Cardinals To Experiment With Infield Shift

With Garry Templeton hitting .330 with 62 STL - Garry Templeton b-w crop darkenstolen bases this season, and my Statis Pro dopplegänger playing above all expectations after just two games, I’ve been trying to come up with a way to consistently and logistically have both shortstops take part in each of the 52 games remaining on the Cardinals SP78 schedule. Templeton is on a pace to collect 200 hits for the second consecutive year, and I don’t want to jeopardize that opportunity, but I’m also having fun seeing myself take part in a major league baseball season. Templeton played all 155 of his games at shortstop in 1978 (which included two pinch-hitting appearances), while my Todd Benefiel player card shows that I played all my games at short except for one, when I was stationed in the outfield. So in the end, the question remains: who gets to play shortstop?

Well, we both do. I’ve decided to have the Cardinals implement an infield shift, not unlike the ‘Williams Shift’ the Cards employed against Red Sox slugger Ted Williams during the 1946 World Series, where shortstop Marty Marion covered the entire left side of the infield, third baseman Whitey Kurowski moved to second, and second baseman Red Schoendienst acted as a rover in the gap between Kurowski and first baseman Stan Musial. The SP78 Cardinals will do just the opposite: Templeton will remain at short, Ken Reitz will stay at third, and Benefiel will fill the space between the two, acting as a second shortstop. Keith Hernandez will remain at first, and cover as much of that territory as possible, while light-hitting second baseman Mike Tyson will be removed from the equation entirely, and be used instead as a pinch-hitter and late-inning defensive substitute.

To make gameplay realistic under the circumstances, I’ll have Fast-Action Card draws of G4 and L4—a groundout and line-out to second—go for base hits, while all singles to left field, off either the batter or pitcher card, will be credited as outs. Batters can still collect singles by hitting to center field or right field, and all G4 and L4 draws with an asterisk will no longer be checked for errors. For teams scheduled to play against the Cardinals, I’ll stock their lineups with more left-handed batters, especially in the 5th to 8th spots in the order, unless a southpaw is starting on the mound for St Louis, in which case I’ll stick with the opponent’s regular lineup.

As strange as it all sounds, I think the trade-off of inserting me into the left side of the infield, and having no second baseman on the right, will benefit the Cardinals in the long run; besides adding a potent bat to the game, my stolen base rating of ‘A’ will only increase the team’s chances of scoring, and hopefully help St Louis finally climb out of the NL East cellar.

The Cardinals will begin using the new double-shortstop alignment during their August 6th game against the Mets at Busch Memorial Stadium, which means the shift will become effective today, April 1st. Which of course is April Fool’s Day.

5 responses to “Cardinals To Experiment With Infield Shift

  1. Just break down and have Benefiel play second base with Templeton alternating positions with the rookie now and then. You talk about realistic, then you go and do the infield shift at all times against every batter they face? Even Connie Mack would be fired by the A’s right away if he did that. I know you’d like to stay as close to your actual real life stats as possible, but this is just making a mockery of this fake season we all know and love. You’ve already broken precedent by promoting a 15-year-old middle schooler into a starting position for the Reds, why stop there? And don’t bring up, “What about Joe Nuxhall? He was only 15!” Nuxhall was only brought in to play because of the lack of pro players on the squad due to most being off in Europe or the Pacific fighting WWII. He pitched only 2/3 of an inning yielding five walks, two hits, one wild pitch, and five runs before being relieved.

    Therefore, play both streaking players at short and second. You aren’t Charles O. Finley, ease off these positional shenanigans!

  2. I think Butterboy needs more fiber in his diet, for beginners. Time has not been kind to the former second-sacker, and he’s hoping to see his brother fail so that he can feel better about his own failure to replace Steve Sax. My other thought is that Positional Shenanigans would make a good name for a) a new breakfast cereal or b) a retro-90’s boy band.

  3. So, friend Goose, are you taking my April Fool’s Day joke and responding in kind? Are you April Fooling the April Fooler? Did you not know I was in high school when I was 15, or is that another April Fool’s joke? And me playing for the Reds and not the Cardinals…you’re fooling with me, right? April fooling with me? The infield shift is a joke…you know that, right? Right? Are you fooling with me now, pretending not to hear me?

    And maybe if Joe Nuxhall had done better in his 2/3 innings of work, he might’ve hung around for two months, like I’m going to do, instead of just one game. It’s all about desire, and guts.

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