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Guest KayB

Infield Fly With a Shift

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Guest KayB

With the proliferation of infield shifting and even some infielders playing on the outfield grass in some shifts, who is defined as an infielder under the definition of this rule.

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34 minutes ago, Guest KayB said:

With the proliferation of infield shifting and even some infielders playing on the outfield grass in some shifts, who is defined as an infielder under the definition of this rule.

Remember an outfielder can catch an IFF.

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1 hour ago, Guest KayB said:

With the proliferation of infield shifting and even some infielders playing on the outfield grass in some shifts, who is defined as an infielder under the definition of this rule.

This is a judgement call.  For me, if the second baseman has shifted half way into the outfield and then is settling under a fly ball by drifting deeper into the outfield, I'm probably not going to call IFF.  If he's moving in and can catch it with 'ordinary effort', I'll call it.  

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To our guest KayB, we had a lengthy discussion of this same question in February 2018 in the High School forum. Here’s the link (I think you need to hit the CTRL key and click on it to get there)--

 

 

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Go by the spirit of the rule, and its purpose, and screw the technicalities.  It's to prevent the defense from getting a cheap double/triple play in a scenario where the base runners are anchored to their bases.

Umpires call infield flies in shallow outfield all the time...what difference would it make that F4 either started on the dirt and ran out to the outfield to camp himself under it...or started in that exact spot before the pitch.

Likewise...if a team brings in all three outfielders and puts them left of second base on the infield dirt, and puts the infielders right of second base, are you really going to call a high pop fly to the third base area NOT an IFF simply because it is F8 who is standing there??   

Call the IFF.  Let the asshat coach protest, and dare a rules committee to say an IFF doesn't apply here.

The rules were written at a time where the positions were the positions - I doubt anybody really imagined a scenario where you'd play with four outfielders and only three infielders.   It wasn't really done until the 20's (on one player) and then was done on Ted Williams for the second half of his career.  After that you really didn't see it until Fred McGriff in the 90's (The McGriff Shift)

The one shift alignment on Williams was especially odd - F5 came to the right side of second...F6 between first and second, F4 into shallow right - almost to Pesky's Pole, F9 over to the line near the warning track, F8 to the RF alley, and F7 very shallow LF, maybe five or six paces off the dirt (keeping in mind short LF in Fenway).  Have fun with that one umps.

 

I've also seen similar arguments pertaining to the glove (trapper) the first baseman is allowed to wear.  WHo's the first baseman - the guy closest to first base TOP?  The guy with the "3" in the position column on the lineup card?   Can you shift your F3 to the other side of the infield and take his glove with him?  Can you play in F3 to field a bunt, with his glove, and leave F4 effectively as your first baseman?

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Remember that an IFF is a pop fly (not bunted) that can be caught be an infielder with a reasonable amount of effort.

If the infield is shifted way right, and the pop fly goes left, that "reasonable effort" criterion might not apply!  Therefore no IFF.

Mike

Las Vegas

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13 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

I've also seen similar arguments pertaining to the glove (trapper) the first baseman is allowed to wear.  WHo's the first baseman - the guy closest to first base TOP?  The guy with the "3" in the position column on the lineup card?   Can you shift your F3 to the other side of the infield and take his glove with him?  Can you play in F3 to field a bunt, with his glove, and leave F4 effectively as your first baseman?

 

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5 minutes ago, Vegas_Ump said:

Remember that an IFF is a pop fly (not bunted) that can be caught be an infielder with a reasonable amount of effort.

If the infield is shifted way right, and the pop fly goes left, that "reasonable effort" criterion might not apply!  Therefore no IFF.

Mike

Las Vegas

 

If a team shifts all its infielders right, and then brings its F7 to play somewhere between the normal F5 and F6 positions are you ruling him an infielder or an outfielder?  Is he an outfielder by the number on the lineup card, or by where he is physically positioned TOP?

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6 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

 

If a team shifts all its infielders right, and then brings its F7 to play somewhere between the normal F5 and F6 positions are you ruling him an infielder or an outfielder?  Is he an outfielder by the number on the lineup card, or by where he is physically positioned TOP?

