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Howard M Wasserman

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An Empirical Analysis Of The Infield Fly Rule, Howard M. Wasserman Feb 2014

An Empirical Analysis Of The Infield Fly Rule, Howard M. Wasserman

Howard M Wasserman

Legal scholars have written extensively about baseball’s Infield Fly Rule--its history and logic, its use as legal metaphor, and its cost-benefit policy rationales. This paper now conducts the first empirical analysis of the rule, exploring whether the rule’s legal and policy justifications are statistically supported. Based on a review of every fly ball caught by an infielder in the relevant game situation in Major League Baseball from 2010-2013, this paper measures the frequency and location of Infield Fly calls and the effect the rule has on individual games, all to determine whether the feared cost-benefit disparities that motivate the rule …