What Happens When the Umpire Messes up an Infield Fly

Tracy Ringolsby

Things happen.

Umpires aren't perfect.

They are people -- believe it or not.

So when an umpires makes a mistake on an infield fly. . .

Umpires are human so sometimes they make calls that make no sense, like calling an Infield Fly with no runner at 2B. It happens quite a bit at the amateur level and often causes chaos because no one knows what to do. Bring some sensibility and calmness to you next rules discussion by learning this rule.W

The interpretation about these plays comes from From Jaska/Roder “The Rules of Professional Baseball.”

Scenario 1

Umpire mistakenly calls Infield Fly. Now what?

    • If the conditions for an infield fly are not met, (runners not on 1B and 2B or bases loaded less than two outs) or it is a bunt, then the batter is not out.

If an infield fly is improperly declared due to the lack of conditions in 3(a) above or because the batted ball was a bunt (aspects of the rule not requiring umpire judgment), the batter is not out. Both teams are required to know that the fly was not an infield fly, even though it was declared as such. The declared infield fly is nullified due to the impossibility of its existence, and the play stands.

Scenario 2

Umpire Fails to Call Infield Fly (but should have)

  • A fly ball that meets all the requirements for an infield fly, but is not declared as such, is not an infield fly. Resulting action is allowed; however, the umpires should not allow a double play that the infield fly rule was intended to prevent.

Coaching Advice: Expect a pop-up bunt

  • Base runners who are expecting a bunt should be reminded that a bunt is not an Infield Fly so if it drops, they must run. Aggressive defense can get your team some timely outs (double plays) when your fielders are taught the nuances of when to allow a pop-up bunt fall to the ground without being touched.

Check out the video for a chuckle and an education on the Infield Fly Rule:



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