What is a Fielder’s Choice in Baseball and Softball?

Fielders are often selected because of defensive indifference. This usually occurs when the fielder from the defensive team allows the batter to reach the base safely by fielding in such a way that it results in a put-out for the baserunner. Depending on the choice of the fielder. A hit is not credited to the batters due to the fielder’s choice.

Why is it Called a Fielder’s Choice in Baseball and Softball?

The credit for the fielder’s choice is given to the fielder. A fielder’s choice is a choice made by the fielder in baseball and softball. This occurs whenever there is a baserunner on the bases. Since the batter is hit by the batted ball or the fielder has scored put out against him. It is due to the defensive team’s fielder choice that the baserunner is allowed to reach the base.

How Do Scorebooks Record a Fielder’s Choice?

The fielder’s choice are recorded on the scoreboard by using the abbreviation FC for example 8-6 or 6-4 on the FC board. How do scorebooks record a fielder’s choice? Scorebooks record it by mentioning that hitter went to the first base but it is also mentioned that this was done via Fielder’s choice by adding FC in the box. Another way to mention the fielder’s choice is by using the term hitless at-bat.

What are Examples of a Fielder’s Choice During a Game?

We can understand how the fielder’s choice works during a game through two examples let’s take a look at them.

  • Firstly, it can be done through force out. When there are two runners on first and second base respectively and a ball is hit by the batter. As soon as it reaches the third base as a grounder the baseman picks it up and tags the lead runner.
  • Defensive Indifference or the Fielder’s choice can occur in a way that suppose a batter hits the ball out of the field and in return the fielder throws the ball towards the home plate. Now the official scorer will mark this as a single play and there is a chance to have a defensive indifference in this regard.

What is the Difference Between a Fielder’s Choice and a Double Play?

People often mistook defensive indifference for the fielder’s choice but there is a difference between both terms. What is the difference between a fielder’s choice and a double play?  The main difference between both the terms lies in the outs in the game. However, one should know that defensive indifference can happen during an attempt to double-play in the game.

Why Do Defensive Players Opt for the Fielder’s Choice on a Play?

It is quite strange to know that many fielders choose to benefit the offensive team. Nevertheless, the truth is not what it seems. What are the reasons defensive players choose the fielder’s choice on a play? Many people don’t know but doing this benefits the defensive players in many ways. They would want the leading baserunner to get out. The MLB teams would want to hold the lead in the game late in the game. Hence, for these reasons they opt for the fielder’s choice in the game.

Is a Fielder’s Choice an Error?

Fielder’s choices are sometimes mistaken for errors, but are they really errors? No, a fielder’s choice can’t be an error because you cannot imagine having a double play if fielder’s choice won’t happen. An error in baseball would happen when there are no outs in the game play.

Does a Fielder’s Choice Count as an At-Bat / Against a Player’s Batting Average / On-Base Percentage?

When a hitter experience a fielder’s choice he not only get out but there are other consequences for him to bear too. Is a fielder’s choice accounted for as an at-bat/against a player’s batting average/on-base percentage? Yes, it not only affects the batter’s batting average but it is counted as an at-bat for the player. We can understand this by an example, when a batter ends up hitting into a fielder’s choice it lowers the batter’s batting average because the hit was not recorded as clean hit.

Does a Hitter Get an RBI via a Fielder’s Choice?

Apart from lowering their batting averages and percentages does a hitter get an RBI via a fielder’s choice? In case of any error during a fielder’s choice the player’s do get an RBI. This also happens when the runner was already going towards the home plate. However, this depends on the scorer to give the hitter an RBI.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the fielder’s choice not a hit?

A fielder’s choice is never considered a hit unless the hitter was already running to score. In these plays the  defensive team chooses to put out the runner as soon as he hits. In the end, the hitter couldn’t reach the base properly and in the end, it is marked as an FC on the scoreboard rather than a hit.

Is a fielder’s choice a sacrifice?

A fielder’s choice can be a risky play to happen in the game. However, the out is recorded for the better of the defensive team. In this play out is recorded against the runner in the game rather than the batter himself. Now, even though batter reaches the base he is not credited with a hit.

What is the fielder’s indifference?

An indifference judgement results in the runner not being credited with a stolen base after advancing the base. The offensive team take this step when they see the defensive team is leading in the game. The official scorer of the game records it as defensive indifference in the game.

The Bottom Line on Fielder’s Choice in Baseball and Softball

Just like single, double and triple plays are standards of baseball games fielder’s choice is also a standard in baseball. Without this double play can’t happen. Many baseball fans don’t realise the fielder’s choice happening in the field.

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