Obscure sports rules? Have any?

On another thread about the Superbowl, there was a lot of discussion of football rules. I submitted the question about the football violation of, “crawling”, which does exist. One poster responded with a reasonable answer, but not a definitive answer.

So, what obscure rules exist in various sports, of which, most are unaware of? Baseball is full of them! “The Rules and Lore of Baseball”, cites many.

First obscure sports rule: since 1975, polo can only be played right-handed.

There’s some kind of “free kick” rule in American football that comes into play under very specific circumstances. (I’m not talking about a safety.) It has rarely been exercised. I never did understand it so some rules wonk, please chime in.

In baseball, if an infielder drops a line drive on purpose to try to turn a double play instead, the umpire must call the play dead and call the batter out as if the line drive had been caught.

It’s not that specific: You may be referring to the rule that on a fair catch, you’re allowed to take a free kick. Obviously you’re not going to use that unless it’s the very last play of a half.

Moving to The Game Room.

General Questions Moderator

If this post is inappropriate please accept my apologies; let me know and I’ll open a new thread but it seems apropos.

Here’s one of my favorite obscure sports-rules question: In baseball, what are the different ways a runner can score and be credited with a run but the batter is not credited with an RBI? I know of 5, two of which are closely related.

Let me take a crack…

  1. Batter grounds into double play, scoring the runner
  2. Runner scores on wild pitch
  3. Runner scores on passed ball (closely related to #2)
  4. Batter puts ball in play, runner scores on error (this assumes the runner wouldn’t have scored without the error)
  5. I’m not sure…would an RBI be rewarded for catcher’s interference with bases loaded?

Infield fly rule?

I forgot one that’s more obvious & common than the catcher’s interference scenario:
6. Runner scores on balk by pitcher

If a fielder uses any equipment besides his glove (e.g., hat) to catch or field a batted ball, all runners are entitled to three bases. If the fielder ATTEMPTS to do so but doesn’t touch the ball, then play continues on normally.

OK, but what is the purpose of such a rule? Most rules are designed to create “fair play”, not allowing one side to have an inherent advantage over their opponent. What is the purpose of the free kick rule? I can’t see how it balances out any tactic that the other side might employ. That’s why I am confused as to why the rule exists. If it really served a purpose it would seems like it would be utilized more often. Why was the rule written in the first place?

Not trying to be confrontational. Just trying to fight my ignorance.

The infield fly rule is slightly different; it requires that there be a force play at third, not just one at second, the theory being that if a fielder drops the ball on a pop fly and manages to double off the runner at first, the runner was dogging it down the line and deserves to be out anyway.

I believe the same applies if a fielder throws his glove at the ball (and hits it).

High-school football referee checking in. College or Pro rules may be slightly different.

The receiving team has the option of performing your own free kick from the spot of a fair catch or awarded fair catch (think: kick-catching interference), on any free kick (kickoff) or scrimmiage kick (punt or missed field goal). This means that the team that fair-caught can line up in a free kick formation (kickoff), and make a kick… if that kick goes through the opposing team’s uprights, it counts as 3 points.

I’ve heard of this happening twice in the last three years here in Minnesota, usually at the end of a half. At least one of them was converted for the three points.
Here’s an even more obscure football rule: After a score, the team that was scored upon has the option of choosing which team will kick off.

4 & 5 are incorrect to my knowledge. I don’t think there’s a situation where the runner can score on an error and get credit for a run but the batter gets no RBI, but I’m hardly an expert. We need someone to start an “Ask the Official Baseball Scorer” thread. :wink:

In American football, in addition to the two-point safety, there is a one point conversion safety. In the NFL, the conversion safety can only be scored by the offense, but in college football, it’s possible for the defensive team to score a one-point safety, thereby making scores like 6-1, 13-1, etc achievable.

None of us dumb kids knew this on our HS team. Our coach told the ref after we were scored on with about 40 seconds left, and trailing by 4 that we wanted to kick.

Once we got to re-start, no one was surprised that we’d try an onside kick, but they were surprised as hell when our kicker booted it over their heads, rwe ecovered on the 15 and scored with 3 seconds left to win.

I’ve never forgotten that rule ever since, waiting for someone else to try it.

Of course there is, and also you have an error on the pitcher on a failed pickoff move which sails past the fielder and allows the runner on 3rd to score. But if it is something like an apparent sac fly, and the fielder drops it, the batter gets the RBI if the official scorer thinks the ball was deep enough to score him if caught.

I don’t know. Maybe to avoid having the punter try to boot it straight up in the air to kill the last couple of seconds off the clock? Does the receiving team get an untimed down for their free kick?

My wag is that its a holdover from the days when football and rugby were the same sport. In rugby if a player catches a ball on the full (without a bounce) inside his 22 he can yell mark and gets a free kick. While the rule is no longer there, you used to be able to take a kick at goal after this mark (I assume you could also call mark anywhere on the pitch and not just in the 22). This was known as a Goal from a Mark, but was dropped from the rules a few decades ago. Back in the early days of the 20th century when rugby, football and soccer were pretty much all the one sport this was a fairly important method of scoring. Maybe it was never fully written out of the rules of American Football.

If you’ve played football (soccer) you’ll know that there is contant shouting between players as they communicate what to do with the ball. Shouting ‘mine’, ‘I have it’ etc. is against the rules - you must personalise such declarations, ie ‘Mike’s’ or ‘John’s ball’.

I’ve not ever seen this cautioned in a professional game, mind.

In rugby union if you have the ball on a kicking tee and it falls over you must ask the referees permission before you can replace it. So far I’ve yet to see a ref say no.

Also if its a conversion, and not a penalty, and if you’ve started your run up to the ball the opposition can charge. If the ball falls over you have to pick it up and quickly try a drop goal attempt before the opposition reach you. Its always funny to see a kicker deep in his meditation see the ball fall over and panic.