That.

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NFHS Baseball 2018

Rule 1 Players, Field and Equipment

SECTION 1 POSITIONS OF PLAYERS

ART. 3 . . . A player is designated on the line up card and in the scorebook by name, shirt number, batting order position and fielding position. A customary arrangement of the fielders is shown in Diagram 1.

Rule 2 Playing Terms and Definitions

SECTION 13 FIELDER

ART. 1 . . . A fielder is any one of the nine players of the defensive team.

ART. 2 . . . The players who play left field, right field and center field are out-fielders.

ART. 3 . . . The others are infielders.

ART. 4 . . . The pitcher and catcher are the battery.

ART. 5 . . . In the play rulings, a fielder is referred to as F1, F2, etc. Refer to Diagram 1.

————————————————————————————-

My reading comprehension leads me to read that as: (In NFHS) Your infielders are designated by the position you assign them in the line up, not where they stand on the field.

 

In NFHS Softball, for the purpose of the infield fly rule, an infielder is defined as any defensive player on the infield (circa 2016, I need to grab my 2018 book to see if that has changed).

Edited by The Man in Blue
Edited for clarity

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4 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

NFHS 2018

Rule 1 Players, Field and Equipment

SECTION 1 POSITIONS OF PLAYERS

ART. 3 . . . A player is designated on the line up card and in the scorebook by name, shirt number, batting order position and fielding position. A customary arrangement of the fielders is shown in Diagram 1.

Rule 2 Playing Terms and Definitions

SECTION 13 FIELDER

ART. 1 . . . A fielder is any one of the nine players of the defensive team.

ART. 2 . . . The players who play left field, right field and center field are out-fielders.

ART. 3 . . . The others are infielders.

ART. 4 . . . The pitcher and catcher are the battery.

ART. 5 . . . In the play rulings, a fielder is referred to as F1, F2, etc. Refer to Diagram 1.

 

(In NFHS) Your infielders are designated by the position you assign them in the line up, not where they stand on the field.

I thought everything but order and name were courtesy?

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4 minutes ago, Biscuit said:

I thought everything but order and name were courtesy?

No.  But for the sake of erroneous information (i.e., wrong uniform number) on the line up card, name and order are the relevant information.

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16 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

NFHS Baseball 2018

Rule 1 Players, Field and Equipment

SECTION 1 POSITIONS OF PLAYERS

ART. 3 . . . A player is designated on the line up card and in the scorebook by name, shirt number, batting order position and fielding position. A customary arrangement of the fielders is shown in Diagram 1.

Rule 2 Playing Terms and Definitions

SECTION 13 FIELDER

ART. 1 . . . A fielder is any one of the nine players of the defensive team.

ART. 2 . . . The players who play left field, right field and center field are out-fielders.

ART. 3 . . . The others are infielders.

ART. 4 . . . The pitcher and catcher are the battery.

ART. 5 . . . In the play rulings, a fielder is referred to as F1, F2, etc. Refer to Diagram 1.

 

(In NFHS) Your infielders are designated by the position you assign them in the line up, not where they stand on the field.

 

In NFHS Softball, for the purpose of the infield fly rule, an infielder is defined as any defensive player on the infield (circa 2016, I need to grab my 2018 book to see if that has changed).

That interpretation leads to some absurd outcomes.  If a manager designates the people who play within the infield as outfielders (and consider this designation authoritative), then they would be free to let pop flies in the infield drop to get a double-play.  Base awards also become weird. Why not accept, "The players who play left field, right field and center field are out-fielders," as a literal common sense definition and rule accordingly?

 

 

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I’m not sure I made an interpretation ... I posted the rule since we had multiple posts of umpires expressing their opinions without any citations.  Although, I did forget the definition for Infield Fly, so ...

Rule 2 Playing Terms and Definitions

SECTION 19 INFIELD FLY An infield fly is a fair fly (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, (rule does not preclude outfielders from being allowed to attempt to make the catch) and provided the hit is made before two are out and at a time when first and second bases or all bases are occupied. When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an infield fly, the umpire immediately announces it for the benefit of the runners. If the ball is near a baseline, the umpire shall declare, “Infield fly, if fair.” (See 8-4-1j for batter being out and right of base runner to advance after retouching his base.)

