A dead ball in baseball refers to a ball which is no longer in play due to a variety of different reasons. A live ball is the antithesis of a dead ball and is a ball which is still in play during a game.
A dead ball is out of play and cannot legally be used during the game once it is declared dead. All play is paused until a live ball is brought into play.
What Makes a Ball Dead in Baseball?
A ball can become dead in several circumstances. The most common of these involves a foul ball being hit outside of the playing field. A foul ball is one that has been hit incorrectly by the batter, thrown incorrectly by the pitcher or has landed in foul territory. A fair ball can also be considered dead once it has been hit outside the playing field.
A ball can also be considered dead if it is damaged or scuffed, if the pitcher discards it, if the umpire puts it out of play, if it is passed to a spectator, if there’s been illegal play involving the ball such as an illegal collision, or obstruction of a base runner.
Over 100 balls are usually used during a single MLB game, so it’s no wonder that dead balls are a common occurrence in the sport.