Infield Fly Rule for Dummies

(an explanation of a rather sophisticated rule)

The Infield Fly Rule has been devised by the Bureau for Obfuscation and Optional Desultory Confloption to deal with an unexpected loss of catcher’s concentration due to a fly landing on his nose.

The rule applies only if all of the below conditions are satisfied: there must be less than two outs, there must be a runner both on first and second bases, the pitcher must have a pitch-dark hair, it must be Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, the name of the catcher's mother must be Chloe and she must be a card carrying member of the Association of Radical Milliners. Most importantly, the fly in question has had to fly into the catcher’s mask from the direction of the infield as verified by a present entomologist or a certified insect connoisseur licensed to tell directions in which flies fly.

In this situation the catcher raises his left hand, signaling that the Infield Fly Rule is about to take effect. After the confirmation from an umpire, the catcher can scratch his nose and each of the runners advances to the next base. Unless the previous pitch was a fastball in which case the runners stay where they are, the catcher mustn’t scratch his nose and the hitter at bat tries to scare the fly off by blowing into the catcher’s mask. When the fly flies off, the game continues, unless the previous fastball resulted in a foul, in which case the runner at first advances to third, the runner at second stays and the fly is disposed of by calling in the nearest S.W.A.T. team. Unless it is the day after the presidential election, in which case the outcome of the play is decided by the Supreme Court (the Court usually counts the number of fly’s legs, including the hanging ones, and if the number is roughly odd, the full and unmitigated victory is granted to the home team, unless there is no home team in which case the Universe as we know it has probably ended and the whole point is moot).

If the reader acquired the impression that understanding this rule is as tricky as performing an acupuncture on a turtle, let me assure her that a Senate subcommittee is working around the clock on its simplification. It is hoped that the average time spent on learning, tolerating and practicing this rule, which currently stands at 14 hours and 37 minutes, will be reduced by at least 0.15% by the end of 2010. However, since most of the staff working on this project were reassigned from the Tax Code Elucidation Committee, the results may vary. Or something.

Technical remark: As Cher declined to participate in this project, the accompanying photo doesn't present a catcher, but only a cat. We appologize for the confusion.

© 2004  Jan Rehacek



The Book of Cardinals 2004

Part II.

Inning: 4

This text is the result of my frustration with the overuse of the word "unless" in the baseball rules. Unless it is the result of something else.


Part I. Namesakes
1. Cardinal Stritch University
2. Cardinal, Virginia
3. Cardinal Systems
4. Vatican Cardinals
5. Tantoo Cardinal
6. Arizona Cardinals
7. Cardinal Numbers
8. Cardinal Bar
9. Cardinal Fish

Part II. 7th Inning Stretch of Imagination
1. What's In A Name?
2. Nine Amendments For Extreme Motorists
3. Better Butter For Bitter Batter
4. Infield Fly Rule For Dummies
5. How To Wash Red Socks Properly
6. My Kingdom For A Pitcher!
7. East St Louis Vacations Inc
8. Are You A Cardinals Fan?
9. Banbury Cross

Part III. Three Dreams
1. Dodgers: The Robbery
2. Dodgers: The Handshake
3. Dodgers: The Shower
4. Astros: The Flight
5. Astros: The Homer
6. Astros: The Ritual
7. Red Sox: The Comedy
8. Red Sox: The Drama
9. Red Sox: The Heartbreak