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Ruling on this play

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Guest Andy

R1 and R2, zero outs. BR hits a towering, lazy fly ball. It is so high that F6 fades all the way back to the warning track and settles under the ball, waiting for it to come down. F6 drops the ball and throws it to third base where F5 tags R2 while he is standing on the bag. F5 then throws the ball to F4 who tags R1 who is standing a foot away from second base. What is the ruling?

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12 hours ago, aaluck said:

Let's not forget the infield fly must be in proximity of the infield. Its not an infield/outfield fly rule. Effort is only part of the rule. 

Says who?

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4 hours ago, Matt said:

Says who?

Matt, while of course your "says who" brings up a great point, and of course it's true, but going back to the ridiculous OP scenario ...that would NOT be IFR :) 

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59 minutes ago, Thunderheads said:

Matt, while of course your "says who" brings up a great point, and of course it's true, but going back to the ridiculous OP scenario ...that would NOT be IFR :) 

Matt is perfectly competent to speak for himself, but I read him as challenging the statement that "the infield fly must be in proximity of the infield." That's false, and not any part of the rule (unless true by definition, as it would be if 'proximity' meant 'near enough to be an IFF'—but then it can't substantially support the poster's point).

As for the OP, I've already posted. On a normal field with HS varsity batters or below using legal equipment, keeping the laws of physics constant, and under normal conditions (weather etc.), it's not possible for an infielder (as defined by rule) to settle under a fly ball at the warning track with ordinary effort.

But iff it happened, it would be IFF.

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2 minutes ago, maven said:

Matt is perfectly competent to speak for himself, but I read him as challenging the statement that "the infield fly must be in proximity of the infield." That's false, and not any part of the rule (unless true by definition, as it would be if 'proximity' meant 'near enough to be an IFF'—but then it can't substantially support the poster's point).

As for the OP, I've already posted. On a normal field with HS varsity batters or below using legal equipment, keeping the laws of physics constant, and under normal conditions (weather etc.), it's not possible for an infielder (as defined by rule) to settle under a fly ball at the warning track with ordinary effort.

But iff it happened, it would be IFF.

Well, ......it's nothing we'll ever have to worry about because it would never happen.  Thus, my comment "ridiculous OP scenario"

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It took me all of five seconds to find the following article titled Explaining the infield fly rule by Andrew Simon (listed as a research analyst for mlb.com) posted May 13, 2019, on the website mlb.com. Here's a relevant excerpt and the link (https://www.mlb.com/news/the-infield-fly-rule-a-history-and-explanation)

How it works

Some very specific conditions are required for the infield fly rule to go into effect.

1) There must be runners on first and second base, or the bases must be loaded (runners on first, second, and third).

2) There must be no outs or one out in the inning.

3) The batter must hit a fly ball or popup (not a line drive), over fair territory, and in the vicinity of the infield (emphasis added). It is not a requirement that the ball not reach the outfield grass. Rather, the umpire must use his judgment as to whether an infielder -- or the pitcher or catcher -- could make the catch using “ordinary effort.”

Mr. Matt, you obviously haven’t consulted with our resident expert on common sense. If the fly ball caught at the warning track is an infield fly ball, when that fielder makes a throw that goes out of play it would be a TOP award since it is a first play by an infielder. What if that amazingly fast shortstop intentionally lets the fly ball drop? Are you still going to rule it an infield fly on a ball that traveled 350 feet? The whole point of the infield fly rule is to protect the runners. How would that be protecting a runner on a batted ball that far away?

 

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2 hours ago, maven said:

That's false, and not any part of the rule (unless true by definition, as it would be if 'proximity' meant 'near enough to be an IFF'—but then it can't substantially support the poster's point).

It IS the rule, in fact, it is the very title of the rule--INFIELD fly rule. If that's not the case the rule would be called the "fly ball rule" and then apply to any fly ball hit that can be caught with ordinary effort--even those at the warning track.  

