Take me out to the ball game?
July 8, 2008 6:51 AM   Subscribe

I find myself mysteriously drawn to, of all things, baseball. It's kind of awesome! Unfortunately, there are some things I still don't quite understand...

So, with basketball, hockey and football all done and gone, I found myself sitting on the couch a couple weeks ago playing World of Warcraft and watching, of all things, Major League Baseball!

I've never really been a baseball fan before - I always lamented it as being somewhat boring and slow. I'm not sure if it's just because it feels like the only game in town lately, or if some sort of genetic marker has flipped.. but for whatever the reason, I'm kind of digging on watching the Detroit Tigers.

Except, there's a couple of things I don't really get. I mean, there are a lot of things I don't really get, but I figure a lot of that is nuanced stuff that will come down the line as I watch it more regularly.... so I will keep my questions to the basic stuff.

1. Baseball (not unlike every other sport, I guess) seems like a game where every single statistic that can be recorded is recorded. Now, obviously every player has a batting average. If I understand the batting average correctly, it's the percentage of time that a player gets a hit (a single, double, triple or home run) when he steps to the plate. Gotcha.

Now, is there a statistic in baseball that tracks the percentage of the time a player makes contact with the ball and sends it into the field of play and it results in an out versus a hit?

Does that make sense? I was watching a player bat the other day, and in like three consecutive trips through the rotation he sent a fly ball into the outfield and it was caught and it was an out. And I thought to myself, "Self, there has to be a statistic that's different than the batting average that tracks the percentage of time he hits the ball and it results in a hit versus an out." I suppose if I think about this too hard it gets a little hard to define, what with foul balls and so on and so forth, so I refined it to "hits the ball into the field of play and it results in a hit versus an out"..

2. If I'm playing defense - say, second base - are there any rules about getting out of the way of the runner if I don't have the ball, or can I obstruct his path to the bag?

3. When the hell can a player advance from one base to another?

I know, it seems like the most obvious of questions, but I have trouble with it. Obviously if a player gets a hit he advances to one of the bases. But once he's on base, under what conditions can he run? Under what conditions can he steal? I was under the impression that a player could only advance if another player made a hit - but then what's the deal with the sacrifice fly? Isn't that getting an out for the purposes of advancing a runner? I could have sworn I've seen players run the bases on a hit, and then turn around and slink back when the ball was caught....

Yes, I need some help.
posted by kbanas to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (43 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
1a. Batting average, which is not a tremendously useful statistic, is the percentage of official at-bats in which the batter reaches base safely. A walk or hit-by-pitch, for example, is not counted as an at-bat and so does not affect batting average.

1b. Yes, that would be BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play), but it's largely a function of luck. If a player hits a ball well, whether it results in an out or a base hit is largely out of his control, so this stat is not widely used in that way.
posted by rokusan at 7:06 AM on July 8, 2008


2. The runner "owns" the basepath. If you prevent him from moving up or down the basepath, you can be charged with fielder's interference and the runner will be awarded the base, canceling any out you may have achieved. This applies with or without the ball, and this rule was recently amended to make it even more annoying and runner-friendly.
posted by rokusan at 7:07 AM on July 8, 2008


1) Now, is there a statistic in baseball that tracks the percentage of the time a player makes contact with the ball and sends it into the field of play and it results in an out versus a hit?

As far as I know there isn't a statistic for this but you can calculate it yourself by subtracting the number of hits and strikeouts a batter has from his total number of at-bats.

2) If I'm playing defense - say, second base - are there any rules about getting out of the way of the runner if I don't have the ball, or can I obstruct his path to the bag?

You would have move out of the way.


3) When the hell can a player advance from one base to another?


He can run whenever he wants, it's not really as easy as it looks to advance bases.

I could have sworn I've seen players run the bases on a hit, and then turn around and slink back when the ball was caught....


Let's say there is a runner on third base. The batter hits the ball a mile into the air into left field until it is eventually caught by the outfielder. In order to prevent the runner on third from simply strolling home while the ball was in there air there is a rule that the runner has to remain on the base until the ball is caught before he can advance to home. If the baserunner leaves the base early then the left fielder can throw it to the third basemen who can touch the bag for an out.
posted by Kevbo947 at 7:08 AM on July 8, 2008


1: This is likely not a useful enough statistic to bother measuring as far as the common fan is concerned, but I have no doubt that every team's pro scouts keep track of this. They even keep track of where (i.e. what part of the field) those pop-ups tend to occur so the managers can direct their players where to stand when certain batters come up to the plate.

