Walk off infield fly

Here is a play that is making its way around the internet – a walk off infield fly.

Here is the key part of the definition  – from 2.00 INFIELD FLY.

The ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught, or retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on any fly ball. If the hit becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any foul.

The runner on third can try to run if he likes. Now, most of the time he should not try to advance. In this one, the runner probably thought he was forced to advance.

But he was not. Here is 2.00 FORCE PLAY:

A FORCE PLAY is a play in which a runner legally loses his right to occupy a base
by reason of the batter becoming a runner.

When the batter becomes a runner, all runners on first (or second when first is also occupied, etc) are forced to run. The opposite of this is also true – when the batter runner gets put out, the runners are not forced to go anywhere.

On an infield fly, the batter runner is out so all forces are removed. When the fielder picks up the ball and steps on home plate – this does nothing. That runner has to be tagged to be put out.

To me, the most interesting thing on this play is the umpire. He is holding his fist in the air for an out. It is not clear if he means the batter or the runner from 3rd. After the coaches explain the situation to him (with help from another umpire) he signals safe. I would have thought he would have be clearer. Of course, this play is all sorts of goofy so I will give him a pass.

What a strange way to end a ballgame.

RuleGraphics is our book that breaks down the rules in simple easy to understand language using pictures where needed. Infield fly is covered on page 31 and force outs are covered on page 30. Find out more at our website.

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