Sportress of Blogitude

New intentional walk rule left Mike Trout confused on Opening Day

Los Angeles Angeles slugger Mike Trout admits being left somewhat befuddled when the Oakland Athletics utilized Major League Baseball’s new intentional walk rule on Opening Day.

The new rule allows teams to issue an intentional walk simply with a signal from the dugout as opposed to the traditional method of tossing four pitches for balls. Given the newness of it all, Trout admits he was caught by surprise during Monday’s game when it was used.

Trout had just doubled during the eight inning of Monday’s game when the A’s elected to issue an intentional walk to Albert Pujols in the Angels’ subsequent at-bat. Trout says he was left a bit confused when he looked up and saw Pujols standing at first base.

“I called timeout, got back to the bag, and when I looked up, he was on first base. It was different,” Trout admitted, via The Los Angeles Times. “He was laughing. I was laughing. It took me a little bit to figure out what happened. But that’s the way it’s going, I guess.”

For what it’s worth, the gambit ultimately paid off as C.J. Cron was retired on a ground out, ending the inning. The A’s went on to win by a score of 4-2.

A period of adjustment of course should be expected as the new method of issuing an intentional walk gets integrated into the game. The theory is it will help speed up games, and while the extent of its impact in that regard remains to be seen, the signaled intentional walk obviously will remain a novel curiosity throughout the coming weeks and months of the 2017 season.

At least Trout and Pujols got a good chuckle out of it.

[Hardball Talk]