The whole point of the rule is proximity to the infield to protect the runners.  Runners do not need protection on balls hit to the warning track.

Apparently, the drafters of the rule were giving umpires too much credit (on reading comprehension) when they thought that including the word INFIELD in the title of the rule would be self explanatory.

I honestly cannot believe there is a debate on a ball fielded on the warning track being called an infield fly.

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On 6/3/2020 at 9:35 AM, Senor Azul said:

It took me all of five seconds to find the following article titled Explaining the infield fly rule by Andrew Simon (listed as a research analyst for mlb.com) posted May 13, 2019, on the website mlb.com. Here's a relevant excerpt and the link (https://www.mlb.com/news/the-infield-fly-rule-a-history-and-explanation)

How it works

Some very specific conditions are required for the infield fly rule to go into effect.

1) There must be runners on first and second base, or the bases must be loaded (runners on first, second, and third).

2) There must be no outs or one out in the inning.

3) The batter must hit a fly ball or popup (not a line drive), over fair territory, and in the vicinity of the infield (emphasis added). It is not a requirement that the ball not reach the outfield grass. Rather, the umpire must use his judgment as to whether an infielder -- or the pitcher or catcher -- could make the catch using “ordinary effort.”

Mr. Matt, you obviously haven’t consulted with our resident expert on common sense. If the fly ball caught at the warning track is an infield fly ball, when that fielder makes a throw that goes out of play it would be a TOP award since it is a first play by an infielder. What if that amazingly fast shortstop intentionally lets the fly ball drop? Are you still going to rule it an infield fly on a ball that traveled 350 feet? The whole point of the infield fly rule is to protect the runners. How would that be protecting a runner on a batted ball that far away?

 

A. MLB.com is not what I consider a credible source for interpretations (to wit, we have seen them conflate interference and obstruction) and have no authority. There is nothing in the rule or in any authoritative source that mentions proximity to the infield (when I get off of this emergency activation, I'll see if the most recent MLBUM says something.)

B. I understand the intent of the rule.

C. Umpires that are at the top of the food chain have said that this would be an infield fly.

It's not that I want this to be an infield fly; it's that I cannot see a reason not to given the evidence to the contrary that states it should be. 

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2 hours ago, Matt said:

A. MLB.com is not what I consider a credible source for interpretations (to wit, we have seen them conflate interference and obstruction) and have no authority. There is nothing in the rule or in any authoritative source that mentions proximity to the infield (when I get off of this emergency activation, I'll see if the most recent MLBUM says something.)

B. I understand the intent of the rule.

C. Umpires that are at the top of the food chain have said that this would be an infield fly.

It's not that I want this to be an infield fly; it's that I cannot see a reason not to given the evidence to the contrary that states it should be. 

Which umpires are those?

Spirit/intent of the rule aside - and @aaluck is absolutely right in this regard  :ranton: Too many amateur umpires fail to understand why the rule exists, and because of that, they fail to manage and judge the play correctly:rantoff: - my argument is simple....At no level played on Earth at this time, in our slice of the multiverse, would F6 camping under, and catching, a fly ball to the warning track be ordinary effort...it may look like ordinary effort to the untrained eye, but it would not be.   

 

 

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On 5/13/2020 at 5:54 AM, lawump said:

This Coronavirus, no-baseball, isolation is getting to a lot of you guys, huh?  :wacko:

Oh no no no, Law... apocalypse aside, you know there are fellow umpires that are this particular and this pedantic about such relatively minor things.

On a parallel topic – we’re back to baseball in Arizona (where we have 3 of the known virus killers, in buckets of surplus), and some of us had to call B&K’s behind the mound. Well, we’re now allowed to return to 2-man / 3-man positioning and rotations (like 7 days really mattered!), and when pressed with enough questions about particulars, our supervisor / assigner / Umpire Director said, “Stand wherever you want.”

