Baseball Fan Etiquette: Catching a Foul Ball; What Would You Do? (2022)

Baseball Fan Etiquette: Catching a Foul Ball; What Would You Do? (1)

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Going to a baseball game can be one of the most enjoyable times for a sports fan. On a warm summer day or a cool fall night, you can really enjoy the sights and sounds of a baseball game and all it has to offer.

You smell the freshly cut grass, you hear the vendors who each have their own personality belting out to the world that they are carrying some sort of treat you should want, you see the stars that you idolize stretching and jogging in preparation for the game and you really can feel the anticipation in the air.

The umpire yells “play ball!” and the game gets started. Hearing the first pop of a 95 mph fastball hitting the mitt almost gives the avid baseball fan chills as they know they are in for a treat that day.

(Video) Fan Catches Foul Ball for Out | Banana Ball Rule 9

As the game progresses, there are slight nuances to it that really make it special. Crowds band together in chants for their favorite players ("hip, hip, Jorge!" was one of my favorites) while also starting little mini battles in the stands with supporters of the enemy team.

Fathers wait in line for 30 minutes in order to buy an overpriced hot dog and soda for himself and his son, groups of fans clamor to take any seat that is closer to the action if they are empty and then there is one really special event that can make any baseball game special—catching a foul ball.

Baseball Fan Etiquette: Catching a Foul Ball; What Would You Do? (2)

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Baseball Fan Etiquette: Catching a Foul Ball; What Would You Do? (3)

(Video) They have a rule that if a fan catches a foul ball the batter is out 😂 😂

A father taking his son to a baseball game can be a special expreienceJed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

First off, with 35,000-plus fans attending most of the games, the chance of this rare event happening is minimal. Also, of the fans that go to a game, many of them are in seats where no ball will ever reach them.

Lastly, when a ball comes into your area, people turn from friendly spectators into forwards at the bottom of a rugby scrum. The battle for the ball can become a show in itself as men, women and children alike disregard human life in order to grasp a miniscule piece of baseball history.

Over the past summer, I was able to partake in such an event. I was back in New York to visit my family in late June and was happy to hear that my father had purchased tickets to a Yankees versus a very good team in the Milwaukee Brewers. Now, my father has never been into sports quite the way I am, but he has been my biggest influence in my life and my sports interests.

It is part of the reason why I like the Jets and Yankees instead of the usual combination of either Jets and Mets or Giants and Yankees. He is the reason that I ever played or enjoyed sports at all, as is the case for many young men. A kid going to a baseball game with his father is something special. It is a time, even as a 23-year-old, that we could really call our own.

Baseball Fan Etiquette: Catching a Foul Ball; What Would You Do? (4)

(Video) Baseball Rules fair foul ball

Yankee StadiumNick Laham/Getty Images

The day did not start off too smooth. Even though this trip has been made many times before, we got lost. After calling for someone to look up directions and asking random people on the street the way to get there, we arrived at the Croton-Harmon train station where we had to sprint to make the express train to the Bronx and Yankee Stadium. As we rushed down the steps and jumped into the train, we were relieved to see all of the other Yankee's fans getting ready for the game.

As we arrived at the station in the Bronx, it felt as if nothing had not changed at all. Even with a new stadium, the atmosphere remained the same—both inside and out. Hearing the usual street performers playing their instrument as we made out way to the stadium, kids trying to make money by selling water along the sidewalk and the rush of fans making their way to the stadium just brought back so many good memories.

I was getting really excited as we started to make our way to our seats. We were in the first row of the second deck and right along the first base line. It was the perfect spot to see the whole field and have a chance for some foul balls.

As the sun was setting over the gigantic scoreboard in left center field, the game began. I was quickly worried about the Yankee's chances when, in the top of the first inning, Freddy Garcia struggled. Luckily, he pulled it together and was able to get out of the inning without giving up any runs.

The game continued, and Garcia and the rest of the Yankees looked really spectacular. They were putting up runs in bunches, and Garcia was pitching a gem. My father and I were really enjoying our rare time together, cheering on the team I grew up with. We had some classic baseball hot dogs and a soda as we watched the Yankees take a 7-2 lead into the fifth inning.

The entire game we had been dodging foul balls as they were landing in our area, and we were ready to pounce on any that came our way. Our chance came as right-handed hitter Ryan Braun came to the plate. A few pitches into the at-bat, Braun took a massive hack at a Freddy Garcia pitch and popped the ball high into the night sky toward the first base side of the stadium.

