It stands to reason that a rule that was introduced in 1895 should be 100% understood by the general public by now. But, so goes life as the Infield Fly Rule.
Now, the rule (rule 2.00 in MLB) has affected World Series and Wild Card games in Major League Baseball and has been implemented in nearly all competitive softball leagues. Given the lack of clarity, JustBats clarifies our customer questions about the Infield Fly Rule:
What is the Infield Fly Rule?
An infield fly is a fair ball that, in the umpire's judgment, can be caught by an infielder, pitcher, or catcher with ordinary effort. This does not include a line drive or bunt. The Infield Fly Rule applies when there are fewer than two outs, and there is force play at third base (so, when there are runners at first and second base or the bases all have runners).
What does it mean for players?
In these situations, if the umpire calls "infield fly" then the batter is out, regardless of whether the ball is subsequently caught or dropped. If "infield fly" is called and the ball lands fair without being caught, then the batter is still out, there is no force, but the runners are not required to tag up.
Why does the Infield Fly Rule exist?
More than a century ago, infielders were intentionally dropping pop-ups in order to record multiple outs by forcing out the runners on base. So, the rule prevents double or triple plays on easy infield pop-ups.
The reason the rule only applies with at least first and second base occupied is that if there are not multiple runners on base a missed pop-up can only result in one force out.
With hope, this clears up any confusion on the Infield Fly Rule. We can't help eliminate the pesky rule, but we can help if you have any questions on baseball bats or softball bats. If you do, please call us at (866) 321-2287. In the meantime, what do you think of the Infield Fly Rule?