Now and then, someone complains that baseball games go on too long. Well, yeah, I suppose, if they go 17 innings, one might get a little antsy. But little tweaks like this will not help:
Ordinarily, a pitcher’s job is to keep runners off the bases. But every now and again there is a strategic reason to put one on. Perhaps it will make a double play easier and end the inning more quickly. Perhaps the current batter spent his last two at-bats sending baseballs into geosynchronous orbit but the next one can’t hit the ground with his hat. There are other reasons, so the manager will tell the pitcher to throw four pitches outside of the strike zone. These are generally waaaaaay outside of the zone. The catcher will stand up and take two or three steps away from the plate to ensure even the wildest of lunges by the hitter won’t connect.
So, someone on the competition committee suggested, maybe we should just let the pitcher indicate he intends to intentionally walk a batter and not throw the pitches. It might save time.
Not bloody likely. The only time there’s likely to be much of a delay between each of those deliberately missed pitches is when the pitcher is also having to keep the guy on first (or perhaps some other base) from trying to steal. The only reason I can think of to enact something this preposterous is to be able to proclaim, “See, there is something dumber than the designated-hitter rule!”