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CJK

Infield Fly, Interterence, or Both?

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R1, R2, 0 out.

The ball is popped up in infield, playable by the pitcher with ordinary effort (in the judgment of the umpire) and called out as an Infield Fly, and runners retreat to their bases.

The pitcher allows the ball to fall untouched in fair territory, its spin causes it to bounce toward the 1B line, and it touches the BR who is running inside the line (in fair territory).

In the clinic where I heard this example, the guidance given was to get 2 outs on the play (BR on the infield fly, R2 on interference).

In which rule set(s) would the guidance be correct?  In which rule set(s) would the guidance be incorrect?

((Just for the record, this particular clinic was USA Softball.))

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1 hour ago, beerguy55 said:

If the ball is fair he's out, if the ball is foul...well, it's foul - in either scenario he has no reason to run once IFF has been declared.   Yes, I understand sometimes people need a few steps to slow down.

It's not an IFF until it is fair. Declaring the rule in effect isn't enough. It has to be fair too.  In the OP it wasn't an out-creating FF until the ball hit the B-R in fair territory. SO the B-R running is normal.

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1 hour ago, Rich Ives said:

It's not an IFF until it is fair. Declaring the rule in effect isn't enough. It has to be fair too.  In the OP it wasn't an out-creating FF until the ball hit the B-R in fair territory. SO the B-R running is normal.

So, because of a technicality of definition, that suspends all use of logic and common sense?

In an IFF situation, once an umpires says "Infield fly, batter is out if fair" there are only two possible outcomes; the batter will be out, or it will be a foul ball.   That they occur a few seconds in the future is irrelevant.    In neither scenario is there a reason for the b/r to continue running.   This isn't Schrodinger's Infield Fly. 

Unless Hurricane Lucille comes out of nowhere and blows the fly ball over the home run fence...and even then I'm not sure if it changes the call.

 

 

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I've read all the responses and have decided that if this happens in a game I am working, I am not getting two outs.  As Maven said, if not for the BR getting hit by the ball, it's foul and nobody is out.  Since the BR is out on the declared infield fly (since getting hit in fair territory made it fair and an IFF), he is a retired runner.  Since he is merely running the bases, I believe we can invoke the following:

Rule 6.01(a)(5) Comment: If the batter or a runner continues to advance after he has been put out, he shall not by that act alone be considered as confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders.

Also, I took the following from the BRD which pertains to NCAA rules:

"THURSTON: If a retired runner continuing to advance hinders a following play, the umpire must judge whether the hindrance was INTENTIONAL; if unintentional, the runner is not guilty of interference."

SO, I think the best course of action is to point the ball fair, reinforce the fact that the batter is out, and keep the ball live.  There is NO rule anywhere that dictates what happens when a RETIRED runner gets struck with a batted ball before being touched or passing an infielder other than the pitcher, so I believe this is a rare case of being able to use 8.01(c) to issue a ruling on that particular point.

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I appreciate the thoughtful responses and discussion throughout the thread.  In the clinic where this case play was presented, it led to virtually the same thoughtful discussion, with at least 2 and possibly more potential outcomes, all fully backed by the rule book.

The "get 2 outs" guidance was given by the state UIC, who I literally see either 0 or 1 time(s) per year, depending on whether he decides to show up at the clinic.  I happened to be standing within 3 feet of him during the discussion, and I told him essentially the same thing that @grayhawk said, that if this happened in a game I was working, I would not likely be able to reasonably justify getting 2 outs.  F1 should have caught the ball, but instead acted like a tool in an effort to confuse the umpires/runners.  I hate the idea of rewarding that behavior with a second out, so unless the actions by the BR were egregious, I'd probably just get 1 out and move on, feeling like none of the 3 teams on the field got cheated.

He still thought I was wrong, but must have decided it was a point of view not worth defending, because we left the question behind shortly after that with no real "official ruling."

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2 hours ago, grayhawk said:

There is NO rule anywhere that dictates what happens when a RETIRED runner gets struck with a batted ball before being touched or passing an infielder other than the pitcher, so I believe this is a rare case of being able to use 8.01(c) to issue a ruling on that particular point.

This

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17 hours ago, grayhawk said:

SO, I think the best course of action is to point the ball fair, reinforce the fact that the batter is out, and keep the ball live.  There is NO rule anywhere that dictates what happens when a RETIRED runner gets struck with a batted ball before being touched or passing an infielder other than the pitcher, so I believe this is a rare case of being able to use 8.01(c) to issue a ruling on that particular point.

I like the clear reasoning that leads to this conclusion, including the implicit premise that we should in general avoid ruling 2 outs unless the situation is sufficiently egregious to require it.

However, there's a problem with your argument. The ruling you quote concerning retired runner INT—and the retired runner rules generally—assumes that the defense put the runner out. That's almost always how one is retired. Given that assumption, any INT by a retired runner will have to be INT with a throw, not INT with a batted ball.

In this play, the BR is out by rule on the IFF. The ball's status is thus still a batted ball, and the higher standard for INT by the offense is still on the table (even negligent contact with a batted ball is an infraction). So what's weird about the play is the combination of a retired runner and a batted ball: usually we don't see both at the same time.

That means that when the retired runner interferes with a batted ball, we have to pick which standard to go with: the usual stricter standard for INT with a batted ball, or the usual laxer standard for retired runner INT. Your thinking, based on "don't get 2 unless you have to" led you to the latter. Jimurray reached the same conclusion by a different route, relying on a MLBUM ruling about intentionally letting an IFF fall to the ground.

