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Monday, April 29, 2019

The Atlantic League Utilizies the No-Shift Rule for the First Time

Unsurprisingly, it was enforced incorrectly.

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 29, 2019 at 01:43 PM | 63 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: shift

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   1. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: April 29, 2019 at 10:45 PM (#5836595)
I was promised this would make everything better. Surprising to see a mistake here after the rousing success of replay.
   2. The Duke Posted: April 29, 2019 at 11:02 PM (#5836598)
More complicated rules should make umpires’ job easier ?
   3. manchestermets Posted: April 30, 2019 at 05:05 AM (#5836625)
This rule appears to be terribly written, and it's no wonder the umps seem to be making it up as they go along.

According to TFA the rule requires “two infielders to be on each side of second base when a pitch is released” and the umps decided that this condition wasn't met because the 2B was in short right field - ie just behind the infield dirt. However, according to the rules of baseball, an infielder is defined as (p. 149) "a fielder who occupies a position in the infield." Okay, that makes sense, so what is the definition of the infield? It isn't defined in the definitions section, but according to rule 2.01 "The infield shall be a 90-foot square". Therefore, the anti-shift rule appears to require the infield to play inside the base lines. I'm therefore betting that not a single pitch in the Atlantic League this season has been delivered with the fielders in a legal formation. Whether they are standing a couple of feet behind the grass line (hey, that has a name, who knew?) is neither here nor there.
   4. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: April 30, 2019 at 07:41 AM (#5836629)
I can see it now. As the pitcher goes into his windup, the SS sprints towards second base, trying to time his crossing with the release of the ball. After a called strike three, the batting team calls for an illegal formation replay, and upon further review, super slo mo shows the toe of the SS crossed the extended midpoint of second base while the ball was still in contact with the pitcher's hand. 5 yard penalty, repeat 2-2 count.
   5. . Posted: April 30, 2019 at 09:30 AM (#5836657)
Love how people continue to pretend the sport hasn't continued to descend to aesthetic disaster in 2019.

What elephant???!?!?!?
   6. Greg Pope Posted: April 30, 2019 at 09:38 AM (#5836660)
Whether they are standing a couple of feet behind the grass line (hey, that has a name, who knew?) is neither here nor there.

So they redefine the rule to say the grass line. Then teams start to have the infield dirt expand backwards until the only grass on the field is a 1-foot strip right before the warning track.
   7. jmurph Posted: April 30, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5836670)
I can see it now. As the pitcher goes into his windup, the SS sprints towards second base, trying to time his crossing with the release of the ball. After a called strike three, the batting team calls for an illegal formation replay, and upon further review, super slo mo shows the toe of the SS crossed the extended midpoint of second base while the ball was still in contact with the pitcher's hand. 5 yard penalty, repeat 2-2 count.

This doesn't even go into whether the fielder made a baseball move. It's tricky, very tricky business.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2019 at 09:54 AM (#5836671)
Love how people continue to pretend the sport hasn't continued to descend to aesthetic disaster in 2019.


One can believe the game has significant issues at the moment and also believe that getting rid of the shift is not the answer to its problems.

Of course, considering you're an individual who bemoans the oafish one-dimensional slugger AND the defense designed specifically to handicap that one-dimensional clod, your sentiments should be given all the weight any such contradictory nonsense merits.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 10:09 AM (#5836675)
I think the shift is an aesthetic triumph - it rewards creative and flexible play on both sides of the ball, and shakes baseball out of its senselessly rigid shape, bringing it closer to the responsive, fluid systems we see in soccer and basketball and football.

A rule against the shift? Aesthetic disaster for sure, as it will guarantee that teams position their players at the shiftiest spots allowable, daily highlighting the new arbitrary rules.

#4 is a terrific comment.
   10. manchestermets Posted: April 30, 2019 at 10:19 AM (#5836680)
So they redefine the rule to say the grass line. Then teams start to have the infield dirt expand backwards until the only grass on the field is a 1-foot strip right before the warning track.


Except the grass line is also defined in the rules as being a circular arc between the foul lines, centered on the center of the front of the pitching plate with a radius of 95'.

Note that I'm not making any comment on the value or otherwise of an anti-shift rule*, simply noting that the rule as written is nonsensical.


*Although learn to slap/bunt the ball to the opposite field already.
   11. Greg Pope Posted: April 30, 2019 at 10:24 AM (#5836682)
Except the grass line is also defined in the rules as being a circular arc between the foul lines, centered on the center of the front of the pitching plate with a radius of 95'.

