How Much Do You Hate the Shift Ban?

How much do you hate the shift ban?

  • I like it – the game has gotten super boring partly because of shifts

    Votes: 110 22.3%
  • I am ok with it – I was fine with the shift but it was making the game less interesting

    Votes: 176 35.7%
  • I utterly hate it – hitters should learn to hit against the shift

    Votes: 180 36.5%
  • I really don’t care – baseball is awesome and always will be

    Votes: 27 5.5%

  • Total voters
    493

reggiecleveland

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Bring back Joe West!!!
Maybe more than anyone I haven't met, Joe West had a profoundly positive impact on my life. I mean he's right up there with Sir George Cockburn.
Joe West did the right thing, under difficult circumstances, twice. He will always be okay in my books.
 

Toe Nash

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They have adapted, they swing as hard as they can and hit dingers. Balls in play are growing rarer. I don’t know that banning the shift solves any of this, homers and strikeouts will remain ideal outcomes, but I suspect that’s the goal.
Yeah, this is the thing for me. If banning the shift meant more balls in play, more hits and fewer strikeouts, that would be good, I guess. But I don't think it will do that in any noticeable way. The problem is you can't really have a game with a lot of home runs and a game with a lot of opposite-field singles at the same time, and we all like home runs, so here we are (and on the other side, the most straightforward way to get guys out when they're swinging for the fences is to get a lot of pitchers that throw hard to try to strike them out, and you can't make a rule that pitchers throw more slowly or that they have to pitch while tired).

It seems like if they banned the shift, overall BAs would go up as some more balls get through the infield, but but players are unlikely to change their overall approach and we would still basically have three true outcomes-ball. But I guess it will make more aesthetic sense when a line drive to where a fielder "shouldn't" be isn't caught and there will be fewer grumpy tweets.
 

Wallball Tingle

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Jul 16, 2005
2,358
I hate it, but I guess I get it. To me, it's neat that you can pretty much put anyone anywhere if you think it's the right play for the batter. Now the computers will just adjust and infielders shade in new ways as the computers/players account for the potential "triangles + one arm" sprouting off of second base. I can't wait to see how this is called in terms of positioning immediately before/after the pitch is thrown. Will it be violated a couple times? More?
 

Bergs

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Jul 22, 2005
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I voted OK with it. I largely agree with the "hate it" crowd on the "why" piece of it all, but still think it is best for the asthetics and enjoyment of the game.
 

jayhoz

Ronald Bartel
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Jul 19, 2005
16,783
If the final rule is written as above, who will be the first manager to move their left fielder over to shallow right center against dead pull lefties?
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Sep 9, 2008
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MLB announced the rules experiments to be put in place in the minors this year. Gives us a taste of what they're thinking for the shift ban, among other things.

View: https://twitter.com/FabianArdaya/status/1503431876697997316
View attachment 50167
One thing I wondered about a shift ban was whether it would preclude teams from using five infielders in a walk off man-on-third-less-than-two-out situation and it looks as though that's still ok. It also looks to me that if you wanted to go with a player in short right and two other outfielders you could do it. At least under this proposal.
 

AB in DC

OG Football Writing
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Jul 10, 2002
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There wasn't a poll response that fit me. Personally I think this whole debate is premature. The extreme shift is only a few years old and it seems too soon to tell how well offenses are going to adapt to it. The whole history of baseball (really all sports) involves finding new innovation on one side of the ball and then see how well the other side adapts. Are we really sure that a new rule is needed to address this? Everything goes in waves and I suspect this might too.

It's also premature because we don't have a concrete proposal to look at, and there's a lot that will depend on that exact language and how it's enforced. Feel like it could easily be a mess in terms of having to define "infielder" and "outfielder" more precisely, what exactly the penalty would be, how it would be enforced, what happens if a fielder moves while the pitcher is still in their windup and so on. There's a certain elegance to the current rule set that I really don't want to see bogged down in exceptions, particularly when inconsistently enforced. Right now there's nothing like this except for the no-standing-in-foul-territory rule, which is pretty clear cut and easy to enforce. I don't think this one will be that simple.

And frankly if a team wants to have four OFs and three IFs (or five IFs and two OFs) I don't see why that should be micromanaged out of the game.

That said, I'm fine with experimenting with it in the minor leagues (though interesting to see MLB frame it in the context of showcasing IF's skills for their major league counterparts) but honestly this seems like overkill. If it's still a problem in three or four years, then maybe that's the time to address it.
 

YTF

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There wasn't a poll response that fit me. Personally I think this whole debate is premature. The extreme shift is only a few years old and it seems too soon to tell how well offenses are going to adapt to it. The whole history of baseball (really all sports) involves finding new innovation on one side of the ball and then see how well the other side adapts. Are we really sure that a new rule is needed to address this? Everything goes in waves and I suspect this might too.

