On Sunday, Robert D. Manfred Jr. succeeded Bud Selig as the commissioner of Major League Baseball. Raised in New York, Manfred attended the prestigious Cornell University, where he earned his bachelors degree. Manfred later enrolled at Harvard Law School and received his law degree in 1983. Over the last fifteen years, Manfred has served as the Executive Vice President of Labor Relations for the MLB. Although he has only been an incumbent for a few days, Commissioner Manfred has already stirred up some controversies.
Manfred has discussed his endeavor toward abolishing defensive shifts. He strongly affirms that team’s front offices now have a plethora of statistical advantages that place the hitter at a disadvantage. In order to make the games more enticing for fans, Manfred has anticipates removing defensive shifts. He believes that MLB ratings will increase if the games involve more offense. However, so much of the game depends on defensive alignments. Is Manfred’s idea a feasible suggestion or is it completely irrational?
The Commissioner’s idea has accumulated numerous responses on social media. ESPN reporter Buster Olney tweeted, “No shifts: Who will enforce it? If fielder must stay in his ‘circle,’ who will determine if he left a split second early? Reviewable?” Olney conveys an intriguing argument. How will MLB conclude what alignments cannot be used and enforce punishments. Does Manfred want to eradicate double play shifts up the middle and corners in on bunts? Or does he want to abolish the infield and outfield coming in to prevent the runner on third from scoring? I believe these shifts are fundamental for baseball at all levels, not just for the MLB. Furthermore, Baseball America writer Ben Badler tweeted, “Right, defensive shifts make baseball boring. Because nobody plays a zone defense in football or basketball.” Badler expresses reasonable arguments. Do shifts in other sports make the game boring? I believe during a close ball game, bringing the fielders in invigorates the spectators. Manfred is trying to make the game for interesting, but one of the most exhilarating plays in baseball is when the infield successfully executes a double play ball. Manfred’s ambiguous plan has already engendered many pessimistic responses. Will he cogently explain his proposition and implement it in Major League Baseball?
From a pitcher’s perspective, I believe defensive shifts are a beneficial strategy. Shifts force hitters to utilize all parts of the field. Prince Fielder is a power hitting lefty, but his average would be .050 points higher, in my opinion, without the second baseman playing on the outfield grass. I strongly believe that MLB hitters should be rewarded for the ability to be a balanced hitter; therefore, a shift is essential to penalize pull hitters. Statistics are extensively analyzed today more than ever; however, knowing information does not win games. Performance does! Manfred needs to focus on hindering the Tommy John epidemic and the game’s speed rather than proposing absurd ideas.
Comment with any opinions or arguments.
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Jake Wesley is now the only writer for MLB_NL_AL.com all of these articles are ether based on facts and pieces of his opinion.