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

ndpope

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SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
79
Dedham, MA
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.
The relative placement of the infielders is what I noticed most as the ball in play would have been a sodden lump and all defenders would be closer on average. The fact that the right side of the infield plays the lefty noticeably closer than the left side is what strikes me.

The outfielders are also playing much closer than they would today.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
17,257
Maine
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.
Just what I was going to post. If anything, maybe he's a step or two on to the outfield grass at best. It looks like a fairly standard defensive arrangement.

Defensive shifting is certainly not new (they were over-shifting Ted Williams in the 40s), but the stats and analytics have made it far more commonplace and effective. I'd still rather not see it legislated out of the game rather than having hitters try to adjust to combat it. I attended a AA game a couple weeks ago where they are employing shift restrictions and I honestly didn't feel the game was any better or more exciting than a big league game with over-shifts employed regularly. Now the pitch clocks on the other hand...huge improvement for the pace of play. If the trade off for getting that implemented is banning overshifts, I think I can live with it.
 

8slim

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SoSH Member
Nov 6, 2001
18,849
Unreal America
Sounds good to me. I will accept ANYTHING that increases balls in play and generates more action. It's not a gimmick, it's evolving rules to make an entertainment product more entertaining -- something every other sport does with regularity. People have been saying "just hit against the shift" for how long now? It doesn't happen, and it won't happen.
 

rlcave3rd

lurker
Nov 5, 2005
188
Portland, Maine
Just what I was going to post. If anything, maybe he's a step or two on to the outfield grass at best. It looks like a fairly standard defensive arrangement.

Defensive shifting is certainly not new (they were over-shifting Ted Williams in the 40s), but the stats and analytics have made it far more commonplace and effective. I'd still rather not see it legislated out of the game rather than having hitters try to adjust to combat it. I attended a AA game a couple weeks ago where they are employing shift restrictions and I honestly didn't feel the game was any better or more exciting than a big league game with over-shifts employed regularly. Now the pitch clocks on the other hand...huge improvement for the pace of play. If the trade off for getting that implemented is banning overshifts, I think I can live with it.
I have been to a couple of Sea Dogs games this season, and I agree 100% with the comment about the pitch clock. The game moves along much more quickly, and I like it a lot. It led me to wonder: what, if any, is the impact of moving up from the pitch-clock environment in AAA to the no-pitch-clock environment in MLB? Anecdotally, it seems like the pitchers we've seen this year (Winckowski, Bello, etc.) have continued the pace they used in the minors, and work pretty quickly. But does the temptation to take longer between pitches take them out of their rhythm?