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Batted ball hits runner on base / IFF / etc.


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A situation I had this weekend in a 12U game. NFHS rules.  Two man, I'm on the bases.

First, what we had: I was in C but on the dirt behind a drawn-in infield, one out, bases loaded. Batter hits a lazy, not-very-high fly down the third base line. F5 is having trouble getting to it because its headed for and then touches R3 while he is on the base.  My partner, PU, has come out but does not make a call. Instead, he calls time and immediately comes out to me.  He admits he froze and apologizes.  Then he says "I think I've got interference. He isn't protected on the base if the batted ball touches him right?"  I agree and we call R3 out, award BR 1st and the remaining runners advance.

The third base coach, also the offensive HC, says " But that was an infield fly.  That's why my guys weren't moving." I tell him it would only be an infield fly if one of us had called it. "How could that not be an infield fly?" I tell him, IMO, it was both too low and because I observed F5 moving and kind of confused by what to do with the ball coming down at the bag, I didn't have "ordinary effort".

The game was soon over and my partner and I were, of course, post gaming this one.  My partner says he kicked the IFF but I tell him I didn't have it and why.  Then he asks what if was an IFF? Well, the BR is out and no force any longer, does that now mean two outs? We weren't sure.  Came home to find the IFF exception to runner being hit by a batter ball while on his base. Good - hopefully I don't forget that one very soon.

Then I ask "Did it touch R3 over fair or foul territory?"  He says fair.  But what if it was foul?  Dead ball. Still interference?  R3 was still preventing F5 from making a play but the rule says "fair batted ball."  So I guess not, right?

Now what if F5 caught the ball either before or after it touched R3? If before, BR is out and no harm / no foul I'm sure.  If it touched R3 first, that is still interference and an immediate dead ball so nothing different there right?

Amazing all the nuances on a play like this.

 

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  • agdz59 changed the title to Batted ball hits runner on base / IFF / etc.
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There's a judgment call involved in IFF, namely whether an infielder could field the ball with ordinary effort. An umpire omitting to call "Infield fly if fair, the batter's out" does not entail that

You asked a lot of fair questions but I think you’re over analyzing it. If you do not deem the flare high enough to warrant IFF, then runner is not protected and your application was correct.  Ho

Incorrect by rule: the situation, not the umpire, makes this an infield fly. A batted ball in the air is either a line drive or a fly ball. The IFF rule protects the offense: a liner is exclude

You asked a lot of fair questions but I think you’re over analyzing it.

If you do not deem the flare high enough to warrant IFF, then runner is not protected and your application was correct.  However, I’d caution you to consider the purpose of IFF.  It isn’t to gift the defense a free out, it’s to protect the offense from a cheap double play since the runners have to stay put.  A ball right on the bag with runners staying is a recipe for a TRIPLE play if the fielders can throw and catch decently, so I would err on the side of IFF on that ball 98% of the time (not on bunts and obviously not on line drive)

Now, what if it is IFF?  Then as you looked up, batter is out, runner is not out for being hit.  Since the runner is protected on the base in an IFF situation, he can not intentionally interfere, but otherwise is absconded from INT bc the batter is going to be out anyways.

If the ball is over foul ground, IFF does not apply (hence why we say “infield fly if fair”), so R3 can be guilty of interference if he interferes unintentionally.

That said, a ball that hits 1” foul, the runner can not be expected to know it won’t be fair and move, and could still be doubled up, so if he’s trying to stay on base but not int, I’m not getting him unless it’s intentional, or he does something dumb, like shift from one side of base to other trying to get out of way and hits/trips F5.

Hope this helps

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1 hour ago, agdz59 said:

I tell him it would only be an infield fly if one of us had called it.

Incorrect by rule: the situation, not the umpire, makes this an infield fly.

1 hour ago, agdz59 said:

I tell him, IMO, it was both too low and because I observed F5 moving and kind of confused by what to do with the ball coming down at the bag, I didn't have "ordinary effort".

