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MLB's attempts to speed up the game

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Posted at 6:47 AM, Feb 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-22 06:47:55-05

In an effort to decrease the length of games, Major League Baseball reportedly says pitchers no longer have to throw four pitches for an intentional walk. 

The league and players' union agreed to the change that is expected to take effect at the start of this season.

The new rule will allow a dugout to signal to the umpire their decision to walk a batter as opposed to having the pitcher lob four deliberate balls. 

Last season, there were 932 intentional walks which could eliminate an estimated minute of dead time

Since new rules have been added to try and decrease the time it takes to finish a game, fans still are sitting through about three hours of baseball. 

Just this offseason, Major League Baseball says they're considering a change to extra innings in the hopes of speeding up the game. The minor leagues will test a rule where a runner would start on second base at the start of the 10th inning and each inning that follows if the game hasn't ended. This rule will also be used in the World Baseball Classic next month. 

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred also discussed the idea of a 20-second pitch clock already being used in the minor leagues. He's also considered limiting how relievers are used and raising the lower part of the strike zone. 

Eliminating the four pitches that have to be thrown to intentionally walk a batter compromises the integrity of the game. Sometimes, there's a wild pitch that could result in a run or advance a runner. Other times, the pitcher makes a mistake and the hitter pokes the ball into the field of play. 

Shaving a minute of time in a game -- if an intentional walk even happens -- isn't a huge chunk to begin with.

Instead of raising the strike zone, MLB should consider expanding it. The more chances a pitcher has to throw a strike, the more opportunities for hitters to take chances they might otherwise hold back on. 

But the league knows offense sells tickets, pitching puts people to sleep. 

So do three-hour baseball games.