Foul Tips

Beliefs:
  1. The ball is dead on a foul tip, just like it is on a foul ball.
  2. A batter cannot strike out on a foul tip
  3. Runner cannot steal on a foul tip
  4. If a tipped ball hits the catcher’s chest pad, and he then catches it before it hits the ground, it’s a strike.
  5. If a foul tip goes off the catcher’s glove, hits his chest and then he bobbles it and catches it, it’s not a strike, right?
  6. For a foul ball to be an out, it has to go over the batter’s head

Realities:
  1. No.  The ball is alive and in play on a foul tip.  (It is also alive and in play on a foul ball that is caught by the way).  Note that by definition a foul tip refers to a ball that is caught.  If a ball “tips” off the bat and hits the ground, or is otherwise not caught, it is just a regular old foul ball, and the play is dead.  This is not a foul tip.
  2. Yes he can.  If he has 2 strikes on him, a foul tip is strike 3.   (With any other count a foul tip is also a strike).
  3. Yes they can.  The ball remains in play.   A foul tip is different than a foul ball.
  4. No.  Only foul tips are strikes.  If the ball hits anything (e.g., chest pad), before hitting the catcher’s glove or hand than it’s a foul ball, not a foul tip.
  5. Wrong.  That IS a foul tip.  The catcher does not have to catch it directly off the bat, the ball just needs to directly hit his hand (hopefully not!) or glove first, and then whatever happens as long as it’s caught, it IS a foul tip.
  6. Nope.  If it’s not a foul tip, then it’s a foul ball.  If a foul ball is caught then the batter is out. It does not matter how high it goes.  If it loops 3 inches over the bat and the catcher catches it, it’s an out.

Summary:

A ball that is fouled by a batter and caught by the catcher can fall into one of two categories.  A foul tip, or a caught foul ball.   For it to be a  foul tip it must go  “sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher's hands and is legally caught".  Otherwise it is a foul ball.  A caught foul ball is an out.
The operative words are "sharp and direct", indicating pretty much a straight line. If there is any looping of the ball as it travels to the catcher, then it is an ordinary foul ball. 

Reference:

Rule 2.00
A FOUL TIP is a batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher’s hands and is legally caught. It is not a foul tip unless caught and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play. It is not a catch if it is a rebound, unless the ball has first touched the catcher’s glove or hand.
(emphasis added - not in original)

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