New commissioner Rob Manfred, who is taking over after Bud Selig's seventeen year term, has been in office for not even a week, yet he has plenty of things planned for the future of Major League Baseball. In an interview Sunday morning with Karl Ravech, Manfred made it clear that on the first of his priorities, he does want to speed up the game and to "inject additional offense" is not too far behind that.
One potential rule change of Manfred that has the baseball world by storm is the banning of defensive shifts. Manfred belives it is taking away the joy of the game and giving the defense more of an advantage.
Defensive shifting is something that has been implemented more year after year. It is used more for strictly pull hitters. Being a Red Sox fan and going to games all summer long, I witness the shift at least once a game with teams shifting on David Ortiz. Ortiz, who successfully hits into the shift more times than not, is all for the rule change. But if Manfred wants to make this a rule, what are the guidelines going to be? Will a player have to stay in a specific zone before each pitch? Will this be up to the umpires descretion or are more lines on the field going to have to be drawn? Also, it will effect the bunting game. If there is a zone that players have to stay in before each bitch, than this will obviously effect players creeping in on potential bunts.
As far as my opinion goes on the banning of shifts, I believe it's nonsense. Shifting is apart of the game, Yes, of course it will take a little excitement out of the game but it's strictly a strategic move by the coaching staff. Their has never been a rule in baseball that says you have to stay at your position over the course of each pitch.Adjusitng to the hitters swing pitch after pitch is a big part of playing defense. For all I care, you could put all infielders and outfielders on the same side of the field, if you feel that's what you need to do to be successful, than do it. Hitters are taught to adjust, if you have all infielders on one side, in my opinion, it's more of an advantage to the hitter, a slap hit the other way is a guranteed single. (I know it sounds way easier than it actually is, but you get my point)
The potential change definitely has its ups and downs. Would more offense be great? Yes, of course it would and I think most baseball fans would agree, but most fans also enjoy the strategic part of baseball like the shift.
Where are you on this debate? Comment politely and state your case!
Baseball is,was, and always will be the greatest game in the world
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.