At first, it really did not look like it was going to reach the second deck, but as the ball starting getting closer to our section, we could feel the anticipation around rise as everyone realized we had a chance.

(Video) Banana Ball Rule #9 - If a Fan Catches a Foul Ball, It's an Out

I have not played baseball for a few years now and did not expect the ball to come at us with such velocity. It slipped through a tangle of hands and arms to land right underneath my seat. My father quickly reached under and took hold of the ball. Just like you see many fathers do, he handed me the ball.

I instantly turned 10 years old as I first touched the worn leather on the outside of the baseball. I had never thought that I would actually get a ball at a Major League Baseball game, let alone at Yankee Stadium. This moment was made extra special for me since I was with my role model, the person I respected most in the father.

My excitement and happiness was short lived as I heard a young man, about the same age as me, ask who had caught the ball. He had been drinking and was one of those loud fans that you just want to stay away from. He started heckling me and telling me to give the ball to a young girl that was sitting behind me.

Now let me tell you about the girl. She was very young, probably five or six, she did not have a clue about any of the players on the team (to be expected for such a young girl), but the clincher was that the people she was with were wearing Boston Red Sox gear.

Others started to join in with theinebriated fan, chanting "give the girl the ball, give the girl the ball!" The one young man started to throw around rude comments saying he hoped I got hit in the face with a ball, calling me Paul Bunyan because of my beard, and with each foul ball, he would say "whoever caught that ball probably gave it to a little girl." As a teacher, I am very patient and know that if you just ignore a person like him, his attempt at getting into my head will stop. Unfortunately, it did not.

With our rare father and son night ruined and the Yankees winning by nine runs in the seventh inning, we decided to leave. On our trip back home, I started to question if I should have actually given the girl the ball. She was too young to have control of the people she was with, and if I had given her the ball, I could have made a special moment for her. It could have really helped gain another female sports fan where they are so few and far between.

I also thought about how I would love to give away the ball if it were someone that I went with, or at least a kid who knew anything about the team he was rooting for. Also, if the fans around us were more respectful, I would have felt good about handing the ball to the girl as well.

(Video) Cleveland Fan Drenched by Partner Trying to Catch a Foul Ball

Being a Yankee fan since I was very little and having my father as the reason for this obsession, the event was a memory that I will never forget. It is unfortunate that my memory will always be infected with the negative comments and chants brought on by a drunken fan.

So, what would you have done? It is easy to say you would have given up the ball in a heartbeat, but just put yourself in the same spot. Cannot wait to hear your feedback!


What happens if fan Catches foul ball? ›

In every case of spectator interference with a batted or thrown ball, the ball shall be declared dead and the baserunners can be placed where the umpire determines they would have been without the interference.

Can a fan catch a foul ball? ›

Although it does happen occasionally, it's very rare that a foul ball will just land in the lap of an unsuspecting fan. Picking the right seats, staying alert, coming prepared with a baseball mitt and properly utilizing the aisles can all improve the odds.

When catching a ball What should you not do? ›

Don't try to run or worry about the defense until you have the ball in your hands and tucked away. One mistake a lot of receivers make is to try and catch the ball too close to their body. Catch the ball with your hands. Snatch it out of the air.

What happens if you catch a ball in baseball? ›

When a catch occurs, the batter is out (said to have flied out), and runners are in jeopardy of being put out if any fielder with possession of the ball reaches their starting base before they do.

What if a fan catches a home run? ›

If an outfielder catches the home run with one foot on or over the playing surface and maintains possession of the baseball then the batter is called out. However, if no part of the player is on or over the playing surface then the play is ruled a home run.

Can you keep baseballs you catch? ›

It is the custom at major league baseball games that fans can keep all baseballs which are hit or thrown out of play into the spectator seating area.

What happens if you catch a ball still in play? ›

However, if a fielder, after making a legal catch on the playing surface, steps or falls into any out-of-play area at any point while in possession of the ball, the base runners shall be entitled to advance one base and the ball shall be dead.

Where are you most likely to catch a foul ball? ›

Field Level 108-114 — These sections, 108, 110, 112 and 114, are on the 3rd base side (left field). In baseball, fouls have a very slight edge in tendency toward going left into the 3rd base stands. To be sure, this edge is minor, amounting to roughly 1-2 extra fouls per game.

