Yankees Manager Joe Girardi Said He Would Ban Shifts if Commissioner

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Yankees Manager Joe Girardi Said He Would Ban Shifts if Commissioner

Baseball Is Fun

I’d say that extreme infield shifting had become all the rage these days, but it actually became all the rage a few years ago. With the ability to accumulate and intelligently cull so much data, teams are getting better and better at positioning their defense in such a way as to maximize their chances of recording an out, on a batter-by-batter basis. It’s now commonplace.

But Yankees manager Joe Girardi reportedly wishes it wasn’t:

Let’s set aside the logistics of banning the shift for a moment (players all have to start a pitch within a designated zone? something like that?), and talk about whether it would be a good idea or not.

On the one hand, banning the shift would please many players around the game, I suspect, and would likely lead to an increase in offense. For a game seeking always to keep things as action-oriented as possible, it’s conceivable that banning the shift could lead to an improvement in the overall viewing experience.

On the other hand … it just feels wrong. Although we know where the various positions are designed to be played, those players have always moved around at least a little bit based on who was at bat, who was pitching, and the game situation. If the defenders want to move in some whacky extreme direction, shouldn’t that be their prerogative?

With no shifts whatsoever, we’d also miss out on seeing fun things like this:


Finally, we’re still in the early-ish years of the roundly-accepted shifting approach, which means we haven’t yet had time to see the counteraction coming from hitters. Sure, some lefties drop a bunt every now and again, but who’s to say there isn’t some entirely new approach out there to beating the shift, which would then organically reduce shifting? Maybe it just needs time to develop.

So, in the end, while I don’t think Girardi’s comment was as crazy as some may make it out to be, I also don’t think we’re quite there yet.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.