Third-Baseman-Behind-Catcher Shift Is Too Extreme For Umpires To Allow

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I will admit to not knowing exactly what’s going on in this video from the Korean league, which you may have to click through to view. Perhaps we can work it out together.

It’s from yesterday’s game between the Kia Tigers and KT Wiz, and shows the Tigers attempting a bizarre shift that puts a fielder behind the catcher. Dan of, who sent this along, identifies the fielder as the third baseman. The umpires say that’s not allowed, and force the fielder to abandon the backstop.


Since it’s the top of the ninth in a tie game, I can only assume the Tigers have decided that protecting against a wild pitch or passed ball is more important than having four infielders. (I would love to see the sabermetrics on that.) But where the hell are the rest of the infielders positioned? The video doesn’t show them, but with a righty up to bat and the first baseman still needing to cover the bag, that’s got to be a wide open hole on the left side. Just how bad can this pitcher’s control problems actually be?


At least we know why the umpires weren’t OK with this. I’m assuming it’s similar in the KBO, but rule 4.03 in the MLB rulebook stipulates that “when the ball is put in play...all fielders other than the catcher shall be on fair territory.”

Because you were wondering, the game was a wild one. Neither team scored in the ninth, but KT put up three in the top of the 10th, only for the Tigers to counter with four of their own, three on a walkoff home run that resulted in this celebration: