Can a team intentionally walk an opposing hitter too many times in one game? Morally, I don’t think it is appropriate. But there is no rule in Major League Baseball that limits the number of free passes you can issue a hitter.
When the Yankees intentionally walked David Wright THREE times during a Subway Series game at Shea back in May, it got me to think, “Maybe not in one single at-bat, but three times, it’s possible Wright could have made a difference!” A player like David Wright is getting paid to hit and drive in runs. Of course, he plays third base too. But his superstar prowess comes from his bat, not his glove. When he is intentionally walked, he is being denied the opportunity to do his job. The pitcher is using the easy way out of having to pitch to a dangerous hitter. Perhaps he may be setting up the possibility for a double play. Or maybe he is looking to get the eighth place hitter for the third out, so that the pitcher will lead off the next inning. In any case, a hitter should be able to go up there and beat the opposing pitcher fair and square. If the pitcher can’t do his job and get a hitter like Wright out, then what exactly is he getting paid to do?
A team should be allowed to intentionally walk a hitter only once during a game. If that hitter comes up again in a key situation, and they have already been “put on”, then that’s when the true showdown begins. Granted, while a pitcher may not intentionally walk a hitter, he can “pitch around” them and yield the same results. However, there is the possibility that the hitter may get what he considers to be a good pitch, make contact, and cause some damage. But again, that would be a fair opportunity for both the pitcher and the hitter.
Of course, the ultimate revenge is when a hitter is intentionally walked and the next batter comes up and belts one over the left field fence – take that!