Infield Fly Rule Explained
Why is there an infield fly rule? The infield fly rule prevents the defense's failure to take routine catches to make baserunners out.
The rule states that the runners are no longer forced to advance if the balls fall into the ground without being touched by the defense players.
The infield rule is explained through the following key elements:
- There should be fewer than -1two outs
- There must be runners on first and second base or first, second, and third base.
- The fly ball can't be a line drive.
- An infielder should catch the routine ball with his ordinary effort.
In the absence of this rule, defense infielders give the time for the ball to touch the ground so that baserunners advance and turn an easy double-play.
The infield fly couldn't create the dead ball situation but only called the batter out.
When Does Infield Fly Rule Apply?
Infield fly rule applies when a fair fly ball can be caught by the infielder's ordinary effort and is dropped untouched, forcing the play in the first and second base, which leads to batters getting out.
When the batter swings the ball high in the air over the infield, multiple fielders gather to catch but create a miscommunication during catching, which leads the ball to fall into the ground.
The miscommunication creates the baserunners in dilemma to run for the next bases when they got out by the infielders after throwing the ball to the base while running.
In some cases, the runners hold their existing places, and the play will end with the batter out and the runners at their same bases.
The rule was implemented first in the National League Wild Card game back in 2012.
When the Braves and the Cardinals were playing against each other in a do-or-die situation, Andrelton Simmons of the Braves lifted a shot to the left field, which was dropped by the Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma including Matt Holiday.
As both left the ball in miscommunication to be dropped, the infield fly rule was implemented as Simmons was out, having the runners back at their existing position with two outs.
Later, the Cardinals won the game with a 6-3 score.