The Bronx is Boiling: Manfred, Man!


It was a quiet week in the Yankees Universe. Usually when things seem like they are staying the course for the New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez goes and butts his head in and makes a mess of things. Low and behold, the biggest news of this week was good ol’ A-Rod.

A-Rod made news by forming a duo that would have an acceptance rating of… well, negative if that is possible. Barry Bonds is working with A-Rod to find his swing, two fallen super stars trying to regain face. Then, A-Rod wanted to sit down with the Yankees and talk, maybe even apologize to the team he tried to sue and blame for all of his short comings the past few years. The Yankees refused, which is absolutely hilarious. 

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But I don’t want to write about A-Rod. What really has my britches burning this week is Rob Manfred. The new commissioner of baseball had been in office for mere hours before he had gone out and made a ludicrous suggestion. The Bronx is boiling and I need to blow some steam.


Manfred told Yahoo Sports he wants to “inject additional offense into the game.” One way he thinks that offense will come back into full swing (pun intended) would be to ban the defensive shift. Are you kidding me? This seems a bit over the edge.

I’ve written at length about Brian McCann and other power pull hitters’ difficulty in beating the shift. I have also written that professional baseball players need to learn and adjust to how to beat the shift. We as Little Leaguers are taught at a young age how to go to the opposite field when hitting. Sure, your power is compromised, but that is part of the game. You have to evolve as the game does. If it was easy or if the game adapted to us, every last one of us who played Little League baseball would be in the big leagues by now. 

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These hitters are paid millions upon millions of dollars to play baseball. Part of playing baseball is to be able to hit. If the player, especially lefty pull hitters, can’t hit, then that is a problem between the team and the player. It is not the responsibility of the opposing coaches to let his team be beat by giving the advantage to the hitter.

The infield shift is killing baseball not because it is taking away offense, but because it is exposing how inept some of baseball’s “best” power hitters are. Is it difficult? Yes. But when you are in the big show, you are the best of the best. Lay down a bunt down the third base line and leg out an infield single. The opposing team will take that shift off the next time the batter comes up to bat.

When an NFL team has a horrendous quarterback, what do opposing defenses do? They stack the box with eight of their eleven defenders and take away the run game, forcing the quarterback to beat them. The infield shift is the same concept. You are strategically, and fairly, daring the hitter to do something they are unorthodox at doing. You are the matador taunting the bull with the red cape, and if you lose, the results are not pretty.

Could you imagine the NFL saying that defenses weren’t allowed to stack boxes because quarterbacks weren’t able to throw as much? It’s ludicrous. We aren’t talking about deflating footballs here, we are talking about defensive strategy.

Where would it stop? If the new commish truly wants to get offenses back, would pitchers be allowed to throw anything but fastballs? Think about Pedro Cerrano from Major League. Everyone knew he could kill a fastball, but couldn’t hit a curve to save his life. Isn’t that the same thing as the infield shift? Every team knows that Brian McCann simply can’t hit a home run over the left field wall. So opposing defenses throw their version of the curve ball.

Should intentional walks not be allowed if more offense is truly the goal? No pitcher or manager is calling for an intentional walk against the number 8 hitter batting .213. No, it is the power hitters, the feared hitters that are being taken out of the game with an intentional walk. Sounds like the same concept of the infield shift if you ask me.

Competitive sports are about winning. And in finding ways to win, you find the competitive edge to get you those wins. Doing something that is illegal, like compromising the ball with pine tar or injecting PEDs into your system, is one thing to be frowned upon. But exposing hitters for not being able to hit is not cause for a rule change.

Next: A-Rod Rejected By Yankees, Meets With New Commish

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