It's also premature because we don't have a concrete proposal to look at, and there's a lot that will depend on that exact language and how it's enforced. Feel like it could easily be a mess in terms of having to define "infielder" and "outfielder" more precisely, what exactly the penalty would be, how it would be enforced, what happens if a fielder moves while the pitcher is still in their windup and so on. There's a certain elegance to the current rule set that I really don't want to see bogged down in exceptions, particularly when inconsistently enforced. Right now there's nothing like this except for the no-standing-in-foul-territory rule, which is pretty clear cut and easy to enforce. I don't think this one will be that simple.

And frankly if a team wants to have four OFs and three IFs (or five IFs and two OFs) I don't see why that should be micromanaged out of the game.

That said, I'm fine with experimenting with it in the minor leagues (though interesting to see MLB frame it in the context of showcasing IF's skills for their major league counterparts) but honestly this seems like overkill. If it's still a problem in three or four years, then maybe that's the time to address it.
Yeah that bit about infielders being able to showcase their skills is someone's BS idea to help sell this. There are no shortage of nightly highlights of plays made by middle infeilders.
 

SoxInTheMist

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Jul 18, 2005
210
Woodinville, WA
Whenever a player or team finds a way to exploit the rules in a way that changes the game and makes it less appealing the rules gets changed - in every sport- except baseball. Baseball is the only sport that treats everything as 'sacred'. Every other sport will alter its rules to keep with the times.
 

8slim

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I’m at the point where I feel adamant that baseball leadership needs to stop being so precious, get over themselves, and make some significant changes, tradition-breaking be damned.

Every US sports league is constantly tinkering with rules in an effort to make the game more exciting for fans. Sports are entertainment, and if a style of play is making the game less entertaining it should be altered. The shift is a great strategy, that makes the game less entertaining, so it should go.
 

Ramon AC

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Apr 19, 2002
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What?
When can the shortstop cross the center line, after pitch is released or on contact?

If it's the former will we see defenses sprinting into shifted positions?
 

DJnVa

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Dec 16, 2010
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If it's the former will we see defenses sprinting into shifted positions?
No.

Fielders generally need to be set and ready on the balls of their feet when the pitch is delivered, ready to move in any direction.

Also, it takes .4 seconds for a pitch to reach home plate. Usain Bolt can move like 5 feet in that time.
 

Ramon AC

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Apr 19, 2002
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What?
No.

Fielders generally need to be set and ready on the balls of their feet when the pitch is delivered, ready to move in any direction.

Also, it takes .4 seconds for a pitch to reach home plate. Usain Bolt can move like 5 feet in that time.
I was thinking more like wide receivers in CFL getting a running start on a play.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Jun 26, 2006
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I voted that I was fine with it. The Sea Dogs played this way at a few of the games we watched last year and, with the pitch clock keeping things moving, it's a great brand of baseball. Partly that's because AA has a lot of drek who aren't going long anyway, but at least partly because the hitters seemed to be rewarded more often for hard hit balls and there seems to be less searching for a single pitch to launch.
 

DJnVa

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Dec 16, 2010
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I was thinking more like wide receivers in CFL getting a running start on a play.
It's just not feasible. What if pitcher holds ball too long because a runner is dancing off first? What if he tries to quick pitch? He's just not going to get into position in time--again, you want to be in a ready position when pitch is thrown, not sprinting somewhere and trying to get set.
 

Toe Nash

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I’m at the point where I feel adamant that baseball leadership needs to stop being so precious, get over themselves, and make some significant changes, tradition-breaking be damned.

Every US sports league is constantly tinkering with rules in an effort to make the game more exciting for fans. Sports are entertainment, and if a style of play is making the game less entertaining it should be altered. The shift is a great strategy, that makes the game less entertaining, so it should go.
This is a strawman. Most people are not arguing that the rules are perfect and should never be touched (I am in strong favor of a pitch clock, and most of the other changes MLB has made recently are fine), they're arguing that this change isn't necessary or wouldn't have the desired effect. Also the shift isn't new, what's new is better data on every batter's tendencies, launch angles and the new balls.

Again, it's theoretically easy for batters to "stop" the shift, but you would be trading home runs and doubles for singles and batters won't make that trade -- if you ban the shift they are still going to swing for the fences every time but they will get a handful of additional singles. Is that going to be more fun, really? You'd also still have data on where people hit and fielders are going to position themselves in the optimal places within the rules, so things are still going to look "off" at times, unless you dictate that players stand in specific places.

I'd argue that the people in favor of banning the shift are the stodgy ones who want a clumsy and largely meaningless regulation to go back to the aesthetics of the game they're used to where a line drive up the middle was always a hit.
 

