21st-c. Ball and the Fans

Will sports' machinery more-closely conform to gray matter in the future?

Will sports’ machinery and technology more closely conform to gray matter in the future?

Is “the umpire blind”? Herewith the first important reviewable play in 21st-c. MLB, which means in the history of North American baseball and possibly anywhere. The video—available as part of the above link describing the game between two of the most-venerable franchises, the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants—decided the contest.

Sleight-of-hand may be quicker than the eye—but is the camera? You decide.

As pure technology has not yet taken over—when the numbers are crunched by machines, but the interpretation remains human—one may note a potential overuse in 2014 of what back in the day was called “The Overshift” or “Boudreau Shift”—in our time shortened to The Shift. We talk about the shift, as a defensive tactic, a little in Right off the Bat, as it applied to (opposing) manager Lou Boudreau and Ted Williams. (The tactic probably dates to the days of maniacal uber-strategist John McGraw, if not earlier.)

To date in 2014, evermore-extreme versions of the shift have proved effective in reducing offense.

Question: What other 21st-c. (or ever?!) sports’ management actually seeks to inhibit the fun-for-the-fans aspect of scoring—particularly if such offense is not HGH-related?

Reviewable replays are as likely as not to promote run-production: that is, if one were only able to see and think between the frames. The process also acutely slows down the game-experience for fans of an already-slowish-paced sport. Of course you could bundle all of this (il)logic, and tell it to Armando Galarraga and umpire Jim Joyce.

Gee whiz! 21st-century baseball: a head-scratcher for sure.


About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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1 Response to 21st-c. Ball and the Fans

  1. graham64 says:

    Interesting comments about the infield shifts being used to limit scoring. I have no problem with that – it is up to the offense to come up with new tactics – maybe the emphasis on hitting for pure power should be changed to hitting for placement?

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