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humanbackstop19

Fingers to the mouth balk

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FED game last night in which in 6th inning, R1, R2; pitcher goes to mouth after a pitch and receiving ball from catcher.  Without ever wiping off his fingers he went to the mouth with, he wipes only the baseball on his pant leg. I was 100% that he was weeping only the ball and not his fingers.  I balked this as soon as he came set for the next pitch.  Was this the right call and was the timing of the balk call correct? 

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BrianC14    422

It's not a balk.

FED rule 6-2-1 Illegal acts:  (e)  e. bringing the pitching hand in contact with the mouth without distinctly ­wiping off the pitching hand before it touches the ball;

PENALTY: (e), a ball shall be awarded each time a pitcher violates this rule and subsequently engages the pitching plate.

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Jimurray    542
37 minutes ago, humanbackstop19 said:

FED game last night in which in 6th inning, R1, R2; pitcher goes to mouth after a pitch and receiving ball from catcher.  Without ever wiping off his fingers he went to the mouth with, he wipes only the baseball on his pant leg. I was 100% that he was weeping only the ball and not his fingers.  I balked this as soon as he came set for the next pitch.  Was this the right call and was the timing of the balk call correct? 

@BrianC14 is correct unless your pitcher was on the rubber when he went to his mouth. FED has a screwy interp which calls it a balk if the pitcher is on the rubber when he went to his mouth. You call it as soon as he goes to his mouth if your neck of the woods ascribes to that interp. It actually was a POE in 2013 so FED doesn't appear to want to back down from it. Attn: @lawump

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BrianC14    422
23 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

I balked this as soon as he came set for the next pitch.

@humanbackstop19

That's the part that had me wondering if this wasn't done when not in contact with the pitcher's plate.   Otherwise, there's no reason to wait for F1 to come set, just get it.   If F1 is off the pitcher's plate, then the 'Ball' penalty is the only appropriate penalty.   Agreed, another matter for FED to consider clarify/correcting.

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KenBAZ    377
FED game last night in which in 6th inning, R1, R2; pitcher goes to mouth after a pitch and receiving ball from catcher.  Without ever wiping off his fingers he went to the mouth with, he wipes only the baseball on his pant leg. I was 100% that he was weeping only the ball and not his fingers.  I balked this as soon as he came set for the next pitch.  Was this the right call and was the timing of the balk call correct? 

If F1 goes to his mouth and fails to wipe before he grabs the baseball or engages the rubber I'm calling time. We're changing baseballs and F1 and DHC are getting an explanation.

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

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catsbackr    371
1 hour ago, KenBAZ said:


If F1 goes to his mouth and fails to wipe before he grabs the baseball or engages the rubber I'm calling time. We're changing baseballs and F1 and DHC are getting an explanation.

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
 

+1000!

 

There's enough trouble out there, we don't need to find this one.  IMHO.

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Senor Azul    154

From the 2015 NFHS Baseball Case Book:

6.2.1 Situation A:  With no runners on base, F1 places his pitching hand on his mouth and distinctly wipes off his pitching hand prior to touching the ball, (a) while not touching the pitcher’s plate, (b) while touching the pitcher’s plate. RULING:  (a) Legal; (b) illegal, and a ball shall be awarded to the batter’s count.

6.2.1 SITUATION B:  With R1, F1 places his pitching hand on his mouth and distinctly wipes off his pitching hand prior to touching the ball (a) while not touching the pitcher’s plate or (b) while touching the pitcher’s plate in the set position. RULING:  Legal in (a). In (b), the pitcher has balked and R1 is awarded second base. (6-1-3)

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johnnyg08    1,498

If on the rubber, it's not a balk for going to the mouth...it's more of a start/stop balk...at least that's how it was described to me at one point. I suppose it may have changed. 

Continuous and uninterrupted. 

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Jimurray    542
11 minutes ago, johnnyg08 said:

If on the rubber, it's not a balk for going to the mouth...it's more of a start/stop balk...at least that's how it was described to me at one point. I suppose it may have changed. 