I did not know that.
   12. bobm Posted: April 30, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5836696)
2.01 defines the outfield and hedges (no pun intended) on the grass line:

The infield shall be a 90-foot square. The outfield shall be the area between two foul lines formed by extending two sides of the square, as in diagram in Appendix 1 [...]

The grass lines and dimensions shown on the diagrams are those used in many fields, but they are not mandatory and each Club shall determine the size and shape of the grassed and bare areas of its playing field.
   13. manchestermets Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:02 AM (#5836706)
The grass lines and dimensions shown on the diagrams are those used in many fields, but they are not mandatory


Ah, I didn't notice that bit. I assumed from the diagram that the measurement shown was mandatory as it seems a bit pointless to mark a non-mandatory distance on a diagram in the rules.
   14. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:15 AM (#5836714)
Then teams start to have the infield dirt expand backwards until the only grass on the field is a 1-foot strip right before the warning track.


Honestly this would be great. It would be like the old days of teams sloping basepaths one way or another to help bunters or watering the basepaths to slow down speedsters.

But really, banning the shift is idiotic. John McGraw would have shifted in a heartbeat if he'd had access to this data.
   15. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:21 AM (#5836718)
But really, banning the shift is idiotic.


Preach.
   16. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:43 AM (#5836725)
Preach.


And lo it was said "thou shalt not worry about where a player is playing long so as he is in a territory marked as fair. Unlesseth thy player is thy catcher whence he shall be permitted to be in a territory of foul. Also, no one really will give a damneth if thy sinister-handed first baseman establishes in territory of foul should a batter/runner be made impervious to an out at first base after striking a ball in territory of fair."
   17. pikepredator Posted: April 30, 2019 at 12:04 PM (#5836735)
Although learn to slap/bunt the ball to the opposite field already.


That's where I stand. If people find the shift strategically attractive (I don't mind it, I like creative application of baseball defense), no problem. For anyone who doesn't like the shift, it seems like encouraging players to be more well-rounded, contact-oriented hitters (and learn to bunt) would be a fabulous outcome as it would both reduce the effectiveness and frequency of shifting while simultaneous creating a more dynamic, multi-faceted game. I'm all for it.

I'm also cool with players taking the extra base on out-of-position shifted players. I love it when a guy gets to second and footraces an out-of-place infielder to third. Heads-up play ftw.
   18. . Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:01 PM (#5836762)
Of course, considering you're an individual who bemoans the oafish one-dimensional slugger AND the defense designed specifically to handicap that one-dimensional clod, your sentiments should be given all the weight any such contradictory nonsense merits.


There's no inconsistency at all. The clod became part of the baseball landscape because Big Data was able to determine that strikeouts weren't really that bad and there was really no need to do things like bunt or steal bases. That doesn't mean, in the least, that people who bemoan that unfortunate reality want to see shifts further shrink hittable space -- even for clods.
   19. . Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5836763)
But really, banning the shift is idiotic. John McGraw would have shifted in a heartbeat if he'd had access to this data.


Who cares what some racist cracker would have done a century ago, managing a bunch of drunk whitebread midgets -- many of whom only had their jobs because they were white??
   20. . Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:04 PM (#5836767)
For anyone who doesn't like the shift, it seems like encouraging players to be more well-rounded, contact-oriented hitters (and learn to bunt) would be a fabulous outcome


Except the evidence is in and it isn't encouraging anything of the sort. It's still a better play to focus, both in training and in games, on launch angle and exit velo rather than direction and that's what everyone continues to do.

All of the bad TTO trends have gotten worse early in 2019 as Verducci delineated in his SI column yesterday. The aesthetic disaster -- and that's exactly what it is -- continues to deepen.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:05 PM (#5836768)
There's no inconsistency at all.


So you're just pleading to nonsense then. Fair enough.

   22. Greg Pope Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:07 PM (#5836769)
Although learn to slap/bunt the ball to the opposite field already.

The problem is that the hitters aren't learning to do that. They're basically trying even harder to hit home runs since pulled balls in play are more likely to be outs. I don't think we should ban the shift, but it's become obvious that hitters won't adjust to it in a way that will give more balls in play.
   23. . Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:10 PM (#5836770)
So you're just pleading to nonsense then.


Actually, no, what I'm doing is pointing out that the inconsistency you accused me of is really no such thing.
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:13 PM (#5836771)
Actually, no, what I'm doing is pointing out that the inconsistency you accused me of is really no such thing.


