Baseball Rules

There are two rules in baseball that I think need changing.

They are the infield fly rule and the dropped third strike rule with a runner on first and fewer than two out.

The reason I don’t like these rules:

(1) They needlessly give an unearned out.

(2) Both rules are there to protect the offence but some times help the defense

My suggested changes:

The infield fly rule:

When there is a fly ball that the Umpire judges can be caught with ordinary effort by an infielder, with less than two out, and with runners on 1st and 2nd, or 1st 2nd and 3rd.  The Umpire shall shout, “Infield fly.”  If the ball is not caught the ball is live and the defense will be entitled to attempt to get one force* out on the play.  All runners ahead of the force out can advance safely to the next base and may be played on if they attempt to advance farther or overrun the base. (Ball is live- no time called)

* Tagging a runner who is forced to run is a force out.

The dropped third strike rule:

A batter becomes a base runner if the catcher fails to catch a third strike.  If first base is occupied the catcher may attempt to get one force out on the play. All runners ahead of the force out can advance safely to the next base and may be played on if they attempt to advance farther or overrun the base.

Explanation

Infield fly rule

If the bases are loaded and the force play is made at 2nd base, the runner who was on 2nd can go safely to 3rd and the runner on 3rd can go safely home. (Because we are guarding against a double play.)    If the runner who goes to 3rd attempts to go beyond 3rd, he can be played on.  At first glance it looks like we are awarding a base too easily, but we are not.  If the fielder thought he had time to get the lead runner at home he would have thrown the ball there.  The only reason he would have taken the out at 2nd is because he thought he didn’t have time to get either the runner going to 3rd or home so these runners would have gotten their bases anyway.    If the fielder makes a mental mistake and makes the play at 2nd when he probably had time to get one of the other runners, then he made a bad decision and it was his fault.  We don’t need rules preventing mental mistakes.

The only reason for my rule change is because there will be times when the fielder will not get one out, and because there is no automatic out he will not be rewarded for making an error. It is true that this rule is not all that important in the major leagues, but rules are made for all baseball players. (There are some exceptions).  Infield flys are dropped all the time in amateur or sandlot ball, if they do, they should be able to pick up the ball and get one out.  The point is they often don’t. I think they should have to make the out and not get it automatically. This would make the game more interesting when a ball is not caught.

I can recall games where the umpire forgot to call, “infield fly.” The infielder dropped the ball and all three base runners advanced.  The coach called time and reminded the umpire that it should have been an automatic out and the umpire called the runner on first out.  The rule is there to prevent the fielding team from getting an intentional double play.  They didn’t get any outs and yet were awarded an out.  I think if I had been the umpire I would have said  no, the rule is not there to help you it is there to protect the offense against an intentional double play.

Dropped third strike rule:

I am more concerned with the dropped 3rd strike rule, because this happens quite often in the majors.  With a runner on first, (with fewer than two out) the batter swings and missed a third strike that get past the catcher and rolls to the backstop.  Under the current rules the batter will be out even though he could easily have gotten to 1st.   I think the batter should be able to run whether 1st is occupied or not and let the catcher attempt to get only one out on the play, just as he has to do if there is two out.

If there are runners on 1st and 3rd and the catcher drops a third strike, he could get a double play if he tags the runner coming from third and then throws the ball to either 1st or 2nd for the other out. Again he only got one force out and he got it because the runner on 3rd elected to run not because he was forced to run.

Some argue that a catcher would purposely let a third strike drop in order to get a fast runner off the base. This is not likely because it might be a foul tip that he might have otherwise caught and the batter would get another swing. I have heard the same argument with the infield fly.(get a fast runner off the bases)  if this is so why don’t players do this all the time with only a runner on first base?

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