Hot damn! I’m standing out in center field! Better yet, I’m going to stand in the potentially least effective position (as BU; I may be crazy and annoying, but I’m not idiotic) imaginable per play. Like, with R1, I’ll go to D.

Why? Heh... :meditation:

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4 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

Which umpires are those?

Spirit/intent of the rule aside - and @aaluck is absolutely right in this regard  :ranton: Too many amateur umpires fail to understand why the rule exists, and because of that, they fail to manage and judge the play correctly:rantoff: - my argument is simple....At no level played on Earth at this time, in our slice of the multiverse, would F6 camping under, and catching, a fly ball to the warning track be ordinary effort...it may look like ordinary effort to the untrained eye, but it would not be.   

 

 

MLB umpires. Granted, we were a few beers in...

I disagree with the rest of your argument. 

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MadMax, I've heard that the warning track is a good position, especially for judging infield flies. But I don't know what letter it would be--M, maybe?

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4 hours ago, LRZ said:

MadMax, I've heard that the warning track is a good position, especially for judging infield flies. But I don't know what letter it would be--M, maybe?

Ask Jim Evans--he felt (maybe still does) that the best place for outfield umpires wasn't on the lines, but on the warning track to judge boundary calls.

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18 hours ago, MadMax said:

Umpire Director said, “Stand wherever you want.”

The best place to see balls and strikes is from the dugout. Duh.

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I am smart enough NEVER to argue with Rich!  :-)

But IFF was called in the NL WC (videos have been gratefully posted.....), and I just about spit out my Ju-Ju-Bees onto the TV when I saw that call!

IMO that was a classic case of OOO.

I'm with you Rich!

Mike

Las Vegas

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2 hours ago, Vegas_Ump said:

I am smart enough NEVER to argue with Rich!  :-)

But IFF was called in the NL WC (videos have been gratefully posted.....), and I just about spit out my Ju-Ju-Bees onto the TV when I saw that call!

IMO that was a classic case of OOO.

I'm with you Rich!

Mike

Las Vegas

And yet, all the powers that mean anything have said it was the right call. Therefore, it was.

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Rulebook vs. some guy said so on his blog ... I’m going with the rulebook.

2019 OBR ... page 150 ...

Quote

(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.

Where the ball is is irrelevant.  If F6 setup in some bizarre deep shift where he was essentially a fourth outfielder, he would “expand the field” for a potential infield fly call.

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3 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

Rulebook vs. some guy said so on his blog ... I’m going with the rulebook.

2019 OBR ... page 150 ...

Where the ball is is irrelevant.  If F6 setup in some bizarre deep shift where he was essentially a fourth outfielder, he would “expand the field” for a potential infield fly call.

So in applying the same logic, F8 taking a position within the infield and being able to catch a fly ball with ordinary effort that no infielder (as their listed position indicates) could get to would not result in an infield fly call?

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12 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

Rulebook vs. some guy said so on his blog ... I’m going with the rulebook.

2019 OBR ... page 150 ...

Where the ball is is irrelevant.  If F6 setup in some bizarre deep shift where he was essentially a fourth outfielder, he would “expand the field” for a potential infield fly call.

I believe there have been a few different rulings on this - my understanding is an infielder's position is determined by where they play TOP, not by their lineup card designation - an F6 playing near the warning track becomes an outfielder.  F8 playing in would become an infielder.  Only the fielder sitting behind home plate can wear the catcher's mitt (decker).  We've seen it in MLB where F3 and F4 have had to swap gloves, regardless of what the lineup card says (ie. only the first baseman can wear a trapper, and it doesn't matter which guy has the #3 position on the lineup card)....there's a judgment call to who F3 really is.


And yes, there is some judgment to the point in the field where F6 becomes on outfielder, or when F8 becomes in infielder, and you could have five infielders, and you could have two or four outfielders - I would trust that most, maybe not all, umps could make that assessment accurately.

