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Discussion: Infield fly rule

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May 15
RG in Ky

3 posts
In the next game,following my league game last Monday night , I witness a horrendous call by the Ump involving the " Much Abused Infield Fly Rule ". Yes ," runners on 1st & 2nd , les than 2 outs ". Batter pops up about 5' fair , down the 1st base line . It was about 10'shy of the base . Well , the 1st baseman was back at the edge of the grass (he didn't move ) ( the pitcher is on the mound,he didn't move ,most of the time they don't) & (the catcher stands behind home plate). Umpire yells "Infield fly , batters out!".....This is not the 1st time that I have ever seen Umps use this rule incorrectly . I saw an Ump once call it on a "Texas Leaguer " out in shallow right field . Who else has seen similar situations ?
May 15
Men's 70
4355 posts
In response to the only question you asked, I suspect the answer is that everyone who has played softball for more than a couple of weeks has very likely seen a misinterpretation of the IFR ... It's generally regarded as the least understood rule in the book ...
May 15
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1438 posts
RG, yes, it is a routine pop up to an infielder with less than two outs, runners on at least 1B and 2B. It is umpire's judgement. I didn't see the play that you described so won't comment directly on it. Most of the time it is really straight forward, but there are those instances where umpire's judgement is not perfect. The arc is deeper than you thought it was on the hit ball; the infielder moves completely the wrong way; the player can't see the ball or has zero fielding ability; I even once had a game with a 40 MPH wind (yes, Dave, it was Midwest) that the ball would normally have been to the 2nd baseman and floated to RC instead. I have also been yelled at because I called it with a SS that had great range and lateral movement or to a five man infield that popped up behind 2B. 90% of the time they catch that ball. I was correct, but players don't always agree. Calls like infield fly, foul ball, and time are definitely calls that you cannot take back, right or wrong.

To add another wrinkle, a routine pop up may not be the same based on what kind of game it is. Recreational league vs competitive league, 40+ vs 65+ vs 85+, adult vs 12 and under are examples of potential ability levels. I had a nice discussion with a 70+ pitcher. It was an infield fly if fair that went foul. He said, yes, it was a fairly simple pop up, but at our age my catcher and I just can't get to it anymore. He was right; it was not routine for them.

So this is just an umpire's perspective. In your example the umpire could have been right or wrong as could you. Judgements differ.
May 16
RG in Ky

3 posts
Yes Nancy,I understand you . But , I want to go back (way back) to when I was in my 20's . Of course the rule was used then too . Mainly , I always thought , it was called if an infielder intentionally dropped a routine infield pop-up (runners on 1st & 2nd , less than 2 outs if catchable),thus TRICKING the base runners as to not "tag up" & getting an easy double play .
May 21

120 posts
The infield fly rule once called is called. As our UIC told us one time, if you call it and the ball hits off the outfield fence, the batter is still out. That was just an extreme example and does not happen. The infield fly does not mean the pop up is over the infield dirt. It means it can be caught with routine effort by an infielder or even a shallow outfielder such as a rover. The level of the players is also taken into consideration on deciding what is routine. A lot of times when it is called fielders let it drop hoping the runners will try to advance so they can tag them out. (The force is gone because the batter is out and runners are not forced to advance). It must be less than 2 outs with runners on 1st & 2nd or bases loaded. The whole purpose was to prevent an easy double or triple play. Also, if an umpire calls infield fly and the balls falls short of 1st or 3rd and goes foul without being touched, it is a foul ball. Most of the time it is a simple call, but umpires do misjudge them and on occasion make the wrong call, but they just have to eat it. However, if anyone thinks the umpire should be perfect, then I guess their lifetime batting avg is 1.000 and they have never made an error, mental or physical.
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