No, I was right originally. It's contradictory nonsense.
   25. . Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:17 PM (#5836773)
No, I was right originally. It's contradictory nonsense.


So I guess we've arrived at the point wherein you're just going to declare untrue stuff, true. Not much retort one can make to that.
   26. Howie Menckel Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5836775)
My impression is that many Primates here like the shift (or certainly don't want a ban, at least), while also being enamored by defensive stats - to the point, at the extreme, of arguing about one player in a "but the WAR says" fashion.

doesn't an increase in the use of shifts mess with the accuracy of defensive metrics, though?
   27. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5836779)
doesn't an increase in the use of shifts mess with the accuracy of defensive metrics, though?

Probably, but I'm sure they'll figure a way of sorting that out if they haven't already.
   28. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5836781)

doesn't an increase in the use of shifts mess with the accuracy of defensive metrics, though?


I think it certainly creates challenges in how they are calculated. I'd defer to those more knowledgeable about the numbers and how they are gleaned to say conclusively they mess with accuracy. My feeling on the defensive metrics has always been, and remains, that they do a very good job of identifying who is good and who is not but I'm not convinced that they accurately reflect how good or bad someone is. For example as a Red Sox fan the idea that Mookie Betts was the second best defensive outfielder in the American League last year makes perfect sense. Was he worth 1.8 wins on defense? That I'm not so convinced is accurate.

Your point about the "but the WAR says" argument style is a big reason I've lost interest in award voting arguments and such.

   29. jmurph Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:51 PM (#5836784)
I'm not in favor of this rule but it actually strikes me as less radical than many of the other proposed changes that have faced less pushback here: the pitch clock and 3 batter rules, specifically. This would still be a big change, but it really just codifies the traditional locations of the 4 infield spots.

(I really, really don't like the shift, but I also don't like rules changes that might not be necessary.)
   30. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 30, 2019 at 01:54 PM (#5836785)
shifts further shrink hittable space
Wait, shifts make the field smaller? Wow, yeah, in that case, I do think they should probably be banned.
   31. Itchy Row Posted: April 30, 2019 at 02:10 PM (#5836789)
So you're just pleading to nonsense then. Fair enough.
But he does it consistently.
   32. Sunday silence Posted: April 30, 2019 at 02:14 PM (#5836794)

The problem is that the hitters aren't learning to do that. They're basically trying even harder to hit home runs since pulled balls in play are more likely to be outs. I don't think we should ban the shift, but it's become obvious that hitters won't adjust to it in a way that will give more balls in play.


But there's good reason for that; its not that hitters are so stupid but that the gains in OBP are not enuf to offset the drop in .slug which will move baserunners along at a far better rate. We've done this exercise before and Im going from memory but it seems that hitters would probably need to bunt at least .450 to compensate for the loss of extra base hits. Im pretty sure Ichiro could have done that and probably a handful of others. BUt even in Ichiro's case its not clear whether he would still be better off swinging away. Maybe for someone like Billy Hamilton it would be worth it.

If it was mathematically better for hitters to bunt for base hits dont you think at least one club would be trying it?

Also with a runner at 2nd base, I think its problematical to shift and Im not sure all teams are doing that.


   33. pikepredator Posted: April 30, 2019 at 02:21 PM (#5836801)
If it was mathematically better for hitters to bunt for base hits dont you think at least one club would be trying it?


eventually . . . I don't know that the change will happen in a year or two, but if teams keep shifting, fringe-regulars at the lower levels will find ways to exploit the giant gap on the left side of the infield. I can't believe it would be *that* hard to bunt the ball fair at least 1/2 the time. Then again, I've never had to face 95+ MPH fastballs and wicked breaking balls so it might be harder than I'm thinking. But typical bunts against standard defense require a much defter touch as far as placement and distance, compared to "just get it over to the left side of the infield".
   34. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 30, 2019 at 02:24 PM (#5836804)
The grass lines and dimensions shown on the diagrams are those used in many fields, but they are not mandatory and each Club shall determine the size and shape of the grassed and bare areas of its playing field.

Anything about moats? Separating the infield/outfield with a few strategically placed shrubs or hedges? Maybe a sand trap or two? Certainly these, too, deserve an Atlantic League test.
   35. Greg Pope Posted: April 30, 2019 at 03:34 PM (#5836829)
But there's good reason for that; its not that hitters are so stupid but that the gains in OBP are not enuf to offset the drop in .slug which will move baserunners along at a far better rate.

