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Foul tip off the plate

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If you foul tip a pitch and it bounces off the plate and lands in fair territory, is it a fair ball?

Special umpire question: With the catcher blocking your view, how do you know if a ball has hit off of home plate? Does it make a special sound?



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First, let me get technical. :rolleyes:

Dig out your rule book and read the definition of a "foul tip." It is a batted ball that goes sharply and directly (think "in a straight line") from the bat to the catcher's hands or mitt, then is subsequently legally caught by the catcher. The catch of the ball must meet all of the defininitions of legal catch- there's another good definition to look up!

Only when that happens do you have an honest-to-goodness, by-the-book, actual "foul tip." A true foul tip is treated exactly like a swing and a miss. The ball remains live and a strike is charged to the batter.

What you describe, with the ball hitting the plate, does not meet the rule book definition of a foul tip. Rather, this is nothing more than a common, ordinary batted ball. That the ball struck home plate is of no special relevence. The plate is entirely in fair territory and, on a batted ball, it is treated just like any other patch of dirt on the playing field.

In fact, a ball could come off the bat, land right on top of the plate and just sit there and that would be a fair ball!

Whether the ball becomes fair or foul depends on where it eventually lands, settles or is first touched by a player—just like any other batted ball.

Special umpire answer to your special umpire question: Who cares? :)

As noted, a batted ball hitting the plate has no special bearing on the fair or foul call, so it's not really something the umpire has to be concerned about. There are plays where we might rely on sound to help us make a call, such as a hit batter (trying to determine if the ball hit the bat or the batter's hands) or catcher obstruction (bat hits mitt on swing). While we can't always rely on sound alone, it can be one piece of evidence, in conjunction with what we see, that helps to form our judgment to make a call.

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