Explaining baseball’s next experiment to limit shifts: The ‘pie-slice rule’

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Starting July 22, in the rule-change lab known as the Florida State League, chalk lines will appear in the infield dirt behind second base, sources tell The Athletic. Those lines will be shaped like a slice of pie. Not to make everybody run for the concession stands. For a much more nourishing purpose:

To bring back a once-beloved, but fast-fading, relic of baseball’s past: The good old single up the middle.

Following this? Of course not. So let’s explain.

As you might have heard, the powers that be at Major League Baseball are looking seriously at limiting defensive shifts, possibly as soon as next year. So all season, throughout the minor leagues, teams have had to play under two major shift restrictions:

1) No more infielders hanging out on the outfield grass, sneakily stealing all sorts of hits.

2) Two infielders must be positioned on each side of second base. So left-handed hitters no longer come to the plate and find three infielders — or half the population of Missouri — on the right side.

But Tuesday, sources said, all MLB 30 teams were informed that, in the Florida State League (Low-A level), they’re about to go even further. By which we mean …

Pie, anyone?
In an attempt to create more space in the middle of the field, baseball is about to draw a giant, pie-slice-shaped chalk line in the infield dirt. It will run diagonally in each direction, from the far tip of the second-base bag to the edge of the outfield grass where shortstops and second basemen traditionally stand.

Now understand what this means for how middle infielders play defense. At the moment, even with the two-on-each-side minor-league shift restrictions, the shortstop or second baseman still can play hitters up the middle by standing almost directly behind the bag, while playing as deep as they want. Under the “pie-slice rule,” that changes dramatically.

The pie slice allows infielders to set up right next to second base so they can hold runners and more easily get to the bag to field throws. But if they want to station themselves up the middle for defensive-positioning purposes, the rule forces them to play 20 feet or so shallower than many of them play now. And why is that? Because the deeper they position themselves, the farther they’re pushed to the left or right of the bag by the chalk line.

If they violate the rule by playing inside the chalk lines, the team at bat gets to choose one of the following: the outcome of the pitch, the outcome of the play or an automatic ball. It’s kind of like a baseball offsides call.

Or think of it as baseball’s version of the neutral zone in football … or the restricted area in basketball, the small area under the basket where defenders cannot draw a charging foul on an offensive player. Those sports limit how teams can play defense in those areas. Now baseball will experiment with the same concept.
https://theathletic.com/3417955/2022/07/12/baseball-infield-shift-rule-change/?redirected=1
More at the Link...

I hate the Penalties for violating the rule, but it almost seems like a play on the trapezoid in NHL
 

Jed Zeppelin

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The Trapezoid is a good comp. I understand people don't like the gimmicky stuff but losing hits up the middle to anything but great defense is so objectionable that I am willing to accept almost anything MLB can do to prevent it. From the minute you pick up a bat for the first time you are trained to drive the ball back up the middle and it drives me crazy to see rockets up the middle casually collected by someone standing right there.

Rules that force players to be better at defense and rewards good hitting can only be a good thing, imo.
 

scottyno

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Rules that force players to be better at defense and rewards good hitting can only be a good thing, imo.
Part of being better at defense is figuring out where the ball is more likely to go and positioning for it.
 

BaseballJones

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Part of being better at defense is figuring out where the ball is more likely to go and positioning for it.
I mean if you know a guy is a pull hitter, and you game plan for that, how is that different from a football team knowing that the QB is terrible throwing to his left and game planning accordingly?

This is sports. A series of never ending adjustments.
 

JCizzle

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Part of being better at defense is figuring out where the ball is more likely to go and positioning for it.
Isn't that knowledge mitigated in today's game because that information is provided by some front office analytics computer rather than the players themselves?

Cincinnati Reds outfielders gain defensive edge with positioning cards

On the positioning cards, it will tell outfielders how far to shade into each gap and whether they should play deep or shallow against a hitter. It could say “L4, D2” to tell a center fielder to take four steps to his left and play two steps deeper.
 

scottyno

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Isn't that knowledge mitigated in today's game because that information is provided by some front office analytics computer rather than the players themselves?

