What is an Infield
If any rule will cause problems, it's the Infield Fly Rule. There
are so many wrong interpretations, misunderstandings, etc. with this rule. In
the first place, the only place to check the definition of the rule is in the
Little League Rule Book. Chat rooms, Wikipedia, etc. can all be crazy with
If there are runners on first and second, or
first, second and third with less than two out, there is an infield fly
possibility. If the batter then hits a fair fly ball (not a line drive or bunt)
that COULD be caught by a defensive player stationed in the infield with
ORDINARY EFFORT, an Infield Fly should be called. Keep in mind, "ordinary
effort" can be very different between a 9 year-old and an 18 year-old. One way
to think of it is, "Is the fielder comfortable under the ball?" If so, you've
got ordinary effort.
The umpire must watch the ball and the fielders,
and decide if the batted ball qualifies as an Infield Fly. If so, when the ball
reaches the apex of its flight, its highest point, the umpire should point at
the ball, and shout, "Infield Fly, the batter is out!" If the ball is close to
the foul line, say "Infield Fly, if fair!" (Any umpire may call it.) The
umpires have to watch the ball, watch the reaction of the fielders, back and
forth until the ball is at the apex, then make a decision.
As soon as
the umpire says "Infield Fly," the batter is out and the force is removed from
the runners. Of course, that's the purpose of the rule, to keep the defense
from getting a cheap double play. The runners do not have to run if the umpire
says, "Infield Fly, the batter is out!"
Now the call of "Infield Fly"
only affects the batter-runner. The batter-runner is immediately out which
removes the force, regardless of whether the ball is caught or not. The other
runners are subject to the rules regarding tagging up just as if the ball had
been hit into the outfield. If it's caught, they must tag up before they
advance. If it's not caught, they do not have to tag.
Don't think of the
"Infield Fly" as a catch because it is not. The ball has just been ruled an
Infield Fly which makes the batter-runner out instantly, but the ball may, or
may not be caught. Whether it's caught or not, does NOT affect the Infield Fly
call. Check Rule 2.00, Catch definition. This applies to an infield fly
Also remember a few other things:
- " The ball stays alive during an Infield Fly play.
It's not dead, so runners off base may be tagged, etc
- " An infield fly is a fair fly ball which CAN be
caught by an infielder with ordinary effort. That doesn't mean it HAS to be
caught by an infielder
Imagine a shortstop playing deep, backing up
onto the outfield grass to catch a fly with, in the umpire's judgment, ordinary
effort. The umpire points up and calls, Infield Fly, the batter is out!" But
the left fielder charges in, and calls off the shortstop and catches the ball,
or doesn't catch it, either way. That is STILL an infield fly by definition.
- " If the umpire calls "Infield Fly, the batter is
out!" or "Infield Fly, if fair", and the ball drops untouched and rolls foul;
it is NOT an Infield Fly, just a foul ball. If it lands untouched foul, and
rolls fair, it's an infield fly
- " Last, but not least, don't get confused with Rule
6.05k, the Intentional Drop. If you read that rule, you will see the
differences between it and an Infield Fly. The Infield Fly rule always takes
precedence (Besides, you'll almost never see these kids intentionally drop a
fly ball, they have a hard enough time catching them!)