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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Walk-off Infield Fly Rule

Great story about a Japanese baseball game on Monday that ended with a walk-off infield fly (H/T: My FIU colleague Ediberto Roman). This is a welcome new story for my hoped-for book on the IFR.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, the batter hit a pop-up right in front of home plate. The third-base umpire (although not the home plate umpire) signaled Infield Fly (you can see him in the background at the 0:57 mark). The ball fell to the ground between two players. One of them picked up the ball and stepped on home, looking to get the force out on the runner on third. But he did not tag the runner, who continued across the plate. The batter being called out on the IFR removes the force play at home; the runners can advance at their own risk and any play at a base becomes a tag play. After an argument and a conference, in which the third-base umpire presumably told the plate umpire that he had called IFR, the runner was called safe at home, and the game ended.

 Plus, the audio teaches us that the term "Infield Fly" is the same in Japanese. Great stuff.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 5, 2015 at 12:22 AM in Howard Wasserman, Sports | Permalink


Yeah, I saw that in the story, but that can't be right. First, it's clear from the video that the third-base umpire did call it. Second, the umpire can't go back and retroactively call IFR, since that retroactively changes the obligations on the players.

JD: That's a ball the catcher will typically play. Not sure why he didn't--must have lost it.

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | May 5, 2015 1:30:58 PM

Very interesting play. One could argue that the play required more than "ordinary effort," but the drop seemed more the result of a miscommunication than anything else.

Posted by: JD | May 5, 2015 1:25:58 PM

the story says that the plate umpire made the call AFTER the play had ended...which seems a stretch of the "judgement" that the umpire is supposed to exercise.

Posted by: Anon | May 5, 2015 12:16:30 PM

Best day ever.

Posted by: Spencer Waller | May 5, 2015 5:37:58 AM

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