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What Would Happen if Baseball Outlawed the Shift?

Supporters of the shift believe it’s a solid baseball strategy. By overloading defenders to the side of the field where a hitter routinely drives the ball, teams should get outs more easily. When to deploy the shift is a game of numbers. It depends on the likelihood of the batter to hit the ball one direction or the other, given his tendencies and the circumstances on the field. It’s analytical thinking in all its glory. And yet there is a growing legion of shift haters. The drumbeat of those who blame the shift not just for reducing hits, but for increasing strikeouts, robbing the game of excitement, and any number of other sins grows louder by the day.

So what would happen if the shift was banned? That’s the question legendary baseball writer Jayson Stark set out to investigate. He joined us to share his findings.

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