Cincinnati Reds outfielders gain defensive edge with positioning cards
Yes, it's a team effort. The coaches tell the players where to play based on a combo of the pitches being thrown and the analytics which comes from the analytics team. Just like a defender in basketball or football doesn't decide independently how to defend their matchup.

It's still being better at defense, just more on a team level than an individual one. It still helps to have better players even if you can get closer to where you expect the ball to go.
 
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Harry Hooper

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Maybe keep going, the 1B and the 3B can't play within 12 (?) feet of the foul lines to encourage more doubles. Exception allowed for when 1B holding a runner on .
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Part of being better at defense is figuring out where the ball is more likely to go and positioning for it.
They are still free to do that and if they can't get to balls up the middle without standing directly behind second base then the team should get defenders like Trevor Story who can. A hitter squaring the ball up perfectly should be rewarded.

I mean if you know a guy is a pull hitter, and you game plan for that, how is that different from a football team knowing that the QB is terrible throwing to his left and game planning accordingly?

This is sports. A series of never ending adjustments.
This is fine but hitters have smaller margins for error with regard to their ability to make their own adjustments. If a WR is double covered it means someone is open elsewhere. Is the opposite field more open for a pull hitter getting heavily shifted? Sure. Is it as simple as just hitting it the other way or even bunting? When the pitcher is burying cutters and sliders inside and you are naturally a guy with fast hands and tremendous bat speed...not exactly.

Maybe my views on this are too fundamentalist. The best hitters overcome it to put up great numbers regardless, but I think it kind of sucks night after night to see so many hitters batting .230 and worse up and down lineups. The extreme shifting, to me, de-emphasizes actual defensive talent and is in general utterly joyless. There is nothing impressive or interesting or fun to me about it. And comparisons to adjustments in other sports, all of which are based on vastly different and much more fluid game dynamics, miss the mark for me. I'm not interested in forcing hitters to undo what makes them great. Plus I'd like to see someone chase .400 again before I die.

Edit: I should add a lot of my views on this probably involve some residual severe anti-Scioscia/anti-Maddon tendencies.
 
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BaseballJones

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They are still free to do that and if they can't get to balls up the middle without standing directly behind second base then the team should get defenders like Trevor Story who can. A hitter squaring the ball up perfectly should be rewarded.
Why should a guy who hits the ball hard right at a defender be rewarded more than a guy who makes softer contact but hits it where they ain't? The game of baseball isn't about who hits it the hardest. It's about scoring runs. There's lots and lots of ways to accomplish that. You can hit balls hard and over the fence. You can hit softer balls where they ain't. You can steal bases and take extra bases so suddenly a walk is effectively a double. You can play small ball and move guys over by productive outs. You can play for more contact instead of always swinging for the fences, which, especially combined with speed, puts a lot of pressure on the defense and often leads to stealing a few runs. Teams that think about offense in a one-dimensional manner deserve to have defenses take stuff away from them.

This is fine but hitters have smaller margins for error with regard to their ability to make their own adjustments. If a WR is double covered it means someone is open elsewhere. Is the opposite field more open for a pull hitter getting heavily shifted? Sure. Is it as simple as just hitting it the other way or even bunting? When the pitcher is burying cutters and sliders inside and you are naturally a guy with fast hands and tremendous bat speed...not exactly.
Yes but...that's baseball. I mean, slow, powerful pull hitters have a tremendous advantage over other hitters - they tend to hit a lot of home runs, which are worth tons. But a price to pay for that is that they hit in a predictable manner. So that allows defenses to try to minimize their offensive potential by adjusting where they play. And of course, one problem with pitching inside to a pull hitter is that if you miss just by a smidge, it could end up being hit 450 feet.

