Baseball is sport. Sport is competition. Sport is strategy.
Colby Lewis hates strategy, and thereby hates sport:
The Rangers starting pitcher exchanged words with Rasmus during the fifth inning of Texas’ 4-1 loss Saturday. Lewis was irked when Rasmus laid down a two-out bunt single with the Blue Jays up 2-0 and the Rangers playing the shift.
“I told [Rasmus] I didn’t appreciate it,” Lewis said, according to MLB.com. “You’re up by two runs with two outs and you lay down a bunt. I don’t think that’s the way the game should be played.”
Lewis, who fell to 6-7 with the loss, felt Rasmus’ bunt was a selfish act.
Managers are instituting more defensive shifts this year to stop the opposing team’s hitters from getting on base. A defensive shift is where the third baseman plays shortstop, the shortstop moves to the right field side of second base side, and the second baseman plays in short right field. This takes away most hitting lanes for a left-handed batter prone to pull the ball towards right field.
So, teams are instituting the defensive shift at a greater rate this season in order to achieve a competitive edge. That’s fine. That’s what sport is all about. You try to take away your opponent’s strength by using strategy.
Colby Lewis and other pitchers are benefiting mightily thanks to the defensive shift. Colby Lewis is now upset that Rasmus took advantage of the situation given to him by bunting the ball for a base hit. He’s mad Rasmus hit the ball to the part of the field that had been vacated thanks to the dreaded shift.
Rasmus used strategy to get a competitive edge!
If I were a manager, and opposing teams instituted a defensive shift against one of my players, I’d tell my player to bunt, bunt again, bunt some more, and bunt even more! If teams are giving up the third base line, then there’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with a batter taking advantage of that glaring weakness.
Colby Lewis says it’s poor sportsmanship to bunt to beat the shift, but isn’t the shift itself an example of poor sportsmanship? How about this: Let’s ban the shift! Every team will have to play straight up, and it will once again be a battle between pitcher and batter.
May the best man win!
Then, we’ll have no more crying from players like Colby Lewis.
Until then, I implore all batters facing defensive shifts to…BUNT!!!
Read Eric Holden’s argument on why the defensive shift should be banned.