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beerguy55

IFF - what is an "infielder"?

Question

An IFF is a ball that can be caught with ordinary effort by an infielder.

If F3-6 all play between 1st and 2nd, and F7-9 all come in between 2nd and 3rd, are they now considered infielders for the purposes of IFF rule (as well as any rule that depends on whether a ball passes an infielder).

Is an infielder defined by the number next to their name on the lineup card...or where they are actually positioned on the field?  If the latter, what's your demarcation point?

I envision some manager defining a lineup where players are listed F4-6, but play the outfield, and vice versa - where fly balls to the warning track are called IFF, and popups to F6 are not.

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While the literal definition in the rule book (those who play within the 90' square) is too restrictive, the spirit is correct.  It's those who play in the vicinity of the dirt area (assuming some reasonable configuration of that) -- and vicinity is judgment.

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I read the rule as "can" be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort. Not, MUST be caught. 

The better question is "what is ordinary effort?" Do we base our judgement on the team currently on the field or on what we would consider an average team at whatever level we are working? 

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5 minutes ago, Mister B said:

The better question is "what is ordinary effort?" Do we base our judgement on the team currently on the field or on what we would consider an average team at whatever level we are working? 

The latter. Plus weather.

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well consider this, when F5 is moved to the right side of the field and then fields a batted ball and throws out the BR, it's recorded as a 5-3 put out... so it's his position on the line-up card that applies. 

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12 minutes ago, stkjock said:

well consider this, when F5 is moved to the right side of the field and then fields a batted ball and throws out the BR, it's recorded as a 5-3 put out... so it's his position on the line-up card that applies. 

That's for scorers and has (almost) nothing to do with the playing rules.

 

If F5 played at the warning track between F7 and F8 and caught a fly ball, it would still be F5.  It wouldn't be an infield fly, though.

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From the OBR Definitions of Terms and rule 9.03(a) CMT:

An INFIELDER is a fielder who occupies a position in the infield.

Rule 9.03(a) Comment: When a player does not exchange positions with another fielder but is merely placed in a different spot for a particular batter (for example, if a second baseman goes to the outfield to form a four-man outfield, or if a third baseman moves to a position between the shortstop and second baseman), the official scorer should not list this as a new position.

From the 2016 BRD (section 279, p. 180):

FED:  Official Interpretation: Hopkins:  A player throws a ball into DBT. It is the first play following the batted ball. He is: (1) an outfielder stationed in the infield; or (2) an infielder stationed in the outfield. In (1), award two bases from the time of the pitch. In (2), award two bases from the time of the throw. (Website 2009 #19 and 20)

NCAA:  …Any fielder, occupying a position in the infield, is an infielder. (2-49)

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From the OBR Definitions of Terms:

ORDINARY EFFORT is the effort that a fielder of average skill at a position in that league or classification of leagues should exhibit on a play, with due consideration given to the condition of the field and weather conditions.

(Ordinary Effort) Comment: This standard, called for several times in the Official Scoring Rules (e.g., Rules 9.05(a)(3) (Rule 10.05(a)(3)), 9.05(a)(4) (Rule 10.05(a)(4)), 9.05(a)(6) (Rule 10.05(a)(6)), 9.05(b)(3) (Base Hits) (Rule 10.05(b)(3) (Base Hits)); 9.08(b) (Sacrifices) (Rule 10.08(b)) (Sacrifices)); 9.12(a)(1) Comment ((Rule 10.12(a)(1) Comment), 9.12(d)(2) (Errors) ((Rule 10.12(d)(2) (Errors)); and 9.13(a), 9.13(b) (Wild Pitches and Passed Balls) (Rule 10.13(a)), 10.13(b) (Wild Pitches and Passed Balls)) and in the Official Baseball Rules (e.g., Definition of Terms, Infield Fly), is an objective standard in regard to any particular fielder. In other words, even if a fielder makes his best effort, if that effort falls short of what an average fielder at that position in that league would have made in a situation, the official scorer should charge that fielder with an error.

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20 minutes ago, Senor Azul said:

From the OBR Definitions of Terms and rule 9.03(a) CMT:

An INFIELDER is a fielder who occupies a position in the infield.

Rule 9.03(a) Comment: When a player does not exchange positions with another fielder but is merely placed in a different spot for a particular batter (for example, if a second baseman goes to the outfield to form a four-man outfield, or if a third baseman moves to a position between the shortstop and second baseman), the official scorer should not list this as a new position.

From the 2016 BRD (section 279, p. 180):

FED:  Official Interpretation: Hopkins:  A player throws a ball into DBT. It is the first play following the batted ball. He is: (1) an outfielder stationed in the infield; or (2) an infielder stationed in the outfield. In (1), award two bases from the time of the pitch. In (2), award two bases from the time of the throw. (Website 2009 #19 and 20)

NCAA:  …Any fielder, occupying a position in the infield, is an infielder. (2-49)

Is the "infield" formally defined anywhere.  I've always assumed it's the 90' (or 60') square - literally - but as has been stated by @noumpere, that's not really practical or realistic - you'd never have an "infielder" - I'm thinking practically it's the dirt area, and probably an imaginary zone just beyond it?   That is, if someone stationed F7-9 a few steps beyond the dirt I'd consider them infielders.

