The infield fly rule caused a bit of controversy during the wildcard game last night between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals.
In the bottom of the 8th with two men on Andrelton Simmons stepped up to the plate and hit a pop fly over the head of the short stop. The ball dropped between Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma and left fielder Matt Holliday, giving the Braves three base runners in a playoff deciding wildcard game.
Well, that’s what everyone thought. Well, everyone except for left field umpire Sam Holbrook who ruled that Andrelton Simmons was automatically out because of the infield fly rule.
The infield fly rule was designed to stop layers from dropping easy fly balls with the hopes of turning it into a double play. The rule states if the ball “can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort” than the umpire should call an automatic out.
The rule, according to Bleacher Report, reads:
“On the infield fly rule the umpire is to rule whether the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infielder—not by some arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines. The umpire must rule also that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpire’s judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder.”
Was this ball catchable with an “ordinary effort?”
The umpire thought so, and since the rule states that an infield fly rule is based solely on an umpire’s judgement and not factors such as distance, speed, or weather conditions, the umpire’s call is final. The Braves filed an official protest but according to CBS it was immediately denied since judgement calls can not be overturned.
What do you think about the infield fly rule?