Typically, an outfielder’s dropped baseballs in the sun are not classified as an error. The mistake is charged to the Sun, and because it isn’t on the lineup card, the official scorer cannot credit it.
What is the error?
An error is assigned to a fielder if, in the opinion of the official scorer, he fails to convert an out on a play that an average fielder should have made. If they make a terrible play, errors can also be assigned to fielders if they make a terrible play that causes one or more runners to advance on the bases.
A batter does not have to reach base for a fielder to commit an error. If he drops a foul ball that causes an at-bat to be extended, that fielder may also be charged a mistake.
Some statistical equations take defensive mistakes into account. For example, hitters do not earn RBIs for runs that would not have scored but for an error. Furthermore, pitchers are not penalized for runs that would not have been achieved if the error had not occurred.
Shortstops and third basemen are generally the league leaders in mistakes, as they must deal with a wide variety of challenging ground balls and difficult throws across the field.
There is also no categorization of mistakes. So a shortstop who makes a good play on a ball but tosses it away, enabling the hitter to move to second, gets called out, much like an outfielder who drops an easy fly ball.
Baseball Scoring Rules
A typical problem for scorers is judging whether or not an error should be charged on a play. The basic rule is that an error is set if a hitter’s at-bat is prolonged, if he gets on base instead of being out, or if a runner (or the batter himself) advances other bases owing to a fielder’s physical error.
A crucial word in evaluating whether or not a play is an error is if the fielder could have “handled the ball with ordinary effort” and does not, it is an error. Here are some essential points: Even if a fielder does not contact the ball, he might commit a mistake.
If a fielder gets to the ball but cannot make a play, he should not be called out. For example, if an outfielder dives for a ball and it slips through his glove, it was not a play in which he could have “handled the ball with ordinary effort,” and so no mistake should be recorded.
Even if a fielder loses a basic foul fly ball and the hitter is later retired, an error is charged even though the outcome is the same.
If a batter’s at-bat is extended, an error is charged regardless of what occurs after that.
If no runners reach different bases, no error is assessed on a wild throw.
There is no error on an infield hit when an infielder throws the ball too late to first base and throws wild unless the batter ends up on second base due to the wild throw. It also applies to stolen bases — until the runner advances another base past the stolen base, a catcher’s throw to the outfield is not scored as an error.
If the ball strikes and takes an uneven bounce, the person who threw the ball is penalized with an error.
For instance, if a throw strikes a sliding runner and bounces wild, allowing him or another runner to advance to the next base, or if a ball hits a base or the pitcher’s rubber.
Fielders who create obstruction or interference, resulting in the award of bases to runners, are penalized with errors. When attempting a double play, no errors are assessed as long as one runner is thrown out.
A shortstop, for example, takes a ground ball, steps on second to grab the runner coming from first, and throws wildly to first base. No error is recorded even if a decent throw would have gotten the hitter out (unless the wild throw allows the batter to advance to 2nd base).
Losing the ball in the sun/lights
If the sun or lighting creates the scenario out of the usual, you do not charge them with an error.
The ordinary effort is the effort that a fielder of average talent at a position in that league or classification of companies should put forth on a play, considering the field’s condition and weather circumstances.
That doesn’t imply that if there’s sun outside and a fielder loses a ball, it’s not an error. The last portion of the definition should be used to inform the scorer.
In other words, even if a fielder gives their best effort, if it falls short of what an average fielder at that position in that league would have given in the same scenario, the official scorer should charge that fielder with an error.
- In an LL Inc regular-season game, a high fly ball to an 11-year-old is dropped directly into the sun. Probably not giving an error because the typical fielder in that league would not have caught it either.
- Inside a game, a fly ball to an OF. Almost certainly going to pop the poor devil with a mistake. The typical outfielder can shade himself from the sun and catch a fly ball. If the ball was high and there was a strong wind, those variables should be addressed as well, and he would most likely not be popped.
- The sun is setting, and the 3B is staring straight into it. A line drive directly into his glove, which would typically be an easy out, is not fielded, and the batter-runner advances to first base successfully. I’m pretty sure I’ll get a hit out of it.
In short, a lost ball in the sun does not qualify as a foul, so if it counts, you’ve most certainly violated one of baseball’s other laws with that hit.