Baseball's Sacrifice Fly Rules

You didn’t quote the whole rule. Section 2.0 further reads:

   ...or that, while on or over foul territory, touches the person of an umpire or 
   player, or any object foreign to the natural ground.
       A foul fly shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and the 
   foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the infielder is on foul or 
   fair territory at the time he touches the ball.

So a fly ball caught in foul territory is definitely a foul ball according to the rules.

The ball is foul if it touches the ground after such contact; it never becomes a foul ball if it’s caught. I will concede one has to bounce around the rulebook a lot to construct this concept, but it’s true. A foul ball is always a dead ball. A play that is live isn’t a foul ball.

The exception here is a foul tip, which is a completely different concept in the rules.

I thought that a foul tip was a live ball?

You appear to have avoided discussing the language quoted in the extended bit of rule:

“A foul ball is a ball … that, while on or over foul territory, touches the person of … a
player, or any object foreign to the natural ground.”

By the exact, precise language of the rule, a ball touching a player in foul territory is a foul ball. A “foul fly” is a subspieces of foul ball.

Defend your position in light of this language, please?

It is live if it is caught by the catcher.

The definition and applicable of the concept of a foul ball is further refined in Rules 5.05, 5.09 (5.09(a)(8) is a relatively frequent occurrence.)

The rulebook as, I admit, a bit here and there on its use of the term, but look at it this way;

If a ball is caught by an outfielder bear the foul line, do you care if it was fair or foul? Well, no… because it makes no difference. It’s an irrelevance; a ball caught in foul territory is exactly the same as one caught in fair territory. They’re all fair balls, in any sense that matters, because the play remains live.

However, if it lands, it matters a lot. The ball in foul territory is dead. The one in fair territory is live.

Does a foul ball caught require a tag-up or can the runner go on contact? If the former, then, to my way of thinking, it’s no different from any other fly ball. If the latter, then foul flys are different.

It requires a tag-up.

Not sure I understand you here. ALL fly balls require a tag up to advance. Runners who speculatively take off in hopes it’s not caught must retreat before advancing. The only difference the foul fly would have is that, if it’s obviously going to be foul, runners won’t go very far before returning to tag up.

While this makes sense, let’s point out that, for the most part, what you CALL a thing in baseball is irrelevant in the rules. So, from a rules standpoint, there is no need to worry about whether a foul fly that is caught is a “foul ball” unless there is some other rule the operation of which is different depending upon whether it is or it isn’t.

But from a statistics standpoint, and a discussion of the game standpoint (which I think you will agree with me is almost more important to most baseball lovers than the rules themselves), refusing to call a foul fly that is caught a “foul ball”, when even the rule that has the definition appears to disagree, is going to create some confusion and controversy, at best. :dubious:

I don’t know if foul flies caught are differentiated from flies caught in the scoring, I tend to doubt it. When I keep score at home I will write FF-7 rather than F-7 but I don’t know if the official scorers do that. The umpires will signal whether the ball was fair or foul when caught if it is close, but I’m not sure exactly why that signal is made.

From a statistics standpoint, again, it’s an irrelevance. If Smith hits a fly ball that is caught, he is charged with an out, whether Martinez caught the ball five meet left or five feet right of the foul line.

If on that play Suzuki scores from third by tagging up and getting home without the benefit of an error, Smith gets an RBI, no matter if the ball is fair or foul.

A proper scoresheet will state whether the ball was fair or foul but that’s just for descriptive purposes… and of course the scorer might well have gotten it wrong. If the official scorer is sitting 300 feet from a fielder standing right around the line he’s pretty much just guessing, and since the ump never has to make a fair/foul call if the ball is caught, it’s purely the scorer’s opinion.

I disagree. I’ve seen umpires signal out and then indicate whether it was fair or foul when caught many times.

If it is not caught then it is not a foul tip. it is a ball tipped foul

A foul tip, is not a foul, it is just a strike.

I haven’t seen this myself, and I am mystified as to why the umpire would do this, actually. What would the purpose of that be? If anything, it would actually confuse the situation; a runner who had the chance to advance might be confused into thinking the play was dead. I was certainly never trained to do such a thing; if the ball was caught, your job was solely to make it REALLY clear that you were calling “out,” and then get back into position if a subsequent play was to be made.

I’ll admit I’ve never noticed an umpire signal fair/foul on a caught ball, but in searching online it appears a lot of people have noticed it. Apparently the umpire signals fair/foul then out, if caught. I generally agree that it is unnecessary.

If a ball hits a player or umpire while over foul territory and is not caught, it is a foul ball. If caught, it is not, but just a ball in play.

A foul tip, if caught, is a plain strike (and can be strike 3); if not caught it is a foul.

In both cases this is how the game is played, whatever the rule book says.

As a matter of tactics, it is probably better most of the time to catch a foul ball, even if it leads to a run. Obvious exception: bottom of the 9th (or later) inning in a tie game.

This happened a couple of nights ago in the Astros/Mariners game. A Mariner let a ball drop because winning run was on third in the 9th (or later) inning.

It’s a rare event, but clearly necessary at times.

Not really. Catcher and wicket keeper are equivalent in function and baseball can position it’s outfielders deep because the infield do a considerable proportion of the ground fielding, they don’t just stand on the bases.

What baseball needs is neither my expertise or interest.
But the reason cricket teams can score hundreds of runs (a run being the broad equivalent of advancing one base, not making it to home base) is that batsmen aren’t restricted to 3 strikes and mandatory run on the first hit in each at bat. Bugger all to do with the number of of fielders, the space and their effectiveness.

In the recent Ranchi Test India’s Pujara faced 525 pitches, for 202 runs with one out.

If these (integral) rules of the game didn’t apply then ERAs stats would certainly cop a shellacking.

As far as I can see, you’re simply wrong about a caught ball in foul territory not being a foul ball. I’ve already given you the definition, From your latest information (at least in the 2016 rule book)

Rule 5.05 does not mention foul balls at all

Rule 5.06(c) about dead balls reads in part “(5) a foul ball is not caught” certainly indicates a foul ball could be caught. By your definition a foul ball cannot be caught so the rule would not have this qualifier.

Rule 5.09(a) describing when a batter is out says “(1) His fair or foul ball (other than a foul tip) is legally caught” again clearly indicates a foul ball can be caught.

Rule 5.09(a) (8) is about a bat hitting a ball again in fair territory it has nothing to say about caught foul balls.

The bowler and wicketkeeper in cricket are direct equivalents of baseball’s pitcher and catcher. The four other infielders (1B, 2B, 3B, and Shortstop) have considerable latitude to position themselves anywhere in field of play, but if there are runners on base someone has to cover them, which limits the infielders’ degrees of freedom. There are no bases in cricket, no runners on base, and hence no need to for fielders to keep an any on them.