Baseball is a game of pace. Even the top pro players are only human, and the game is not as fast for them as it is for those of us who have time to take in every pitch of every at-bat. Baseball has its pace set by the players.
It’s their ability to make every second count that gives the game its frenetic nature. In order to create more runs, more at-bats must be created in less time. That is where walk-in baseball comes into play.
Walk-ins are substitutes who can be called on during a game to replace an absent player to keep the action flowing and limit stoppages. Football, soccer and hockey all adopt this practice as well, but with a different twist:
They call these players ‘line-ins’ or ‘emergency substitutes’ instead of ‘walk-ins’ because they come in after one player leaves the game and not before two.
You see, professional baseball has fewer games than those other sports each week, so there are not many ‘walk-ins’ needed per week (if any).
So what is a walk-in? The term refers to a substitute who enters the field after another player has already been removed from play due to injury or substituted out for defensive purposes like resting teammates or pinch hitting for that one pitcher who always leaves himself open in his next at-bat. The other players still in the game will understand once
How does a Walk-in Baseball game work?
Explanation: The switch from the current batter to the substitute happens at the first base coach’s signal, which is when the next batter steps into the box. Once the substitute enters the field, all game rules and offensive and defensive plays go back to normal, so the switch to the new player is seamless.
Response: The substitute enters the game at first base and takes a position right behind the pitcher, waiting for the next batter to step into their box. If the substitute is needed during a pitching change, they will stand in the on-deck circle while the pitcher’s routine is changed.
When should Walk-in Baseball be used?
There are a few circumstances when walk-ins can help. A player who is unable to finish their at-bat for any reason, like a pinch-hitting position player who comes to the plate in the ninth inning and gets a hit, could be replaced with a walk-in. This happens less often than you’d think, but it can also happen in a key situation.
For example, in one playoff game, the manager of the team in the sixth inning might decide to replace the starting pitcher with a walk-in. The team in the sixth had scored six runs, while the team’s starter had not done well that day.
The manager made this decision to help the team with momentum, as well as to give the walk-in a chance to get a hit and break open the game. The walk-in would then return to the bullpen for the next inning, but the team in the sixth would have the fresh arm to do it again.
Types of Walk-ins
Line-in – A line-in is a substitute who enters the game after one player leaves. Line-ins are used more frequently in football and hockey than baseball. Defensive Substitute – A defensive substitute is when a player on the bench replaces an injured player on the field.
This player must be an outfielder, catcher or shortstop and the injured player must be an outfielder, catcher or shortstop. Pinch-hitter – A pinch-hitter is a player who replaces the pitcher in the dugout. The pinch-hitter must be on the bench and the pitcher must be in the game.
Why use Walk-ins?
Explanation: Without walk-ins, a team with a tired roster will have to shorten their game and sacrifice offense for defense. This could be a great option to help the team stay competitive, but it could also cause problems with the next opponent. If a team is playing on a short week and has a tired roster, they could use a walk-in to help their chances of winning.
Some teams do this to build up their confidence and play more aggressively, but it’s more likely to happen on a short week in a tie game, when the team is in need of a win for a divisional or playoff spot.
The opponent could also be affected by a shortened game. If a walk-in is used and the next opponent is more aggressive than usual on the bases, they might have an advantage in the stolen base department.
Pros of using Walk-ins
– They can help a team win a game. – Walk-ins can be called in for defensive reasons, like when an outfielder leaves the game with an injury.
– They can also be called in when a player on the bench gets hurt, like when a pinch-hitter is injured while warming up in the bullpen.
– A walk-in can be called on to replace a player who is injured or has been ejected, like the pitcher who always leaves himself open in his next at-bat.
– The walk-in can rest in the bullpen before entering the game and be used as an emergency pitcher in case of an injury to the starter.
– The walk-in can be called on to pinch-run if the original hitter gets a hit and does not advance further than second base.
Cons of using Walk-ins
– They need to be called on in time and there’s no telling how long it will take to get them ready.
– They have to have the same amount of time on the timer as the original player since there is no way to speed them up.
– The team has to be ready for their absence, which could take some time to get back into the game.
– The team is missing a player for a time and cannot have many subs on the roster, so they would have to make a move if they want to bring another player up.
– The manager has to be careful in how he uses walk-ins, as they are easily replaceable and could be used to save a tired team.
In baseball, there are situations when you need a substitute to replace an injured player or one who has been ejected from the game. A manager has to decide when it is best to use one of these “walk-ins.” Walk-ins can be used in many different situations, but they usually occur during a shortened game on a short week when the team has used up all of its substitutes.