When is it unethical to intentionally walk a batter?
Ok, it's bottom of the 9th, two outs, your team is ahead 3-2. There is a runner on third. At bat, the other team's best hitter. On deck, the worst hitter. Do you:
A) Try to strike him out?
B) Intentionally walk him?
C) Bean the sucker in the head?
Answer: B - You don't want to pitch to him, he'll get a hit and win the game. You don't want to bean him, if you miss that could mean the tying run steals home. It's simple. You walk him and take your chances with the other team's worst hitter.
Now let's change the situation up a little bit. Let's say you have the exact same situation, but it involves 10 year-olds playing in their league's championship game. And lets pretend just for fun, that the batter on deck that will hit if you walk their best hitter just happens to be recovering from cancer. What do you do in that situation? Do you still tell your pitcher go for the intentional walk?
Needless to say, the poor Dad who was the coach of that team did just that. He saw the best hitter walk to the mound, the cancer survivor in the on deck circle, and he went for the win. Part of me thinks that's horrible, part of me wonders if I wouldn't have done the same thing.