And now for something non-controversial. 384 comments

Seems like no matter what is posted these days, someone has an opinion on and someone else takes offense. So, now, for something totally non-controversial…


Explaining the infield fly rule:

A lot of people struggle with the infield fly rule. But it’s really quite simple if you know why it exists in the first place.

The rule was created to keep an infielder from intentionally dropping an easy pop up and getting a double play on a fly ball instead of getting just one out.

Knowing that, it’s easier to understand when it applies.

The infield fly rule applies only when there is a runner on first and second. Or on first, second and third.

And only when there are no outs, or one out.

Why does it not apply when there is just a runner at first?

What are base runners instinctively taught to do if they are on base and there is a pop up hit to the infield? Stay on their base.

So, in the situation where there is just a runner at first, if the infielder were to purposely drop the ball, that runner would then have to break late for second, and would be forced out by the throw to second. But the batter, who is running, would easily end up at first safely by the time the infielder let the ball drop, then picked it up, then threw to second. So the result would be a runner at first with one out made. Which is the exact same result as if the infielder caught the ball: a runner at first with one out made.

Either way the defense gets only one out on the play. There is no unfair advantage.

If there is a runner at second or third, there is no force play.  No force play means it makes no sense for the infielder to automatically drop the ball because doing so won’t compel the runner to run. He just stays where he is.

Where dropping a pop up on purpose becomes an advantage is with runners on first and second, or with bases loaded—prime double play situations. That’s because in those situations, again, the runners instinctively do not run on a pop up. So if an infielder lets it drop on purpose, he will most likely get a force out at two bases (including home) since the runners would have initially help up on their respective bases, and then would easily be forced out at the base they were advancing to. The infielder simply picks up the ball in front of him and whips it around the infield for an easy double play.

So, the infield fly makes the batter out automatically to prevent this trickery.

Why does the infield fly rule not apply when there are two outs?

Because if the infielder catches the ball, the inning is over. If he lets it drop and gets an easy force play at any base, the inning is over anyway. It doesn’t give the defense an unfair advantage with two out.

At first, the infield fly rule seems unfair to the batter and to the team on offense, but when you realize why it exists, that it’s there to protect the team on offense, you realize it is indeed fair. The offense hit into one out; it shouldn’t be deceived into surrendering more than one out.