Mood Music - Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash
More from me today, sorry.
I was listening to two of my favorite baseball people talk about the game: Bill James and Joe Posnanski on Joe Posnanski's 'Poscast,' and they talked about something that I thought was very interesting.
After Posnanski expressed his frustration with the anti-competitive and anti-climactic way in which intentional walks cause the best and most exciting players (Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton, Miguel Cabrera, etc.) to get the bat taken out of their hands at crucial points of the game, not to mention intentionally walking the eighth place hitter to bring the pitcher to the plate in the NL, James offered an extremely intriguing solution:
What if the opposing manager and batter had the option of declining a walk? In most cases, the batters would be only too happy to take first base, but if the winning run is in scoring position with two outs, it forces the pitching team to face the dangerous hitter.
To prevent the pitcher from endlessly pitching around the batter they don't want to face, James suggested that after each set of four balls, the batter would have the option of taking another base. For example, if eight balls are thrown, the batter can elect to go to second base and move everyone else up two bases.
I'm sure it's not a perfect solution, but it seemed like some good food for thought, and a great way to stop intentional walks from sapping the excitement out of rallies. Thoughts?