Rule Interpretations A spot to help clarify questionable calls, and rule interpretations





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Old 07-12-2017, 07:40 AM   #1
vleemingj
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Infield Fly Rule

So to ensure all know where I am coming from I am an umpire and I have played ball for 20 plus years (ya I am old)! Last night not once but twice a infield fly was called for a ball that the shortstop had to make fairly deep in the outfield, one the guy made a basket catch and the other when I caught the ball I was 100 feet ish behind third! I understand the rule and I get that you could drop the ball and try for a double play, so there is some merit for calling it, but why is this the first time in 20 plus years of ball that I have seen it called that way?
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Old 07-12-2017, 08:30 AM   #2
brandonmorrison44
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Maybe the UMP'a first reaction when he sees the ball popped up is to call infield fly? Or maybe he is just terrible
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Old 07-12-2017, 08:54 AM   #3
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I was umping during a tourny this past weekend and we were playing on a field that they use for hardball. Well there is a pop fly near the edge of the dirt infield about 140 feet away. Team is complaining I didn't call infield fly and I told them where exactly does the infield start?
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Old 07-12-2017, 08:56 AM   #4
Batattic21
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I thought the rule was something like "if an infielder can reach the ball with reasonable effort" meaning the ball could be in the outfield and yet still be an infield fly.
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Old 07-12-2017, 09:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Batattic21 View Post
I thought the rule was something like "if an infielder can reach the ball with reasonable effort" meaning the ball could be in the outfield and yet still be an infield fly.
This is correct.
If someone hit a skyyyyyyyyyyy high pop up/fly ball that drifted 80' away from the SS's position into shallow left it could still be called an infield fly.
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Old 07-12-2017, 09:22 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dtych View Post
I was umping during a tourny this past weekend and we were playing on a field that they use for hardball. Well there is a pop fly near the edge of the dirt infield about 140 feet away. Team is complaining I didn't call infield fly and I told them where exactly does the infield start?
Based on NSA rules it has nothing to do with where the infield starts or stops (some infields are massive... hardball diamonds etc).. if it's within a 65-foot radius from the pitcher's rubber it's an infield fly regardless if it's in the outfield or not. So if the diamond is set up correctly, the mound (rubber) should be 53 feet from home plate and then add 65 feet to that and anything within that radius is an infield fly. 118-foot radius to work with from home plate is an easier way to think about it.. don't use the turf line which a lot of umps do!
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Old 07-12-2017, 09:30 AM   #7
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for the record, I don't think the ump is terrible and by his response I think he is taking the rule too literally IMO. I ump and I get the call but I would never call that, understanding that is for example the SS looks to intentionally drop the ball and try for a double play. I call time and call the batter out and place the runner back as if its a infield fly. But I don't think either of the catches last night were easy enough to warrant the intentionally dropped.
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Old 07-12-2017, 09:39 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by vleemingj View Post
for example the SS looks to intentionally drop the ball and try for a double play. I call time and call the batter out and place the runner back as if its a infield fly.
I would be pissed if you did this in a game. IFF needs to be called when the ball is at it's peak height, which gives everyone enough time react appropriately. If you change the call based on the result of the play, you're injecting yourself into the game unnecessarily. At the peak, the umpire makes his judgement and calls IFF or doesn't.
Ultimately, it's a judgement play, so if the umpire is taking anything "literal" about the rule, then he is not applying it properly (unless JP21 is right about the funny NSA rule, but he's usually wrong )
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Old 07-12-2017, 10:01 AM   #9
Roy Hobbs
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Originally Posted by JP21 View Post
Based on NSA rules it has nothing to do with where the infield starts or stops (some infields are massive... hardball diamonds etc).. if it's within a 65-foot radius from the pitcher's rubber it's an infield fly regardless if it's in the outfield or not. So if the diamond is set up correctly, the mound (rubber) should be 53 feet from home plate and then add 65 feet to that and anything within that radius is an infield fly. 118-foot radius to work with from home plate is an easier way to think about it.. don't use the turf line which a lot of umps do!
where do you come up with this?

from the NSA Rulebook...
Sec. 26 RULE 1
INFIELD FLY: An infield fly is a fair ball, not including a line drive, which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort when first and second or first, second, and third bases are occupied, before two (2) are out. Any fielder can catch an infield fly.
NOTE: When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an infield fly, the umpire shall immediately declare "INFIELD FLY - BATTER IS OUT" to aid the runners. If the ball is near the foul lines, the umpire shall declare "INFIELD FLY - BATTER IS OUT, IF FAIR". The ball is alive and runners may advance at the
risk of the ball being caught or retouch and advance after a fielder touches the ball. If the hit ball becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any other foul ball.
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Old 07-12-2017, 10:15 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Roy Hobbs View Post
where do you come up with this?


INFIELD FLY: An infield fly is a fair ball, not including a line drive, which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort when first and second or first, second, and third bases are occupied, before two (2) are out. Any fielder can catch an infield fly.
This is the key part that people always miss. Ordinary effort. As such, an IFF call is likely quite different in "A" vs "E". Where the fielder catches the ball is 100% irrelevant. Just that he CAN catch it with "ordinary effort".
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Old 07-12-2017, 10:15 AM   #11
vleemingj
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Originally Posted by kvander View Post
I would be pissed if you did this in a game. IFF needs to be called when the ball is at it's peak height, which gives everyone enough time react appropriately. If you change the call based on the result of the play, you're injecting yourself into the game unnecessarily. At the peak, the umpire makes his judgement and calls IFF or doesn't.
Ultimately, it's a judgement play, so if the umpire is taking anything "literal" about the rule, then he is not applying it properly (unless JP21 is right about the funny NSA rule, but he's usually wrong )
I am only saying that is an option if the fielder intentionally drops the ball to get a double play! The umpire is allowed to stop play if someone intentionally does anything unsportsman like during the game, and rectify the call
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Old 07-12-2017, 10:42 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by vleemingj View Post
I am only saying that is an option if the fielder intentionally drops the ball to get a double play! The umpire is allowed to stop play if someone intentionally does anything unsportsman like during the game, and rectify the call
I don't know. If it was something that was borderline IFF, the runners should be able to avoid a double play anyway. Maybe the fielder would rather get the lead runner out, which is head's up gamesmanship in my mind, not unsportsman-like. They are also risking getting noone out, if the ball takes a funny bounce, the throw is off, etc.

I think you need to let it play out.
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