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Baseball  
FAIR OR FOUL BALL RULE
Home plate is in fair territory and is treated like the ground. There is nothing special about it.

There is nothing special about the pitcher's rubber. It is part of the ground. If a ball hits it and bounces foul before passing first or third it is a foul ball.

Home plate and all the bases are in fair territory. Any batted ball that touches first, second or third is a fair ball. A ball that settles on home plate is a fair ball. A ball that hits home plate first is NOT a FOUL ball.

Two different criteria apply to judging fair or foul balls:
  • Balls that FIRST touch the ground or a player in the OUTFIELD and
  • Balls that FIRST touch the ground or a player in the INFIELD


A ball that first touches the ground, or a player or an umpire in the outfield, is judged to be fair or foul based upon the relationship between the ball and the line at the instant the ball touches the ground, player or umpire. The location of the player or umpire's body or feet have nothing to do with the judgment. It's where the ball is in relation to the ground. The outfield is fair and foul territory beyond first or third base.

A ball that first touches the ground in the infield (in fair or foul territory) before first or third base, is not judged to be fair or foul until it stops or is touched by a player or an umpire or bounds beyond first or third base, or touches first or third base, or passes over first or third base. If it hits the ground on the home plate side of first or third and passes over the base on its way to the outfield; it is a fair ball. It may first touch the ground in foul territory and it is still not judged fair or foul until it stops or is touched or goes beyond first or third base. Example: ball touches the ground behind home plate, does not touch the catcher and spins into fair ground and stops. This is a FAIR ball.
A fair or foul ball shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line, and not as to whether the fielder is on fair or foul territory at the time he touches the ball.
The instant the ball is touched you draw an imaginary vertical line from the ball to the ground. If the imaginary line touches foul territory, it is a foul ball, if fair territory, it is a fair ball. The position of the fielder's feet or body is of no consequence.

The ball may roll back and forth (within the infield) between fair and foul territory an unlimited number of times, and it is not declared fair or foul until it stops or is touched. Where the ball is when it is touched determines the judgment, not where the fielder is. The infield is both fair and foul territory within first and third base.

A pitch that hits the batter's bat is a batted ball. It doesn't matter whether he was swinging at the pitch or ducking away from it. The ball is judged fair or foul based on what happens to it after it hits the bat, based on the previously stated explanations.

See FAIR BALL and FOUL BALL in the Official Baseball Rules

Submitted by: Jim Booth


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