Should MLB really consider removing the shift from the game?

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Should hitters be able to adjust to defenses or should the shift be banned from MLB games?

- We asked Scanlan yesterday about this shift and ruling it out potentially, getting it out of Major League Baseball because it's ruining the game. First off, how many times does the shift happen a game and Major League Baseball?

So apparently, baseball fans one, or lose baseball fans or sports fans who are watching baseball are opposed to the shift because it's eliminating the excitement from the game because people are no longer able to get on base on a regular basis. Well, I will remind those same people, who are probably the same people that are contending that baseball games are too long, is that If you eliminate the shift, there's more hits, the games longer. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

So I'll remind you of that. But I will say this. And Bob Scanlan talked about--

- By the way, can I disagree with that theory for a minute?

- Yeah.

- Because if one of the reasons why I think games had greater pace to them a number of years ago-- and pace. I'm not worry about time, I'm concerned with pace.

- Pace, yeah.

- It's because hitters were more interested in hitting it where they ain't, which is still a thing, by the way. But the difference now is--

- It's a rare thing.

- Right. But where it is now is they ain't on the other side of the fence, so I want to hit the ball over it. Trying to hit home runs, I think, has made strikeouts more acceptable. More strikeouts mean that you hit deeper into a count.

So if guys were more interested in spraying the baseball and not hitting home runs, I think they were hitting earlier in counts. They were jumping on fastballs and putting them in play. If it was an inside pitch pulling it, if it was a fastball away, going the other way with it.

- And probably more foul balls. You think? Working the field a little bit?

- Well, that's the thing about being acceptable strikeouts is more swings and misses. So the shift may lead to more outs. But again, the game being slowed because the shift is figuring itself out, guys spraying the baseball around, I think, meant hitting earlier in counts. And I don't think that led to longer games, it led to a faster pace.

- Gotcha.

- You with me on that?

- Yeah, kind of.

- Yeah.

- Kind of.

- Because your theory is that if you took-- if we didn't allow shifts, the game would be longer because there would be more hits.

- Yes.

- But I still say that I don't know if that would be the case, because there's more strikeouts.

- It may be a net neutral thing.

- Potentially.

- I think you don't really even know what it would look like. Or I guess, it would just go back to the old form. But if you have new hitters operating under old rules, you may have long games.

- Well, there you go.

- Total shifts in the MLB by year, 2011, 2,300, 2012 wow, this is--

- Just fast forward to 2017.

- 2017.

- You went from 2,350 shifts in 2011 to 25,570 in 2017.

- But the shift is down from 2016 to 2017. I think that's of note by 3,000.

- But look it, it's six years. Look at 2011.

- Yeah, it's crazy.

- 2,350 shifts, 2017.

- It became a thing. It became a thing. The only thing I would argue with you on the shift, eliminating the shift and having more hits is I wonder what it would look like with new hitters and old rules or not old rules, but old shift alignments where the teams weren't doing it. You wonder what that would look like, as far as runners on base and how long it could potentially go.

But here's the point--

- Base runners is a part of it too.

- The point to of my argument is this. I think baseball right now, with this shift and with this launch angle revolution that's going on, I think they are trying a space out. And I think eventually you're going to see hitters who have evolved not to this shift but through the shift.

And what I mean by that is they are going to take the lessons they learned while in the shift and they're also going to learn the craft of hitting to where they ain't. So I think you're going to have hitters who can eventually do both. You're going to have hitters who can place the ball around.

And when the time comes and it's necessary, you can also incite the launch angle and try to smack the ball out. And I think you're going to eventually evolve the sport to a better place based on this shift and based on the launch angle. You're going to have more refined hitters eventually. Currently, that is not the case.

The problem I have with regulating anything is that you limit innovation. You limit creativity when you put in regulations that says you can't do that. The concern that I would have with the launch angle thing and why it potentially is not a fad is because everybody's looking for the quick fix.

Just in general, everybody wants a quick fix in life. How do I lose 10 pounds, quickly though? I got to lose it quick. It's like, well, how about you don't run down the hill, how about you walk down the hill.

- Right. Or establish a new lifestyle.

- Exactly. Yeah, how about we slow play this 10 pounds, that way you don't lose 10 and pick up 15 pounds. So it's kind of that quick fix where it's like teams are going for the quick fix. We're going for the launch angle. We're going for the home runs. We're going for the runs really quick. We don't want to work our way into small ball.

- Around the bases.

- Because that's hard. That means we have to have more guys on the roster who can regularly get on base. That's a challenge for us to find really groomed ballplayers. It's also a challenge to find ballplayers who really love the craft of hitting, not just who like to go out to batting practice and just smack a bunch of home runs over the wall.