It’s no secret that baseball is a game of skill, discipline, and structure. However, when it comes to the official rulebook, some guidelines may seemingly come out of the left field. While we all know the fundamentals of baseball, there are still several rules that direct the game behind the scenes. So, when you see a strange play, you might not immediately know what it means. These are some of the weirdest baseball rules from the official MLB rulebook and why they’re important to the game as a whole.
The Dropped Third Strike Rule
“Three strikes and you’re out” is the driving rule behind baseball, but even that has its exceptions. Should the catcher fail to catch the ball and it hits the ground on the batter’s third strike, they’re still allowed to run to first even though they struck out. Be sure to remember that the catcher can still recover and throw the ball to first to get the player out. So, should the first baseman receive the ball before the runner gets there, the out still stands.
Recording Four Outs in an Inning
With the bases loaded and two recorded outs on the docket, you’d think that everything is over following that third out. However, the action might not stop there. If a running player fails to touch a base during the runs, the defensive team can appeal any runs scored. Because of this, they may already have the third out, but the revisiting of the play makes room for a fourth forced out to occur. In this scenario, it’s possible to negate a run and put on the record that the offensive team received four outs that inning.
The Infield Fly Rule
Another weird baseball rule to know from the official MLB rulebook is the infield fly rule. This ruling determines that a batter is still out even if none of the infield players catch their pop-up hit. But this rule only goes into effect under certain conditions:
- Must have loaded bases or have runners on first and second
- There must be no outs in the inning
- The batter has to have hit a pop-up over the infield
This strict rule is in place to prevent a double run by the offense and a potential double play by the defense.
The Hidden Ball Trick
There’s even a bit of sneakiness in the official MLB rulebook. The hidden ball trick helps get an out even after the runner has made it to the base. The baseman pretends to throw the ball and tags the runner when they happen to step off the base. This is a fully legal action, except that the basemen are no longer allowed to put the ball in their pocket.
No DHs in the Bullpen
Should a team need a stand-in hitter for a player, they appoint a designated hitter before the game begins. However, the designated hitter can’t sit in the bullpen with the rest of the team. The only exception to this is if the designated hitter is also serving as the team’s catcher.
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