Monday, February 20, 2023

Types of Home Runs : Out of the Park

If a batted ball hits the foul pole (orange pole on the right), the ball is fair and a home run is awarded to the batter.

In modern times a home run is most often scored when the ball is hit over the outfield wall between the foul poles (in fair territory) before it touches the ground (in flight), and without being caught or deflected back onto the field by a fielder. A batted ball is also a home run if it touches either a foul pole or its attached screen before touching the ground, as the foul poles are by definition in fair territory. Additionally, many major-league ballparks have ground rules stating that a batted ball in flight that strikes a specified location or fixed object is a home run; this usually applies to objects that are beyond the outfield wall but are located such that it may be difficult for the umpire to judge.

In professional baseball, a batted ball that goes over the outfield wall after touching the ground (i.e. a ball that bounces over the outfield wall) becomes an automatic double. This is colloquially referred to as a "ground rule double" even though it is uniform across all of Major League Baseball, per MLB rules 5.05(a)(6) through 5.05(a)(9).

A fielder is allowed to reach over the wall to try to catch the ball as long as his feet are on or over the field during the attempt, and if the fielder successfully catches the ball while it is in flight the batter is out, even if the ball had already passed the vertical plane of the wall. However, since the fielder is not part of the field, a ball that bounces off a fielder (including his glove) and over the wall without touching the ground is still a home run. A fielder may not deliberately throw his glove, cap, or any other equipment or apparel to stop or deflect a fair ball, and an umpire may award a home run to the batter if a fielder does so on a ball that, in the umpire's judgment, would have otherwise been a home run (this is rare in modern professional baseball).

A home run accomplished in any of the above manners is an automatic home run. The ball is dead, even if it rebounds back onto the field (e.g., from striking a foul pole), and the batter and any preceding runners cannot be put out at any time while running the bases. However, if one or more runners fail to touch a base or one runner passes another before reaching home plate, that runner or runners can be called out on appeal, though in the case of not touching a base a runner can go back and touch it if doing so will not cause them to be passed by another preceding runner and they have not yet touched the next base (or home plate in the case of missing third base). This stipulation is in Approved Ruling (2) of Rule 7.10(b).

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