 

If you don’t like the written words, you should contact your NFHS representative.

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19 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

I’m not sure I made an interpretation ... I posted the rule since we had multiple posts of umpires expressing their opinions without any citations.  Although, I did forget the definition for Infield Fly, so ...

Rule 2 Playing Terms and Definitions

SECTION 19 INFIELD FLY An infield fly is a fair fly (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, (rule does not preclude outfielders from being allowed to attempt to make the catch) and provided the hit is made before two are out and at a time when first and second bases or all bases are occupied. When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an infield fly, the umpire immediately announces it for the benefit of the runners. If the ball is near a baseline, the umpire shall declare, “Infield fly, if fair.” (See 8-4-1j for batter being out and right of base runner to advance after retouching his base.)

 

If you don’t like the written words, you should contact your NFHS representative.

I don't call NFHS.  I do have a 2016 rulebook, and this language does not appear in 2-13-5:
(In NFHS) Your infielders are designated by the position you assign them in the line up, not where they stand on the field.

I took that as your interpretation.  Does it appear in newer rule books or some other place?

  

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

FED:  Official Interpretation:  Hopkins:  A player throws a ball to 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.

2009 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 19: Having scouted the opposing team, the defensive coach brings the left fielder in to assume an infield position between the second baseman and the first baseman. The batter hits a ground ball to the "additional" infielder who throws the ball into the dugout on the first play. RULING: Two bases will be awarded to runners on base from the time of the pitch. The left fielder is considered at the time of the play to be an infielder. (8-3-5, 2-13-3) 

SITUATION 20: Having scouted the player coming to bat, the defensive coach moves the second baseman to the outfield, thereby having four fielders equally spaced in the outfield. The second baseman, now playing in the outfield, takes a batted ball on the bounce and throws it into a dead-ball area. RULING: Two bases will be awarded to the runners from the time of the throw. The second baseman is considered at the time of this play to be an outfielder. (8-3-5, 2-13-3)

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And here is what I consider to be the best definition of the terms infielder and outfielder-- from the Jaksa/Roder manual (2017 edition, pp. 35-36):

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. Normally, there are three outfielders; left fielder, center fielder and right fielder. 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.

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5 hours ago, basejester said:

I don't call NFHS.  I do have a 2016 rulebook, and this language does not appear in 2-13-5:
(In NFHS) Your infielders are designated by the position you assign them in the line up, not where they stand on the field.

I took that as your interpretation.  Does it appear in newer rule books or some other place?

  

Copied and pasted directly from the e-book version of the 2018 NFHS Baseball Rules Book.  EDIT: I just realized which part you are referring to — I thought you meant all of 2-13-5.  That part you mentioned was mine, so yes, I supposed what I intended as a summary would be my interpretation of the written words in the rule book.  I will edit the original post and make that clear.

Typical disclaimer that was not given by me: As with any rule or definition, this will vary by code.  Check your specific rule set.

My opinion: Dear Sanctioning Bodies — quit issuing rule “interpretations” that directly conflict your written rules.  If you want the rule to say something else, change the rule.  Please, thank you.

For what it is worth: I don’t disagree with you BaseJester that there is definitely room for some shenanigans, but I didn’t write it.

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Mr. Biscuit, of course, you are right when you say that everything but name and order are courtesy. In fact, it actually says that in the NCAA rule and in the OBR interpretation--

2019-2020 NCAA rule 4-4a. Receive from the home team and visiting team their respective batting orders, in duplicate. The umpire will determine that the copies are identical, keep one copy and give the other copy to the opposing team’s representative. The umpire now is officially in charge of the game, and the lineups are official;

Note: If a team’s lineup does not include all nine players (and the pitcher if a designated hitter is used), the umpire should call this to the attention of the coach. If a player’s jersey number does not match the number on the official lineup, the umpire shall ensure that the number on all cards is corrected. Lineup cards are required to list the batting order by names. Numbers are a courtesy. There is no penalty.

