Baseball is filled with statistics, rules, and archaic terms that can often form what sounds like a foreign language. Sons of Sam Horn’s glossary provides a better understanding of these terms through straightforward definitions, clear explanations, and examples pulled straight from the baseball world. If there is anything you would like us to add to our glossary, please contact us.
Infield Fly Rule
The infield fly rule is called by an umpire when a fly ball is hit that can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort and there are runners on, at least, first and second bases, before there are two outs. When the rule is put into effect, the batter is out whether or not the ball is caught. The ball does not have to be caught by an infielder, the umpire only has to judge that an infielder could have made the play with an ordinary effort. The rule was established in 1895 to prevent easy double and triple plays by infielders who would intentionally let the fly balls drop in and collect the force outs around the infield.
How Does It Work?
When a fly ball is hit into the infield and the proper base runner and out situations are in effect, any umpire may immediately call “Infield fly.” If the fly ball is close to either of the basepaths, then the umpire calls “Infield fly, if fair” to alert baserunners that the ball may be drifting into foul territory. The umpire must make the call immediately, and the infield fly rule is not appealable nor is it subject to replay review.
With the bases loaded and one out, Pablo Sandoval pops out to first baseman Adam LaRoche. Since the ball is an easy play for the infielder, the second-base umpire calls “Infield fly,” and the baserunners are aware that there is no force. Without the rule, LaRoche could have allowed the ball to drop, then picked it up and thrown home, and the catcher could have then thrown the ball to third for an easy, inning-ending double play.
Pete Hodges has written about the call up of a top prospect, an odd tradition, and Leo the Lip.
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