Infield Fly Rule: What Is It And Does It Work?

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Fly Rule

Baseball is one of the most beautiful sports to watch. This sport has many rules, which help to regulate how players play the game. One of the most popular rules in baseball is the Infield Fly Rule. The aim of this rule is pretty simple; it helps to prevent a player from dropping (not catching) a pop fly intentionally. Of course, this doesn’t happen in all circumstances. In situations when it happens, players often drop a pop fly intentionally to get two or three outs, instead of one.

In the rest of this post, you’ll understand everything about baseball’s Infield Fly Rule and why it matters.

Infield Fly Rule: here’s what you need to know about it

In baseball, there are situations where a fly ball is caught in the air. In this case, the runner has to get back to their base before any form of advancement.

However, if there’s no catch in the air for a batted ball, the runner certainly needs to get to the next base. After that, they’ll be “forced out” if no runner is available on the foregoing base. A non-occupied base means the runner does not need to advance. The infield fly rule is essential to regulate how this baseball play works.

How does a runner know whether he needs to run to the next base or his base if there’s no rule of infield fly? Now, you understand the importance of this rule in baseball.

Here’s how this rule works

First, you need to understand that the infield fly rule sometimes needs the discretion of the umpire.

  • In an infield fly case, as soon as a pop fly is hit, one of the umpires at the bases can always point upward using one of his fingers.
  • With one finger pointed upward, the umpire will declare that the “batter is out for infield fly.” This call happens while the ball is mid way in the air.
  • With this declaration, the batter will not be allowed to return to base irrespective of whether or not the ball falls to the ground. The only exception here is if the ball falls in foul territory.

The bottom line is that an umpire will call infield fly if the ball falls in a fair territory but nothing if it falls in foul territory.

Here’s a better way to understand how the infield fly rule works:

  • One key element to note for this rule is that there have to be “less than” 2 outs.
  • For this rule to work, runners have to be on first & second or first, second, and third.
  • An ordinary effort is required by the infielder to catch the ball.
  • A line drive or a bunt fly ball is never allowed.

Does this rule apply in all situations?

As earlier mentioned, the infield fly rule doesn’t work in all situations.

  • For instance, in cases where there are two outs, there’s no need for this rule. That’s so because there’s no reward for the fielder not catching the ball at the third out.
  • If there’s one runner at the preceding base, there’s certainly no need for this rule.
  • Also, if there are runners on the first base and third base, but none on the second –¬† this rule doesn’t matter. Since there’s no runner on second base, there’s no challenge for the third base’s runner to advance on an uncaught batted ball in the air.

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