This was a discussion about the effects of defensive shifts in baseball, split from today's game thread. Feel free to join in below!
I complain about the shift only in the context of other issues and also acknowledge it's a small aspect of the movement that has sucked life out of the game.
There's simply no reason to keep the shift, really. I used to like it but as it became deployed so often, I realized "but it doesn't have to be this way and there's really nothing interesting or good about it". The NFL and NBA change rules all the time to promote action, there's no reason baseball can't do the same and it's a really small change. Just keep two infielders on each side of second base and each outfielder in one of three zones. It'd hardly be noticeable on a play-by-play basis but once or twice a game, would at least entertain the crowd with a more exciting defensive play/miss.
Hitters aren't going to change so choose to change around them in the interest of the spectator, the people who make the game possible.
Brock, sorry for my late reply.
The current level of shifting is the product of there being fewer and fewer balls in play in the modern game -- less variety in batter-pitcher outcomes.
Address the balls in play problem, and you likely won't be bothered by shifts anymore. You might even appreciate their creativity and strategy again -- it's harder to effectively shift when there are more and a greater variety of balls in play. I mean, look at the debates about when and how to shift -- it's interesting strategy to talk about! It just gets drowned out by all the K's.
Otherwise, if you try to address shifting directly -- I'm just not sure what you really achieve, if anything. You're attacking the symptom but not the disease, and even if you get a few more hits to fall, ultimately it feels like a neutral/lateral move in terms of improving the game.