Big Data and Baseball –‘The Shift’

I grew up in the Golden Age of baseball; or should I say the traditional era. No designated hitters, no challenges and video reviews, few relief pitchers, and no infield shifts. Baseball was an elegant, timeless game with nine players deployed in fixed positions, adjusting to accommodate left-handed and right-handed batters, but basically deployed as they had been since Abner Doubleday.

Baseball was a big part of my childhood. As kids we played pickup on the New Brighton Green, practiced our pitching with a tennis ball on the garage door, played Wiffle Ball, and above all listened to the games on Saturday radio.

While my sister ran in the sprinkler and watching my father spray the aphids on his rose bushes, I listened to Mel Allen, Red Barber, and the Yankees. We traded baseball cards, argued whether Mickey Mantle or Ted Williams was the greatest ballplayer of all time, and batted rocks out by the quarry.

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