That's what I'm trying to say. Saying that the shift will devalue sluggers and value people who go the other way, isn't happening. Or at least hasn't happened yet.
   36. Greg Pope Posted: April 30, 2019 at 03:36 PM (#5836830)
I don't know that the change will happen in a year or two, but if teams keep shifting, fringe-regulars at the lower levels will find ways to exploit the giant gap on the left side of the infield.

I don't see it. Because it's not like the defensive team has to declare at the start of the season, "We're using the shift defense". Like Sunday Silence said, Billy Hamilton could probably bunt and beat the shift. But teams aren't shifting on Billy Hamilton. The fringe-regulars that can hit the other way will just not get shifted on.
   37. . Posted: April 30, 2019 at 03:51 PM (#5836834)
If it was worth it to play the guys who could beat the shift -- mostly fast guys who go the other way and otherwise "do the little things" -- those kind of guys never would have been displaced by the clods and the oafs to begin with.
   38. manchestermets Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:57 PM (#5836865)
I'm also cool with players taking the extra base on out-of-position shifted players.


Is that something that The Old Men have huffed and puffed about then? Because yeah, if you're going to stand all the way over there I'll certainly take the base that you should be manning.
   39. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 30, 2019 at 05:11 PM (#5836869)

I think MLB should experiment with non-rules-based solutions to the problem (i.e. deader ball) before changing something as fundamental as where the fielders are allowed to stand. I foresee implementation of an anti-shift rule being as disastrous as the implementation of replay.
   40. . Posted: April 30, 2019 at 05:16 PM (#5836874)
Every sport has rules limiting where players are allowed to stand. It's really not a big deal in the least.
   41. Sunday silence Posted: April 30, 2019 at 07:00 PM (#5836904)
yeah like soccer for instance.
   42. Sunday silence Posted: April 30, 2019 at 07:01 PM (#5836905)
I can't believe it would be *that* hard to bunt the ball fair at least 1/2 the time.


another factor that I learned the last time we had this was that pitchers actually field more bunts than anyone. So even if the third baseman isnt there, the main bunt defender is still in the same position he always was.
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2019 at 07:15 PM (#5836908)
another factor that I learned the last time we had this was that pitchers actually field more bunts than anyone. So even if the third baseman isnt there, the main bunt defender is still in the same position he always was.


He's the main defender under an ordinary bunt attempt, the kind where there's a third or first baseman positioned normally. If you're trying to bunt down the third base line to no one, the approach would be different (you wouldn't worry about trying to deaden the ball, as you ordinarily would). It's notable, but it doesn't say all that much.

   44. Jay Z Posted: April 30, 2019 at 07:18 PM (#5836909)
I am pro-shift.

Fielding is the most boring part of the game. Too few mistakes. Every team can turn the DP today, it is boring. The shift makes for a greater variety of fielding plays. More unpredictable. A popup falls to the ground in foul territory because the team shifted too far? That is fun.

I am sure those obsessed with WAR need the players standing in the same place so every quick twitch skill can be measured to the microsecond. WAR blows chunks.
   45. Howie Menckel Posted: April 30, 2019 at 08:07 PM (#5836926)
who knew that Jeff McNeil reads BBTF?

1st and 3rd, 2 out, Votto holds runner and Reds shift on LH hitter to produce a wide-open hole where a 2B should be. drag bunt goes foul, and as Mets announcer notes after no change, "They're daring McNeil to try it again."

so the .335 career hitter (best in MLB) obliges with a drag bunt, RBI-producing single.
   46. . Posted: April 30, 2019 at 09:00 PM (#5836951)
yeah like soccer for instance.


Offside.
   47. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 30, 2019 at 11:24 PM (#5837021)
Offside.


Not quite the same. Offside is determined by where the defenders are when the ball is in play. If you have a defender just randomly loitering around in his own 6 yard box the you pretty much can stand anywhere on a football ground. The baseball rule is defined by portions on the field. So not the same.
But hey, keep trying mate, it's always entertaining.

I don't think most primates are pro-shift as much as pro-innovation. It's clever to look at the data and realise that positioning players in non-traditional spots helps you convert outs better. I like that, so technically I am pro-shift.

What they need to do is just deaden the ball; or make it slightly larger like they did in Korea(I think) and that will keep the ball in the park more often. Once that happens, then the ball in play, hit to all fields hitter will be more valuable.
   48. . Posted: May 01, 2019 at 06:38 AM (#5837047)
Not quite the same.


In its essence it is. It's a prohibition on where a player can stand during play, just as anti-shift rules in baseball would be. Managers can't teach or enlist formations or tactics with players standing in particular points. The similarities far outweigh the differences.