Continuous and uninterrupted. 

And in conflict with a caseplay that allows hand movement to adjust a cap or whatever that is not judged as the start of his movement to come set. 

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Jimurray    542
30 minutes ago, catsbackr said:

+1000!

 

There's enough trouble out there, we don't need to find this one.  IMHO.

You don't need to find it or you don't need to penalize it per the appropriate code's rule? You would change out the ball?

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johnnyg08    1,498
2 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

And in conflict with a caseplay that allows hand movement to adjust a cap or whatever that is not judged as the start of his movement to come set. 

Can't say I disagree. :-) 

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catsbackr    371
24 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

You don't need to find it or you don't need to penalize it per the appropriate code's rule? You would change out the ball?

I 100% agree with what KenBAZ said.  Great game management.

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johnnyg08    1,498
7 minutes ago, catsbackr said:

I 100% agree with what KenBAZ said.  Great game management.

I agree, until a knowledgable coach comes out and asks why you didn't call the balk. Or asks why you swapped out the baseball and you tell him why (the truth)...you will then (well, at least should) properly enforce the balk. 

I'm not saying that I'd handle it differently than any of you...but we have to be careful with handling obvious rule violations differently than what is in the rule book.

What's the best way to get rid of a bad rule? 

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4 hours ago, BrianC14 said:

It's not a balk.

FED rule 6-2-1 Illegal acts:  (e)  e. bringing the pitching hand in contact with the mouth without distinctly ­wiping off the pitching hand before it touches the ball;

PENALTY: (e), a ball shall be awarded each time a pitcher violates this rule and subsequently engages the pitching plate.

Good call. I pooched that one.  Lucky it didn't cost them any runs in what was a good ballgame.  

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johnnyg08    1,498
14 minutes ago, humanbackstop19 said:

Good call. I pooched that one.  Lucky it didn't cost them any runs in what was a good ballgame.  

it happens, you'll never miss it again

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BrianC14    422
3 hours ago, johnnyg08 said:

I thought it might take longer to find this. But here's the slide from the rules meeting back in 2013.

Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 2.26.35 PM.jpg

Interesting that the diagram shows F1 in windup position.    If he's set and does this... same thing, but a balk would be called for the separation of the hands.

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johnnyg08    1,498
13 hours ago, BrianC14 said:

Interesting that the diagram shows F1 in windup position.    If he's set and does this... same thing, but a balk would be called for the separation of the hands.

Separation of hands or a start/stop. 

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KenBAZ    377
I agree, until a knowledgable coach comes out and asks why you didn't call the balk. Or asks why you swapped out the baseball and you tell him why (the truth)...you will then (well, at least should) properly enforce the balk. 
I'm not saying that I'd handle it differently than any of you...but we have to be careful with handling obvious rule violations differently than what is in the rule book.
What's the best way to get rid of a bad rule? 

As I described it in my first post it is not yet a balk or an illegal pitch. I've done this dozens of times. Between pitches I'm locked in on the ball which means I'm watching the pitcher all the time he has possession of the ball. If the ball is live and the pitcher is off the rubber and goes to his month, I'm looking for him to wipe right away. If he does not, I'll call time before he engages the rubber. He has not balked yet. The smart DHC will know why I've called time and why we are changing baseballs. Call time, approach the pitcher and quietly ask to see the baseball. While taking your time inspecting the ball, remind F1 that if he goes to his mouth he needs to wipe every time. I then exchange baseballs with my partner. If the ball is not live and the pitcher fails to wipe, I just have to hold things up before my partner puts the ball in play.

I try and be as unobtrusive with this as possible. Most of the time, fans, coaches and players, (and sometimes my partners), don't know exactly what's going on. But the delay is short and a situation is avoided. Most of the time, depending on the level and our relationship with the DHC, I'll turn to their dugout and quietly or non-verbally let them know why I called time. Most good baseball guys are happy that we've avoided a penalty for what would have been a very technical violation and will reinforce the proper behavior they want from their pitcher.

