In the middle of some ugly negotiations between MLB and the Players Association for the 2022 baseball season and a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), some of the talk has “shifted” to another subject.
New York Yankees slugger Joey Gallo, a notorious pull hitter with fly ball tendencies, criticized the defensive shift, saying that it’s hard to hit a double or a triple when he has six outfielders in an at-bat.
MLB legend Rod Carew, a seven-time batting champion and Hall of Famer, weighed in on the subject.
“I do think there should be limits to how far players can shift. BUT, guys need to take advantage of the openings the shift gives them. Bunt into the open field. Make the defense adjust. “Pitches are too fast now” is a BS excuse,” he tweeted.
I do think there should be limits to how far players can shift. BUT, guys need to take advantage of the openings the shift gives them. Bunt into the open field. Make the defense adjust. “Pitches are too fast now” is a BS excuse https://t.co/gSA2DrWGGH
— Rod Carew (@RodCarew_29) February 24, 2022
It’s Easy To Understand All Parties
There are several things to consider here.
Carew is obviously qualified to talk about hitting, but he may be so qualified that he can forget how difficult it is to hit these days: pitchers routinely hit 100, even 102 or 103 mph, and have nasty breaking balls.
That’s not necessarily a BS excuse.
Second, not every hitter has the kind of bat control Carew had!
He was a true master of the art of hitting that could bunt, hit it the other way, and do things with a bat that few others could.
And third, as long as the rules allow it, managers can shift as a way to neutralize some of the hitters’ strengths.
It’s not always pretty and it certainly affects hitters like Gallo, trained to hit the ball as hard as they can (and rightfully so, because it increased the odds of inflicting damage).
It’s easy to understand all parties involved: the manager trying to get an edge, and the hitter frustrated with the shift.
However, as long as it’s in the rules, it’s something they will probably have to keep trying to overcome.