It's clever to look at the data and realise that positioning players in non-traditional spots helps you convert outs better.


And when that happened in other sports, the tactics got outlawed. See, e.g., the four corners offense in college basketball or the downfield bump and run in American football.

It's easy to get the sense around here that many people, including many opinionated people, don't have knowledge of this context to help guide them.
   49. Lassus Posted: May 01, 2019 at 07:34 AM (#5837048)
What they need to do is just deaden the ball; or make it slightly larger like they did in Korea(I think) and that will keep the ball in the park more often. Once that happens, then the ball in play, hit to all fields hitter will be more valuable.

I like exactly zero of these ideas; I just want people to hit the other way.
   50. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: May 01, 2019 at 08:19 AM (#5837050)
The problem with deadening the ball is I think it actually encourages teams to find MORE Joey Gallo types. The deadened ball will not just make home runs more difficult but will make line drives and ground balls less useful because they won't be hit as hard.

I'm not really a fan of any major changes but if MLB wants to reward balls in play (and I do like that in theory) I think drastically reducing the size of gloves is the way to go. The problem as it stands is that balls in play are turned into an out all too easily. It's not a perfect measure by any means but the league average fielding percentage right now is .984, I think there would be more drama and more incentive to put the ball in play if routine plays were not so routine.
   51. SoSH U at work Posted: May 01, 2019 at 10:00 AM (#5837086)
The problem with deadening the ball is I think it actually encourages teams to find MORE Joey Gallo types. The deadened ball will not just make home runs more difficult but will make line drives and ground balls less useful because they won't be hit as hard.


That's my fear, and why I think 87 might be the only answer (though, obviously, one of the last ones to try).

I'm not really a fan of any major changes but if MLB wants to reward balls in play (and I do like that in theory) I think drastically reducing the size of gloves is the way to go.


I think it's worth doing, but I don't think it will matter much. (Unless you're talking about making them truly tiny, though I think that would ultimately discourage young people from playing baseball).

   52. Howie Menckel Posted: May 01, 2019 at 10:03 AM (#5837090)
I don't think most primates are pro-shift as much as pro-innovation. It's clever to look at the data and realise that positioning players in non-traditional spots helps you convert outs better. I like that, so technically I am pro-shift.

does the data show that shifts actually do what you say?
   53. SoSH U at work Posted: May 01, 2019 at 10:08 AM (#5837097)
does the data show that shifts actually do what you say?


The last I recall, Walt's dive into the numbers didn't show much of an effect.

   54. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 01, 2019 at 10:12 AM (#5837099)
yeah like soccer for instance.
The interesting thing here is that there are several sports with lots of rules about where the offensive players can stand but few rules about where the defensive players can stand. So in soccer the defenders can be basically anywhere (with the caveat that the goalkeeper can't handle the ball outside of his box), while offensive players are offside if they go past the last defender. In basketball offensive players are subject to the 3 second rule under the basket and can't take the ball into the backcourt, but defensive players can wander wherever they please. Baseball strictly limits where the offensive players can be (the batters box or the basepaths), while 7 of the 9 fielders can set up wherever their hearts desire. That strikes me as very consistent among 3 of the 5 major team sports.

(I don't know hockey at all, and if you think baseball should emulate American football then you and I will need to step outside for a round of fisticuffs if we ever meet in person.)
   55. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 01, 2019 at 10:19 AM (#5837101)
I'm not really a fan of any major changes but if MLB wants to reward balls in play (and I do like that in theory) I think drastically reducing the size of gloves is the way to go. The problem as it stands is that balls in play are turned into an out all too easily. It's not a perfect measure by any means but the league average fielding percentage right now is .984, I think there would be more drama and more incentive to put the ball in play if routine plays were not so routine.
Have there been any serious studies of the old Bill James suggestion of thicker bat handles?

I think that the optimum solution would be for 15 or so Primates to become multi-billionaires, buy MLB teams, and move their local fences way back. 400 feet to the power alleys sounds good to me.
   56. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 01, 2019 at 10:26 AM (#5837110)
That strikes me as very consistent among 3 of the 5 major team sports.


Football is somewhat analogous. There are strict rules about how the offense can line up - there have to be exactly seven players on the offensive line, whereas the defensive players can stand anywhere they want pre-snap, as long as they're on the proper side of the line of scrimmage. In addition, the offensive players have to be set prior to the snap, while the defenders can move all they want.
   57. PreservedFish Posted: May 01, 2019 at 10:28 AM (#5837111)
The problem with deadening the ball is I think it actually encourages teams to find MORE Joey Gallo types. The deadened ball will not just make home runs more difficult but will make line drives and ground balls less useful because they won't be hit as hard.


