If you’ve been following baseball lately, you’ll know that come rule changes have been implemented ahead of the 2017 season.
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) February 22, 2017
One of the biggest changes you’ll notice is that a pitcher need not actually throw four balls to intentionally walk a better. Instead, he (or the dugout) will simply signal to the umpire and the batter will be awarded first base.
The primary goal of this change is to get rid of the wasted and down time intentional walks tend to create. But the thing is they’re not always boring, are they?
For one example, on May 27, 2013, Kelly Johnson took advantage of Evan Longoria’s intentional walk, by grabbing an extra base of his own:
I believe that’s what they call heads-up baseball. Although, considering that there were two outs and he was already in scoring position … I’m not sure it was really the right call.
But still … exciting! And that’s not the only one.
For another even crazier example, Ole Miss’ Austin Meadows walked off on an intentional walk home run:
Did you see how mental the crowd in right field went after the realized what happened?
I guess, sometimes, intentional walks can be pretty entertaining …
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) February 23, 2017