The news Tuesday night that intentional walks will now be granted automatically on a signal from the manager -- rather than requiring the pitcher to actually throw four wide ones -- displeases me.
The routine IBB isn't a giant time suck (unlike, say, the more than 45 minutes of ads in nationally televised games), and every once in a rare while the routine becomes not so routine. Like that Twins game last September when Pat Light threw a wild pitch while trying to walk Erick Aybar. Or the game in 2006 when Miguel Cabrera, then with the Marlins, singled in a 10th-inning run.
Or the 1972 World Series showdown between two future Hall of Famers, Johnny Bench and Rollie Fingers. A stolen base opened first base and made the count 3-2. Oakland manager Dick Williams walked to the mound and pointed emphatically at first base while talking to Fingers and catcher Gene Tenace. Tenace then stood behind home plate with his hand outstretched -- and dropped into a crouch while Fingers threw a slider for strike three called.
It was a great piece of baseball theater that embedded itself in a young fan's memory. And it won't happen again.