March 11, 2013 WBC, Netherlands - Cuba. Bottom of 9th, bases loaded, 1 out. Thrilling excitement.. the score is 6-6. A day earlier, Netherlands lost 16-4 to Japan, via the mercy rule. Batter hits a long and high fly ball to F8, standing on the warning track. F8 catches it, and everybody realizes he cannot prevent the Dutch from scoring the winning run. Indeed, R3 waits for the catch, and dashes home, scoring the winning run.
In my opinion, Cuba could have forced a 10th inning, this way:
F8 intercepts the fly ball with the outside of his glove (no catch!), bunting it in the direction of 2nd base. Just like R3 being in touch with his base, waiting to run after the catch, R1 and R2 also will be in touch with their base. Now F8 fields the ball, throws to F4, who touches 2nd, (R1 out; 2nd out) and makes a double play to F3, touching 1st.. B/R out, 3rd out. So, no run scores, and Cuba starts in the 10th inning.
I think Cuba should have done this.
Somewhere I think I read that deliberately not catching a fly ball in the outfield with at least bases one and two loaded, less than two out, will be judged as a caught ball. Is this true? Or what would Blue have called here?
Frank (from the Netherlands)
No such animal. In the outfield, a fly ball is a fly ball. So if he deliberately drops it (with the basees loaded) he can pray to get a double play as you described. But you get what you get.
However, good coaching would have R1 half way to second, so if the ball were intentionally dropped, he'd be safe there. Besides, in the time it would take to get the ball out that far on the fly and then throw it back, I bet just about any batter could have also made it to first!
No such rule that I know of (as you suggested.)
On a fly ball the runners can go as soon as the ball is touched by a fielder. They do not have to wait for it to be legally caught. See 2.00 Catch.
Also, the intentionally dropped fly ball rule only applies to infielders. See 6.05(l).