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I was watching a game and the bases were loaded. The batter hit pop up foul ball near first base in play. The first baseman dropped the ball and the game moved on. Isn't this a live ball when the first baseman dropped it, meaning the runners could have advanced instead of the at bat continue

  • Follow-up question: is an error charged to the first baseman (assuming it was an easy catch)? I believe the answer is yes. I once saw Sam Horn drop two pop-ups in one inning (one was foul). – jahroy May 31 '13 at 6:46
  • @jahroy please ask a separate question and link to this question for reference – user527 May 31 '13 at 13:26
  • @edmastermind29 - Um... nevermind. It's a yes/no question that can easily be researched in about a second. The answer is yes. I couldn't remember the answer for a moment, so I figured I'd add it to the conversation... – jahroy May 31 '13 at 18:41
  • @jahroy I wasn't aware. I thought it would be a judgment call. Thanks for adding. – user527 May 31 '13 at 19:01
  • @edmastermind29 - Well... all errors are judgement calls by the scorekeeper. The question was "can there be an error on a foul _ball" (is an error charged to the first baseman (assuming it was an easy catch)?). The answer is yes. – jahroy May 31 '13 at 19:13
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Isn't this a live ball when the first baseman dropped it, meaning the runners could have advanced instead of the at bat continue?

This is a dead ball and runners return to their respective bases. See Rule 5.09(e) below.


Rule 2.00 in the 2013 MLB Official Baseball Rules state (emphasis mine):

A FOUL BALL is

  • a batted ball that settles on foul territory between home and first base, or
  • between home and third base, or
  • that bounds past first or third base on or over foul territory, or
  • that first falls on foul territory beyond first or third base, or
  • that, while on or over foul territory, touches the person of an umpire or player, or
  • any object foreign to the natural ground

A foul fly shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the infielder is on foul or fair territory at the time he touches the ball.

Rule 5.09 (emphasis mine):

The ball becomes dead and runners advance one base, or return to their bases, without liability to be put out, when—

  • e) A foul ball is not caught, in which case runners return to their bases. The umpire-in-chief shall not put the ball in play until all runners have retouched their bases
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    Additional note is that if the player catches the foul ball, runners are allowed to tag and attempt to advance. This is why on a rare occasion a fielder will intentionally drop a foul ball. – Jacob G May 24 '13 at 15:27

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