Every now and again, a truly great athlete shatters all previous assumptions about what’s possible to achieve in a sport. When this happens, opposing teams scramble to find ways to stop them or slow them down. In basketball, teams tried … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm roman one of the most exciting things and sports is to see a truly great player shudder, all previous assumptions about what is possible to achieve in the game, but while fans applaud Announcers lose their minds. Opposing dean scramble define strategies to stop these grades in basket, They tried to stop circular neo by immediately following him when he got the ball so that he'd have to from the free throw line which he wasn't very good. This strategy became known as the handkerchief we finally have a shot. I don't believe it five seconds in in Zagreb
opposing teams continuously fell the great argentinian player LEO messy to keep him from dribbling through their defence. These tactics to stop the great players can be aggressive and they often stretched the limits of the room look, that's neo, pain, bringing us our story today, he's from five thirty eight data journalism aside owned by ESPN, but in baseball they did it differently in baseball. The solution to stopping the greatest hitter of all time was to actually redesign the game itself. It all started in the nineteen forties, with the great TED Williams famous sleep. He would say that when he grew up, he wanted to be the greatest hitter who ever lived then Brad. We Junior wrote the definitive biography of TED Williams before
or a game in the club hours. She would put up a mirror and stripped down was skip, ease and swing back and say, I'm TED Williams, I'm the best, the inner who ever lived pardon my french Not a humble man deadlines, but also not wrong in nineteen? Forty one, the young red Sox superstar finish the year with a batting average of four oh six, meaning we got a hit in over forty percent of his at bats, which is incredibly good. When his bad it above four hundred since TED Williams. Www. The greater It is furthermore, swaying and Williams kept it. I even left to fight in world war, two came back and was still the best Hitler in baseball,
but in nineteen forty six, just as TED Williams, was on track for another record breaking year. He came face to face with someone hell bent on ending his streak, a guy with the Cleveland Baseball team named Lou Boudreau boo was a short start for the Indians, but he was so the manager of the team, because back then you could actually be both the player and a manager. At the same time, he was an incredibly ambitious person and a great player, but does bite Boutros success. There was this other player that got all the attention: TED Williams, the greatest we had her, who ever lived. Williams, get most of the headlines praise for his. What being such a great hitter, that's Russell Snyder. He covered the Indians for the Cleveland, plain dealer and became close. Would lube Woodrow knowing Bodo, as I think I did. There is no doubt, but This was a clash of eagles between Williams and Bhutto, but Boutros had a plan.
He knew that Williams almost always hit the ball to the right side of the field between first and second base. As the Indians manager. He could actually set up his team strategy specifically to beat Williams for that local girl waiver manager running the midnight oil, perfecting a note of that Lou said in his I'm tired of having Williams beat us, and this is what I want to do. Lou draw decided that he would shift three players from the left side of the field to the right, he put a wall of three in fielders between first and second base with a trio of outfielders, backed up behind them. Now of the seven defenders were standing on the right side of the field Only one lonely outfielder remains on the left The familiar cemetery the baseball diamond had been disrupted in with it
the TED William Shift was born. I caught the border or shift some people. Call it the defensive shift or just the shift, the first time Bhutto use. The shift on Williams was July, fourteenth. Nineteen. Forty six had been vapour William, stepped into the plate and saw the shift for the first time. He said that the umpire what the hell is going on out there. They can't do that, but they could totally you go in so Williams had a choice swing. Just like he'd, always swung any. I hit a home run, but I also hit the ball into the crowd defender shifted to his right or he could go outside, is comfort zone and try to hit the ball. The left Boutros knew. There would be difficult for TED to alter its swing, that he saw himself as a slugger, a home run hitter, and that therefore he would continue doing it his way. That's been Bradley again who wrote the TED Williams Biography He was appealing to two Williams. Is pride
and it worked this time whims came up too bad, he hit straight into the teeth of the shift. In fact, he hit the baseball right too. Who himself standing directly between first and second base Boo Dro kept using the shift on Williams and pretty soon other teams were using it against him, too. Wasn't long at all, maybe within a week or two that the rest of the American League was adopting William said argue that now he wasn't going to alter his natural swing, that the fans were showing up at the park to see him. Yet in interviews. William said he thought the shift shaved about fifteen points off of his lifetime batting every back probably the only tactic that ever actually had an effect on TED event, TED Williams, retired and the shift it more or less disappeared from baseball it because it managers were hesitant to use it because it didn't always work when it goes bad, you'd, look,
bad. This is John DOE, the author of the fielding Bible and a guy you'd, be they ve calling the godfather of Shift data, and he says for a long time to use it and have them kind of data that would back up the idea that risk would pay off over time. You know there weren't. Strong, analytics back in the seventies and eighties. I could tell you at this kind of thing would work but then Sabre metrics came along Sabre met Six is a movement in baseball that started in the nineties to collect data and study it defined advantages, setting e g in front offices across the major leagues were focused on this idea that to win without spending much money, all you had to do was look at the numbers enter the Tampa Bay raise formally as the devil raise. It was regard, as you know, maybe the worst franchise in all available for quite a while. That's Jonah carry journalist who wrote a book about the rays. Vigils didn't really understand what it took to win.