Maybe my views on this are too fundamentalist. The best hitters overcome it to put up great numbers regardless, but I think it kind of sucks to night after night to see so many hitters batting .230 and worse up and down lineups. The extreme shifting, to me, de-emphasizes actual defensive talent and is in general utterly joyless. There is nothing impressive or interesting or fun to me about it. And comparisons to adjustments in other sports, all of which are based on vastly different and much more fluid game dynamics, miss the mark for me.
 

scottyno

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They are still free to do that and if they can't get to balls up the middle without standing directly behind second base then the team should get defenders like Trevor Story who can. A hitter squaring the ball up perfectly should be rewarded.
Why? Hitters get bloop hits all the time. Pitchers throw perfect pitches that break a guys bat and turn into lucky hits. How is it any different than a hitter hitting a rocket for an out?
 

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Yes, it's a team effort. The coaches tell the players where to play based on a combo of the pitches being thrown and the analytics which comes from the analytics team. Just like a defender in basketball or football doesn't decide independently how to defend their matchup.

It's still being better at defense, just more on a team level than an individual one. It still helps to have better players even if you can get closer to where you expect the ball to go.
Exactly. I'm so tired of MLB gimmicks. If a hitter doesn't like having teams shift against him learn to hit the ball the other way. This proposal and the extra innings format are the worst things since Bud made the ASG count. If they want to improve the game how about we start with robot umps behind the plate.
 

teddykgb

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I used to think we’d see an army of players coming up who could hit it the other way and break shifts but lately I’ve landed on the idea that it just may not be possible. With all these pitchers using trackman and optimizing their spin rates and the prevalence of high 90s fastballs with low 90s cutters and splitters I just don’t know that it’s really all that possible for hitters to recognize velocity, spin, location and change swing dynamics. I know we all grew up playing and “hit it the other way” is what we learned facing 60 mph fastballs in pony league but if feels as if the ball is moving faster and more than ever.

Probably some hitters could adopt a much shorter swing and really focus on being slap hitters but then baseball loses the home run and doubles in order to allow teams to shift and I’m not sure that makes a lot of sense.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Exactly. I'm so tired of MLB gimmicks. If a hitter doesn't like having teams shift against him learn to hit the ball the other way. This proposal and the extra innings format are the worst things since Bud made the ASG count. If they want to improve the game how about we start with robot umps behind the plate.
What is more gimmicky, making defenders stand generally within range of their traditionally understood positions or a second baseman standing closer to the right fielder than to second base?
 

glennhoffmania

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What is more gimmicky, making defenders stand generally within range of their traditionally understood positions or a second baseman standing closer to the right fielder than to second base?
The first one. Players should be able to play wherever they want. If a team wants to put four infielders on one side, let them. There's a simple solution if you're hitting.

This stuff reminds me of when I played some co-ed sports in college. Like in basketball the guys couldn't shoot from inside the paint.

What happens when there's a situation in which a team wants to bring an OF in on the infield because the winning run is on 3rd with no outs? Will that be banned? What if the batter shows bunt and the fielding team has the wheel play on? I guess that would be a penalty too.
 

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The first one. Players should be able to play wherever they want. If a team wants to put four infielders on one side, let them. There's a simple solution if you're hitting.

This stuff reminds me of when I played some co-ed sports in college. Like in basketball the guys couldn't shoot from inside the paint.

What happens when there's a situation in which a team wants to bring an OF in on the infield because the winning run is on 3rd with no outs? Will that be banned? What if the batter shows bunt and the fielding team has the wheel play on? I guess that would be a penalty too.
Then make a rule for edge cases, you get a certain amount of shifts that you can use per game and you call it before the at bat.

Also, the rule is likely to be written such that there must be two infielders on either side. A player who is in the books as an OF coming in to play IF in a desperate situation is not going to be considered an infielder.

Edit: What is the simple solution and why aren’t players doing it?
 

DJnVa

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Shifts suck--at least the ridiculous ones we see. I don't know if this is the solution, but shifts suck. I 100% get the other side's argument, but I hate what baseball has seemingly become.

You can give me every counter to that, but, to me, it just doesn't look right. Shrug.
 

