There was a sports radio host years ago who used to say “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying”. You might have heard of him: Jim Rome. He’s now with the CBS network and as far as we know, he’s never cheated a day in his life. But his famous expression lives on with the Boston Red Sox.
2018 World Series Winners
Maybe they didn’t bend the rules to the extent that the 2017 Houston Astros did, but they did cheat none the less. Manager Alex Cora has bragged about it, about how proud he is that they got over on the Dodgers in the ‘17 WS. Even former Red Sox and current Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts admits they were stealing signals.
Apparently, though, the Red Sox aren’t done trying to get over on other teams and players.
Shift. What Shift?
Joey Gallo is known to be one of the heaviest pull hitters (and most strikeout-prone) in all of baseball, so the shift ban would theoretically help him more than most batters this season. Before you say it, I’ll cut you off at the pass. Yes, Gallo could learn to bunt or at very least go the other way more often. He could but he won’t because that’s not his game.
Against Gallo, the Red Sox used a two-outfielder alignment. Check it out:
Red Sox go with a two-man outfield vs. Joey Gallo, playing the third outfielder in short right field where a shifted second basemen might have been previously. pic.twitter.com/U3oDyh29jD
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) March 3, 2023
The Red Sox need all the loopholes they can get
Technically they’re not cheating but really, do the Red Sox have to keep finding ways to undermine MLB’s clear intention to create more offense? Boston is picked to finish dead last in the American League Eastern Division, so perhaps I answered my own question.
In September, MLB’s competition committee officially voted to implement a pitch clock for the 2023 season (good), ban defensive (infield) shifts (good) and introduce a host of other changes or alterations to other rules.
Most of them have been met with positive responses, especially the pitch clock which has shortened game times considerably.
The very early returns on the new rules are that everyone seems to approve. But there will still be managers and players who think that rules don’t apply and competition be damned. For some it’s not the game, it’s how they can game the game.