The Ole Ball Game

FOUL OR FAIR

by BILL
(NEW JERSEY)

Bill asked: A GROUND BALL IS HIT DOWN THE FIRST BASE LINE, THE BALL HITS IN FAIR TERRITORITY BEFORE IT GETS TO FIRST BASE, THEN LANDS FOUL AFTER IT GOES OVER THE BAG.


IS IT A FAIR BALL OR A FOUL BALL? THANK YOU.


Rick answered: Bill, thank you for your question.

The rule which deals with the situation you have described is Rule 2 Playing Terms and Definitions. There are two sections, Section 5 Base Hit and Section 16 Foul and foul tip, that cover both sides.

Section 5 Base Hit...Art 1...A fair ball is a batted ball which:
a. settles on fair territory between home and third base, or between home and third base; or

b. contacts fair ground on or beyond an imaginary line between first and third base or,

c. is on or over fair ground when bounding to the outfield past first or third base or,

d. first falls on fair ground on or beyond first or third base or,

e. touches first, second or third base; or

f. while on or over fair territory, touches the person of an umpire or player, their clothing or equipment, or,

g. while over fair ground passes out of the playing field in flight.

1. A fly ball or line drive, which passes over or inside first or third base in flight and curves to foul ground beyond such base, is not a fair hit; but a hit which goes over or through the fence is a fair hit if it is over fair ground when it leaves the field.



Section 16..Foul and Foul Tip Article 1...A foul is a batted ball:

a. which settles on foul territory between home and first base or between home and third base; or,

b. that bounds past first or third base on or over foul territory; or

c. that first falls on foul territory beyond first or third base; or,

d. that, while on or over foul territory, touches the person of an umpire or a player or any object foreign to the natural ground; or,

e. that touches the ground after inadvertently being declared foul by an umpire.


As you look at the photo above, based on the physical reactions of both players, the ball that has been hit is fair.

Looking back down the baseline towards home plate, the ground ball you described has already hit in fair territory before it got to the bag, passed over the bag ( the bag is also completely in fair territory), before moving into foul territory.

Call is "fair ball". Had it been a fly ball or line drive, as in g 1 above, the ball establishes fair or foul when it lands, either fair or foul, not as it passes over.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

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