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Going back to the OP, I was thinking, if the infield shifts to the right field side and leaves 3B and short wide open, how do we judge a fly to 3B?

Once, we get past thinking the manager is an idiot.

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41 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

Is the "infield" formally defined anywhere. 

From the rule book:

2.01 Layout of the Field
(1.04) The field shall be laid out according to the instructions
below, supplemented by the diagrams in Appendices 1, 2, and 3.
(1.04) The infield shall be a 90-foot square.

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1 hour ago, Mister B said:

Going back to the OP, I was thinking, if the infield shifts to the right field side and leaves 3B and short wide open, how do we judge a fly to 3B?

Once, we get past thinking the manager is an idiot.

No difference.

If there's no infielder near the ball, then it won't be ordinary effort to catch it, right? And this is true even when the infielders are in their "normal," non-shifted positions.

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2 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

An IFF is a ball that can be caught with ordinary effort by an infielder.

If F3-6 all play between 1st and 2nd, and F7-9 all come in between 2nd and 3rd, are they now considered infielders for the purposes of IFF rule (as well as any rule that depends on whether a ball passes an infielder).

Is an infielder defined by the number next to their name on the lineup card...or where they are actually positioned on the field?  If the latter, what's your demarcation point?

I envision some manager defining a lineup where players are listed F4-6, but play the outfield, and vice versa - where fly balls to the warning track are called IFF, and popups to F6 are not.

From the definition of Infield Fly:

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.

So that part is answered.

Do you go by typikon on the ABUA forum? It's his kind of question.

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1 hour ago, Rich Ives said:

From the definition of Infield Fly:

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.

So that part is answered.

Do you go by typikon on the ABUA forum? It's his kind of question.

LOL - I at first read that to say "any pitcher, catcher..." - I was trying to figure out what scenario would have a pitcher and catcher NOT in the infield, especially since the rules expressly forbid it.

And no, I don't know what an ABUA forum is, but if I did I would be beerguy55.

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7 hours ago, Mister B said:

Going back to the OP, I was thinking, if the infield shifts to the right field side and leaves 3B and short wide open, how do we judge a fly to 3B?

Once, we get past thinking the manager is an idiot.

 

6 hours ago, maven said:

No difference.

If there's no infielder near the ball, then it won't be ordinary effort to catch it, right? And this is true even when the infielders are in their "normal," non-shifted positions.

Thank you.

 

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12 hours ago, Richvee said:

 

Thank you.

 

I still consider there to be a fundamental difference between being positioned in a spot at TOP (or time of swing), versus an infielder not being near the ball because they ran the wrong way.  At younger levels especially, it's common for a player (especially a first baseman) to just automatically run to their base without considering that they should actually be going after the ball.  So if F4 ran to second base instead of running to the ball that shouldn't negate an IFF, by rule - he COULD have caught the ball with ordinary effort, if he didn't run way from it.

However, if F4 was moving to second on the pitch because a double steal was on you might have a judgment call to make if the fly ball was hit to an area that would have been catchable if he had just kept his position.

Ultimately, though, we need to remember the IFF is there to protect the offense, not the defense.  While we don't want to give the defense a cheap double play (and I think preventing that is the priority, even though that is not the instruction umpires are given)...we also don't want to reward the defense with a free out when they screwed up.  If F4 has run away from the ball, there's likely very little chance of the play ending in a double play, and no reason to call an IFF, other than that he "COULD" have caught it with ordinary effort.  He ran away from the ball, why reward him with the out?

In short, I'm conflicted.  Given the choice, I'll take a wrongly called IFF over a wrongly non-called IFF.

But, I've said it before here, and I know I don't have many/any supporters, but I think there has to be a thought process to whether or not this is going to end in a double play.  If you can judge the ball can be caught with ordinary effort, you can judge if this can result in a cheap double play.  It is, after all, why the rule was created.  I know it's a separate issue, and that it's not in the rules or the guides - all I'm saying is as a player and coach I see the two scenarios simultaneously, in real time.  If there's no possibility of a double/triple play, there's no reason to protect the offense...and no reason to give the free out.

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From the Jaksa/Roder manual (2010 edition, p. 33):

Infielder:  A defensive player who positions himself at the time-of-pitch such that he will easily have a play on the batter-runner at first on a ground ball. Normally there are four fielders who are always considered infielders; first baseman, second baseman, third baseman and shortstop. The pitcher and catcher are considered infielders unless otherwise specified. In rare cases, for the purpose of awarding bases on an overthrow, an infielder, due to positioning and the development of a play, may end up being considered an outfielder, and vice versa.

Outfielder:  A defensive player who positions himself far enough away in the outfield at the time-of-pitch that he will most likely not have a play on the batter-runner at first on a ground ball…

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