A batted ball in the air is either a line drive or a fly ball. The IFF rule protects the offense: a liner is excluded because the runners should still be close enough to their bases that they won't be doubled off and so don't need protection. Your play sounds like an IFF to me.

1 hour ago, agdz59 said:

Then he says "I think I've got interference. He isn't protected on the base if the batted ball touches him right?"

R3 standing on 3B IS protected from INT with the ball in IFF, but he can't hinder the fielder (say, by intentionally pushing him). There's a case play on this (at 2B, but the ruling is the same).

1 hour ago, agdz59 said:

Then I ask "Did it touch R3 over fair or foul territory?"  He says fair.  But what if it was foul?  Dead ball. Still interference?  R3 was still preventing F5 from making a play but the rule says "fair batted ball."  So I guess not, right?

You're right ask this question. But you're running together INT with the ball and INT with the fielder. INT with the ball (runner hit by batted ball) is limited to fair balls. INT with a fielder can occur on a foul ball as well, but again, R3 standing on the base won't be guilty of it unless he does something intentional to hinder F5.

And the standard of INT with a fielder is not "preventing" a play but hindering one. Runners "prevent" plays all the time, for instance by beating the throw.

29 minutes ago, SH0102 said:

absconded

That doesn't mean what you think it does. :) 

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5 minutes ago, maven said:

Incorrect by rule: the situation, not the umpire, makes this an infield fly.

A batted ball in the air is either a line drive or a fly ball. The IFF rule protects the offense: a liner is excluded because the runners should still be close enough to their bases that they won't be doubled off and so don't need protection. Your play sounds like an IFF to me.

Two things I've got questions about:

 1. I don't understand your first statement maven. IFF is a judgement call - if nobody calls it, it is not in effect.  How can it be?

2. I'm going to quote something from UmpireBible  : "A bunt or attempted bunt can never be an infield fly, no matter how high it pops up. A blooper to the infield is also not an infield fly. "  That's what I deemed it - a blooper. Yes, it made it to third base 60 feet away but it never rose high enough that I could look at it, look at the fielder and then look again before it reached its apex.  To me, that's not IFF.  What do you think?

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Attempting to summarize the potential outcomes:

IFF + ball fair: BR out, base still loaded

No IFF + ball fair: R3 out; BR --> 1st; R2 --> 3rd, R1 --> 2nd

Ball foul: R3, R2 & R1 remain; foul to BR count as appropriate

Yeah?

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5 minutes ago, agdz59 said:

Two things I've got questions about:

 1. I don't understand your first statement maven. IFF is a judgement call - if nobody calls it, it is not in effect.  How can it be?

2. I'm going to quote something from UmpireBible  : "A bunt or attempted bunt can never be an infield fly, no matter how high it pops up. A blooper to the infield is also not an infield fly. "  That's what I deemed it - a blooper. Yes, it made it to third base 60 feet away but it never rose high enough that I could look at it, look at the fielder and then look again before it reached its apex.  To me, that's not IFF.  What do you think?

1. The onus is on the players to know the situation exists.  Just because we don't call it doesn't eliminate the IFF RULE.  

2.  If the fielder can get UNDER the ball, it's usually an IFF.  Error on the IFF side.  A blooper to me is not ordinary effort.  It's a ball that is neither a line drive or a fly ball.

 

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31 minutes ago, agdz59 said:

Two things I've got questions about:

 1. I don't understand your first statement maven. IFF is a judgement call - if nobody calls it, it is not in effect.  How can it be?

2. I'm going to quote something from UmpireBible  : "A bunt or attempted bunt can never be an infield fly, no matter how high it pops up. A blooper to the infield is also not an infield fly. "  That's what I deemed it - a blooper. Yes, it made it to third base 60 feet away but it never rose high enough that I could look at it, look at the fielder and then look again before it reached its apex.  To me, that's not IFF.  What do you think?

