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Fielder's choice

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A fielder's choice (FC) is a play made on a ground ball in which the fielder, upon fielding a batted ball, chooses to try to put out an advancing runner instead of the batter, while in doing so the batter-runner is allowed to advance to first base.

A batter who reaches base safely as the result of a fielder's choice is not credited with a hit; he is charged with an at bat.

For example: A runner is on first base. The batter hits a ground ball towards the shortstop. The shortstop chooses to throw the ball to the second baseman covering second base, forcing out the runner coming from first. The batter-runner is allowed to reach first ba se safely.

If the runner being played upon is not put out, the play may be scored either as a fielder's choice (with or without any errors), or as a base hit.

In an attempted double play, i.e. the second baseman puts out the runner coming from 1 and throws the ball to first base, if the batter-runner beats the throw and is safe on 1, the play is not recorded as a base hit for the batter, but as a fielder's choice to retire the runner at second.

A fielder's choice is also recorded when a fielder attempts an out on a runner and another runner is allowed to advance due to such an attempt. This type of fielder's choice is unrelated to the batter reaching first base; it happens with other runners or with the batter-runner after he reaches first base.

For example: A batter sends a base hit to the outfield. The fielder throws to home plate in an attempt to put out a runner trying to score, the batter may decide to advance to second base since he can see that a play will not be made there. The batter is credited with a single only and is said to have taken second on a fielder's choice (or "on the throw").

Additionally, a runner who "steals" a base may not be credited with a stolen base statistically if the defensive team is indifferent to his advance. This usually occurs in the late innings of a game with a wide scoring margin, where allowing one extra base would not have a material impact on the outcome. For this play, the common usage is to say that the runner advanced on a fielder's choice, although in this particular case, it was the choice to attempt a play at all, and may be called fielder's or .

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