What happens if you catch a fair ball? ›

Once the signal is given, the kicking team may not interfere with the receiver's attempt to catch the ball. If the ball is caught, the ball is dead and, barring any penalties, the receiving team begins their drive from that spot, or they may attempt a fair catch kick from that spot.

Why cant some people catch a ball? ›

If you have trouble catching balls or determining the direction of an oncoming vehicle, you may have a condition called agnosia – which happens when the brain cannot properly interpret information from our senses. But agnosia can also make people believe they are missing body parts.

Is catching a ball stop moving? ›

To catch a ball, the fielder has to stop the ball. This means, force is applied against the motion of the ball. So, the fielder applied the force on the ball and the ball moves in the direction opposite to the direction of force till the ball comes to rest, . Thus work is negative.

How do you properly catch a ball? ›

How to Catch a Ball - YouTube

How rare is it to catch a foul ball in baseball? ›

In the case of these general calculations, the general, MLB-wide odds of snagging a foul ball is 1:835.

What is the catch and carry rule? ›

A “catch and carry” is when a fielder catches a batted or thrown ball on the playing field and then carries it into an out-of-play area.

What is a legal catch in baseball? ›

A CATCH is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession.

Can you catch a ball off the wall in baseball? ›

Trapping the Ball

If a fielder reaches over or falls over a wall or railing to make a catch or jumps on or climbs onto the wall, then it is still a legal catch. This is seen quite often as players will climb the outfield wall in order to catch a ball that would otherwise be a home run or long extra-base hit.

Can you catch a ball and fall over the fence? ›

A fielder may reach (but not step) over a fence, railing, rope, or other demarcation of out-of-play to make a catch. However, when reaching into out-of-play territory, there can be no interference called if a spectator impedes the fielder's opportunity to make the catch.

Can you throw your glove at the ball? ›

When a fielder throws his glove at a batted ball, it is a violation of baseball rule, 5.06(4)(C), the detached equipment rule. There is no penalty if the glove does not make contact with the ball but if the glove makes contact, all runners, including the batter runner are awarded three bases.

Can you catch a foul? ›

A foul tip is a batted ball that goes sharply and directly to the catcher's hand or glove and is legally caught. A foul tip is considered equivalent to a ball in which the batter swings and misses, in that the baserunners are able to advance at their own risk (without needing to tag up).

Can you catch a baseball with your bare hand? ›

There are no rules against catching a ball in flight with the hand.

Can you catch a ball in foul territory? ›

A fly ball hit in foul territory is in play and can be caught for an out; baserunners can advance as on any other fly ball out. If it drops to the ground, it is simply a foul ball, and runners cannot advance. A ground ball hit in foul territory is simply a foul ball, and cannot be played.

Can a baseball player go into the stands to catch a ball? ›

A catcher or fielder may not jump into a stand to catch such a ball, but reaching into the stand and making the play is permitted.

Is a home run a dead ball? ›

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.

Where's the best place to sit at a baseball game? ›

The seats behind the dugout are in high demand thanks to their proximity to the star players. These seats offer a rare opportunity to get within a few yards of any major league player. The seats behind the away team's dugout can also have value, especially if a notable player is on the visiting team.

Where is the safest place to sit at a baseball game? ›

THE RESULTS: The best place to sit at a Baseball game is…

According to Sports Where I Am users, the best place to sit in baseball venues across the USA is along the third base line. This is followed by sitting behind the home plate area or along the first base line.

Where should I sit to catch a baseball? ›

If you're looking for the best place to sit to catch a foul ball at an MLB game, we'd suggest sitting along either of the first or third base lines beyond where the protective netting extends, as this is where plenty of slices foul balls are hit into the stands, where fans are able to make a play on them, but just be ...

Can you challenge a foul ball in baseball? ›

Managers can challenge an umpire's ruling on the field only in some situations. The new MLB Review rules state that a manager can only challenge an umpire's call of a fair or foul ball if it lands at or beyond the position of the first-base or third-base umpire.

Does touching a foul ball make it fair? ›

If the ball is in foul territory when touched, even if the fielder's feet are in fair territory, it's a foul ball. By rule, if a ball is in fair territory when it touches a player, or an umpire, that ball is fair. It depends on the position of the ball when the ball is touched.

Can a foul ball roll fair? ›

Outfield Foul Balls

In the outfield a ball is determined to be foul by its relationship to the line when it first touches the ground or is touched by a player. So if a ball hit in the outfield lands in fair territory and then rolls foul, it is a fair ball. This is different than with the infield.

