With runners on first and second and no outs, B1 hits a pop up between the pitcher and second baseman. While the infielders look up for it, none of them make an attempt to move into position to catch it. They stand still looking up at the sky. My plate partner makes no call and I do the same. The baserunners stay within the vicinity of their bases, the ball lands, and then the fielders react and make a double play. The offensive coach is upset but the play stands after my partner and I agreed that the fielders made no effort on the play, let alone reasonable and ordinary. After the game I felt as if we did not maintain the spirit of the rule which is to protect the runners. Should infield fly be called if the fielders do not make an effort?
As I read the rule, an Infield Fly is a ball that “can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort.” There is no requirement that any fielder actually make such an effort and it is the nature of the ball that determines whether it can be caught with ordinary effort, not the fielder. I would have called it.
As your post questions the application versus the spirit of the rule, you are correct. As an umpire, it is your judgement whether the ball could be “caught with reasonable effort”. Thus, you can cite conditions which may make it unreasonable to catch which often includes wind, sun position, etc. …and at lower levels, the age of the players. We pregame these items on certain fields all the time to be patient on calling infield fly. The players have a responsibility to continue to play, and the batter is typically safe at first if he runs after the ball is hit high enough to be an infield fly…especially if the fielders didn’t move into position to catch it in the air, it would take some time for them to pick it up off the ground from their standing positions.
tzemaitis: You wrote, “The players have a responsibility to continue to play, and the batter is typically safe at first…”. Isn’t the batter out on an infield fly? I guess a better question on my part would be, is an obvious infield fly an infield fly even if not called so by the umpiring crew as was stated in the original post by jrock1214?
The infield fly rule states that runners may advance “after the ball is touched”. This rule governs the tag up if the infield fly is caught. The runner does not need to wait on base until the fielder achieves full control of the ball. There is no need to tag up at any time if the ball is dropped.