I like Joey Gallo. Joey Gallo isn't the problem. The problem is that lithe shortstops and centerfielders have the exact same hitting approach as Joey Gallo. I think that a look at the MLB of the 80s might find even more oafish types than are playing today. Back then teams would field a defensively inept LFer and wave it away with "that's not his job, his job is to drive in runs." (Gallo, of course, is not actually an oaf, he's a good athlete with a cannon arm.)

Most full-time players these days are capable of hitting 25 homeruns. That's what's messed up. If you look at the height of the steroid era you still find good starters like Lance Johnson, Doug Glanville, Fernando Vina, Eric Young, Chuck Knoblauch, and Omar Vizquel that might not even hit 10 homeruns in 162 games. Those players are nearly extinct now.

I think it's basically a fluke that only a couple players in the last few years have hit 50 homeruns. We will sooner or later have another year like 1998-2001, where multiple players are making runs at 61+, and that's when MLB might start considering that a change is necessary.
   58. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 01, 2019 at 11:40 AM (#5837153)

Every sport has rules limiting where players are allowed to stand. It's really not a big deal in the least.

Other sports had replay. Baseball still implemented it worse.

Baseball has rules about where certain players are allowed to stand, too. The pitcher has to throw from the rubber. The batter has to stand in the box. But this is a major change to the rules. There will be unintended consequences and mistakes (TFA provides an example of one where the umpires called it incorrectly).

IIRC, the numbers I saw showed that the shift doesn't actually work except against the most extreme hitters. It results in fewer hits but for some reason pitchers walk more batters in front of the shift, so the overall result was worse against most hitters for whom it's used. I'm not sure whether this effect will go away as pitchers get more used to the frequent shifting, but if it doesn't you would hope that teams will realize it and reduce their use of the shift on their own.
   59. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 01, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5837155)
In basketball offensive players are subject to the 3 second rule under the basket and can't take the ball into the backcourt, but defensive players can wander wherever they please.

This actually isn't true. The NBA prohibited zone defense for a long time, but once they allowed it they instituted a defensive 3-second rule which works similar to the offensive 3-second rule. Basically, you can't just park a defender in the lane unless he's actively guarding someone.
   60. . Posted: May 01, 2019 at 11:47 AM (#5837157)
In basketball offensive players are subject to the 3 second rule under the basket and can't take the ball into the backcourt, but defensive players can wander wherever they please.


A defender can't stand in the lane for 3 seconds or more in the NBA. Not sure about college or international. Of course the NBA used to forbid the zone defense altogether, but that changed a few years ago.
   61. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 01, 2019 at 12:42 PM (#5837200)
I've mostly been a college basketball person, where a defender can lie down in the lane and go to sleep if he wants to. Thanks for the clarification.
   62. . Posted: May 01, 2019 at 12:57 PM (#5837206)
I like Joey Gallo. Joey Gallo isn't the problem. The problem is that lithe shortstops and centerfielders have the exact same hitting approach as Joey Gallo. I think that a look at the MLB of the 80s might find even more oafish types than are playing today. Back then teams would field a defensively inept LFer and wave it away with "that's not his job, his job is to drive in runs." (Gallo, of course, is not actually an oaf, he's a good athlete with a cannon arm.)


Agreed. It's the homogenization, not the style per se, that represents the fundamental problem. I actually rather liked the early 90s Tigers, rather charmingly chocabloc with clods and oafs galore. I'm starting to think the same thing about the NBA.(*) The entire enterprise of a few teams hacking the rules with the help of Big Data and Big Nerd and then it spreading like wildfire throughout the league until everyone plays the same way is beyond grating.

(*) In the past few weeks, I've grown to positively detest the Houston Rockets and James Harden, rule hackers and exploiters extraordinaire. If Harden pulled the thing on the playground where he goes up for a J and then kicks his legs out into the defender and had the audacity to call "Ball" because of the "contact" as he expects the NBA refs to do for him, he'd be lucky to escape with his teeth in the same place.
   63. Rusty Priske Posted: May 01, 2019 at 02:16 PM (#5837262)
I am not anti-change when it comes to the rules. I am actually FOR the 3-batters or end-of-an-inning rule for pitchers.

But this is completely unnecessary. Hitters have to adapt and learn to go the other way often enough to make the defending team rethink shifting. That is it.

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