Mr. Wednesday

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In my mind, the sporting equivalent to banning the shift is the advent of defensive restrictions in cricket (which were enacted for similar reasons).
 

glennhoffmania

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Then make a rule for edge cases, you get a certain amount of shifts that you can use per game and you call it before the at bat.

Also, the rule is likely to be written such that there must be two infielders on either side. A player who is in the books as an OF coming in to play IF in a desperate situation is not going to be considered an infielder.

Edit: What is the simple solution and why aren’t players doing it?
I'm not trying to be a smart ass, so I hope it isn't coming across that way. But the solution is to hit the ball the other way. Everyone is obsessed with launch angles and exit velocity so they'd rather try to hit it through the shift than avoid it. A grounder to an empty infield area is better than a bullet into a shift.

Hitters started getting pull happy and fielders adjusted. Now let's see if hitters can adjust to the shifts. That to me is more interesting than drawing boxes where fielders must stand.
 

Jungleland

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I'm interested to see how this goes, as I'm in favor of this in theory. Penalties aside - those probably need some tweaking - this strikes me as totally different than the extra innings baserunner in that it's not really rewarding anything. It feels more like a baseball version of goaltending in basketball to me. (Which granted does reward the non-offending team, but maybe more importantly fundamentally takes away a style of defense that would be physically possible if not prohibited.)
 

Curtis Pride

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I prefer a simpler penalty: an infielder starting in the pie zone cannot be the first fielder to touch the ball. If he does, it's automatically a single, and all runners advance one base. An outfielder can move in for a fifth infielder, but that will be the only exception.
 

OCST

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I'm in favor, theoretically, I'll see how it plays out. Many sports have some kind of rule to limit the easy way out and force a team to succeed by good team play and execution. The three second rule in basketball prevents you from just parking dudes in front of the rim. The blue lines in hockey, the offside rule in footy, the line of scrimmage in the NFL, force the attacking team to play through the defense with speed, brawn, skill, smarts, good linkup play, deception etc. instead of just, again, putting a bunch of guys in front of the opposing goal and chucking it to them.

Here the limitations are on the defense but i like it.
 

Archer1979

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I'm not trying to be a smart ass, so I hope it isn't coming across that way. But the solution is to hit the ball the other way. Everyone is obsessed with launch angles and exit velocity so they'd rather try to hit it through the shift than avoid it. A grounder to an empty infield area is better than a bullet into a shift.

Hitters started getting pull happy and fielders adjusted. Now let's see if hitters can adjust to the shifts. That to me is more interesting than drawing boxes where fielders must stand.
I agree 100%. And it's not that difficult if you actually know how to bunt. Granted, it's doing the defense a favor by having a slugger bunt, but it then becomes a decision for the offense. Do you take the risk for an extra base hit or go for the more likely bunt and getting a baserunner. You know... strategy.

If hitters really wanted to eliminate the shift, they would learn how to bunt, and the shift would go back to being the exception and not the rule.
 

LogansDad

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I agree 100%. And it's not that difficult if you actually know how to bunt. Granted, it's doing the defense a favor by having a slugger bunt, but it then becomes a decision for the offense. Do you take the risk for an extra base hit or go for the more likely bunt and getting a baserunner. You know... strategy.

If hitters really wanted to eliminate the shift, they would learn how to bunt, and the shift would go back to being the exception and not the rule.
I don't think bunting is the answer you think it is.

Sure, Devers could bunt once and what would the opposing team do? They would stay in the shift because one of two things will happen... 1) Devers won't bunt again because he isn't valuable when bunting, or 2) he will and it is still a win for the defense anyway.

As far as hitting the other way being easy, maybe when we were young and MLB pitchers topped out at 92 this might have been a valid argument, but most pitchers these days have serious, serious gas, which makes the most difficult thing to do in sports that much harder. I really think people underestimate just how hard it is to hit a baseball going 97+.
 