OBR Official Interpretation:  Wendelstedt:  The matching of uniform numbers to the names is a courtesy. The name of the player is what governs.

And, even though it does not use those exact words, it can be construed in FED case plays as in the following. Also see 2019 case play 1.1.3 SITUATION where it concludes with “Listing of both numbers and positions provides easier recordkeeping for scorekeepers and umpires.”

2006 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations SITUATION 8: The first batter of the game gets a single and ends up on first base. The next batter, B2, comes to bat and is wearing a different jersey number than the number listed on the lineup card. Following B2’s single, and before the next pitch, the opposing team’s coach appeals batting-out-of-order. RULING: While B2 is in technical violation of the rule that requires a player’s name, shirt number and position to be on the lineup card, there is no penalty, since the batting-out-of-order rule requires that the name be in the proper order. The umpire should revise his lineup card accordingly and deny the batting-out-of-order appeal. (1-1-2, 7-1-1)

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Again, words matter.  I would say, no, it isn’t a courtesy in FED as the rules state what you should have included on your lineup card.  But as there is no actual penalty, I suppose you could interpret it that way.

Maybe it is just highly frowned upon.  

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5 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

Again, words matter.  I would say, no, it isn’t a courtesy in FED as the rules state what you should have included on your lineup card.  But as there is no actual penalty, I suppose you could interpret it that way.

Maybe it is just highly frowned upon.  

The sooner you, and some others here recently, recognize that the rules don't always say exactly what they mean or mean exactly what they say, the sooner you will advance in your umpiring career.

 

(And, this isn't meant as a criticism -- all of us have played the game at some point or another.)

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Sorry this is so long.  Feel free to skip it since it doesn’t add much to the conversation ... just a “new” guy trying to explain his point of view/ranting.

Noumpere, I understand what you are saying ... but that is possibly the stupidest thing I have ever heard.  I’m not saying it’s not true.  I hope you don’t take that as anything intended to be personal, because it certainly is not meant that way.  (Again, I apologize if I offend anybody — I can sometimes be rather blunt to get to a point).  Why would we even bother to read the rule book then?

We had this discussion at a college showcase I worked this weekend.  Umpires from various geographic areas came in to work and the discussion came up (from one of my games) about the myth that the hands are part of the bat.  My partner and I had the call right on the field, but the ensuing discussion in the “locker room” resulted in five different umpires (all from the same area downstate) adamantly insisting the batter’s hands are indeed considered part of the bat.

As I pulled my book out, we asked them why they thought that.  All of them said the UICs in their area have always told them that.  When we read the very clearly written rule to them, they still tried to claim it was wrong.  They finally relented and asked us “Why would our UICs tell us that?”

Which brings me to my (probably incorrect) point ... many of these things that have come up lately seem to come about like the scenario I mentioned above.  Our answer was “It’s probably because your UICs have been umpiring for decades, but haven’t actually read the rulebook in recent years.”  Many of the things being bantered about here seem like that.  “I’ve umpired for XX years” or “I paid to go to an umpiring school”.  Very little seems to come from an actual reading of the rule book with a citation posted.  I am not trying to discount anybody’s experience ... just to say that umpires can start to lose touch with the rule book if they aren’t reading and comprehending the words written down in it.

Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate and enjoy the interpretations that get posted, but they seem to be presented as gospel without much explanation or clarification (meaning: this interpretation comes from OBR, when we are talking about FED where the actual rule book says otherwise).  More than once the response has seemed like “don’t actually work through the scenario by what the rules say, do this other thing that somebody else decided he would do instead.”

I’m sorry if I tick anybody off, that’s not my intent.  I’ve always been a person who likes to dig into the minutiae, solve puzzles/mysteries, and debate the intricacies of a situation.  It’s what I love about umpiring.  But being flat out told “Well, yes the rule says that very clearly, but you should read it differently because this guy wrote a text book about some other rule set” does not make any sense to me.

If that’s the case, maybe this forum isn’t for me or some of the other new guys who have reached out on some of these same issues.  I came hoping for intellectual debate and education, not perpetual “just do it this way to make it easy.”