Do fans get ejected for fan interference? ›

Also, the spectator who commits interference is usually ejected from the stadium. Note that spectators are allowed to catch a ball that is in play when the ball has broken the plane of the spectators' side of the wall.

When there is spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball the ball shall be dead at the moment of interference? ›

When there is spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball, the ball is dead at the moment of interference and the umpire will impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference.

What is banana ball rules? ›

Starting in 2023, The Bananas will play every game with the rules of Banana Ball. Rules that include a two-hour time limit, no stepping out, no bunting, no walks, and foul balls caught by fans are outs.

Is tagging up an appeal play? ›

Baserunning instances that are subject to appeal include a runner failing to tag up correctly on a caught fly ball, a runner failing to touch the bases in order -- either when advancing or retreating -- a runner failing to return to first base promptly after overrunning or oversliding it, and a runner failing to touch ...

Can a baseball runner catch the ball? ›

As we said, any runner touched by a live batted ball has committed interference and is out. The ball is dead. The batter-runner is awarded first base (unless he is the one touched by the batted ball), and other runners advance only if forced.

Can an MLB umpire eject a fan? ›

So, does an umpire have the authority to eject a spectator or entertainment staff member? You bet he does. The Official Baseball Rules Book is used by many levels of play, including both MLB and minor league baseball.

Can an umpire eject a fan from the game? ›

According to the official MLB Rule Book under rule 9.02(e), “each umpire has authority at his discretion to eject from the playing field any spectator or other person not authorized to be on the playing field.”

Does fielder or runner have right of way? ›

The protection continues until the fielder makes a play or makes a throw after fielding the ball. From beginning to end of this sequence, the fielder has the right of way and runners must avoid impeding the fielder.

Can a runner run in front of a fielder? ›

- Most often, you'll return all other runners to the last base they touched prior to the interference. No run is allowed to score after an interference play. - Some interference violations are not so obvious and require umpire judgment. Example: a runner passes in front of a fielder who fumbles a ground ball.

What is a dead ball appeal? ›

A dead-ball appeal can be verbal and made by a coach or any defensive player. If an umpire anticipates a possible appeal and the ball is already back to the pitcher, it is much easier to administer the appeal by making the ball dead and telling the defense to make the verbal appeal.

What is Bananaland baseball? ›

From ESPN: “Capturing the origins of the Bananas' wild, new style of baseball, Bananaland follows the team's owners, players, coaches and staff as they embark on a seven-city 'World Tour' in their quest to bring the revolutionary rules and extravagant showmanship of Banana Ball to the masses.”

How much do Banana baseball players make? ›

Players don't get paid. Cole said that when he first started the Bananas, he had to pry commitments from college players to get them to join the team. Now, Cole said, more than 1,000 players reach out to the team annually to try and play. “We teach as much the entertainment as we do the baseball,” Cole said.

Do the Savannah Bananas play real baseball? ›

The Savannah Bananas are an exhibition baseball team based in Savannah, Georgia. The team was founded in 2016 and has played at Grayson Stadium since its inaugural season.

Can a runner advance on a foul tip? ›

Definition. A foul tip is a batted ball that goes sharply and directly to the catcher's hand or glove and is legally caught. A foul tip is considered equivalent to a ball in which the batter swings and misses, in that the baserunners are able to advance at their own risk (without needing to tag up).

Do you have to tag up after a foul ball? ›

By rule, baserunners must tag up when a hit ball is caught before it bounces by a fielder, and in such situations, are out if any fielder with possession of the ball touches their starting base before they do. After a legal tag up, runners are free to attempt to advance, even if the ball was caught in foul territory.

What if a runner misses first base? ›

NOTE: Any runner who misses the first base to which he is advancing and who is later called out shall be considered as having advanced one base. 8-2-4 If a fair or foul batted ball is caught, other than a foul tip, each base runner shall touch his base after the batted ball has touched a fielder.


1. From Death Threats To A World Series Ring, The Tragedy Of Steve Bartman
(iTalk Studios)
2. Fair Ball, Foul Ball Defined
(Kevin Kohn)
3. Viral Baseball Video Reveals Ridiculous Foul Ball Trend
(TYT Sports)
4. Do you know if this is a Foul ball or Fair ball?
5. Be SAFE more by knowing the Runner Lane Interference rule
6. Foul Ball Caught for an Out | Rule # 9
(The Savannah Bananas)

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