Baseball Ordinary Effort Rules

Baseball Ordinary Effort Rules

Baseball is a sport which requires an immense amount of concentration and effort to be successful. During the course of normal play, fielders are expected to perform certain actions at a level that would be expected of a professional athlete. What are the ordinary effort rules? Keep reading to find out.


Ordinary effort rules are defined as the average efforts expected of a fielder of average skill at a specific position. The call made for a violation of an ordinary effort rule is up to the discretion of the official scorer or umpires present in the press box or field during a game.

The ordinary effort rule is only applicable to defensive players on the field. The ruling on a call regarding ordinary effort is usually used to determine if a runner made it to a base through a fielder error or through a hit. The expectation of ordinary effort is given up to the discretion of the official scorer when the play in question regards ground balls and batted balls.

The official scorer is expected to take into account the weather conditions or other field obstructions when making their decision. Umpires are also expected to hold players to a standard of ordinary effort when it comes to plays involving infield flies, passed balls, wild pitches, and sacrificial plays.


There is no game-impacting or score-affecting penalty assigned for an infraction of the ordinary effort rule. However, an infraction will result in an effect on the individual and team stats of players who were found to not be performing up to a standard of ordinary effort. If a player is determined to have not played up to the expectation of the ordinary effort rule present in the game, then any runners who make it to a base safely will result in the player's base being attributed to error as opposed to a hit.


  • A ground ball that would ordinarily be fielded and result in an out is marked as an error due to the position player not moving to the ball at appropriate speeds.
  • A catcher misses a pitch on account of a lack of reach rather than the pitch being wild. The catcher is credited with a passed ball.
  • An outfielder misses a fly ball that would be easily caught or fielded in ordinary circumstances of play. The play is ruled an error rather than a hit.

Similar Rules to Ordinary Effort


What is ordinary effort in baseball?

Ordinary effort is the effort expected of an average skilled player at a certain position while making a play in the sport of baseball. The enforcement of this rule is left up to the discretion of the umpires on the diamond and the official scorer present in the press box. The rule is used to determine if plays were achieved through legitimate hits and pitches or if they were due to player-made errors on account of subpar play.