What is an infield fly rule in baseball ? Rule 2.00 defines the Infield Fly as, “a fair fly ball (not including a line drive or a bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second, and third bases are occupied before two are out.
The pitcher, catcher, and any outfielder stationed in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.” It goes on to state that “[t]he ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of being caught or retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on any fly ball. If the hit becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any foul ball.”
Runners on first and second and no outs. Left-handed pull batter at the plate. Defensive coach puts on shift placing all infielders and outfielders to the first base side of second base. Batter hits shallow pop up that will land in fair territory near third base. As no fielder could possibly make a play on this ball, let alone allow it to drop and turn a double-play, this should not be called an Infield Fly. However, if all players are stationed in their normal playing positions, then this should be called an Infield Fly.
Often times, the manager arguing that the Infield Fly should be called is the manager of the defense wanting the free out after a ball dropped and runners advanced. This is a poor argument because the rule, as stated before, is designed to protect the runners, not to give a free out. If the batted ball truly should be called an Infield Fly, then the defense should be able to catch the ball easily and, if not, should be able to get at least one if not two outs.
The Infield Fly only calls the batter out. It does NOT create a dead-ball situation. Runners are allowed to advance at their own jeopardy the same as any other fly ball. If caught, the runners must re-touch the base or risk being called out on appeal. If uncaught, the runners may run or choose to stay on their base, but if they run they have to be tagged out as they are no longer forced to run.
It should also be pointed out that, under Rule 7.08(f), if a runner is touching the base and is hit by a batted ball in an Infield Fly situation, the runner shall NOT be called out. This is the only instance where a runner is protected from being called out for being hit by a fair batted ball.
Infield Fly Rule Explained: What is it & Why Do They Have It?
The infield fly rule takes effect on a fair fly ball that, in the judgment of the umpire, can be caught by an infielder, pitcher, or catcher with ordinary effort and when there are runners on first and second or first, second, and third and less than two outs. Line drives and bunts do not apply to this rule.
Perhaps the most misunderstood rule in baseball is the infield fly rule. Understandably, the rule can be a little confusing since it is ultimately left to the discretion of the umpire as to when it is applied. Designed by Major League Baseball to ensure good sportsmanship and fair play during the course of a game, the rule deals with those strategies that undermine the game and create unfair (if not altogether shady) advantages. In the instance that an infield fly is called, the batter is out, and the ball remains “live”, regardless of if it is caught or not. Therefore, baserunners are allowed to advance (at their own risk) seeing that the ball either hits the ground or the runner tags up once the ball is caught.
When does the infield fly rule apply?
Must be less than 2 outs
Must be runners on first and second or the bases must be loaded
An infielder must be able to catch the ball with ordinary effort, or, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpire’s judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder
The fly ball cannot be a bunt or a line drive
The main concept of the batter being called out on an infield fly rule is to protect runners on base against a team allowing a shallow fly ball to drop in with the intention of causing a force play that would not occur if the ball were caught in the air. In the instance of a shift put on by players in the field, any player who positions themselves on the infield on the play will be considered infielders if the situation occurs where this rule must be called. The main thing to remember is that the rule is a judgment call made by the umpire.
If the umpire determines that a player can make the catch with ordinary effort, then the rule can be applied. The umpire is required to yell “Infield fly, if fair” and will typically raise one arm straight up to signal to everyone that the rule is in effect. If the umpire believes the catch is a sure thing, he can call the play as an infield fly and declare the batter out, even if the ball was not caught.
Why is there no infield fly rule with a runner on first?
If there were just a runner on first the only advantage the defensive team would have by letting the ball drop is to get the lead runner out at second. With at least two runners on base subject to a “force play”, the defensive team could potentially record multiple outs, which is what the rule aims to stop.
How do you call an infield fly?
Due to the infield fly rule being a judgement call by the umpire, it may be called differently depending on game conditions and of course, the umpire that is calling the game. The umpire understands to make the call immediately once they determine the play meets the criteria of the rule, based solely on their judgement.
Do you have to tag up on an infield fly?
On a caught infield fly, runners must tag up in order to advance to the next base. This applies the same as with any catch. If the infield fly falls to fair ground untouched, or is touched and dropped, runners do not need to tag-up. However, since the batter is out, the force play on the other runners is removed.
Can a line drive be an infield fly?
No, a line drive cannot be ruled an infield fly. However, there is another rule in place to ensure that a fielder may not intentionally drop any ball hit in the air to gain a defensive advantage by not catching it; this includes line drives. Therefore, a line drive will not be called an infield fly in any situation.
What happens if you drop an infield fly?
Regardless of if the ball is caught or not, once the umpire calls infield fly, the batter is out. The ball is still live and base runners are allowed to advance at their own risk. However, there is no longer a force play on the runner(s) and fielders must now tag them out instead of just touching the base.
Can an infield fly rule be called on a foul ball?
The infield fly rule ONLY applies to a fair ball. If the ball is dropped or caught in foul territory it is not an infield fly. In the instance a ball appears to be fair and the umpire calls infield fly, once it drifts into foul territory at all, caught or not, it is no longer an infield fly.
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