  1. There's a judgment call involved in IFF, namely whether an infielder could field the ball with ordinary effort. An umpire omitting to call "Infield fly if fair, the batter's out" does not entail that it's not an infield fly: the situation, not the call, makes it an IFF. Perhaps it's just the way you phrased it to the coach: you focused on not making a call, but you did in fact make a call, namely, that it wasn't an IFF.
  2. There's absolutely no rules basis for ruling a "blooper" not an IFF. The rule excludes bunts and line drives only. Your play was not a line drive. On anything else, err on the side of protecting the offense and call the IFF. What's the downside? The defense gets their out even if the fielder boots the catch, and the offense gets their runners protected. Everybody wins.

I'll also point out that, even if you called your play incorrectly, the result was the same. You started with bases loaded and one out. If you had ruled IFF, the result would have been bases loaded with 2 outs. If you ruled no IFF, INT on R3, you'd remove R3 from base, award the BR 1B, and end up with bases loaded and 2 outs. So it could have been worse. But it's still better to get it right!

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39 minutes ago, Velho said:

Attempting to summarize the potential outcomes:

IFF + ball fair: BR out, base still loaded

No IFF + ball fair: R3 out; BR --> 1st; R2 --> 3rd, R1 --> 2nd

Ball foul: R3, R2 & R1 remain; foul to BR count as appropriate

Yeah?

You can still have INT with a fielder on a foul ball. If that's what he ruled in the OP, he should still rule that even if the ball hit the batter in foul ground.

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24 minutes ago, Tborze said:

A blooper to me is not ordinary effort.  It's a ball that is neither a line drive or a fly ball.

There's no such thing as a batted ball in the air (non-grounder) that's neither a line drive or a fly ball. Those 2 categories are exclusive and exhaustive: every ball hit in the air is either a line drive or a fly ball. Yes, this is a judgment call.

'Blooper', 'pop-up', 'Texas-leaguer', etc. are not rule-book terms and play no proper role in the interpretation or application of the rules.

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1 minute ago, maven said:

There's no such thing as a batted ball in the air (non-grounder) that's neither a line drive or a fly ball. Those 2 categories are exclusive and exhaustive: every ball hit in the air is either a line drive or a fly ball. Yes, this is a judgment call.

'Blooper', 'pop-up', 'Texas-leaguer', etc. are not rule-book terms and play no proper role in the interpretation or application of the rules.

I said, "to me".  SYJHTU 

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44 minutes ago, Matt said:

Are we all ignoring the elephant in the room about FED's definition of when a ball passes an infielder?

Matt, I don't think that applies: it's a restriction on INT with the ball, not INT with a fielder, which is what was called.

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2 hours ago, Velho said:

Attempting to summarize the potential outcomes:

IFF + ball fair: BR out, base still loaded

No IFF + ball fair: R3 out; BR --> 1st; R2 --> 3rd, R1 --> 2nd

Ball foul: R3, R2 & R1 remain; foul to BR count as appropriate

Yeah?

And I think one more: If foul and R3 intentionally interfered with F5, R3 out.  Correct?

 

EDIT: What maven said.  :-)

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17 minutes ago, maven said:

Matt, I don't think that applies: it's a restriction on INT with the ball, not INT with a fielder, which is what was called.

The whole time I was adding an "it" to a sentence so I thought it was the ball.

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1 hour ago, agdz59 said:
3 hours ago, Velho said:

Attempting to summarize the potential outcomes:

IFF + ball fair: BR out, base still loaded

No IFF + ball fair: R3 out; BR --> 1st; R2 --> 3rd, R1 --> 2nd

Ball foul: R3, R2 & R1 remain; foul to BR count as appropriate

Yeah?

And I think one more: If foul and R3 intentionally interfered with F5, R3 out.  Correct?

Crud. Meant to type "Ball foul: R3 out; R2 & R1 remain TOP; foul to BR count as appropriate"

Does R3 INT have to be intentional?

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