BaseballJones

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But wouldn't it be "easier" to hit a faster fastball the other way? You're more likely to be "late" on a swing, and if it's anywhere over the middle of the plate, it's going to go the other way.

As far as Devers bunting goes...it depends on how successful he is at it, right? If he bunts at a success rate of 30%, yeah it's not worth it. If it's 40%, probably still not worth it. But at a certain point, if he gets on base more often than not, it becomes worth it. But maybe the "it's worth it" rate is so high that it's nigh unachievable.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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I can think of few things less appetizing than watching the best hitters in baseball constantly trying to bunt inside fastballs sliders and cutters toward 3b.

Sounds like a recipe for a bunch of broken hands to me. And aggressively boring on top of it.
 

DJnVa

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The thought of watching one of baseball's best hitters on my favorite team try to bunt so much that those singles offset the shift makes my eyes bleed.
 

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I don't totally write this idea off, but I'd start with something more basic initially. 4 players on the infield dirt, 3 players on the outfield grass, at all times, before the pitch is thrown. Line them up wherever you want. Do away with the beer league softball short fielder once and for all. The game very much needs more baserunners, and more action. But I'd start here, see what it produces, before advancing to things like the pie slice.
 

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This may be addressed in the articles but I haven't seen it. Does the rule prevent post-pitch (or even pre-pitch but like, during the wind-up) movement into the pie slice? Like, obviously I think defenses would prefer to be set but I could easily see a team dedicated to the shift either stand their players on the edge of it and have them creep into the pie as a windup is occurring, or even outright dash like they're covering a base to functionally be in position. It'd probably not be useful for more fringe set-ups but they'd have the running momentum to cover those middle or off middle hits and be there anyway. I imagine they have to nullify the slice when the windup starts to allow for players to cover stolen base attempts.

In concept though I'm not terribly opposed to it. I think there's more elegant solutions but I will say that it's a less fun game with the shift, and pretty much every other sport has similarly hard limitations about where players can lineup before or during plays. Three seconds in the key, the trapezoid, football's illegal motion/set-up rules, etc.
 

themactavish

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Leaving aside whether anyone wishes to see a deluge of bunts down the 3B line, I find it interesting how seldom I see players bunt that way, much less do so effectively. Obviously, if a slugger does it often, the defense might be quite content to hold him to a single. Perhaps he does it really well and dribbles it into the outfield for two bases, but the defense might still be happy at least to take away the HR from a slugger (nobody is bunting for a HR). Presumably, a lack of practice explains some of this. Players can't bunt effectively on command if they haven't practiced. And some of it might be intransigence ("I ain't bunting!"). But I'm tempted to agree with some folks here who insist that maybe it's not as simple as it sounds. Back in my high school and college playing days, bunting was pretty easy and straightforward. Perhaps the pitching velocity and movement in today's game makes effective bunting much harder than a simple "just do it" strategy. To be honest, I find it exciting to see a good bunt now and then, but again, I don't see many, and I watch quite a few games.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Exactly. I'm so tired of MLB gimmicks. If a hitter doesn't like having teams shift against him learn to hit the ball the other way. This proposal and the extra innings format are the worst things since Bud made the ASG count. If they want to improve the game how about we start with robot umps behind the plate.
Every rule change is a “gimmick” at first. The advent of the 3-point line in basketball is probably the ultimate gimmick, but it’s now hard to imagine basketball without it.
 

BaseballJones

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It's not really about bunting. It's about offenses deciding that there are other ways to score besides having every hitter in their lineup swing for the fences.
 

Max Power

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The current success rate for bunting is very low. It seems like every time Devers, Franchy, or Jackie tries to do it, they foul the ball off. So instead of getting that free base, they've just dug a one strike hole for themselves in the at bat.
 

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FREDDIE FREEMAN: “Everyone’s like, ‘Just hit the ball the other way.’ Um, so I’m trying to cover five pitches. They’re all moving. One is like 98 mph. And I’m just going to be able to do whatever I want and hit a ball to the left side? It’s not that easy. I wish it was, or I’d do it more often.””
 