2. Yes, the fielders will be called for interference if they obstruct the basepaths. The exception is when they are making a play.

3. Technically, the base runners can advance at any time the ball is in play. They can steal when the pitcher is in his wind-up, they can run after any hit, and can advance after a fielding overthrow.
posted by rocket88 at 7:10 AM on July 8, 2008


Oh yeah, if the runner advances home from third after the ball is caught by the left fielder then that's considered a sacrifice fly and the batter's "at-bat" isn't recorded but he still get's credited with the "run batted in" or RBI.

Hope I helped :]
posted by Kevbo947 at 7:11 AM on July 8, 2008


3. Tricky and complicated. In general, he can advance at will when the ball is in-play. But a fly ball that is caught (whether after 10 feet or 300) is considered to occur instantly which means he cannot begin to advance until after it is caught. The time the ball is in flight is "zero", so a runner advancing while a ball is in the air does it at great peril, since if the ball is caught, he needs to retreat to his original base BEFORE advancing. That is the "slinking" you saw... he advanced perhaps halfway to see whether the ball fell or not. If it fell, he could continue. If caught, he would need to retreat to "tag up" to start his advance in legal time.

Stealing can happen because the ball is in play. The pitcher is pitching. Advancing on a fly happens as a side effect of the "zero time" above. Once the ball is caught, time is "in" again, and the runner may advance at risk.

Yes, a sacrifice fly (or sacrifice hit aka "bunt") is exactly an out for the purpose of advancing a runner. That's the "sacrifice" part. You give up an out (yourself) to advance a runner.
posted by rokusan at 7:12 AM on July 8, 2008


Sorry...missed the bit about sacrifice fly. As kevbo said, baserunners have to tag back to their base after a pop fly and can only advance after the fielder catches (or drops) the ball.
posted by rocket88 at 7:14 AM on July 8, 2008


Rocket88, sorry but...

This is likely not a useful enough statistic to bother measuring...
It's BABIP, a mature and extremely important statistic, but not for evaluating hitters.

The exception is when they are making a play.
No, a fielder with the ball may still not block a baseline, and the runner creates his own baseline.

They can steal when the pitcher is in his wind-up, they can run after any hit, and can advance after a fielding overthrow.
They do not need to wait for the wind-up, nor for an overthrow. If a fielder has the ball and time is in play, they may run.
posted by rokusan at 7:17 AM on July 8, 2008


1. There's no named statistic, but I'm sure the big-name stats databases could produce the numbers for you. Of course, that costs money.

2. MLB Rule 7.06 covers this situation as "obstruction".

3. So this is tricky. On a ball that touches ground before being handled by a fielder, the runner can advance at will. For base stealing, you can only run starting with the moment the pitcher "commits" to throwing a pitch (this is a technical term; once the pitcher has assumed a certain stance and gone through certain motions, he must deliver a pitch, and to do otherwise is a balk). Those are the easy cases.

Fly balls are a bit more complicated. The reason for the complexity is fairness: suppose you're on first base, and I hit a long fly ball to the outfield which will eventually be caught. You take off running as soon as I hit the ball, and odds are you could make it to third base or maybe even score before the ball is caught and thrown back to the infield for use in putting you out. If baseball worked that way, that's all people would do: get a guy on base, hit a long fly ball to let him run, repeat.

So baseball imposes a twist: on a fly ball, a runner who's already on base can only safely start running after the ball is caught. If you take off before that, and the ball's caught, you have to get back to your original base before the ball does (called "tagging up") or you're out. This restores some balance to what would otherwise be a lopsided advantage to the offensive side of the game. It's still a useful tactic at times, which is why the "sacrifice fly" is tracked as a statistic: there are plenty of cases where just advancing a runner by one base is of huge importance.

