From a reader: “Mr. Derbyshire—While it’s great that you understand what
a ground-rule double is, that is, as such things go, child’s play. If you
can say that you’ve got a handle on the infield-fly rule…. well, then
you’re really on to something. (Ask Lowry; I’m guessing he knows.)”
I strike out (Ha!) on that one, Sir. I have a sort of general mental block
in regard to minor sporting rules, which is why I am so pleased with myself
when I get one. I grew up in soccer-mad England, and actually played soccer
through primary school (i.e. to age 11 — after which I moved to a rugby
school). Yet I still don’t understand the offside rule. Please DO NOT try
to explain it to me, readers — it’s much too late now, and I don’t care
anyway. I shall go happily to my grave not understanding the offside rule.
I am open to explanation of the infield-fly rule, though, if it can be done
without complicated diagrams.