Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



In any sport, tactics should not overwhelm the essence of the game, or diminish the entertainment value.

Like the trap ruined hockey during the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Or like the bump-and-run suffocated passing in the NFL before the league changed the rules (thanks largely to Steelers cornerback Mel Blount).

Now, in baseball, you’ve got the shift.

Sometimes teams use four outfielders. Or put every infielder on the right side of the diamond. Video has eliminated secrets. Every team knows exactly where every opposition batter is likely to hit the ball.

The shift isn't against the rules, but perhaps it should be.

Shifting cuts down runs. Fans want to see runs, not tactics. Tactics don’t entertain.

But the hitters can be stubborn, and/or not at all versatile. That’s part of the problem. Witness below.

How can this nimrod not just hit a ground ball to shortstop? Game over. Instead, he drills a grounder right into the teeth of the shift.

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