And this leads into one of the most fun quirks of the game: the infield fly rule. This rule is intended to prevent, basically, trickery on the part of the defensive team: there are situations where, because runners are holding near their bases in anticipation of a fly ball being caught, an infielder could deliberately drop a fly ball, setting up easy double or even triple plays (since on a dropped fly ball, tagging up doesn't apply, the runners are forced to advance, and it'll be easy to get the ball to the next base ahead of them). Baseball works around this by declaring that, if there are runners on first and second base and fewer than two outs, any fly ball which could reasonably be caught by an infielder automatically puts the batter out, regardless of whether it's actually caught.
posted by ubernostrum at 7:19 AM on July 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


As mentioned, BABIP measures pretty much what you described. Its function is more to measure how lucky a batter has been, though. If a batter's BABIP is abnormally high, it does not mean that he's particularly good at hitting the ball between fielders. It means that he's been lucky in that his hits have just happened to split fielders. Sabermetricians will then predict that his luck will eventually change, and that his overall performance will go down as things regress. The reverse is true if the batter's BABIP is abnormally low. The sum BABIP of batters facing a particular pitcher is also used to measure how lucky or unlucky the pitcher has been. It's actually a very useful statistic in the hands of those who know how to use it, but specifically because it doesn't directly measure a skill.
posted by aswego at 7:20 AM on July 8, 2008


The exception is when they are making a play.

No, a fielder with the ball may still not block a baseline, and the runner creates his own baseline.


I think he meant that a runner can abandon the baseline if it is blocked by a fielder attempting to field a ball.

The rule:
Any runner is out when—
(a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely
To the OP: If you feel up to it, the entire rules of baseball can be found at the MLB.com site. Fascinating document, actually, as the rules were shaped and re-shaped by exceptions and strange plays.
posted by muddgirl at 7:22 AM on July 8, 2008


And before it comes up.... the catcher blocking the plate is a frequently-tolerated violation of blocking the runner. In theory, the catcher may not actually block the baseline or plate itself, but in practice this is tolerated as a bit of a throwback to an older, rougher era of baseball. The collision at the plate is enough of a baseball "tradition" that it's unlikely to be enforced away anytime soon.
posted by rokusan at 7:22 AM on July 8, 2008


I think he meant that a runner can abandon the baseline if it is blocked by a fielder attempting to field a ball.

Yeah that's what "the runner makes his own baseline" means, though I realize it's sort of obtuse-sounding. It's jargon stuck in my head. Cliche, even. :)

This has been a contentious rule this very season, as the rule was tweaked last year and it's been abused by a few runners this year... which drives speculation it will be further tweaked before next season.
posted by rokusan at 7:24 AM on July 8, 2008


3. They can't advance on a foul ball. This is probably most of the instances you are seeing them slink back to the base. They can't advance on a pop up until after the ball is either caught or hits the ground.

You'll see a runner take a lead a few yards off the base in case it's a ground ball in order to to give them more time to get to the next base. If it pops up, they'll retreat back to the base to "tag up", and wait until it's either caught, missed or dropped (or over thrown, or ...) before staying or running.
posted by yeti at 7:26 AM on July 8, 2008


yeti, actually you can advance on a ball caught in the air in foul territory, so long as you leave your base after the moment of the catch. If you leave prior to the catch, you must tag up as normal.
posted by ubernostrum at 7:31 AM on July 8, 2008


Also, for a fun potential situation that points out the importance of knowing just when the play is and isn't over, see the comment on Rule 7.08(a) about inadvertently "abandoning the effort" to run the bases.
posted by ubernostrum at 7:33 AM on July 8, 2008


Wow! This has all been extraordinary interesting - especially the bit about the rules regarding running the bases. Thanks for all the great answers!
posted by kbanas at 7:35 AM on July 8, 2008


1. Baseball (not unlike every other sport, I guess) seems like a game where every single statistic that can be recorded is recorded. Now, obviously every player has a batting average. If I understand the batting average correctly, it's the percentage of time that a player gets a hit (a single, double, triple or home run) when he steps to the plate. Gotcha.

Batting average is hits per at bat. The number of times that you have an opportunity to hit at the plate is called plate appearances. This the not the same as AB (At Bats). At Bats are plate appearances minus non-qualifying appearances (sacrifice, walks).

I was watching a player bat the other day, and in like three consecutive trips through the rotation he sent a fly ball into the outfield and it was caught and it was an out. And I thought to myself, "Self, there has to be a statistic that's different than the batting average that tracks the percentage of time he hits the ball and it results in a hit versus an out." I suppose if I think about this too hard it gets a little hard to define, what with foul balls and so on and so forth, so I refined it to "hits the ball into the field of play and it results in a hit versus an out".


