Infield Fly


  1. A batter is automatically out if he hits a routine fly ball in the infield.  
  2. Runners should be prepared to run to the next base, in case a declared infield fly ball is dropped.
  3. Once an infield fly is called, the play is dead, and the runners can take their time walking back to their bases
  4. Once an infield fly is called, it makes no difference whether the fielder actually catches the ball or not
  5. If an infield fly is called, but the wind carries it into the outfield and it falls untouched, the batter can try to beat out the throw to first.
  6. If an umpire does not call an infield fly, with less than 2 outs and a runner on 1st and 2nd, and the ball falls untouched to the ground, the defensive team can point it out to the umpire who can declare the batter out after the fact.
  7. If an umpire does not call an infield fly, and the ball falls untouched, and the defense turns an easy double play as the runners were expecting the ball to be caught, the offensive coach can point it out to the umpire who can declare the batter out and put the runners back on their bases.
  8. If an infield fly is declared, the batter is automatically out, no matter what else happens in the rest of the play
  9. If a batter pops a bunt right to the pitcher with the bases loaded, it should be declared an Infield Fly, and the defense won’t be able to turn a double play on it.
  10. If an infielder intentionally drops a fly ball, even with the infield fly rule not in effect, the batter is automatically out. 

1.  NO – certain conditions need to apply.  Specifically, there must be less than 2 outs, and at least runners on 1st and 2nd base (and the ball must be deemed to be able to be caught with ordinary effort by an infielder).  For example, if under other situations, the batter hits a routine fly ball to the shortstop, and he drops it and the batter runs to first base before the shortstop throws the ball to 1st base, the batter is safe, and there is no reference to an infield fly.  Typically the only individuals who get confused by this point are young players or first time coaches who first hear of the infield fly concept.  If you don’t have runners on 1st and 2nd and less than 2 outs, don’t even think about an infield fly.  

2.  NO – well, they can, but they will likely be tagged out.   The batter is automatically out whether or not the ball is caught, so the runners do not need to try to advance.  Doing so on a ball in the infield is very risky at best.

3.  NO – the ball is live, and if it’s caught and the infielder throws to a base that a runner has just vacated, the runner will also be called out.

4.  NO – the batter is out in either case, but base runners can advance without having to tag up if the ball is dropped.   This doesn’t often happen, but can in a hit and run situation, where the base runners are almost at the next base by the time an infield fly is called.  If it drops, it may be easier for the runners to continue to advance, then try to retreat.  There is no force play on any base if the ball is dropped.

5.  NO – the batter is automatically out once an infield fly is called as long as it is a fair ball.  It does not matter whether it is caught or if it stays in the infield.

6.  NO – an infield fly must be called before the ball lands.  It cannot be called retroactively, and in a situation like the above, the umpire could have deemed that it was not catchable with ordinary effort, and the play will stand.

7.  NO – have you read this far??  See the answer for the previous point.  An infield fly is a judgement call and cannot be made after the fact.

8.  NO – well, usually, but if the ball isn’t caught and lands foul or lands fair and then rolls foul untouched, then it is just a foul ball.  An umpire should declare “Infield Fly, If Fair” if there is doubt as to whether it will be a fair or foul ball, but the rule applies whether or not he calls out the “if fair” part

9.  NO – The infield fly rule does not apply to bunts or line drives.

10.  You're expecting me to say no again, aren't you???  This one is actually true, but has nothing to do with an infield fly.  This is rule 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"

This is different than an infield fly and is in place to prevent the defense from being deceitful and trying to get an easy double play

Summary of rule:

  • Batter is automatically out when an infield fly is called on a fair ball. 
  • Ball is live – runner may attempt to advance at own risk.
  • An infield fly applies when there are at least runners on 1st and 2nd, and less than 2 outs.
  • Does not apply on a bunt, line drive, or foul ball.
  • Does not matter if the ball is caught by an infielder or outfielder or where it ends up or even if it’s caught.  Once it’s called an infield fly, the ruling is final, the batter is out.
  • If the umpire does not call it then the infield fly rule does not apply

THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF THE INFIELD FLY RULE IS TO PROTECT THE RUNNERS AND PREVENT THE DEFENSE FROM TURNING AN EASY DOUBLE PLAY.  If the defense cannot turn a double play by tricking the runners into thinking they will catch the ball and then not catching it and getting two outs, the rule does not apply.  For example if there is only a runner on first base, and an easy flyball is hit in the infield, proper base running will dictate that the runner on first base stay put, but the batter runs hard to first base.  If the ball is caught the batter is out.  If it is dropped, then the runner on first will be easily out at second, but in either case the defense should not be able to get 2 outs, so the rule does not apply.


Rule 6.05 (e) "A batter is out when an Infield Fly is declared."

well, duh… but what is an Infield Fly exactly?  Read on…

Rule 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.  Rule 2.00 (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."  

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