BaseballJones

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FREDDIE FREEMAN: “Everyone’s like, ‘Just hit the ball the other way.’ Um, so I’m trying to cover five pitches. They’re all moving. One is like 98 mph. And I’m just going to be able to do whatever I want and hit a ball to the left side? It’s not that easy. I wish it was, or I’d do it more often.””
Baseball is hard.

But maybe if teams emphasized all-field hitting right from the minors (which they don't do anymore; they emphasize launch angle and pull homers), it would be less hard.
 

Archer1979

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Baseball is hard.

But maybe if teams emphasized all-field hitting right from the minors (which they don't do anymore; they emphasize launch angle and pull homers), it would be less hard.
I love this post!

Bunting is just one example. These guys are professional hitters. Hitting the other way is another and it isn't easy. It all comes down to situational hitting. Some can adapt to the game situation. Others are just grab a bat, take their stance, and let 'er rip. Usually into the second base hole where the short-fielder easily throws them out. If you can demonstrate that you can beat the shift, then the shift won't be automatically deployed against you. Gamesmanship.

I'm now going to go outside and tell the kids to get off my lawn.
 

JCizzle

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FREDDIE FREEMAN: “Everyone’s like, ‘Just hit the ball the other way.’ Um, so I’m trying to cover five pitches. They’re all moving. One is like 98 mph. And I’m just going to be able to do whatever I want and hit a ball to the left side? It’s not that easy. I wish it was, or I’d do it more often.””
Good luck!



It's hard enough to hit modern pitching without analytically assisted positioning making it even harder when you do manage to touch the ball. It's not like these extreme shifts were widely used "back in the day". I don't have any problem legislating them out of the game to make it a more interesting product.
 

catsooey

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I’m not in favor of any of these changes to the game personally - I think baseball should stay ‘baseball’ and let players adjust to trends in the game.

But it seems like a lot of this manipulation in the game is a reflection of the time we live in, which is kind of interesting. It’s the age of technology, convenience and customization. There’s a trend of changing the game to fit the situation rather than allowing these things to work out in the structure of the game.

I don’t think all changes are bad but to me stuff like the ‘invisible runner’ in extra innings is really lame. And changing things this casually can have a lot of unintended consequences.
 

JCizzle

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I’m not in favor of any of these changes to the game personally - I think baseball should stay ‘baseball’ and let players adjust to trends in the game.

But it seems like a lot of this manipulation in the game is a reflection of the time we live in, which is kind of interesting. It’s the age of technology, convenience and customization. There’s a trend of changing the game to fit the situation rather than allowing these things to work out in the structure of the game.

I don’t think all changes are bad but to me stuff like the ‘invisible runner’ in extra innings is really lame. And changing things this casually can have a lot of unintended consequences.
I agree to an extent, but we're also seeing teams push the limits in ways they weren't 30-40 years ago. For example, look how long it took for 3 point shooting to become widely adopted and how quickly it caught on once a couple teams went all-in. It's interesting to a point, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the NBA eventually make changes to the court if the trend continues. I think we'll see leagues forced to make similar adjustments in most of the major sports, but ultimately I don't think there's a great answer to most of these problems. At least one that will make everyone happy. :)
 
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Max Power

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I’m not in favor of any of these changes to the game personally - I think baseball should stay ‘baseball’ and let players adjust to trends in the game.

But it seems like a lot of this manipulation in the game is a reflection of the time we live in, which is kind of interesting. It’s the age of technology, convenience and customization. There’s a trend of changing the game to fit the situation rather than allowing these things to work out in the structure of the game.

I don’t think all changes are bad but to me stuff like the ‘invisible runner’ in extra innings is really lame. And changing things this casually can have a lot of unintended consequences.
I think you have it backwards. The rule changes are a reaction to the time we live in where data is instant and ubiquitous. Great defensive positioning was an accomplishment 20+ years ago when you had to scout and manually chart out each ball. But now any jerk on the street could bring up any player's exactly spray charts in seconds on their phone. New rules are needed to deal with new technology to restore some kind of balance to the game.
 

