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Shifty opponents usually pick their spots.

Teams often choose not to shift with men on base, especially in scoring position. Move the shortstop or third baseman to the right side of the infield and it gets harder to turn a double play.

Holding runners can become an issue as well. Johnny Damon took advantage of an infield shift in the 2009 World Series, stealing two bases on one pitch for the Yankees in a victory over Philadelphia.

And no alignment is impenetrable.

Howard managed to squeeze a two-run single between the infielders during Game 2 against St. Louis this year. Hamilton got a sharp single through the shift during Texas’ five-run fourth in Game 2 against Tampa Bay, the inning that turned that series around.

“Don’t worry about guiding it anywhere,” Hamilton said. “Just hit it where it’s pitched and hit it hard.”

Much different from the old days, when Wee Willie Keeler gave the game one of its most charming maxims: “Hit ‘em where they ain’t.”

Of course, none of this is brand new. Hardly anything in baseball ever is.

Back in 1946, Cleveland player-manager Lou Boudreau grew tired of watching Ted Williams torment the Indians.

Fed up after The Splendid Splinter had three homers and eight RBIs in the first game of a doubleheader, Boudreau devised the “C” formation on a blackboard between games and employed it against Williams after he doubled down the right-field line his first time up in the second game.

Boudreau moved almost his entire team to the right side of the field, leaving only left fielder George Case behind shortstop. The famous photo of what came to be known as “The Williams Shift” or “The Boudreau Shift” appeared in The Sporting News on July 24, 1946, and can be seen in the Hall of Fame.

The St. Louis Cardinals also shifted against Williams in the ‘46 World Series and it caught on. Legend has it that the Boston Red Sox slugger was so stubborn _ and good _ that he steadfastly refused to go the other way against a shift, at least until late in his career.

And so, the story goes, Boudreau invented what is now the modern-day shift.

Or maybe it was Chicago manager Jimmy Dykes against Williams in 1941. Or some National League skipper against Phillies slugger Cy Williams in the 1920s.

Wherever the truth lies, there’s always been a weak spot when it comes to the shift.

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