Those who complain baseball is too slow may be heartened to hear a quicker pace is on its way. Based on a Tuesday evening tweet from ESPN's Howard Bryant, Sports Illustrated reports that, starting with the 2017 season, MLB pitchers will no longer have to waste time lobbing four pitches at batters they plan to intentionally walk. Instead, teams can now simply signal the ump that a walk is in the works, and the runner can immediately saunter over to first.
This change could shave 14.3 seconds off of each game, per estimates by the Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post notes "not everyone is thrilled" with the change, including those who enjoy watching what happens when intentional-walk pitches go wild or batters go for them anyway. Others wonder if the time savings is worth the effort, with one commenter noting: "Is the automatic IBB really gonna fix pace of play?" (Start reading about baseball's "most interesting pitcher" with all that time you just gained.)