The Intentional Walk
The Intentional Walk refers to a point in MLR history said to culminate a deep rivalry between the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals. Many call it IBB Gate, or jokingly The Schism, with mock concerns that it would break apart the league.
The Intentional Walk occurred during Session 5 of the 2017 season, in a decisive game against the Phillies and the Nationals. The Nationals were perfect so far in the series, and the Phillies had recently handed the Detroit Tigers their first loss. Many believed the game to be a fight for the early lead in the National League race, and with an underperforming American League, many suspected the winner of the game would decide the strongest team in the league.
The game would end up tied in the bottom of the 6th, where Osmosis Jones hit a leadoff double for the Nationals. It was then that J.A. Bird, the manager of the Phillies, with the support of Hunter Tuzero, instituted an Intentional Walk. The move would end up costing the Nationals a chance to walk the game off, as pitcher Oliver Yu would induce a double play with 1 out in the inning, ending it.
Mick Frizzle, the Nationals manager, was angered by the IBB, stating that he was not sure that it was legal under MLR guidelines. The IBB was not in official MLR rulebooks, though it had been used on numerous occasions before. J.A. Bird argued that verbal moves were not necessary in MLR fakeball, and that the league ran on basic baseball rules. He used the example of substitutions to show an example of a verbal action used without rulebook presence in MLR fakeball before.
Ryo Kanemaru and Kian Davis alike reported on the issue between the general managers, one that was fueled by an explosive top-end to the 7th inning by the Phillies. The feud received attention from the MLR community, who dubbed the dispute IBB Gate.
Washington vs. Philadelphia rivalry
The Phillies and the Nationals would later find themselves vying for a playoff position at the end of the 2017 season. The Phillies would end up winning the tiebreaker, and subsequently the 2017 Paper Cup championship, though many saw the Nationals the better team of the two.