Cheap Seats

I grow weary of unwritten rules

I don't think I have ever seen a club that uses awkward defensive shifts as much as the Brewers.

And I really don't understand why the Cardinals don't make Milwaukee pay for selling out on defense.

The Brewers held the Cardinals hitless for seven innings Sunday. And while they did it they employed a Ted Williams (the hitter, not the homeless broadcaster) shift in which three infielders played on the right side of second base and the third baseman played where the shortstop usually would.

So why not but the ball down the third base line? It would be a sure base hit. And the Redbirds needed the baserunners. But, apparently, the Cardinals buy into the unwritten rule that you don't try to bunt for a cheap hit in a no-hitter.

I could see it if the score was 10-0 and the losing team was just trying to save face. But I wouldn't have a problem with bunting even with that sort of score if the defense was using a shift.

When you shift you're basically telling the batter "we dare you to take the single instead of trying to pull the ball for power." So, if they're going to give it to you, is there any shame with taking it.

Now Berkman did manage to get a couple of walks during the shift. And some might argue that's just as good as bunting for a hit. But it's not just as good. Why? Because if you take advantage of the holes in the defense, that forces the defender to try to prevent you from doing it again. And that means that they'll have to play it straight the next time -- and give your hitter a better chance to hit to his strength.

I think you have to make teams pay for putting all their eggs in one basket. And the Cardinals failure to do so put them in a weaker position in an important game.