Umpire's Judgement: "ordinary effort".
General question. Since the infield fly rule protects the offense from an unfair double play by an infielder intentionally dropping a fly ball, why does the rule only apply when there are runners on 1st and 2nd, or bases loaded? Wouldn’t it make sense for the rule to apply when there is only a runner on 1st as well?
When a single runner is on first, an dropped infield fly would result in a fielders choice at second with the batter safe at first. The rules assume the batter would be running to first, as only minimal hustle is required to avoid a double play on a pop-up.
If the batter is not hustling, you can purposely drop a pop-up in this scenario to induce a double play, there are reels on youtube documenting this.
You are allowed to purposely drop a line drive in any situation to induce a “ground ball” double- or triple- play. This includes runners on 1st and 2nd and bases loaded.
I had a similar play happen to me, but the ball was hit into shallow left field. I recognized it as, and called it an infield fly if fair. It went foul, and went uncaught, but I did hear a few people rumble, “Infield fly? What?”
One thing that this “Rules Academy” reinforces for me is the fact that a lot of people – fans, coaches, players, and even umpires – don’t really know the rules as well as they should, or as well as they could. In the play above, I didn’t see the umpire, but it is suggested that he didn’t signal the play well enough. It is important not only to signal, but to vocalize as well on plays like this, and quite a few others. I would also like to point out that although all umpires retain authority to make such calls, the Umpire in Chief should be all over this, and make sure the Infield Fly is called.
Wholeheartedly agree with the infield fly call. Seriously poor signaling by the 2nd base umpire – he should have emphatically signaled the runner safe at 2nd before trying to explain that the batter-runner was out (as there was no one trying to make a play on him). You could have ended up with a situation where the runner from 2nd abandons his base because he thought the umpire was calling him out. Maybe removing the masks would have given the umpire more oxygen to the brain.
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