Some sharp OHCs will pick up on what happened and will also appreciate that my crew was vigilant and proactive. Sometimes they just want to know what is going on and a few times they've asked if going to the mouth is a balk. I just tell them, "not if he's not on the rubber". Or, "not if the ball is not live". Only one time that I can recall has a coach said; "so you called time before he balked". I can live with that.

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

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johnnyg08    1,498

doing it in that manner...I would agree is okay and good umpiring. I may have misunderstood uour original post. Thanks for clarifying.

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Jimurray    542
45 minutes ago, KenBAZ said:


As I described it in my first post it is not yet a balk or an illegal pitch. I've done this dozens of times. Between pitches I'm locked in on the ball which means I'm watching the pitcher all the time he has possession of the ball. If the ball is live and the pitcher is off the rubber and goes to his month, I'm looking for him to wipe right away. If he does not, I'll call time before he engages the rubber. He has not balked yet. The smart DHC will know why I've called time and why we are changing baseballs. Call time, approach the pitcher and quietly ask to see the baseball. While taking your time inspecting the ball, remind F1 that if he goes to his mouth he needs to wipe every time. I then exchange baseballs with my partner. If the ball is not live and the pitcher fails to wipe, I just have to hold things up before my partner puts the ball in play.

I try and be as unobtrusive with this as possible. Most of the time, fans, coaches and players, (and sometimes my partners), don't know exactly what's going on. But the delay is short and a situation is avoided. Most of the time, depending on the level and our relationship with the DHC, I'll turn to their dugout and quietly or non-verbally let them know why I called time. Most good baseball guys are happy that we've avoided a penalty for what would have been a very technical violation and will reinforce the proper behavior they want from their pitcher.

Some sharp OHCs will pick up on what happened and will also appreciate that my crew was vigilant and proactive. Sometimes they just want to know what is going on and a few times they've asked if going to the mouth is a balk. I just tell them, "not if he's not on the rubber". Or, "not if the ball is not live". Only one time that I can recall has a coach said; "so you called time before he balked". I can live with that.

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
 

"Only one time that I can recall has a coach said; "so you called time before he balked". I can live with that."

I'm not in agreement with the FED interp that considers a set or windup pitcher, not yet with hands together, going to his mouth with runners as the start of motion and a balk, while going to his hat is not the start of motion.

But by letter of FED law I don't see how you can call time before the balk happens. If he's on the rubber and goes to his mouth do you then call time?

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noumpere    2,412
23 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

I'm not in agreement with the FED interp that considers a set or windup pitcher, not yet with hands together, going to his mouth with runners as the start of motion and a balk, while going to his hat is not the start of motion.

 

When the "going to the mouth" interp came out, FED had an interp that "going to the hat" was also a balk.

 

Fed changed the latter, but didn't change the former.  Either they need to change the rationale for "going to the mouth" or they need to change the result.

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Jimurray    542
13 minutes ago, catsbackr said:

Jim,

 

I think what Ken is doing is simply preventative umpiring, pure and simple.

At the point where you might be forced to apply the rule

 

15 minutes ago, catsbackr said:

Jim,

 

I think what Ken is doing is simply preventative umpiring, pure and simple.

I think he know's the FED rule that he is ignoring but I'm having trouble with semantics: " I'm looking for him to wipe right away. If he does not, I'll call time before he engages the rubber. He has not balked yet."  If a violation happens before engagement a balk could not happen, only a ball. If the violation happens on the rubber with runners is time called after the balk and the pitcher advised to step off and wipe  or is time called and a ball added to the count? 

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kylehutson    296

What about in OBR? I was doing a USSSA (OBR with modifications) tourney this weekend and had a 14u pitcher who was licking his hand and sometimes-wiping-it-off sometimes-not. I'm sure he wasn't doing it maliciously (or, for that matter, even consciously). Between innings I told his coach I wasn't calling it a balk because I wasn't sure it was, but that I knew it was in high school "for coaching purposes". 

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