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Baseball Coaching Digest

The stated purpose of the infield fly rule, in most baseball rule books, is that the rule is enforced to prevent a defensive player from dropping a fly ball on purpose or letting a infield fly drop to the ground untouched with the intention of trying to turn a double play.

For example, there are runners at first and second base with no outs. The third short stop is fielding a high pop fly hit high between him and second base. If we did not have the “In-Field-Fly” rule, he could let it drop. Pick it up and quickly touch second base, then throw to third to get a tag on the second base runner for the double play. The defense has turned an easy double play. The two runners being forced to tag up on the play have no chance of advancing to the next base in time to prevent the outs.

Another scenario would be bases loaded, an infield fly is hit high that will land three feet in front of home plate. The catcher sets up to make the catch. He allows the ball to hit. He quickly picks it up, touches home plate for the first out and then he throws the ball to the third baseman who is set up on the bag. The third base man catches the ball, tags the base for the second out, and then throws to second base for the completed triple play. If there was no infield fly rule, the following could happen: Runners are on first and second with less than 2 outs. Pop fly is hit to the third baseman. He intentionally drops the fly ball, picks it up, tags third and then makes the throw to second base to complete a double play. It is an easy triple play because all three runners are tagging up on their bases in anticipation that the ball to be caught.