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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred open to eliminating defensive shifts

Change for the sake of change?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview with ESPN, new Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said that he is open to eliminating defensive shifts in baseball as a way of adding offense to the game. Shifts have, of course, been increasingly popular over the last several years in baseball, but they have been in the game for a very long time.

When asked about the teams that have put a lot of work into shifts, thereby gaining a competitive advantage, Manfred says it's "incumbent on us in the commissioner's office to look at the advantages that are produced and say 'is this what we want to happen?'"

Banning the shift seems unnecessary at best. Ted Berg summed up the argument against such a ban nicely last summer, shortly after Tom Verducci floated the idea of banning defensive shifts. And while shifts have become more and more popular over the past several years, they are far from new to the game of baseball, dating back many decades.