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Why The Shift Should Not Be Banned

Why The Shift Should Not Be Banned

By Derek McAdam

March 11, 2022

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Major League Baseball has seen the shift come into play often over the past decade, mostly thanks to Joe Madden who brought major attention to it during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays. And now, there are talks that could potentially ban the shift.

How ludicrous!

The shift was created for batters that tended the pull the ball more often than hitting towards the opposite field. It’s strategy. It’s the same thing when an outfielder might get pulled into the infield if a batter tends to hit more ground balls. What’s wrong with that?

Willie Keeler famously said, “Keep your eye on the ball and hit ‘em where they ain’t.” After all, these are professionals. They should be able to adapt to any given scenario. But it seems as if asking a Major League Baseball player to hit against the shift is too much.

The shift seems to mostly affect left-handed batters, although there are plenty of right-handed batters who have the shift against them as well.

Nothing drives me nuts more than when three or four infielders are between first and second base and the batter decides to swing when there’s an entire side completely empty. While bunting has become a lost art, this would solve the problem for many players who fall victim to the shift.

When Robinson Cano was with the Yankees and they were playing the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Cano decided to go against the shift and drop a bunt down the third baseline. Not only did he reach base, but he ended up getting a double out of it. Cano has never been known for his speed, but because he was able to bunt correctly, he made the Red Sox think twice about shifting on him.

Why did no one else follow that lead? I understand the game today has become a game of home run or bust, especially with the Yankees. But there is no reason to complain about not getting hits because players don’t want to adjust.

If a defense is locking down the offense, the offense doesn’t just continue to run the same plays every time. If they’re a good team, they adjust. That’s what the players need to do.

Once the players adjust and begin to hit the ball the other way, teams will stop shifting. But why should defenses be punished for a strategic way to get outs? Because it hurts the offense, which has become the focal point of baseball.

#MLB #NewYorkYankees

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