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Softball/Infield fly rule as pertains to the rover


In older age groups an 11th player, the rover, may be positioned anywhere from the skinned portion of the infield to normal outfielder depth, but is normally behind second at a depth which depends upon the hitter and baserunners. Local umpires have been given the guidance that if the rover is initially stationed on the grass that he is to be considered an outfielder and not subject to the infield fly rule.  

I believe that this guidance is faulty, and contrary to the intent of the rule, since the rover, even fairly deep behind second, is in a better position to profit from failure to catch a ball than is, for example, the first baseman behind his bag.

I would appreciate your views.

Hi John,

An IF as we all know is a batted fly ball that can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort with less than 2 outs and runner on 1st and 2nd or bases loaded.

The def of an infielder is a fielder who defends the area of the field around 1st,2nd 3rd or the ss areas.  If your rover is playing an area the defends the area around 2nd they would be an infielder, if not, an outfielder who by def defends the area of the field that the left, left center, right center and right fielders normally play.

As an example only, in coed you cannot play a 5 man (we would not let the rover defend the area around 2nd base) but you can play a rover farther back because that is a normally played position by an outfielder.

Everything depends on the batted ball, and if it can be caught w/ ordinary effort by an infielder (either your regular infielders or the rover playing as an infielder). It is of course the umpires judgment if they are one or the other. I guess they are using the "grass" to determine that, but that's not part of any book rule.

I agree a rover playing fairly deep behind 2nd has a fairly good opportunity to let a ball drop and try to turn a DP and in your case they are considered an outfielder but that's just part of the game.



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Dr. Mark R. Ambrose


I can answer all questions about book rules and "case book" rules governing the playing of ASA softball. Have a REAL situation that happened and are not sure the proper rule was applied, ask me.


I am a registered ASA umpire, a MASA "At-Large" umpire since 1996 and a retired District Umpire-In-Chief. I have very extensive experience in MASA State Championship and ASA national qualifying tournament play both as an umpire and an Umpire-In-Chief. I completed 3 ASA National Schools including the ASA national advanced umpire school in Ok City("Bernie" for those who know him was the lead clinician, I survived the week and couldn't let my kids watch the game tapes when I got home. No, I love you Bernie). I was one of 4 "Yankee" umpires selected to umpire the Men's D National East Championship in 2002 in Winter Haven FL

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