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Question, son wanted to go and do some fielding yesterday.  Took him down to the field, it was a mess in terms of clumps.  Balls taking weird  bounces, one almost hit him in the face.  If that happens in a game, what should be an easy ground ball hits a clump and takes a bad bounce, is that scored as an error?

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Dad of 3:

Many years ago I was the "back up" game announcer for the local Class A California League Minor League team. The scorekeeper was in the adjacent booth.

The visiting team hitter hit a hard hit to the SS.

The scorer "flashed" error. BETWEEN INNINGS the SS came to the booth to protest and the hitter followed. Of course the pitcher approved [no earned run} The SS fielding average increased [his promotion depended on a "high fielding average". In professional baseball, one play can effect several players opportunities for promotion. Lesson learned.

* A year later, the #1 announcer - Ken Korick joined the Oakland A's as radio and TV announcer.

Don't worry about error/no error use this opportunity to get even better.

All fielders should be attempting to read the ball/hop and taking either the short hop or the long hop, in which case, the condition of the field should play only a minor part in whether the fielder misses the ball.  Sure it could hit something at the long hop and skip way away from the fielder, but the short hop shouldn't give it much room to miss the glove.  In early spring I've seen balls that bounce 10 feet in front a fielder and looks like it should be a perfect long hop, take a right turn. Not much can be done there.

If it's close enough to bounce and take one off the face, ie can't adjust in time, the fielder probably didn't move his feet effectively to take either hop and got caught on the in-between hop, missing the bad hop'd ball is partially the fielders doing if he's not moving or just blindly charging the ball.  The in-between hop is the one that usually hits something and takes a bad bounce.  Can't always be avoided, but it should be the goal and will make a player a much better fielder.

You can also create space for the long hop too, if you have time to make the play on a hard hit ball.

It's not to say that a field that's in really bad shape doesn't make it really tough, but working to get to the correct hops will make life easier in those type of conditions.  A ball that moves such that a player can't reach it will never be considered an error.

Just have to work really hard to get to that right hop because it's not always easy.

Field conditions right now might be a great teaching tool, as they say, make practice harder than the games.  It can be nice when everyone else mentions field conditions and you're fielding balls left and right because you put the right movements together with practicing on a nasty field.   Don't worry about errors during practice or what might happen if it's the same conditions for a game, the only thought should be "Get that ball".  You get to the hop, keep your eyes behind the ball and I don't care what it hits, you won't miss it 99% of the time.

ps.  If a ball gets "through" a middle infielder, i typically don't care about a "bad hop", I consider it an error. You make your hops.

Last edited by HSDad22

This adds to learning fielding technique.  Playing out front, playing from the ground up, moving into your body, lot's of YouTube out there to try to make bad hops "easier."  Including playing the correct hop.

Grew up in Illinois and practice started with snow on the ground.  Ball makes a perfect hop off the basketball court.  Of course, it was hit over 100 mph (so it seemed) to force you to react. 

Consultant,  I'm a proponent that is no such thing as a hard hit ball.  At college and up the ball cannot be hit too hard to field.  It could be shot out of a cannon and should be caught or at least knocked down and thrown out if it is that hard.  I hate that terminology in baseball.  But I am a father to three pitchers.

I once heard that shortshops who play on fields that are particularly prone to strange hops have more errors than those who play on smoother fields.  I wondered if that was true?

It definitely affects the pitchers if there are bad hops; regardless or whether they are called errors or not, the pitcher has to do more work to get out of the inning.

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