A Conversation for Baseball Basics

Infield Fly Rule

Post 1


I've always had fun tormenting visting foreign exchange students--particuarly the Brits and Aussies--with explaining the infield fly rule pretty close to the start of my explanation. I don't know why people think it is so complicated, it sure makes a lot more sense then cricket rules.

Infield fly rule in a nutshell:

1. The infield fly rule can only be used if a double play is possible. Some examples would be man on first, no out; runners on first and second, one out; runners at the corners, no out; etc. Basically, there can be no or only one out and there has to be a runner on first--note that there can be more than just the man on first, but having a man on first is a prerequisite.
2. There has to be a pop-up in the infield. This is what makes it an infield fly.
3. If such a pop-up occurs in such a situation, the batter is automatically out. This is done to make the game fairer. Let's say you have a man on first and nobody out. Batter pops up to the second baseman. Now, theoretically, the second baseman could let the ball drop, making it an infield play. Because of this, the runner on first would have to try and go to second, otherwise there would be an out for two men on the bag. So the fielder lets the ball drop, picks it back up, steps on second and throws to first. Double play. This is what the infield fly rule prevents, making the game a little fairer and tilting it slightly to the offense.

Of course, the infield fly rule is rarely called. I had season tickets once to the Albuquerque Dukes--AAA ball, Dodgers affilate, well, at least when they were still in town--and went to nearly every game. I think I might have seen it called twice in the entire minor league season.

Now, who would like to explain that "one, two, three, four, or six, and hit a helmet and you get five runs" cricket thingy?

Infield Fly Rule

Post 2

Steve K.

(Replying two years to the day later ... better than never)

The five run rule in cricket caught my eye in the little book I got on a trip to London, hoping to understand cricket. Some H2G2ers explained it to me, in part saying that the weather being pretty variable during the all day matches, players would want to take their sweaters off. I think the official will hold the sweater for the bowler only, so other players might leave their sweater laying on the field, since they don't go to the dugout every few minutes. The rule is intended to avoid having clothes and equipment all over the field, providing obstacles for hit balls. The helmet thing is still a little murky to me ...

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