From SABR member Rob Neyer at Baseball Nation on April 10, 2012:
It’s the vs. the Rays, 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Phenom pitching for Tampa Bay.
coming up with one out and nobody aboard. Rays second baseman takes up position to the shortstop side of second base. Raburn pops into shallow center, with Raburn drifting back to make the play.
up next. Same basic shift by the Rays: three infielders on the shortstop side of second base. Peralta lifts a fly to center field, where Desmond Jennings gathers it in.
Extreme defensive shifts have been around for a long, long time. The generic term is “Ted Williams shift” because Lou Boudreau deployed an extreme shift — much more extreme, by the way, than anything you’ll see today — against Williams, for the first time in 1946. But other managers had shifted their fielders.
It used to be rare, though. And done almost exclusively against left-handed power hitters.
Joe Maddon’s turned that on its ear.
Read the full article here: http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/4/10/2939078/tampa-bay-rays-joe-maddon-infield-shifts-shifting
Originally published: April 10, 2012. Last Updated: April 10, 2012.