ESPN recently published an interview with Albert Pujols that exposed an uncomfortable side of the game. Pujols will one day be in the HOF, and his production has been outstanding for a long, long time. But his numbers are falling steadily over the past five years or so, even though it seems like he is still hitting the ball very well. In this case perception is reality. Among the giant cornucopia of statistics that are kept on MLB players is the percentage of times when the ball is struck at over 100mph. Crazy, right? But when you hit the ball at that velocity, you are going to get a hit about half the time. Pujols' stats in this area remain near the top of the game. He still hits the ball hard as often as anyone else in the game. But his results are much worse than the others with his consistency. You see, Pujols learned how to hit focusing on trying to hit line drives up the middle, which historically have turned into base hits. But in recent years, teams playing against Pujols have started playing the second baseman behind the pitcher, thus "robbing" him of a considerable number of hits every year. Balls that would have been clear base hits in the first decade-plus of his career are now routine outs. His batting average has dropped fifty points, in spite of the fact that he is actually hitting the ball as hard, and as often as he ever did. His career BA goes down 5 or so points every year. Surprisingly, he is adamant that he will not change his swing or his approach to hitting in order to defeat The Shift, and surprisingly, his only complaint is that sometimes the second baseman stands in a position that distracts him from seeing the pitcher release the ball, and he thinks something should be done about that. You may be aware that the basic hitting philosophy of MLB has change dramatically over the past five years or so. They no long focus on hitting the "top half of the ball with a slightly downward swing," but rather they focus on the bottom half of the ball, trying to hit long fly balls. Statistically it works out better, although the number of strikeouts is exploding (a new record every year for the past six seasons). What do you think about The Shift? Should MLB require that the second baseman and shortstop stand in their traditional positions when the ball is pitched? Is it helping the game or hurting it. Is it fair?