No, those kind of statistics are not readily available and are not kept my MLB. A player is given a batting average, there are no specialties. If you want more specialized and obscure statistics try Bill James and the Bill James Baseball Abstracts.

2. If I'm playing defense - say, second base - are there any rules about getting out of the way of the runner if I don't have the ball, or can I obstruct his path to the bag?

You cannot obstruct the base path.

3. When the ball is in-play you can advance at your own peril. You can run base to base as long as you want as long as they don't tag you out. If a batted ball is caught in the air all runners must return to the base they were at, then they may run at their own peril.

signed Mr. LoriFLA
posted by LoriFLA at 7:41 AM on July 8, 2008


he advanced perhaps halfway to see whether the ball fell or not
FYI - a good player will not look to see if the ball fell. S/he will look to the third base coach who will be watching and will signal what the runner should do. This way, the runner can advance or retreat with maximum speed and/or safety.
posted by plinth at 7:43 AM on July 8, 2008


And before it comes up.... the catcher blocking the plate is a frequently-tolerated violation of blocking the runner. In theory, the catcher may not actually block the baseline or plate itself, but in practice this is tolerated as a bit of a throwback to an older, rougher era of baseball. The collision at the plate is enough of a baseball "tradition" that it's unlikely to be enforced away anytime soon.

That's not really true, either. There is an explicit exception to the rule in cases where the catcher has possession of the ball and is guarding home plate. Otherwise, obstruction.
NOTE: The catcher, without the ball in his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score. The base line belongs to the runner and the catcher should be there only when he is fielding a ball or when he already has the ball in his hand.

7.07 If, with a runner on third base and trying to score by means of a squeeze play or a steal, the catcher or any other fielder steps on, or in front of home base without possession of the ball, or touches the batter or his bat, the pitcher shall be charged with a balk, the batter shall be awarded first base on the interference and the ball is dead.
Emphasis is mine.
posted by muddgirl at 7:43 AM on July 8, 2008


(LoriFLA's #3 answer is most succinct and I am now jealous. Well said.)
posted by rokusan at 7:45 AM on July 8, 2008


Muddgirl, I meant that though illegal, the catcher's blocking of the plate is by tradition tolerated long before the ball arrives. They "set up", and then turn to receive a throw that may arrive.

I was muddying (sorry) by introducing an issue of application, which in hindsight probably doesn't belong in what is an already-confusing thread. :)
posted by rokusan at 7:47 AM on July 8, 2008


rokusan:

1. BABIP is an obscure, rarely referenced stat and also doesn't cover what the OP was asking for.

2. No, a fielder with the ball may still not block a baseline, and the runner creates his own baseline.
Nope. Rule 7.08(b): "A runner is out when he intentionally interferes with a thrown ball; or hinders a fielder attempting to make a play on a batted ball"

3. They do not need to wait for the wind-up, nor for an overthrow. If a fielder has the ball and time is in play, they may run.

That's why I prefaced that with "the base runners can advance at any time the ball is in play"
posted by rocket88 at 8:20 AM on July 8, 2008


Rocket88:

2. No, a fielder with the ball may still not block a baseline, and the runner creates his own baseline.
Nope. Rule 7.08(b): "A runner is out when he intentionally interferes with a thrown ball; or hinders a fielder attempting to make a play on a batted ball"


No. That's a batted ball that the fielder is fielding and has not yet played.

Once fielded, a fielder with or without a ball may still not block a runner, who defines his own baseline. If they do it's obstruction.
posted by rokusan at 8:42 AM on July 8, 2008


1) Now, is there a statistic in baseball that tracks the percentage of the time a player makes contact with the ball and sends it into the field of play and it results in an out versus a hit?

Kevbo947 wrote: As far as I know there isn't a statistic for this but you can calculate it yourself by subtracting the number of hits and strikeouts a batter has from his total number of at-bats.