This is bad baseball, for defensive misuse have caused the devil raised dearly, but things started changing for the rise in the mid two thousand Stuart Sternberg, former partner Goldman Sachs decided he was gonna, buy the team, with them. He brought a bunch of other Wall Street types. You know number guys quotes guys. You are good at using data to find hidden advantages. His theory was Let's just succeed and be two percent better in the competition the rays none, Cruncher studied the data and they discovered a really efficient tactic that could help their fielding indifference, a tactic dredged up from baseball's distant past. You guessed it the defensive shift. The shift really is a perfect example of an extra two percent advantage, because the shift from He doesn't work all the time in fails quite a bit, but the rays didn't have much to lose, so they decided to take a risk and bring back the shift.
And they hire manager of the team whose on board, with their plan, a guy with the name of Joe Madden and right away, Madden starts using the shaft on all kinds, Different matters, Joe man he's got the doktor and the master of the defence of ship arresting shift. We haven't really soon one like those against tardy. The gentleman has come up with all kinds of interesting shift this year shortly followed you, don't really right see this type of ship. All that often I guess, guy, like rural and all of a sudden, just this disaster of a team become as air tight team, but you can't score runs off. Their pictures. Rob sector from nowhere, transformed themselves from a perpetual doormat to a championship. Contender in the shift was right, at the centre of their resurgence, the shift caught on all of a sudden every team. The league started shifting invite other teams again shifting against the rays own best hitters, including this guy.
Name is Carlos Banion. I play major league baseball for fourteen seasons, those pain. You grew up, play baseball as a kid in the Dominican Republic and be power hitter, he believed was he has taken to the? U S, We swing our way. You know off the island. We have two other stuff, that's the way we, but we were taught you know. If you want to make the major leagues you better be swinging for some power. In swing for power. He did Carlos Pavia hit. Forty six home runs in two thousand seven, while playing for them raise right. Around the same time, Joe men was reintroducing the shift to the major leagues I fly ball back into right field, number, four thousand six hundred and forty six, two thousand and eight I had to shift on me. The shift is absolutely a killer.
Here's Dania Round ball right in the teeth of the ship. From short, like real throws out. Maybe it's too many swing like wait. A second minos this could the ways going to be for the rich so my career and sure enough. That's exactly what happened. Lives right to Johnson who had weighed between first Second elation, even the great like penny, I can't hit home, runs all the time when Kenya was shifted on. He had to make a decision I swing my natural swing and maybe get a home run, or maybe head straight into the shaft, or do I change my sway eventually, unlike Williams, whose ego led him to try to power through the shift. Pain. You started to adopt another tactic. He did something tat. Williams had only tried a handful of times during his whole career.
Ship design for paying a bunch of all third base, Carlos Pavia, blunted the humble, but there's nothing pretty about this move. You just gonna both about your bad and driven out onto the field bunting with something that players traditionally did just to move their teammates from one day to another, but Carlos Panier turned the but into his own secret weapon using the bunch. You could tap the ball. Third base, where no one was around pick it up and it worked a lot of the time. Even if he didn't always feel good about using it it felt like. I was given in I was saying: ok, you that's got me. I'm just gonna bought this kind of silly but in reality sometimes says a frightful athletes. We think that now men play the game, pain you knew he had to swallow is pride, but it went against ever The thing he had learned growing up, I grew up watching comrades, home run home, runs
and I wanted to do- was at home once that's what was celebrated. You know no one said that's great bond son Panniers Bunce though they were actually great at one point in his career he was fifteen for twenty five on punts against the ship cross, paying it becomes most prolific bunkers in the majors against the ship fastball inside its body strike penny says his success at combating the shift has actually changed the way the game is played, but he's not happy about. It landed Death is just the premises shift is something that I wished it. They could give it a new basis commissioner, Rob Manfred actually agrees with painting here- is talking to you in about how he wants to improve the game. Things
like eliminating shifts. I would be open to those sorts of ideas. Manfred thinks the shift makes the game less exciting because it makes it harder for teams to score He also thinks it's just happening too much now shift is on the shift. Design is Drifters on the shift is on for the Rockies defensively. Anyways ways. The fight about the shift has become a fight over the nature of the game. Ever since they were metrics came along baseball fans and pundits and players have bristled at the aid. Yeah, that on fuel decisions are basically a product of data analysis that could be manning too many players is like wake this kid from Harvard who has never in a row, a baseball, its deciding the future of that angers flares, like you wouldn't believe, but unless
as a rule change the field will keep shifting because it works out. It's it's huge. It is really huge according to John D, want the author of the fielding Bible. It can help when about three extra games a year, which is significant. Three winds, I think every single year has separated a team from getting into the play us or not. Teams are not gonna. Give up that competitive advantage. So now to fight between the number guys in the traditional sense between the nerves and the jocks to decide the design of the game in the meantime. If my voice ever decide to take a baseball, I'm gonna make sure and tell him great bunsen
Ninety nine percent of visible was collaboration this week with five thirty eight to data journalism, site owned by yes pm. It was produced by JO sites with editing from Jody ever again and adapted for ninety nine p. I buy Katy mingle, special thanks to sports reporter NEO paint. Neil is a painless on five. Forty, eight sports, podcast hot, take down and they're doing a whole series of documentaries called head of their time about players and coaches were doing something radical, but weren't appreciated in their era. You can find them all. At five, thirty, eight com, slashed podcast or by searching hot, take down your favorite pot Gaston. Ninety nine percent of visible is the aforementioned Katy Mingle, plus crook, caused to refuse the same Greenspan a breach of men, Emmett Fitzgerald turn Massa Delaney Hall and mean you roman Mars. We are product of ninety one point: seven Cale W San Francisco and produced on radio row in beautiful, downtown, Oakland, Calthorpe, to all the beautiful nerds out there who donated during a fundraiser. Thank you so much
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.