it’s something like 2 1/2 hours. I grew up with baseball in the late 80s, where the average game was approaching 2:45, so an extra 15 minutes seems negligble to me. You get, what, about 60-ish at bats on average for both teams in a baseball game, so that’s shaving off about 15 seconds per batter to hit a game length of 2:45, or 30 seconds per batter to hit 2:30. Will that really make the game feel that much measurably faster? Baseball is a patient game. I don’t notice the difference between a game that’s 2:30 or one that’s 3. I suppose if that’s what new fans want, fine, but I don’t think speeding up the game even by a half hour is going to make a difference in fandom.

I think that misses the point that you and all the rest of us that became fans in the 70s or 80s grew up with shorter games. Maybe we don’t mind long games now because our fandom was already established. But if baseball is losing the opportunity for new fans now because the game length is excessive, it’s a problem worth addressing even if “true fans” (i.e., old timers) don’t mind.

I’ll also note that it’s not the length of a game that’s an issue, it’s all the time in which nothing interesting is happening. A 3 hour game with lots of runs or 12-pitch at bats is fine. Watching the batter endlessly adjust his gloves is not. An IBB saps interest for many people - let’s get to an actual pitcher/better duel.

Well, no, I fully get that, hence the “I suppose if that’s what new fans want, fine” comment. I just don’t think that 15 minutes or half hour is going to make a difference in fandom. The NFL seems to fine with 3 hour games, so it’s not like cricket, where the game is just off-the-scale long. I think you’d have to take the game down to the 2-hour level before there’s a noticeable impact on fans, and I’m not entirely sure it will be positive, either.

At just 2 1/2 hours for a typical game it was already long, but not much could be done to speed it up. There’s a few more commercials now but most of that extra time is stalling. It’s an advantage for the offense, that’s why they do it, but it’s not adding anything to the game. Not only that, the advantage of breaking up a pitcher’s rhythm is largely lost now because it’s become the norm. If they want to speed up the game they need a pitch clock. I’m not saying that’s a good idea, but this new rule isn’t going to shorten games in any significant way.

I’d be curious to see a stat at how much the in-between inning time is now vs. yesteryear. To me, it feels like there’s more significant a time sink there, but that could just be my impression, and there’s no way they’re changing that, since time is money.

You’d save more time my eliminating the patriotically fashionable seventh inning stretches where the play a song or otherwise gush patriotically in addition to the normal break between innings.

What’s so hard about a pitching clock like the 24-second shot-clock in basketball?

Pitcher has 20 seconds to pitch. Batter doesn’t have to be prepared; if batter is caught off guard, that’s his fault.

You’re confusing two different things, length and pace.

In my honest opinion the LENGTH of games is not, largely, the issue. IT’s the PACE. NFL games are quite long, a bit logner than baseball games, and college football games are longer still, but those sports are quite popular; the NHL has shorter games than MLB but is less popular, and soccer is shorter still and less popular still.

A 3.5-hour MLB game can be really exciting, and a 2.5 hour game can be dull. Where the “Speed” of the game matters is in the pace. Incessant stepping out of the box, delayed pitches and all that nonsense is very dull. It breaks up the dramatic momentum.

Imagine taking any movie - movies average 2 hours long - and just adding 10 minutes of totally pointless filler. It wouldn’t feel 130 minutes long. It would feel much longer; the pointless filler would break things up.

In game times go up because there’s more baserunners and more scoring, that’s fine; all evidence suggests fans like that and that attendance goes up. But scoring is down now, and game times are long. It’s because time is being wasted not playing baseball. Fans feel that. They’re less entertained, and you lose fans on the margins.