I’m glad it’s mostly gone, that legal loophole
Last year waiting to be closed.
The shift withdrew excitement from the game,
Deflated batters’ spirits, reduced batting averages and scoring,
Deadened much of the potential of the offense.
It was not a strategy, as often as it was employed.
It was a knee-jerk reaction to a scoring situation.
Sharply smashed balls, once destined to be hits,
Became the easy fodder of someone stationed in the
Grassy edges of left or right field. Rallies ended suddenly,
As did the tension of the charge. There will now be no dirge,
No requiem, no eulogy for the passing of the automatic shift.
Pitchers will be forced to apply strategy to threatening situations,
Hitters will feel the build-up of the sharp anticipation
Of the single waiting to be born,
While infielders will know the burden to be borne
By their defense — range, positioning and glove work.
Viewers complain there’s not enough excitement in the game
(Ironically contrasting it to football, a sport containing
Eleven minutes of actual action in each match — see the study),
But critics will have one less point now that the appearance
Of the shift will be occasional, and well-placed hits will find their way
To the honest outfielders — and the game will once again resemble
The one I loved when I was just a kid.