Bryce Harper and Intentional Walks

By: William Earl Robinson

The other day Bryce Harper matched a single game record with six walks (three of them were intentional) and a hit by a pitch. It was a horrible joke. A travesty of the game. It allowed the Cubs to win the baseball game but showed them for what they are, a bunch of spineless cowards.

Harper getting the Bonds treatment.

Harper getting the Bonds treatment.

Coach Joe Maddon and the rest of the Cubs pitching staff needs to grow a backbone and needs to take a long look in the mirror this morning. I remember back when Barry Bonds was being intentionally walked all the time. There were more spineless pitchers and managers that year than I’d like to count and it was horrible for the game. If Barry Bonds hadn’t of been so despised maybe something would have been done then.  I also remember when teams would foul Shaq rather than having him dunk on their heads. It was an admission that this player was better than all other players and that they couldn’t compete fairly with him. It’s ridiculous and something needs to be done. These cowardly acts need to be taken out of sport because it’s horrible for the game.

I’m sorry but when I take my kids to the game I don’t pay to watch the best player in the game walk. I pay to watch him hit home runs and to watch him have a shot to hit home runs. I pay to watch him stare down the opposing pitcher, I pay to watch him flip his hair and I pay to watch a competition. I don’t know if this is a new development to the game or if it’s always been the case but I don’t remember athletes being such cowards. I remember them taking pride in their ability to play the game and not just roll over onto their backs and show their bellies and say, “Yeah we know you are better than we are but we can cheat using the rules of the game and take you out of the game. “ They should be ashamed of themselves and honestly something needs to be done.

So Major League Baseball has another opportunity to do something innovative for the good of the game. What can MLB do in order to take intentional walks out of the game? I’m definitely up for ideas but here’s a couple quick ones that I had floating around inside of my head. Number one, how about if you intentionally walk a player the player after them automatically walks as well. That way you aren’t just putting a guy on first you are putting a guy on first and second! That would definitely make coaches think twice about pulling the trigger on an intentional walk. Idea number 2, How about you get one intentional walk per game and every time after that it’s an automatic home run ? I personally really like that because it punishes intentional walking and actively pursues to take it out of the game.

Well what about HBP? I’m sure that there’s no way to actively police that right? Wrong! That needs to be taken out of the game too. It’s a player safety issue. Now there’s no way that you can take accidental hit by pitches out of the game but these obviously intentional ones that we see? Yeah those need to be punished harshly. I’m thinking like PED level suspensions. I’m sorry but I’ve seen too many great players who were severely injured by being hit by pitches and to intentionally do that should be a crime. Seriously! How would you feel if someone threw a 90 mph fast ball at your head? You’d want to send that person to jail! There is no place for that in civilized sports and so any time that it can be proved that you intentionally threw at a player then that pitcher needs to serve a long suspension. Not just one scheduled outing but I’m thinking half a season.

I know that none of this is likely to happen. Things in baseball change on a snail’s pace, but here we have the most popular player in the game. The most marketable player in the game and other teams are making him boring by walking him every time he comes up. That can’t be allowed to happen. It’s bad for marketing, bad for the game and it really must change. Come on Commissioner Manfred it’s going to hit baseball in the pocketbook. Let’s take the wimps out of baseball. Let’s man up and pitch to the best players in the game.