Mark Teixeira: How N.Y. Yankees Slugger Can Crush Infield Shift

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Mark Teixeira: How N.Y. Yankees Slugger Can Crush Infield Shift
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The infield shift is one of the most effective yet frustrating strategies used in sports. 

Originally used by Cleveland Indians Manager Lou Boudreau to halt Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams, the infield shift has given baseball fans fits.

It has done so because the infield shift is a self-licking ice cream cone, surviving only because of men's pride. 

But perhaps New York Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira can unleash a trend to crush the Boudreau shift. 

During a fun, lighthearted interview with MLB.com writer Bryan Hoch last spring, Teixeira said he might try bunting a try to achieve this end.

From Hoch:

[Teixeira] did talk a lot last spring about wanting to bunt, saying he’d like to plant it in opponent’s minds to keep defenses more honest.

Of course Yankees fans know Teixeira’s tough talk did not translate to action in 2012. As explained by Hoch, Teixeira later he had "just been having some fun with the media. He said that he never intended to bunt, and doesn't believe he's bunted in a game since he was 11 years old."

Teixeira elaborated:

I tried [hitting the other way]. I tried it at the end of last year, I tried it at the beginning of this year. It didn't work. Most really good players that are consistent, they don't change things in the middle of their career. That just doesn't really make lot of sense.

Now, I know Teixeira is a strapping player entering his 11th season of MLB service.

And I know it is tough to teach an old dog tricks sometimes.

But perhaps Teixeira should reconsider his stance. 

After all, how “in your face” would it be to watch Teixeira start planting baseballs down an unmanned third base line to crush the shift?

Kapow! Take that, opposing manager! Fans watching Teixeira leg out a "free of charge" hit go ape crap. 

As one of many fans that have wanted to fire things at the television when watching pull-hitters club gutless grounders into a great wall of leather, Teixeira bunting balls into open pasture may be a refreshing change of pace. 

Done enough times, it may plant that seed in the back of MLB manager’s minds not to order their third basemen to leave their post.

Perhaps Teixeira’s change could inspire other pull-hitters like David Ortiz, Jose Bautista, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Hamilton to give bunting a shot.

Of course many baseball fans may read this and say, “Not a shot in hell.”

But how many times have fans walked out the ballpark, wondering what could have been if only one of these guys swallowed their pride and took what the defense gave them?

Put another way, how many fans have seen pull-hitters fall prey to this "gotcha" tactic and yell, "bunt the freaking baseball!"

It has happened many times throughout baseball history. And realistically, the "Boudreau Shift" will continue well into the future.

However, it would be nice to see an uptick in sluggers willing to lay one down for the team (especially when struggling).

Perhaps Teixeira could be the one to shatter this status quo. 

 

Mongoose Morisette is a featured baseball writer for B/r. He is also the founder of the Basebook Baseball Social Network. 

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