Tonight is Game 1 of the World Series. If you can stay up late, then you may want to watch, and again that’s if you can stay up late. Length of the game has been a concern for Major League Baseball for a while now. Their executives and advertising consultants have tried to find ways to shorten the game, but haven’t been able to lower the average time in a significant way.
Nationals’ fans will unfortunately not soon forget last year’s four and half hour marathon game against the Dodgers in the playoffs. That game was a record for the longest nine inning game in post season history with the average game of that series lasting right at four hours. That is a long time. Even as we try to fight against the one minute attention spam cultural we live in today, four hours to watch a game is too much. Pro baseball has a problem on their hands if they are going to keep younger fans.
One of their attempted solutions is absolutely ridiculous; the new intentional walk rule. The new rule states the pitcher does not have to throw four balls and instead the team can just let the batter know he can have first base. This is a terrible decision because whenever a pitcher throws the ball he is putting the ball in play, and with a runner in scoring position, which is when intentional walks occur, putting the ball in play is something that still needs to be carefully executed. Several scenarios could play out here during the intentional walk because the ball is in play such as the baserunner stealing on a lazy rainbow pitch, or the ball goes over the catcher’s head, or the pitcher doesn’t throw it out far enough and the batter takes advantage with an easy base hit.
Better solutions are to cut ad time and reduce time in-between innings.
Rules that delete a part of the game hurt the game. This intentional walk rule is a gimmie, and a gimmie in a professional sport is ridiculous. It doesn’t compare to anything in any other sport. Foul shots still need to be shot, point after attempts still need to be attempted, the goalie gets to defend the net on a penalty shot, because pro sports have no gimmies. Except now. Only in baseball can you find a professional sport with an on-the-field gimmie. Terrible choice.