Changing Intentional Walks is Not Enough

Updated: February 22, 2017

On Monday, the MLB eliminated traditional intentional walks from the game in favor of a signal from the dugout to send the batter directly to first base. The rule was changed in an effort to shave down the time it takes to complete a game. While it does shave some time off the game (and saves us from ever seeing this again), the MLB is not doing enough to shorten games.

Last season, intentional walks wasted about 35 seconds per game. If anything, that 35 seconds was only enough for a bathroom break. Games these days average a game time north of three hours. Would shaving 35 seconds off a game really make a difference?

Maybe it will, but just changing intentional walks is not enough to keep people watching games in their entirety. There are several other options that can be acted upon in order to shave precious minutes off of the game we love.

Most of the issue comes from the bullpen. In the past few years, relief pitchers have gained notoriety in the league, as many managers are trying to keep their starters fresh and go to the bullpen early in games.

This is the main culprit in adding dead time to games. Managers go to the bullpen for a LOOGY, then go back for a set-up guy after just one out. Each pitcher gets a good amount of time to warm up on the mound and this is a huge problem. Right now, a pitching change is allowed 2:30. This is way too much time. Relievers do not need ten pitches to warm up on the mound after they’ve been warming up in the bullpen for a good half inning. At most, they should get five pitches to get adjusted to the mound.

Perhaps I’m just a baseball progressive, but we can all agree that sitting for three hours in not ideal. If the MLB really wants to keep fans glued to their TVs, they need to crack down on pitching changes. Also, it would be awesome if they brought back bullpen carts. You know, these ones. It’s something for both fans of nostalgia and those who want the game to speed up.

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