The Ole Ball Game

defensive player in foul territory

by brad

Brad asked: I would like to know what the rule is on a play if the first baseman is totally in foul territory on a pick off play or if the pitcher delivers the ball to the batter.

I thought all players had to be in fair territory. thanks.

Rick answered: Brad, thank you for your question.

Rule 4.03 ...When the ball is put in play at the start of, or during a game, all fielders other than the catcher shall be on fair territory.

a) The catcher shall station himself directly back of the plate. He may leave his position at any time to catch a pitch or make a play, except that when the batter is being given an intentional base on balls, the catcher must stand with both feet within the lines of the catcher's box until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand.
Penalty: Balk

b) The pitcher while in the act of delivering the ball to the batter, shall take the legal position

c) Except for pitcher and catcher, any fielder may station himself anywhere in fair territory.

Determination for whether a fielder was stationed in fair territory would be the position of the players feet.

At first base, if the first baseman was in contact with the foul line with his foot, or feet, he would be considered "in fair territory".

If his feet were positioned outside the foul line, and just his torso was leaning in to fair ground, I would say he was outside fair territory.

I have never seen an instance where this rule ever came into play. I would assume, if called, it would be a ball, or a balk, along with a warning.

From a coaching standpoint, I would be happy for the 1b to set up in foul ground, leaves a much wider hole to hit through. Not sure where there would be any advantage gained defensively for him to be in foul ground.

Yours in baseball,


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