You would have to subtract his number of walks and HBPs (hit by pitch), as well. If it were an actually maintained stat, it might also have to be refined by the number of unearned

As as side point, both the number of strikeouts and walks, relative to at bats, tell a story. Babe Ruth frequently led the league in strikeouts during his career, while also leading in home runs. So striking out often is a byproduct of being good at clearing the fences, although it can also mean misjudging the pitches too often. Thus a great home run swatter can be a detriment to the team at times by striking out, failing to get on base therefore costing a potential run and accelerating the end of the inning. Getting a lot of non-intentional walks is a sign of having a "good eye" and not swinging at balls, and benefits the team by producing potential runs.
posted by beagle at 8:42 AM on July 8, 2008



BABIP is increasingly trendy among stat-heads, and especially fantasy players- it's a good way to identify lucky (sell high) and unlucky (buy low) guys.

As for fly balls/sacs, two things to look out for:

- Announcers typically only refer to a "sac fly" as one that advances a runner from 3rd to home. It's not counted as an at-bat, but does grant an RBI- the idea is that unlike other times, a batter will often try to hit a nice, lazy fly ball to the outfield because all but the slowest of runners can score from third that way.

- On a full count with 2 outs, baserunners will start running as soon as the pitcher goes. The idea is that the next pitch will either be a strike (inning over), a ball (walk, runners advance one and only one base automatically), a foul (do-over), or in play. So there's no "steal" you can be caught at, and you won't need to "tag up" because a caught fly ends the inning.
posted by mkultra at 8:45 AM on July 8, 2008


1. BABIP is an obscure, rarely referenced stat and also doesn't cover what the OP was asking for.

It is by definition EXACTLY what the OP asked for: "a statistic in baseball that tracks the percentage of the time a player makes contact with the ball and sends it into the field of play and it results in an out versus a hit."

The fact it isn't a meaningful indication of hitting prowess has been well-addressed.

As for "obscure" and "rarely referenced"... well that just, like, your opinion, dude. :)

(I deal with BABIP almost every day. You don't. Shrug.)
posted by rokusan at 8:45 AM on July 8, 2008


BABIP, in a way, is useful for measuring a player's luck. The average is somewhat around .300, and if the player's BABIP is either high above .300 or below it, then the player is either getting lucky, or hitting a lot of pop ups. (There are other stats to measure which of those are happening).

The information is actually really easy to come by (and free)... Go to Baseball-Reference and search for a player. On their page, select splits (it lets you select a specific year). BABIP is on the far right.
posted by drezdn at 8:54 AM on July 8, 2008


For base stealing, you can only run starting with the moment the pitcher "commits" to throwing a pitch

I could be wrong but I thought this was a softball rule, not a baseball rule. In MLB you can steal a base anytime you like, no matter what the pitcher is doing or committing to, as long as the ball is in play.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:58 AM on July 8, 2008


A good explanation of BABIP.
posted by drezdn at 8:58 AM on July 8, 2008


Get Watching Baseball Smarter - it's a good reference on baseball rules, statistics, records, traditions, and superstitions in layman's terms.
posted by kidsleepy at 9:08 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you're in anyway interested in the rules of baseball, how they got to be that way, and the famous exceptions that prove the rules, I highly recommend picking up The Official Rules of Baseball Illustrated by David Nemec. It'll give you a nice overview of the entire sport with a lot of fun anecdotes.
posted by turaho at 9:10 AM on July 8, 2008


It is by definition EXACTLY what the OP asked for: "a statistic in baseball that tracks the percentage of the time a player makes contact with the ball and sends it into the field of play and it results in an out versus a hit."

Which would be the inverse of BABIP if BABIP didn't exclude home runs. As far as I know that stat doen't exist.
posted by rocket88 at 9:13 AM on July 8, 2008


It is by definition EXACTLY what the OP asked for: "a statistic in baseball that tracks the percentage of the time a player makes contact with the ball and sends it into the field of play and it results in an out versus a hit."

Which would be the inverse of BABIP if BABIP didn't exclude home runs. As far as I know that stat doen't exist.

Jesus.... the OP asked about hits "sent into the field of play" which, yes, excludes home runs!

And BABIP excludes home runs.

