This has been discussed to death by the sportswriter crowd and I don't have anything novel to say. Analytics convincing demonstrated the effectiveness of the walk and the home run; the shift combined with the hitters focusing on pulling for power and flamethrowing bullpens that coaches are eager to use reduces baserunners and raises strikeouts. Players being told to swing for the fences every pitch gets the lion's share of attention, but I think this last one is just as important. Having to deal with a bullpen full of two-pitch monsters ready to go 100 percent for three batters has removed the soft underbelly that teams used to thrive on late in games. But if I'm being honest the change that bugs me the most is the speed of play, or rather, lack thereof. I've actually become a big cricket fan over the last four years and I've wondered whether this stuff is a major reason why (cricket world cup going on right now--final is on Sunday Go Black Caps!). I'm a lifelong baseball fan and I like the slower pace of the game but watching four hour games with thirty strikeouts and not even finding it surprising is just too much for me. And it's obviously unhealthy for baseball. Any thoughts on the proposed changes to fix these things? The most interesting suggestions I've heard or read about: 1) using a pitch clock to increase pace of play (I'm a big fan of this one. Four hour games are so common now and it's terrible for the fans). 2) banning or placing significant restrictions on the shift. (I'm ambivalent on this one. General argument is that this would "encourage contact." Personally, I don't buy that--it's the home runs and extra base hits they're after, not singles--but it would increase the batting averages of pull hitters and therefore create more baserunners. But the freedom to set a field is a key part of baseball and I don't like the idea of changing that.) 3) Placing significant restrictions on how teams can use relief pitching. The idea is to make teams designate a smaller number of pitchers for each game. So you get a starter, a long reliever, maybe two other relievers, and a closer. Restrictions are lifted if the game goes into extras. (This is a bridge too far for me, at least at the moment, but it would reduce the number of pitching changes and I would like that).