The Ole Ball Game

Foul or Fair Ball

by Ken
(Kissimmee, FL)

Base In Fair Territory

Base In Fair Territory

Ken asked:
The batter hit a ball down the third base line. The ball hit one time in the dirt between home and third in fair territory then bounced foul.

While the ball was still in the air the third baseman tried to catch the ball and missed. The play was called a foul ball.

I was under the impression that since the ball first bounced fair and had not touched the ground yet, it was still fair until it touched the ground.

Was the umpire's call correct? Thanks, Ken

Rick answered: Ken, thank you for your question!

Fair or foul on in this situation is determined by where the ball passed over third base.

When it first hit on fair ground, at that point it was a fair ball. Had the third baseman touched the ball in fair territory, it would still be fair, even if his touching it pushed it into foul ground.

If, when he attempted to catch it, he made no contact, then foul becomes determined on whether the ball is on or over fair ground when bounding to the outfield past first or third base.

If, after the 3B missed the ball, it fell on, or bounded past third base in foul territory, ball is foul.

If the umpire had inadvertently called it foul before the situation had played out, it would be foul, as his call creates a dead ball situation.

Yours in baseball,


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