Baseball Foul Ball Rules

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Baseball can be a strange game. Fair and foul ball rules seem obvious at certain times but can be confusing at others. Normally, a ball that is hit foul to begin with will stay foul, but there are instances when a ground ball will roll into foul territory after it comes off the bat and then role back into fair territory before it reaches first or third base. In that case the ball is fair.

Infield grounders

  • Before each game, foul lines are drawn with chalk (or spray painted) down the first and third base lines. A ball that is on the line or inside the foul line is a fair ball. A ball that comes to rest on the foul line is a fair ball and is in play. A ground ball that goes into foul territory without being touched before it reaches either first or third base is a foul ball. A ball that starts off in foul territory and rolls back into fair territory before it reaches first or third base is fair. If a ball is in foul territory and appears to be rolling back into fair territory, a fielder can pick it up or stop it on its journey and keep it from becoming fair.

Outfield hits

  • If a fly ball is caught in foul territory, the hitter is out. If a ground ball goes into foul territory after it has passed first of third base, it is considered fair. If a ground ball curves back into fair territory after it has passed third base, it is foul.

Long hits

  • A ball that hits the the foul pole down the rightfield or leftfield line is considered a home run. The foul pole extends over the outfield fence. If the ball hits that pole, it is a home run. It does not matter if it hits the pole and bounces into foul territory. It is still a home run. A ball that curves to the outside of the pole and then curves back into fair territory is still a foul ball.

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