Now that Major League Baseball teams have begun playing games in Spring Training we are getting our first look at how some of the numerous new rules that were implemented are working out.
The pitch clock is the one that has gotten the most attention (and ticked the most people off), but it has certainly achieved its goal of speeding up the game (even if it does result in some really stupid moments).
Another major rule change for 2023 in Major League Baseball that fans are curious to watch is the league finally banning the shift.
The new ban on the shift rule requires all four infielders to be on the infield dirt (not in the outfield) with two on each side of second base, but players can move as soon as the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand.
The ban on the shift thus far in Spring Training is accomplishing its goal as well.
For example, Juan Soto, who always had the shift played on him in past years, is currently batting .727 in Spring Training thanks in no small part to the shift being removed as a defensive option.
Since MLB banned the shift, Juan Soto is hitting .800 pic.twitter.com/bvApKkEIuE
— Average Takes (@AverageTakes_) March 2, 2023
Granted, he won’t be able to keep up that pace throughout the entire season (right?).
We also haven’t seen shortstops and second basemen standing one foot from the bag then racing to the other side when the pitch is thrown (but we will).
However, before a team tries something like that, the Boston Red Sox have already found a loophole in the shift ban rule that pretty much makes it a moot point anyway.
As Twins reporter Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com showed on Friday afternoon, rather than shift the infielders over to one side, Boston just moved all their outfielders over. Essentially they are creating the same look on defense as previous year’s when the second baseman would play deep in the grass on the right side of the field.
Now what is Major League Baseball going to do?
“I can’t wait to write 7-3 in my scorebook,” one fan astutely pointed out.
been waiting to see this sort of alignment
— Dat Mets (@_DatMets) March 3, 2023
“And there it is, didn’t even take a week,” another fan tweeted.
If he manages to hit one to left field, what do we think the result is? Triple? ITPHR?
— Mike (@MikeUnitedMets) March 3, 2023
“‘Left field out…Ghost-runner on second…hey, put the folding-lawn chair back up for the strike zone,” someone else joked.
Don’t see this shift happening too much. They’re giving up a possible double to take away single
— matt (@tbone0602) March 3, 2023
MLB really should have known better.