On the latest Dreamcast, Anno asked if there was an actual rule that mandated a glove change for when exaggerated shifts occurred. As far as I could tell from scanning the rules, there are only a few stipulations on gloves that can be used by fielders on defense:
- The catcher can obviously use a specialized mitt, dictated in Rule 3.04.
- 3.06 and 3.07 cover all other glove usages other than catcher and first baseman, with the stipulation that pitchers can’t have white or grey gloves, probably for purposes of disguising the ball in the pitcher’s hand.
- The first baseman’s glove is covered in Rule 3.05.
- Most of the rules governing gloves talk about the dimensions and makeup of the gloves and, other than the first baseman and catcher, it doesn’t say that anyone necessarily needs to use a specific type of glove.
As you may know, starting in various games last year, Anthony Rizzo has been deployed in a very unique shift on bunt plays due to his ability to charge and field the ball. The best I can describe is that he plays around where the “silly mid on” guy plays in cricket, so called because he is so close to the batter that there’s almost no time for reaction if the batter decides to pull back and swing away. It used to be that Rizzo could just carry his glove with him to his silly mid on position, but then somebody complained, be it an opposing manager or a crew chief…
“It’s clearly ambiguous regarding the glove,” Maddon said after the Cubs topped the Giants 1-0 to take the early advantage in the best-of-five series that will continue with Game 2 on Saturday night at Wrigley. “There is no such rule, but it’s just an interpretation on their part — this is what they would like to see. I have no problem with it. It’s the semantics involving … the first baseman having a first baseman’s glove. I still will argue the point, even though Rizzo is playing (near the mound), that he’s still the first baseman. So it comes down to proximity to first base.
“Again, it’s a semantical argument. Probably some lawyers put this whole thing together. But for me, we’re happy to change gloves. It just takes a little bit longer.”
There is no real restriction on shifts, except that all fielders must be initially stationed within fair territory other than the catcher, who has to stay in the catcher’s box to receive the pitch until the ball is live. This is stated under Rule 5.02. And again, as far as what the fielders are classified as:
(c) Except the pitcher and the catcher, any fielder may station himself anywhere in fair territory.
I tried to search for terms regarding defense, defensive positioning, equipment usage, and anything else I could think of, and as far as I know, this is just a quirk of the rule interpretation that isn’t actually there. I guess it doesn’t matter now since whenever they do this shift, Rizzo just finds an infielder glove and it takes about 20 seconds more than usual. At least it earns fantasy GMs points for when Rizzo is declared the second baseman.