The rule books aren’t perfect, I get that.

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1 hour ago, The Man in Blue said:

Sorry this is so long.  Feel free to skip it since it doesn’t add much to the conversation ... just a “new” guy trying to explain his point of view/ranting.

Noumpere, I understand what you are saying ... but that is possibly the stupidest thing I have ever heard.  I’m not saying it’s not true.  I hope you don’t take that as anything intended to be personal, because it certainly is not meant that way.  (Again, I apologize if I offend anybody — I can sometimes be rather blunt to get to a point).  Why would we even bother to read the rule book then?

We had this discussion at a college showcase I worked this weekend.  Umpires from various geographic areas came in to work and the discussion came up (from one of my games) about the myth that the hands are part of the bat.  My partner and I had the call right on the field, but the ensuing discussion in the “locker room” resulted in five different umpires (all from the same area downstate) adamantly insisting the batter’s hands are indeed considered part of the bat.

As I pulled my book out, we asked them why they thought that.  All of them said the UICs in their area have always told them that.  When we read the very clearly written rule to them, they still tried to claim it was wrong.  They finally relented and asked us “Why would our UICs tell us that?”

Which brings me to my (probably incorrect) point ... many of these things that have come up lately seem to come about like the scenario I mentioned above.  Our answer was “It’s probably because your UICs have been umpiring for decades, but haven’t actually read the rulebook in recent years.”  Many of the things being bantered about here seem like that.  “I’ve umpired for XX years” or “I paid to go to an umpiring school”.  Very little seems to come from an actual reading of the rule book with a citation posted.  I am not trying to discount anybody’s experience ... just to say that umpires can start to lose touch with the rule book if they aren’t reading and comprehending the words written down in it.

Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate and enjoy the interpretations that get posted, but they seem to be presented as gospel without much explanation or clarification (meaning: this interpretation comes from OBR, when we are talking about FED where the actual rule book says otherwise).  More than once the response has seemed like “don’t actually work through the scenario by what the rules say, do this other thing that somebody else decided he would do instead.”

I’m sorry if I tick anybody off, that’s not my intent.  I’ve always been a person who likes to dig into the minutiae, solve puzzles/mysteries, and debate the intricacies of a situation.  It’s what I love about umpiring.  But being flat out told “Well, yes the rule says that very clearly, but you should read it differently because this guy wrote a text book about some other rule set” does not make any sense to me.

If that’s the case, maybe this forum isn’t for me or some of the other new guys who have reached out on some of these same issues.  I came hoping for intellectual debate and education, not perpetual “just do it this way to make it easy.”

The rule books aren’t perfect, I get that.

The problem is, sometimes if you interpret the rule book as written, 100% literal, it is either clearly not what was intended, or in contradiction with some other rule. In this case, clearly they don't want it based off of the number written next to the name. If you have any suspicion that the way it reads is intended to be enforced that way, then by all means, read it literal, that is safer, but in cases where the rule book is clearly wrong... It doesn't make sense to read it literal.

While I agree that cross reading interpretations of rules in other rule sets can be dangerous, especially when FED is the set being cross read to, it can help determine intent of the rule, which effects how you read the rule. Take it with a grain of salt, but certainly consider it.

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8 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

If that’s the case, maybe this forum isn’t for me or some of the other new guys who have reached out on some of these same issues.  I came hoping for intellectual debate and education, not perpetual “just do it this way to make it easy.”

The rule books aren’t perfect, I get that.

No one is saying "do it to make it easy."  And you are right that the books aren't perfect -- Evans identified some 234 errors in OBR (some of those might have been corrected).

 

Since we're on the topic of infield fly -- here's a "literal" interp, based on the OBR rules:

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.

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

The infield shall be a 90-foot square.

So, if the bases are loaded and F3, F4, F5, F6 are playing at normal depth, the only players who can be considered to catch the ball with ordinary effort are F1 and F2 (and the latter only because he is specifically mentioned in the rule.  In fact, since they specifically mentioned F2, it only makes sense that they would have included F3-F6 if they wanted to include them.)

 

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