Remember how much conversation there was around MLB banning the shift, and how it was either the best or worst thing the league will have ever done? Turns out any great point made in a debate about the new rule was rendered moot by the Boston Red Sox on Friday afternoon.
Friday March 3, 2023 at 1:50pm local time in Florida, that’s the time of death for baseball’s new shift ban and the birth of team officially finding a loophole to get around it. Alex Cora and the Red Sox are both the harbinger of doom for the rule and the mother of invention — or something like that.
Not to go all conspiracy theory here, but it’s pretty cute that Cora is the one getting around MLB rules considering everything that happened while he was with the Houston Astros. Not saying this is cheating, but throwing that out there nonetheless.
It all happened when Joey Gallo stepped up to bat, as the Red Sox essentially shifted their defense to strategically account for Gallo’s batting strengths and weaknesses. It’s plain as day that there was a shift — with outfielders moving to places they usually don’t go — but it happened actually violating the new rule that was put in place this year.
It couldn’t have been that bad you’re probably telling yourself right now. Well, Boston created a two-man outfield during Gallo’s at-bat by moving one of its outfielders to shallow right field.
So, yeah, it was kind of bad (but perfectly legal).
Twins beat writer Aaron Gleeman was in the press box for the game and documented it all.
Someone light a candle and say a prayer for Max Kepler, who might not be saved by the shift ban the way we all expected he would be.
It’s a legal move, one that MLB somehow didn’t consider when it banned the shift beginning this season. If teams are able to maneuver around the new rule thus rendering it useless, then what’s the point of having it at all?
Rob Manfred’s brilliant mind strikes again.