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Discussion: Intentionally Dropped Fly Ball or Line Drive

Posted Discussion
Aug. 1, 2023
Peoria Player
4 posts
Intentionally Dropped Fly Ball or Line Drive
Rule 1.37 states that the ball is dead and an out is recorded if, in the umpires judgement, a fly ball or line drive is intentionally dropped by and infielder with less than two outs and at least first base occupied.
Our association has had some discussion as to which player is out - the batter or one of the base runners.
It is my understanding that the intent of the rule is that the batter is out, the ball is declared dead and all other runners return to their respective bases.
Is this correct? If not, how is the out recorded?
Thank you.
Aug. 1, 2023
Donna McGuire
63 posts
The batter is declared out. Yes, the other runners return to the bases they occupied before the pitch. For the scorebook, record it as a caught line drive or fly ball. (In other words, record it the way you would have if the fielder had NOT intentionally dropped the ball.)
Aug. 1, 2023
Peoria Player
4 posts
Thank you Donna for your quick answer. I'll pass it on to our association umpiring members.
Aug. 2, 2023
Bruce M
Men's 55
121 posts
I remember well when I first started officiating. The major plus team on defense knew I was green. So, the five man had fun with me. A hard line drive ended up straight in the pocket of the fifth man, only to be dropped on the ground. He actually smiled at me. Sometimes you have to have a sense of humor. Of course, it didn't work out the way he intended. The batter was out and the runners returned to their bases. Gotta love this game.
Aug. 3, 2023
stick8
1991 posts
Ruling as posted by Donna is correct.
In young man’s ball we call it making a travesty of the game. Being from Michigan we’d say “making a traverse city of the game” 😀
Aug. 3, 2023
The Screamer5
Men's 60
69 posts
Follow-up question...I know it was stated it's the umpire's judgement, but in Senior softball, is purposely allowing a fly ball or line drive to hit the ground untouched considered "intentionally dropped?" (The intent would be the same.)
Aug. 4, 2023
B.J.
1102 posts
you cannot intentionally drop or let drop without touching a fly ball or line drive (umpire judgment)
Aug. 4, 2023
Donna McGuire
63 posts
The SSUSA rule says a fielder cannot intentionally let the ball drop. (The ball does not have to be touched.) See rule 1.37.
Aug. 4, 2023
lb16
Men's 55
195 posts
Donna, What is the purpose of this rule? If the batter who hit ball runs toward 1st like he should it would not matter if fielder without touching ball lets ball hit ground. No double play could be turned. So you are penalizing the defense for the batter not doing his job and running to 1st.
Aug. 4, 2023
Turning2
Men's 70
203 posts
lb16 - 1.37 is written to prevent a fielder from allowing a line drive to hit palm of glove, drop to ground, retrieve throw to second base to force runner (runner who possibly had jammed on the brakes leaving first because he saw a hard or soft liner hit directly to fielder and didn't want to get doubled off first) then the fielder throws to second, second to first to complete an easy double play.

You are correct if the batter hits a pop up he should be running on the play and any intentionally dropped ball either touched or not would/should not produce a double play even though 1st runner is forced at second, batter/runner should easily beat the relay throw to first, providing he is running out the play.

The umpires judgment comes into play when, as an example, a soft liner is hit to 2nd baseman who rather than catches in air takes a step back, lets ball hit ground, fields, throws to shortstop for first out at second, then SS completes double play to first. This type of play the umpire can reward the fielding team for smart and athletic play and good ball judgment in how they defended the play. At the same time, if the batter runner gives it a 100% out of the box, he could still outrun the throw to prevent a double play.
Aug. 4, 2023
lb16
Men's 55
195 posts
Turning2 - I am specifically asking about a pop-up in the infield not touched by a fielder. I understand the ruling in relation to a dropped line drive or even a dropped pop-up. Still wanting to know why a not touched pop-up to infield with only a runner on 1st is called dead ball when not touched by fielder. Again rule is awarding batter for not running to 1st and penalizing defense.
Aug. 4, 2023
Turning2
Men's 70
203 posts
lb16 - you’re just not quite reading the full intent of the rule, the batter isn’t being rewarded, nor the defense being penalized, the umpire rules dead ball after he has recorded an out, “on a pop up or line drive purposely dropped or missed” with the usual intent to try to complete a double play if batter doesn’t run or other scenario that I laid out when 1st runner is in a quandary of running or not running. Hope this helps.
Aug. 4, 2023
lb16
Men's 55
195 posts
Runner on 1st is irrelevant if batter runs to 1st there is no chance for double play. Yes the defense is being penalized for the batter not doing his job. Have turned multiple double plays by doing this in young ball was never called dead ball and the same applies to baseball rules including MLB. There is a reason the infield fly states runners on 1st and 2nd or bases loaded it is because no double play could ever be turned if runner runs to 1st with only 1 baserunner on 1st.
Aug. 4, 2023
TimMcElroy
939 posts
The batter wasn't putting forth his best effort, so I'm going to do the defensive equivalent and intentionally drop a ball? STOP- It is bush league.

Senior Softball is not unique when it comes to the handling of this situation-


https://baseballrulesacademy.com/official-rule/mlb-umpire-manual/infielder-intentionally-drops-fly-ball-or-line-drive/
Aug. 4, 2023
lb16
Men's 55
195 posts
Tim you conveniently left out this part of the rule: Note that the batter is not declared out in this situation if the infielder permits the ball to drop untouched to the ground except when the Infield Fly rule applies. I never stated intentionally dropping ball! Letting ball hit ground is allowed in every form of baseball!
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