Commentary

Counteroffensive

The shift is more popular than ever thanks to clever teams like the Rays

Updated: July 26, 2012, 11:11 AM ET
By Peter Keating | ESPN The Magazine
David OrtizJim Rogash/Getty ImagesBoston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has been one of the few hitters so far to beat the shift.

"THIS IS SO COOL," John Dewan, the owner of Baseball Info Solutions, recently wrote on actasports.com. Cool because in more than 25 years of studying defense, Dewan had never seen teams embrace a sabermetrically recommended strategy as quickly and fully as clubs now adopt the shift.

Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. He started writing "The Biz," a column looking at sports business from the fan's point of view, in 1999. He also coordinates the Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.

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