Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Infield fly rule

The infield fly rule needs to be changed!

I'm not a big fan of changing baseball rules, but one rule that does need to be changed is the infield fly rule.

I've been a baseball fan since 1960 and have never seen the infield fly rule do anything except: the batter is out and runners stay at the base they currently occupy.

Boring Baseball Rule Alert!

Here's the rule: An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.
When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire shall immediately declare “Infield Fly” for the benefit of the runners. If the ball is near the baselines, the umpire shall declare “Infield Fly, if Fair.”
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 part I don't like is in bold above. I think it should be changed to allow runners to try and advance as soon as the infield fly is called. That would add some excitement to the game instead of just having the runners stay at their base which is what happens now. I wouldn't change any other part of the rule, the batter is still out, I'd just allow the runners to, well, run.

Imagine the excitement of a bases loaded, bottom of the ninth game with less than two outs where an infield fly allows the runner to streak toward home while an infielder tries to catch the ball and throw it home in time for the tag.

Wouldn't that be better than just calling the batter out, watching the runners stay on base and waiting for another batter to come to the plate?

BTW, here's a link to the official rules on the Major League Baseball Website