VORP Speed

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Apr 23, 2010
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I don’t like the shift ban specifically, but I’ll gladly take it if it means more rule changes overall to improve the game. The process of trying rules out in the independent leagues and in the minors is a good one and represents progress. If a rule makes it through the trials and fails at the major league level, you can always change it back.
 

8slim

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This is a strawman. Most people are not arguing that the rules are perfect and should never be touched (I am in strong favor of a pitch clock, and most of the other changes MLB has made recently are fine), they're arguing that this change isn't necessary or wouldn't have the desired effect. Also the shift isn't new, what's new is better data on every batter's tendencies, launch angles and the new balls.

Again, it's theoretically easy for batters to "stop" the shift, but you would be trading home runs and doubles for singles and batters won't make that trade -- if you ban the shift they are still going to swing for the fences every time but they will get a handful of additional singles. Is that going to be more fun, really? You'd also still have data on where people hit and fielders are going to position themselves in the optimal places within the rules, so things are still going to look "off" at times, unless you dictate that players stand in specific places.

I'd argue that the people in favor of banning the shift are the stodgy ones who want a clumsy and largely meaningless regulation to go back to the aesthetics of the game they're used to where a line drive up the middle was always a hit.
I'll take more singles, yes. I'll take anything that produces even a marginal increase in hits. What you call "aesthetics" I call "hits". I want hits. I want guys running the bases and hopefully scoring. Watching multiple outs a game due to the shift stinks, in my humble opinion. It's boring. Baseball should be doing everything in its power to be less boring.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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May 20, 2003
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As much as I've appreciated the sabermetric approach that has lead the Sox to four WS titles in the last 20 years, I'm all in favor of banning the shift. The shift takes away hits on balls in play. Fewer hits on balls in play means batters are more apt to swing to the fences so the ball is not in play. That in turn leads to more strikeouts. Three true outcomes baseball is boring as all hell. I would like to see more action on the field.

There's nothing particularly sacred about baseball where the rules cannot be changed. If the NBA can institute a 3 point line and 3 second rule in order to open up the floor, and if the NHL can modify the two line pass rule and prevent goalies from handling the puck except in specific places in order to speed up play, and soccer (an older sport than baseball) can legislate that the keeper is no longer allowed to pick up the ball after a pass from one of his teammates, then by golly baseball can ban the shift. And I am here for it.
 

Jordu

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My initial take on the shift ban was “how dare they change the rules of this beautiful game! Why, when I was a lad …” but reading the posts in this thread has changed my mind. Posters in this thread are making a lot of sense about what would be lost and all that would be gained by the change. Some great baseball history in this thread, too.
 

nvalvo

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Jul 16, 2005
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I love the pitch clock; I'm ABS curious, but with some real misgivings; I have no particular opinion about optimal base size; and I mildly disapprove of shift bans.

If they can actually shave 20 minutes off of the average game time and raise BABIP and SB% by a few hundredths, that could really improve the game as a spectacle.
 

EddieYost

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Jul 15, 2005
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If they do limit the number of infielders to 2 on each side of second base, might teams consider putting the two best fielders on the right side of the IF? Or maybe just have the SS and 2B switch sides if the SS has better range?

I will hang up and listen.
 

drbretto

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I've changed my vote to '"I'm ok with it" and I'm ok with those minor league experiments.

I didn't like any of it at first. After reading some comments here and thinking, I don't really have much of a case against any of them that isn't rooted in me not believing there's a problem in the first place. I also haven't watched like 10 games in the last few years. That stubbornness and ignorance combo started to sound pretty familiar.

So, let's do it. Do all of it.

I didn't like pitch clocks, but I definitely prefer a quickly paced pitching performance.

I wanted the shift to be a cool layer of strategy. It wasn't. Being stuck on one side or the other or having to stay off the outfield grass, whatever, not that big of a deal. That's still a lot of wiggle room.

Larger bases means more stolen bases, and stolen bases are fun.

And anything that gets the ball rolling an automated balls and strikes, I'm interested.


(Also please just let me subscribe to my own team on an app on my TV. )
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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"Hell Yes" to pitch clock
"F'in A Yes" to robo umps
"Sure, why not" to larger bases (and moving second base closer to home/first/third
"OK" to shift ban that keeps infielders in the infield
"No" to shift ban that prescribes where the infielders are positioned in the infield.
I've read a bunch of articles about the shift on FanGraphs etc. Seems like the two things that upset people the most about the shift is the line drives caught in shallow right field and the balls hit up the middle that don't go through. Keeping the infielders in the infield will fix the former. But the balls up the middle will still be gobbled up under the MLB's experiment because the 2b and ss can still play up the middle so long as they don't cross the midpoint line. Unless they're going to keep infielders a certain distance away from the midpoint, they're not solving the "problem."