 

 

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Quote

 

2019 LL Rule Book

 

Definition of Infield Fly

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 stationed 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 baseline, the umpire shall declare “Infield Fly, if fair.” The ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of that 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.

NOTE 1: If a declared Infield Fly is allowed to fall untouched to the ground, and bounces foul and remains 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.

NOTE 2: The Infield Fly Rule does not apply in Tee Ball .

A.R. The infield dirt and the outfield grass do not form a boundary line for infield fly purposes.

IN FLIGHT describes a batted, thrown, or pitched ball which has not yet touched the ground or some object.

 

 

 So where in there does it say must be around or in the vicinity of the infield?   I think as a fact of matter it states "the infield dirt and outfield grass does not form a boundary line of infield fly purposes.

Now I get that the OP has given a flight of fancy post but going by what he posted to me if this is on a LL diamond its IFF

 

 

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2 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

I believe there have been a few different rulings on this - my understanding is an infielder's position is determined by where they play TOP,

 

 

Correct.  An Infielder is defined in the rules as someone who plays within the Infield.  The Infield is defined as the 90' square.  So, by rule, there should be very few Infield Flies.  ;)

(I'll leave the cutting and pasting of the rules / definitions to some one else -- primarily because I can seem to get ti to work right now on this computer.  Maybe it's a COVD virus.)

 

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7 hours ago, ArchAngel72 said:

Now I get that the OP has given a flight of fancy post but going by what he posted to me if this is on a LL diamond its IFF

So, given its flight of fancy, say the ball drifts another 10 feet over the fence... Now you get to explain to the kid and coach why he is OUT for hitting an out of the park home run, because of the INFIELD fly rule. Because after you have called it you can't just say my bad, didn't mean it.

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15 minutes ago, aaluck said:

So, given its flight of fancy, say the ball drifts another 10 feet over the fence... Now you get to explain to the kid and coach why he is OUT for hitting an out of the park home run, because of the INFIELD fly rule. Because after you have called it you can't just say my bad, didn't mean it.

Yes, you can. 

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16 minutes ago, Matt said:

Yes, you can. 

I suppose you can change your mind after the fact, "that can be caught with ordinary effort...oops, my bad, it can't", but, under this ridiculously fundamentalist interpretation of the rule, you could also stick with the original IFF ruling...because if said ball just drops barely on the other side of the short fence...or hits the glove and bounces over the fence...you could still invoke the "ordinary effort" judgment.   You'd be wrong on all levels, but it wouldn't stop you from doing it, because the letter of the rule would support you.

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1 hour ago, Matt said:

Yes, you can

First off, why would you if your confident it qualifies as an infield fly?  Do you often change your IFR calls based upon what happens after your call.. ball dropped/caught, runners out/safe advancing?

Your indecisiveness aside, you better change it here, otherwise you have an out and guys standing on 1st and 2nd as the ball is dead and they are not forced in.  Oh yeah, and the ball has left the park.

I guess it’s true that coaches aren’t the only folks on the field that don’t know how to manage a game.

All that aside I’m just happy we are not discussing COVID anymore...for now.

 

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12 minutes ago, aaluck said:

First off, why would you if your confident it qualifies as an infield fly?  Do you often change your IFR calls based upon what happens after your call.. ball dropped/caught, runners out/safe advancing?

Your indecisiveness aside, you better change it here, otherwise you have an out and guys standing on 1st and 2nd as the ball is dead and they are not forced in.  Oh yeah, and the ball has left the park.

I guess it’s true that coaches aren’t the only folks on the field that don’t know how to manage a game.

All that aside I’m just happy we are not discussing COVID anymore...for now.

 

An IFF that is nowhere near the lines, but somehow goes foul... you're changing your call on that. 

Also, by rule, all runners advance four bases on a ball hit out of fair territory in flight, so no, you won't have two guys stuck on base, and the BR is still entitled to his award. 

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