But for me, since baseball is a game of defense, when in doubt I side with the defense. The MLBUM ruling is relevant here: that ruling seems to embody the thought that the defense had their shot on the IFF and passed, so their protection on the batted ball lapses (there's another version of this play where the IFF is not allowed to fall, but does fall nonetheless). I like that thought for pro ball, but not for HS ball. NCAA-guy, you're on your own!

So I can support either ruling (and would be fine enforcing an authoritative ruling), but lean 2 outs on this play for HS baseball.

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21 minutes ago, maven said:

in this play, the BR is out by rule on the IFF.

But is he?  Would the ball have rolled foul if no contact was made by BR?  How many licks does it take to get to.........never mind.  Why rule on something where we aren't sure of what would have happened "IF" and possibly open a can of worms, when you can rule INT on BR and return runners with no arguments?

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1 hour ago, maven said:

I like the clear reasoning that leads to this conclusion, including the implicit premise that we should in general avoid ruling 2 outs unless the situation is sufficiently egregious to require it.

However, there's a problem with your argument. The ruling you quote concerning retired runner INT—and the retired runner rules generally—assumes that the defense put the runner out. That's almost always how one is retired. Given that assumption, any INT by a retired runner will have to be INT with a throw, not INT with a batted ball.

In this play, the BR is out by rule on the IFF. The ball's status is thus still a batted ball, and the higher standard for INT by the offense is still on the table (even negligent contact with a batted ball is an infraction). So what's weird about the play is the combination of a retired runner and a batted ball: usually we don't see both at the same time.

That means that when the retired runner interferes with a batted ball, we have to pick which standard to go with: the usual stricter standard for INT with a batted ball, or the usual laxer standard for retired runner INT. Your thinking, based on "don't get 2 unless you have to" led you to the latter. Jimurray reached the same conclusion by a different route, relying on a MLBUM ruling about intentionally letting an IFF fall to the ground.

But for me, since baseball is a game of defense, when in doubt I side with the defense. The MLBUM ruling is relevant here: that ruling seems to embody the thought that the defense had their shot on the IFF and passed, so their protection on the batted ball lapses (there's another version of this play where the IFF is not allowed to fall, but does fall nonetheless). I like that thought for pro ball, but not for HS ball. NCAA-guy, you're on your own!

So I can support either ruling (and would be fine enforcing an authoritative ruling), but lean 2 outs on this play for HS baseball.

To be clear, the MLBUM interp does not involve an IFF. I'm stretching it to the OP because the infielder chose not to play on the batted ball. But I like @grayhawk's reasoning better. I don't agree with catagorizing the rules standards as greater or lessor or assuming retired runners interference will be with a throw

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1 hour ago, Aging_Arbiter said:

But is he?  Would the ball have rolled foul if no contact was made by BR?  How many licks does it take to get to.........never mind.  Why rule on something where we aren't sure of what would have happened "IF" and possibly open a can of worms, when you can rule INT on BR and return runners with no arguments?

Yes, he is.  The umpire declared "infield fly" so the batter IS out the instant the ball becomes fair.  You can't unring that bell when the conditions for IFF were present when the umpire made the call.  In other words, the umpire didn't "err" by calling it when the conditions were not present (at least 1st and 2nd occupied with less then two outs), so they can't "fix" it just because the defense chose not to catch the declared IFF.

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2 hours ago, maven said:

 

However, there's a problem with your argument. The ruling you quote concerning retired runner INT—and the retired runner rules generally—assumes that the defense put the runner out. That's almost always how one is retired. Given that assumption, any INT by a retired runner will have to be INT with a throw, not INT with a batted ball.

 

I don't see a problem with the argument.  The defense DID put the runner out, by getting him to hit a routine fly ball into the infield when the IFF conditions were present.  I simply believe that 2 outs is FAR too punitive in any rule set given that the other most likely outcome would have been a foul ball with nobody out.  Your logic is impeccable, as usual, but since a one out ruling can be reasonably justified, I am choosing that one.

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2 hours ago, Aging_Arbiter said:

But is he?  Would the ball have rolled foul if no contact was made by BR?  How many licks does it take to get to.........never mind.  Why rule on something where we aren't sure of what would have happened "IF" and possibly open a can of worms, when you can rule INT on BR and return runners with no arguments?

This goes to the question I have about timing.  Is he out "immediately", and we're just waiting for confirmation on fair/foul?  When the ball hits B/R it becomes fair, making the IFF valid, and the out is retroactively applied to the BR - meaning the batter was already "out" when the ball hit him?

Or does the ball hitting BR turn it into interference?

I'd lean toward the first.   I've always thought of it as "the batter is out...oh, never mind, it's a foul ball." 

 

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41 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

This goes to the question I have about timing.  Is he out "immediately", and we're just waiting for confirmation on fair/foul?  When the ball hits B/R it becomes fair, making the IFF valid, and the out is retroactively applied to the BR - meaning the batter was already "out" when the ball hit him?

Or does the ball hitting BR turn it into interference?

I'd lean toward the first.   I've always thought of it as "the batter is out...oh, never mind, it's a foul ball." 

 

If you did lean toward the second I'd then lean toward the MLBUM interp and absolve the INT.

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On 1/25/2018 at 11:44 AM, beerguy55 said:

Yeah...I didn't have to be so snotty.

As we say in the computer world... That's a feature, not a bug.

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