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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rob Manfred: "How about we outlaw the shift?". Really? The one day commissioner suggested that?

Maybe Rob Manfred was nervous doing his first interview as commissioner of the Major Baseball League that he now heads even though he does not know that it exists.  Hint: the old American and National Leagues merged in 1999 but Manfred's predecessor, Allan Huber "Bud" Selig, either did not notice or chose to behave as if the merger had not occurred.  Hence, many of the terrible decisions that followed.

Manfred appears intent on not making Selig look like a complete incompetent.  That's a nice gesture of gratitude in exchange for Selig handing the job to Manfred who had been Selig's chief lieutenant and A-Rod hatchet man.  However, that cannot be Manfred's policy for too long or he, too, will seem like a complete incompetent.

So, what to do?  Maybe Manfred was just trying to seem Bud like and not merely Bud Light.

The Problem With Rob Manfred’s Problem With Shifts
by Dave Cameron - January 26, 2015

Yesterday was Rob Manfred’s first official day on the job, and he didn’t waste any take making headlines. In addition to penning an open letter to the fans, he also sat down with Karl Ravech for an ESPN Sunday Conversation ... his comments about potentially restricting defensive shifts ... got the most attention.

Manfred mentioned that the league was looking at ways to “inject additional offense into the game.”  And it’s fairly natural that people would draw a connection between the rise in shifting and the decrease in offense around the game.  ...

The primary issue with going after shifts is that there just isn’t a lot of data to suggest that restricting them would actually have a real noticeable impact on the level of offense in the game..

... there simply aren’t enough shift plays throughout the year to have a massive impact on league wide run scoring ...

If the goal is to add offense back to the game ... then restricting shifts is the wrong solution.


Banning New MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s Proposed Ban on the Shift
by BEN LINDBERGH JANUARY 26, 2015 grantland.com
In an interview with ESPN’s Karl Ravech, which aired on Sunday, Manfred brought up the importance of “injecting additional offense in the game.”

“For example,” Manfred volunteered, “things like eliminating shifts, I would be open to those sorts of ideas.” When Ravech pressed, Manfred confirmed that yes, he was talking about defensive shifts — the practice of positioning fielders in places where ground balls are likely to go — and that yes, he was open to outlawing them for the good of the game...

Manfred also isn’t the first person to suggest banning the shift: Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci and Grantland contributor Michael Baumann, among others, have made the same proposal...

According to Inside Edge, there were 124 bunts against the shift last season, up from 66 in 2013 and 40 in 2012...

Over the past few seasons, we’ve seen a significant, undeniable increase in shifting coincide with a significant decrease in scoring, so it’s only natural to infer a strong causal link between the two very visible trends. However, while Commissioner Manfred might have too much on his plate to investigate BABIPs, his assistants should dig up the data before he makes a mistake. 

Why would Manfred blunder so badly so soon if he weren't as inept as Selig?  Right now I see the their shared management style as: too little, too late, if at all.  But with a different sequence for each:

- Selig: if at all, too little, too late
- Manfred: too little, too late, if at all.

With his early start on abysmally bad ideas, Manfred has a chance, despite his education and obvious intelligence, to be an even worse commissioner than Selig, as unimaginable as that may seem.

Commissioner Manfred, how about some Radical Baseball?

Ron Manfred and Bud Selig suck the same way. Tuesday, January 27, 2015

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