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Infield Fly Rule 101 (and what the heck happened) 96

Just to make sure fans are all on the same page, let’s explore the infield fly rule.

Definition is

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.
If a declared Infield Fly is allowed to fall untouched to the ground, and bounces foul before passing first or third base, it is a foul ball. If a declared Infield Fly falls untouched to the ground outside the baseline, and bounces fair before passing first or third base, it is an Infield Fly.

So we’re going to haggle over “ordinary effort.”  It doesn’t matter that it was in the outfield, the call was still valid of Holliday would have taken the chance.

I saw Kozma settle under it, in the judgment of the umps, effort from there was ordinary. It bothers me the LF umpire called it, should be an infield ump to call.  And it was late.  The correct call, to me, was that it was clear that there was going to be no circumstance in which the ball would be dropped intentionally for the gain of the defense, so it should have never been called.  I think the umpire acted in good faith, a split second decision that had to be made when he saw the fielder settle under it.  It’s not dissimilar to Pass Interference (NFL) or a foul/no foul call (NBA) (either one late).  It’s judgment, it’s not procedural.  The appeal won’t carry.  Certainly a blemish to the opening day of the playoffs.  Braves fans should look at the 3 errors in key runners on base situations and the lack of clutch hitting.  Much like Cubs fans should look at shoddy pitching and errors in their Bartman game. But it’s easy to “kill the ump”!

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