Sports School: Red Wings manager Toby Gardenhire explains the infield fly rule

Sports School

We're making you a smarter sports fan when sports return

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With sports on hold for now, we’ve decided to make you a smarter fan when they come back.

In “Sports School”, we’ll break down a certain rule that some of you may know, but could be confusing to others.

In our first segment, new Red Wings manager Toby Gardenhire breaks down the infield fly rule.

“So the infield fly rule, it happens any time there’s less than two outs and you have either runners on first and second base or you have the bases loaded. A pop fly goes up in the infield, the umpire will call ‘infield fly if fair’, is what he’ll say,” says Gardenhire.

“They call infield fly if fair, the batter is out, the runners don’t have to advance, so you go back and you stay at your base.”

While the batter is out, the reason why the rule is in place is so the fielding team can’t unfairly turn a double play.

“If an infield fly goes up and you intentionally drop the ball with two runners on, or more runners on, then you could turn a double play. Technically, you could almost turn a triple play every single time because the runners have to stay at the bases,” he says.

It’s the umpire’s decision whether or not a pop fly is determined an infield fly rule or not.

“It depends on how high it goes, if it’s just a looper, sometimes they won’t call infield fly, if it goes up pretty high then they will call infield fly.”

Baseball fans will remember the infield fly rule that was called in the 2012 NL Wild Card Game between the Braves and the Cardinals. A pop fly was hit into the outfield, but since an infielder appeared to be under the ball ready to catch it, the batter was called out on the infield fly rule.

“It also matters how deep the infield goes out, because if the ball goes past the infield and it can still be an infield fly if the infielder is camped underneath it.”

“It’s basically any ball that umpire thinks that the infielder could intentionally drop and then be able to turn a double play on. So it turns into umpire’s discretion which is where the rule gets a little bit hairy and where I start arguing with umpires,” says Gardenhire.

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