Fair or Foul?
On July 22, 2023 the Yankees hosted the Royals. Bobby Witt Jr. led off the top of the fourth with a bunt along the foul line between home and third. The ball eventually rolled foul, barely off the line. So, Yankees’ third baseman DJ LeMahieu pushed the ball to keep it from rolling back into fair territory. But once LeMahieu touched the ball, home plate umpire Lance Barrett signaled a fair ball. This gave Witt an infield single.
While LeMahieu was arguing with Barrett, pitcher Gerrit Cole reluctantly picked up the ball. With the Yankees seemingly lollygagging, Witt took off for second base and was thrown out by Cole.
- Prior to 2018, a ball could be a fair ball without touching the foul line between home and first and home and third if a part of the ball was over fair territory.
- The rule was changed in 2018. It now reads, ” When in contact with the ground, the ball must be in contact with fair territory and not merely over fair territory in order to be adjudged to be fair.”
- I would assume the old ruling was confusing for players and broadcasters.
- It’s quite possible that in the above play, Barrett was going by the old ruling.
- Fair-Foul ball situations between home and third and home and first cannot be reviewed.
Rules consultant/analyst: Angels, D’backs, Dodgers, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Rangers, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Yankees, Bally Sports, YES, and NBC Sports Chicago.