On several occasions, Bob Brenly has referenced this new rule:
8.02 The pitcher shall not-
(a) (1) Bring his pitching hand in contact with his mouth or lips while in the 18 foot circle surrounding the pitching rubber.
PENALTY: For violation of this part of this rule the umpires shall immediately call a ball.
and suggested that pitchers should do this four times when they wish to issue an intentional walk. It came up today in the series finale against the Rangers when Howry was facing Vladimir Guerrero. Guerrero is perhaps the best "bad pitch" hitter in the game today, and batters have swung and hit balls while pitchers have attempted an IBB. I sure wouldn't put it past a guy like Guerrero.
Another issue is the pitcher missing the catcher and throwing a wild pitch. There were runners on second and third at the time, and the Cubs had a one-run lead. One wild pitch and the game is tied. With the "four to the mouth" this wouldn't be an issue.
Am I missing any drawbacks to this rule? Can a player be ejected for repeatedly or purposefully going to his mouth? I know some may argue it's not in the "spirit of the game", but I liken this tactic to a quarterback "stopping the clock" and intentionally throwing a pass to the ground, or even a basketball player missing a free throw on purpose so the other team doesn't have time to put up a final shot...
I say the Cubs pioneer this strategy. Maybe we can have Bob Howry do it first and we can call it the "Howry Rule". What say you, Cubs fans?