OCST

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There were once 9 balls and the batter got to call high or low and the ball could be caught on one bounce for an out (1864 rules).

so change per se is ok.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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It's not really about bunting. It's about offenses deciding that there are other ways to score besides having every hitter in their lineup swing for the fences.
There are other ways to score, but those ways suck compared to consistently hitting the ball hard.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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There are other ways to score, but those ways suck compared to consistently hitting the ball hard.
I don't mind seeing teams play small ball. I prefer wall ball doubles and homers but I don't see any way of scoring a run as being sucky. 4 bunts in a row would be a lot more fun to see than 4 walks in a fucking row... but I'll still gladly take the run however the hell it happens
 

Super Nomario

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Nov 5, 2000
13,732
Mansfield MA
Every rule change is a “gimmick” at first. The advent of the 3-point line in basketball is probably the ultimate gimmick, but it’s now hard to imagine basketball without it.
I’m okay with this. I liken it to the 3-seconds in the paint rule.
I think these basketball analogies are good. The NBA more than any other league has done a great job making changes targeted at the aesthetics of the game. They wanted to move away from a league dominated by seven-footers being big and tall and towards an NBA like we have today, dominated by skill and shooting. The three point line and cracking down on handchecking stand out as changes that served to move things in this direction.

We have not seen these kind of changes in baseball as much, and maybe to its detriment.

I agree to an extent, but we're also seeing teams push the limits in ways they weren't 30-40 years ago. For example, look how long it took for 3 point shooting to become widely adopted and how quickly it caught on once a couple teams went all-in. It's interesting to a point, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the NBA eventually make changes to the court if the trend continues. I think we'll see leagues forced to make similar adjustments in most of the major sports, but ultimately I don't think there's a great answer to most of these problems. At least one that will make everyone happy. :)
It's a process, it's on-going, and adjustments will likely need to be made in either direction. But I think it's totally reasonable for MLB to look at the game on the field and decide whether it can improve it. It's an entertainment product at the end of the day.
 

ndpope

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Jul 15, 2005
79
Dedham, MA
It's hard enough to hit modern pitching without analytically assisted positioning making it even harder when you do manage to touch the ball. It's not like these extreme shifts were widely used "back in the day". I don't have any problem legislating them out of the game to make it a more interesting product.
Not a dig on JCizzle, but a good launch point to post this picture hung in one of the conference rooms at my office. I thought of this photo when an earlier thread on shifting was rolling.

I see a pre-slugging era shift. Perspective is from LCF, so a little skewed. Lefty hitter with the bases empty. Third base and shortstop are playing in close on the dirt to prevent something short. First base is playing behind the bag and hugging the line. Second base is in short right field.

If the third baseman and shortstop each took five steps to their left and five steps deeper, it would not be out of place in a game today.

53230
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Aug 23, 2008
46,386
Not a dig on JCizzle, but a good launch point to post this picture hung in one of the conference rooms at my office. I thought of this photo when an earlier thread on shifting was rolling.

I see a pre-slugging era shift. Perspective is from LCF, so a little skewed. Lefty hitter with the bases empty. Third base and shortstop are playing in close on the dirt to prevent something short. First base is playing behind the bag and hugging the line. Second base is in short right field.

If the third baseman and shortstop each took five steps to their left and five steps deeper, it would not be out of place in a game today.

View attachment 53230
Not that this isn't a great photo but the infield dirt here is little more than the straight line between bases. The 2b's position would likely place him back but still firmly on the dirt of a modern infield.
 

VORP Speed

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Apr 23, 2010
6,198
Ground Zero
I don’t like banning the shift but I’ll gladly take it if it means we get pace of play rules and robot umps. It’s good for sports to evolve with the times. It is supposed to be entertainment after all. I fully support the approach of using the minor leagues as the laboratory of better baseball and continually trying to tweak things around the margins to produce a better product.