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Random thoughts: Baseball relegation, beating the shift, Sugarland, etc. 

Baseball was quite up and down over the last seven days, but I think it’s safe to conclude the Reds are definitively better than the worst teams in MLB. Thanks, AL Central! #Progress

Meanwhile, the White Sox and Royals are making the case for relegation in MLB... 

Don’t bother searching the internet for “2-year-old sleep regression” solutions. No one has found any apparently... 

However, Twitter starts to make more sense after you have a few hundred conversations with a 2-year-old... 

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ESPN had a story this week in which three random good left-handed hitters talked about why they can’t beat the shift. (This is obviously too small a sample size to represent anything, but they pretended otherwise.) Anyway, their conclusion is, “Hey, man! It’s really hard to change my approach at this point!”.

I’m sure that’s technically valid but also misses the point. 

I’m under the impression the ideal baseball swing allows you to hit the ball hard to all fields. If you do that consistently good things will happen. If you are a person against whom the defense can shift and have success, you must not have this type of swing. If so, there’s been a failure in your development. It’s your fault, not the defense. You should have learned differently. If you can’t adjust now, too bad. You’re lucky to have gotten this far. 

I bring this up because ignoring it lets people continue to learn bad habits and will keep us in this cycle where no one can get a hit unless it goes over the fence and everything else is a walk or a strikeout. 

There’s always been a place for one-dimensional hitters but they should only be a small percentage of the guys who make it to the majors (guys who are just too good at their dimension to ignore). The shift creating a crisis illustrates now there are too many. (Same can be said of guys who throw hard but don’t know how to pitch, btw.)...

I guess what I’m saying is only rules changes I would like to see in regards to the shift are hits away from the shift count double and also the opposing manager then has to spend a night in the stocks... 

The way things used to be certainly isn’t always better, but sometimes it is. And people are way too quick to give up on it nowadays just because it’s gotten a bad connotation over the years...

Saw a veteran performer I hadn’t really heard of before Thursday night opening for Sugarland: Brandy Clark. She played a rocking set with big guitars and biting lyrics, and I can only assume she doesn’t get more play on country radio because too many people in Nashville are obsessed with pushing crappy wannabe hip hop garbage...

Related: The acoustics at the Schott ain’t near as bad if you’re on the floor... 

How was Sugarland? Pretty good despite pushing the new stuff a little too hard. Also they didn’t play “Everyday America,” “Down in Mississippi” or the only good song Bon Jovi has ever been part of (their new song featuring Taylor Swift was part of the set, however)... 

Still had a good time, though. I’ll give the show a solid B...

Am I the only one wondering why Jebediah Springfield wrote down his confession about being a murderous pirate? What was he trying to accomplish there? Everyone knows honesty doesn’t pay... 

I thought Rock Dog was a really weird movie at first, but it’s grown on me. Being a blatant rip-off of Almost Famous probably helps. Love that flick...

Watching Jose Peraza take walks makes me think about Happy Gilmore learning to putt...

And finally… yes, talking to a 2-year-old is generally more rewarding than using Twitter. 

About the Author

Marcus Hartman has been a digital sports columnist and reporter at Cox Media Group Ohio since 2016. 

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