Hello?
posted by rokusan at 9:27 AM on July 8, 2008


Just a few add-ons:

A nice statistic for a player's overall offensive worth is called OPS, which is actually a melding of two stats.
O = On-Base Percentage. This means the amount of times a player reaches base safely per plate appearance, including hits, walks and hit-by-pitches. This is usually significantly higher than batting average. You want it to be AT LEAST above .350
P = Plus
S = Slugging. This is a variation of the batting average, where doubles count as two hits, triples as three, and HR as four. .500 is about where you want that to be.

For example, David Wright currently has a .288 average, which is low for him. But he's getting on base at about a .380 clip and is slugging around .520, which gives him a highly respectable .900-ish OPS. This separates him from a guy who doesn't draw many walks and doesn't hit for power. They might have the same .288 average, but without walks and extra-base hits, the other hitter is less productive and would have a lower OPS.

Also, NEVER judge pitchers by wins and losses. They are entirely too dependent on how many runs their offense produced to support them. ERA (runs per 9 innings pitched) and WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) are much better indicators, as is the strikeout/walk ratio, though not all pitchers are strikeout pitchers.

Nobody touched on the issue of a "force" on the runner when advancing on a hit. A runner at first, when the ball is hit on the ground, HAS to run to second, because the batter is coming towards first and can't retreat to home. However, if the same ball is hit on the ground with a runner on second, he can run or hold up at his leisure, depending on what suits his team best. If there is a force on the runner to advance, they can be gotten out merely by touching the base ahead of them while holding the ball. If there is no force on the runner, such as a man on second heading home on a single, they have to be tagged out before reaching the base. Double-plays happen because the runner on first is forced to second, where the middle infielder steps on the base, then throws to first to get the force there. Maybe you knew this already, so sorry.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 9:29 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are there rules about when a pitcher can throw the ball? I mean, batters take forever getting into their stance. Can the pitcher throw the ball anytime the guy is in the box, or does he have to wait for the batter to be ready? And if so, how does he know?
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:05 AM on July 8, 2008


If the batter is not ready he'll call time and the ump will put his arms up (and the batter will usually step out of the Batter's Box). Batters will stop out of the box sometimes just to upset the pitcher's timing.
posted by drezdn at 10:10 AM on July 8, 2008


They are entirely too dependent on how many runs their offense produced to support them.

Not to mention how...unpredictable (read: crappy) their support from relievers/closers can be.

/SF Giants fan
posted by rtha at 10:10 AM on July 8, 2008


A batter who is in the box can be thrown to. As long as the pitcher takes the rubber legally and pitches normally, it's tough luck for a "not ready" batter.

In theory, that shouldn't matter since the batter should be in the box... a batter cannot leave the box (not even between pitches) unless a time-out is granted.... though the application of this rule is very inconsistent, as time-outs are almost automatic, being granted something like 98 percent of the time. It is funny when a player asks for one, doesn't get it, but strolls away obliviously.
posted by rokusan at 10:11 AM on July 8, 2008


Doc Suarez is right about OPS, kbanas. Of all the "non-obscure" statistics, its probably the best loose measure of a hitter's performance. It's common enough that it often appears on TV graphics and in newspapers.

It's most definitely better than Batting Average, which is still clung to as a sort of habit.
posted by rokusan at 10:13 AM on July 8, 2008


You can indeed advance on a foul ball if it's caught for an out. The same tag-up rules apply. That's something that can get interesting late in a tight game, because an outfielder has to weigh the risk of catching a deep foul if there's a runner on third. Sure, you'll get the out, but chances are that runner will score easily. I remember this being discussed in game 7 of the 2001 World Series, when the Yankees had failed to protect a one run lead in the bottom of the ninth, and the game was tied. They had one out and the was a runner on third. If the batter were to hit a deep fly ball into foul territory, it would have been suicide for the outfielder to make the catch, since the runner on third would have scored easily to win the game. (As it was, the next batter (Craig Counsell) was HBP and then Luis Gonzalez lofted a soft blooper into center field to win.)
posted by azpenguin at 10:23 AM on July 8, 2008


The Nemec book turaho mentions is great, especially because it explains why all of baseballs non-intuitive rules are there. Seriously, you need that book.
posted by Opposite George at 3:55 PM on July 8, 2008


Announcers typically only refer to a "sac fly" as one that advances a runner from 3rd to home.

To clarify, according to the official rules, that's the only time a fly that moves a runner counts as a sacrifice.
posted by Opposite George at 3:59 PM on July 8, 2008


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