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Infield Fly

Take a look at the Infield Fly Rule Misconceptions page for incorrect beliefs about it before reading this page to see how to take advantage of it.

Reference: 

2.00: An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted 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 who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.

When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire shall immediately declare “Infield Fly” for the benefit of the runners. If the ball is near the baselines, the umpire shall declare “Infield Fly, if Fair.”  The ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of the ball 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.  If a declared Infield Fly is allowed to fall untouched to the ground, and bounces foul before passing first or third base, it is a foul ball. If a declared Infield Fly falls untouched to the ground outside the baseline, and bounces fair before passing first or third base, it is an Infield Fly.

Comment: On the infield fly rule the umpire is to rule whether the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infielder—not by some arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines. The umpire must rule also that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpire’s judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder. The infield fly is in no sense to be considered an appeal play. The umpire’s judgment must govern, and the decision should be made immediately.  When an infield fly rule is called, runners may advance at their own risk. If on an infield fly rule, the infielder intentionally drops a fair ball, the ball remains in play despite the provisions of Rule 6.05(l).  The infield fly rule takes precedence.

6.05 (e) A Batter is out when an infield fly is declared.

6.05 (l) A Batter is out when an infielder intentionally drops a fair fly ball or line drive, with first, first and second, first and third, or first, second and third base occupied before two are out. The ball is dead and runner or runners shall return to their original base or bases.

APPROVED RULING: In this situation, the batter is not out if the infielder permits the ball to drop untouched to the ground, except when the Infield Fly rule applies.

7.08 (f) Any runner is out when he is touched by a fir ball in fair territory before the ball has touched or passed an infielder.  EXCEPTION: If a runner is touching his base when touched by an Infield fly, he is not out.  If runner is touched by an Infield Fly when he is not touching his base, both runner and batter are out.

 

What does it mean?

  • An infield fly can be called if: 
    1. There are less than 2 outs 
    2. There are runners at least on 1st and 2nd base 
    3. The umpire thinks an infielder can catch the ball 
  • The purpose of the rule is to not allow the defense to pretend they are going to catch a ball (and have all the runners tag up), and then let it fall to the ground, and get an easy double play. 
  • When the umpire calls infield fly, the batter is automatically out, whether or not the ball is caught. But the ball is live and in play, so any runner who strays off their bag can also be put out. If the ball is caught, it’s like a regular fly ball, and all runners must return to their bases. If the ball is not caught, the runners may try to advance at their own risk, keeping in mind that they do not have to, as the batter is already out so there are no force plays anywhere.

 

What Should Players do?

Batter:

  • When an umpire declares “Infield Fly” you are out.  (Unless the ball lands foul without being caught, in which case it is treated like a regular foul ball).
  • However, you should continue to run to first base.
  • If the defense does not catch the ball, a player may see you running to first base, forget that you are already out and throw the ball.  If he makes a poor throw, the other baserunners can advance.  (You are still out regardless L ).

 Base Runners:

  • Remember that you are not forced to run.
  • Do not be fooled by thinking you need to run if you see an infielder misplay a fly ball.
  • Also don’t be fooled because you see the batter running towards you.  He’s trying to fool the defense – not you!
  • If you are on a base away from the play, you can take a small lead (ensure you can get back to the base if the ball is caught and the fielder snaps throws the ball back to your base).   If the ball is not caught, there is a possibility you can advance to the next base.  (For example a fly ball between 1st and 2nd.  If you are on 3rd base, you can take a few steps towards home.   If the fielders collide / kick the ball into the outfield etc, you can keep running home.  If it is caught, get back to 3rd base right away).
  • Also stay alert for fielders who don’t catch the ball, hurrying a poor throw to 1st base.  If it’s wild, the ball is live and you can advance, without having to tag up again.
  • If an infield fly ball is landing close to you, STAY ON YOUR BASE!  If you step off to avoid being hit by it, and it hits you anyways when you are off the base, you and the batter are both out.
Fielders:
  • Try to catch a ball that is declared an infield fly. If you don’t, and it rolls foul, you have given the batter another live.  As well, if a runner is running on the play, and you catch it, you can get a double play.  If you let it fall, the runner may advance on the play.
  • DO NOT throw the ball to first base.  Remember that the batter is out, regardless of what else is happening.   (You may throw to first base to get the runner if he’s strayed too far off the base).
  • Remember that even though the batter is automatically out, the ball is live and in play.  If you catch the ball, a runner can tag up and score.  Also, if you throw the ball away when trying to get it back to your pitcher, the runners can also advance.
  • To summarize… CATCH THE BALL! 
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