It Is Time For The MLB To Eliminate Defensive Shifts + Why I Won’t Use Sabermetrics In My Posts
Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): Follow @stokes_hunter21
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I am all for a good game of chess on the baseball field, but when one wonders how come games are 4 hours, you have to add defensive shifts into the mix.
Other big sports such as the NFL, NHL and even the NBA have implemented rules in order to preserve offense in the game.
It is time to make a rule having the 3B and SS not be able to shift over to the 1B and 2B side of the field, and vice versa, before a pitch is thrown.
Credit to MLB Broadcaster Seth Everett Follow @Seth_Everett, for being one of the only public figures I have heard that has also advocated this thought process.
Defense and technology have come light years ahead in the last 15 years or so, and it is affecting the game.
Players that have extremely difficult times hitting the other way are seeing their career flash before their eyes. Perhaps no one has been affected more than Mark Teixeira.
Once an all around vaunted power hitter, he adjusted his swing to tailor-make if custom to the confines of Yankee Stadium. Now he makes plenty of outs hammering sure fire base hits otherwise – into the slick fielding hands of the 3B or SS playing rover in shallow right field.
As a hardcore fan of the game of baseball, I will watch no matter what in going forward in future years, however the casual fans are having a tough time cottoning to the new pitching and defense era.
There are tonnes of people who will say: “Hit’em where they ain’t”, and learn to hit it the other way….Which is fine and dandy in concept, however with the new approach of the players not caring about strikeouts, and love to grip it and rip despite the game dictation, it would cause them to make an out on a more frequent basis than just trying to plow through the shift.
Much like the majority of the experts hate Ned Yost coughing up outs with sacrifice bunts in the American League, if you were to do that, that is playing right into their hands.
As a fan watching the game, I miss the hitters of the last generation not wasting AB. Guys like Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs and especially Tony Gwynn, who were 3 of the best contact hitters in the last 40 years of baseball.
Right now my favorite guy to watch hit is Victor Martinez. He had 42 strikeouts and belted 32 HRs in just over 600 Plate Appearances this past campaign.
These guys are becoming more rare by the year.
Players just don’t care if they whiff multiple time in a game anymore. Yasiel Puig‘s 7 straight fanning PA’s in the 2014 season definitely warranted a benching right after.
I was really happy to at least see the Giants and Royals in the 2014 World Series because both are contact teams.
Okay, I have slightly derailed from original point of the defensive shifts. I certainly hope the new commissioner Rob Manfred (Jan of 2015) will implement changes to increase scoring again.
I am not one of those people who thinks we need to have the amount of HR’s hit as the steroid era, but let’s work on some things to scale the advantage back to the hitter.
The NFL has thrived over the last 20 years by increasing as much offense as it possibly can because that is what people love the most.
Just like in boxing when two heavyweights match each other blow for blow, the audience is captivated by the back and forth.
Having plenty of games that are 0 – 0 is just not that exciting to the casual fan. The MLB should try to turn casual watchers into permanent viewers. In my opinion that will only happen with more offense than is currently in the game right now.
I am not saying that baseball is headed for the kind of boring style soccer plays either, or the dead puck ERA of the NHL either, but it has to start thinking about losing butts in seats at parks.
The pace of the game could be increased substantially with a pitch clock. Not allowing a hitter to step out of the box…and finally, no more shifts in the INFIELD. Make it illegal like a balk.
As for the Outfield, do what you want. It is hard enough for a batter to sustain a decent Batting Average. Please stay ahead of the curve, and combat the technology that has helped defense so immensely.
I must go now, or I am going to start hoping about sabermetrics next, and how the percentage of people who really care and follow them is so far in the Minority, yet they are the most vocal.
I once suggested this website go “sabermetric’ free as it eliminates about 85% of our reading public, but I was shot down.
Needless to say I will never incorporate much of any of them in my writing. Yes I understand them, yet they are just too complex for the majority of the people to follow…
Therefore I am never eliminating all people who don’t follow them for any of my articles. I will forever remain a “sabermetric’ free writer. Damn it.. Did I just write/say that… Deal…
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Posted on November 5, 2014, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged bud selig, defensive shifting, don mattingly, length of game MLB 2014, mark teixeira, mlb, rob manfred, sabermetrics, tony gwynn, victor martinez, wade boggs, yasiel puig. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.