Mar 9, 2017-
The following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun’s Feb. 25 issue.
When it comes to an intentional walk in professional baseball, the pitcher throwing a lob to the catcher is a familiar scene. It seems that the balls that Suguru Egawa, a former pitcher of the Yomiuri Giants who is now a baseball commentator, threw to intentionally walk Masayuki Kakefu of the Hanshin Tigers, a rival in his generation who now manages the farm team of that baseball club, were different from slow balls. Kakefu recalled the scene, saying, “They were really fastballs” in a book titled “Saikyo no Puroyakyu-ron” (Argument on the ultimate professional baseball) by Seijun Ninomiya.
I imagine that Egawa thought when he threw the balls, “I intentionally walk you to the direction of the manager on the bench, but can you hit these balls?” They must have been fastballs into which he likely put tears of frustration.
A batter also feels frustrated. In the past, Daryl Spencer of the Hankyu Braves (currently the Orix Buffaloes) was so angry at repeated intentional walks that he held his bat upside down during a bat. I remember seeing that as an elementary school boy.
There is human drama even in an intentional walk. According to multiple U.S. media, Major League Baseball will change its rules from this season so that an intentional walk will come into effect simply by indicating that intention—the pitcher will not actually need to throw four pitches. The new rule is aimed at reducing the length of baseball games.
“Music comes out of a void,” according to the ancient Chinese classic “Zhuangzi.” The beautiful sounds of a flute, a drum and a string instrument are all produced from hollow space inside their bodies. When the time of an intentional walk, which seems like “useless” hollow space, disappears, how will the sounds of a baseball game change?
Published: 09-03-2017 09:09