Baseball's Sacrifice Fly Rules

Baseball fans: How is this even possible? According to “”*, a sacrifice fly can be recorded on any fly ball, whether fair or foul. To be perfectly clear, a sacrifice fly involves scoring on (basically) a pop-up or fly-out, I would say. But, on a foul ball? I didn’t think a runner score of a foul out. Is there a scenario where a foul ball can be deemed a sacrifice fly?

*I found this by a Google search on my smart phone, but I cannot seem to find the exact webpage by internet on my PC

A foul fly ball is live if caught. Runners may advance as they see fit.

I guess that’s how observant I am. :frowning:

OK, then may I ask…why even bother with foul territory? Just playing the devil’s advocate here. Other than keeping home runs between the foul poles, which is understandable. Other than that, any ball on the field should be “live” and played, regardless. The batter should have to run it out.

Probably because it’s harder to field a ground ball in foul territory than a fly ball in the outfield, so people would deliberately hit hard ground balls into foul territory that would require either the base players to run after them, and the other players to shift, or the outfielders to run for them. Players would score a lot more base runs and fewer home runs, with more RBIs. It would make for a longer and less exciting game.

At least, that’s my guess.

Only balls still in the air. Once a ball lands foul, it’s dead. The defense also has the choice of allowing a foul fly ball to hit the ground if they choose.

Say a runner is on third and the batter hits a drive to the outfield fence in right. The runner could score if the RF catches the ball foul but if the ball is allowed to drop foul, the runner can’t advance and there’s a chance to get the batter out on subsequent pitches without the runner scoring.

To expand: you need to limit where a ball is playable to balance defense and offense. If you eliminate foul territory, then you need several more fielders to handle the extra area. Also, would a pop-up behind the dugouts now become a home run or do you keep the former foul lines as a homerun designator?

Yes, I would keep the foul poles to define homeruns. I guess I see your point. It would get out of control if anything on the field were playable giving the batter a great advantage, huh? :smiley:

Congratulations - you’ve just invented Cricket. (But note that the batter running is always optional.)

Some interesting game theory implications here: take the free out but give up the run, or let it drop and try to escape with no further damage?

Early in the game, esp. if the other bases are occupied, I’d take it. Late in the game, with a one run lead, only runner is on third, one out, and I probably let it die, esp. if I have a strikeout pitcher on the mound and the count is going to go to 2 strikes.

With due respect to baseball-reference:

A ball caught on the fly, for an out, isn’t a foul ball.

What makes a ball a foul ball? It’s stated in the rules; a foul ball is a ball that settles in foul territory before getting past first or third base (unless it hit a player in fair territory first), going past first or third base on or over foul territory (again, unless it hit a player in fair territory first) striking a player or umpire in foul territory and then hitting the ground; or striking a wall/fence or going into the stands in foul territory on the fly, again,m without hitting a player in fair territory first. You could also have ground rules, like if a ball hits part of a roof in foul territory. Once that happens, boom, the ball is dead.

So if a ball is hit in the air and is caught by a fielder, when did it become a foul ball? It didn’t. It might be scored on the scoresheet as a foul pop or whatever, but that’s just a description. It’s not actually a foul ball.

Just two more are required in cricket to cover the 360 degrees.

I’ve only had one coffee this morning so when I was reading “sacrifice fly” my brain was saying “infield fly” and the subsequent answers were confusing as hell. Why wasn’t anyone saying that the infield fly rule only applies IF FAIR?!?! Now that I understand the question, I realize it has been sufficiently answered. Indeed, many a sac fly has been recorded on balls caught in foul territory.

You also don’t have any bases to cover, so you free up four infielders.

Well, you need some kind of “out of bounds” space for things like the openings for dugouts, on-deck circles, a place to keep the tarp and (in some parks) the bullpens. Let’s say you hit a sharp grounder past third which bounces into your team’s bullpen, and your teammates don’t move to let the outfielder play the ball, or you hit a two-hopper which bounces up against the tarp. You’ll have umpires deciding on ground-rule doubles and interference calls all day.

Now, if a player wants to run into foul territory to catch a fly ball, that’s fine, but who really wants to see a batter who’s learned to drop a bunt to the on-deck circle for a really cheap hit.

And cricket teams score hundreds of runs, because it’s impossible to defend all that space with the effectiveness of a baseball team.

Baseball is rather not in need of scores like 251-148.

And it would be murder on ERAs.

And, as I understand it (though I know fairly little about cricket), fielding isn’t necessarily a point of emphasis in the game – at least not in the same way that it is in baseball.

The father of a friend of mine is a now-retired cricket coach in Ireland, and was quite well-regarded as a coach when he was active. He studied American baseball, particularly fielding techniques, and incorporated some of what he learned into the instruction which he gave his players on fielding. As I understand it, his teams were then fairly noteworthy for their prowess in the field.

The percentage is no doubt lower than in baseball, but (as stats on this page show) cricket dismissals due to fielding are very significant - over 40% of all dismissals in recent years. If you add in the wicket-keepers’ contributions (WK is a fielder too, though he is allowed to use gloves - as wimpy MLB fielders choose to do) the total is near 60%.

This was a debate after the fifth game of the 2015 NLCS. With a runner on third, the Mets tied the game on a sacrifice fly that was caught in foul territory. If the right fielder, Andre Ethier, had let the ball drop, that run wouldn’t have scored on the play.

But it wasn’t that clear cut. Ethier couldn’t be 100% sure the ball would fall foul (he was running for it and probably couldn’t gauge with the foul line would be). Also, there was no guarantee that the hitter wouldn’t get a hit on the next pitch, scoring the run anyway (and possibly leading to a big inning). The better play is to take the out in preference to giving the batter another chance.