The Sacrifice Fly – A Diatribe

As long-time readers of this blog can attest to, there is nothing in the rules of baseball that I despise more than Rule 10.08(d), which states:

The official scorer shall:

(d) Score a sacrifice fly when, before two are out, the batter hits a ball in flight handled by an outfielder or an infielder running in the outfield in fair or foul territory that
(1) is caught, and a runner scores after the catch, or
(2) is dropped, and a runner scores, if in the scorer’s judgment the runner could have scored after the catch had the fly been caught.

P.S. Don’t believe Wikipedia as to which rules affect what… they cite Rule 10.09(e), which doesn’t exist. Another argument why Wikipedia should be used sparingly for research.

So, what’s my problem with the sacrifice fly? It scores a run, which I should like (I do like it). It allows scrappy players the ability to get an RBI on a put-out, which I should like (I do). However, it also allows that same scrappy player to avoid any consequences for making that out, which I should also like (which I don’t).

To me, the sacrifice fly is just a cop-out. A player gets to the plate, hits the ball to a defender, and it’s like nothing happened in the box score. It’s still an unintentional out, though.

Essentially, they screwed up in the right way.

Many people think, hell, they moved up the runner or they allowed the run to score by hitting it deep enough. Isn’t that scored run worth something? That’s why they get to discount the at-bat. My argument is that they were already rewarded by getting the rbi. They don’t need a nice little boost to their BA as well.

Sacrifice bunts are a different story to me. A player actually has to approach the plate completely different when they are bunting, whereas with a sacrifice fly, they are simply swinging for the fences. A good at-bat in a sacrifice bunt situation is moving up the runner. The POINT is to get out when you do so, to sacrifice yourself in exchange for that runner’s extra base. A good at-bat in a sac fly situation is hitting a home run or getting an actual hit. A bad at-bat in a sac fly situation is a ground ball to third base, which won’t allow the runner to score.

So how good of an at-bat is one that results in a sacrifice fly being credited to the player? Mediocre. They made an out. It is only marginally better than in this situation: runners on first and third, no outs. Mauer grounds to the second baseman, 4 – 6 – 3 double play, but the run scores. That is certainly not a productive out. But what about this situation: runner on third, less than two outs. Batter grounds out to second baseman, run scores. What is the actual, intrinsic difference between that play and a sacrifice fly? I don’t think there is one.

Yesterday, Justin Morneau hit a sacrifice fly to cap the rally. He currently has a .250 average and seven rbis. He should have the seven rbis, but his average should be .238. Nothing against a guy, but an unintentional out is an unintentional out.

What do you think?

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One Response

  1. […] I really hate sacrifice flies. […]

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