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In baseball, if a hit ball lands just inside the foul line (fair), but then bounces out (foul), what is it ruled as?

The flip case: if a ball lands foul, but it hits a patch of grass or whatever and bounces fair, what it is?

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These definitions from MLB should help clarify the situations. Here is the link to the source site: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/definition_terms_2.jsp

If a ball first lands foul beyond first or third base it is foul

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 2.00 (Foul Ball) Comment: A batted ball not touched by a fielder, which hits the pitchers rubber and rebounds into foul territory, between home and first, or between home and third base is a foul ball.

A ball that lands foul and moves to fair territory before first or third base is fair. The key in the above definition is the word settles.

A FOUL BALL is a batted ball that settles on foul territory between home and first base, or between home and third base

Another rule states

If a declared Infield Fly is allowed to fall untouched to the ground, and bounces foul before passing first or third base, it is a foul ball. If a declared Infield Fly falls untouched to the ground outside the baseline, and bounces fair before passing first or third base, it is an Infield Fly.

If a ball lands fair in the outfield (past first or third base) it is considered fair no matter where it bounces or rolls.

A FAIR BALL is a batted ball that settles on fair ground between home and first base, or between home and third base, or that is on or over fair territory when bounding to the outfield past first or third base, or that touches first, second or third base, or that first falls on fair territory on or beyond first base or third base, or that, while on or over fair territory touches the person of an umpire or player, or that, while over fair territory, passes out of the playing field in flight. A fair 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 fielder is on fair or foul territory at the time he touches the ball. Rule 2.00 (Fair Ball) Comment: If a fly ball lands in the infield between home and first base, or home and third base, and then bounces to foul territory without touching a player or umpire and before passing first or third base, it is a foul ball; or if the ball settles on foul territory or is touched by a player on foul territory, it is a foul ball. If a fly ball lands on or beyond first or third base and then bounces to foul territory, it is a fair hit. Clubs, increasingly, are erecting tall foul poles at the fence line with a wire netting extending along the side of the pole on fair territory above the fence to enable the umpires more accurately to judge fair and foul balls.

As seen above if the ball makes contact with a player, umpire or foreign object before hitting the ground is considered fair. However a ball that lands fair before first or third base can then roll or bounce foul as long as it is untouched and moves to foul territory before first or third is considered foul.

These definitions for fair and foul territory may also help.

FAIR TERRITORY is that part of the playing field within, and including the first base and third base lines, from home base to the bottom of the playing field fence and perpendicularly upwards. All foul lines are in fair territory.

FOUL TERRITORY is that part of the playing field outside the first and third base lines extended to the fence and perpendicularly upwards.

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    I don't think your first comment is right. I think if a ball lands foul before passing first or third base, it can roll back into fair territory before passing the base and be fair (as long as no foreign object touches it first). – Wesley Bland Nov 3 '14 at 20:44
  • Agree with Wesley. While it's not 100% clear, you can see that it is intended to be this way from the Infield Fly rule: * If a declared Infield Fly falls untouched to the ground outside the baseline, and bounces fair before passing first or third base, it is an Infield Fly.* IE, it becomes treated as if it were fair, even if it initially lands foul. You can also see this from the actions of catchers/fielders who are watching a bunted ball roll foul; once it is foul, they hit the ball with their glove to make it 'stay' foul, to make sure it doesn't roll back fair. – Joe Nov 3 '14 at 22:00
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Short answer: if a batted ball is in foul territory and crosses back into fair territory before passing the 1st/3rd base (without the influence of a fielder), it is fair. If it passes back into fair territory after the base, it's foul.

Conversely, if a batted ball is fair but then proceeds to cross over into foul territory prior to passing the base (and without the influence of a fielder), it is declared foul as soon as it passes that base.

If it's a fly ball that bends around a bag while in the air, it all depends on whether the ball hits the ground in fair or foul territory once behind the bag.

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