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Guest Guest Mike

Rocker step in stretch -- Fed

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Guest Guest Mike

Playing under modified Fed rules.

A RH pitcher stretches and comes set in a traditional manner. He brings his hands together, and comes to a complete stop. His next motion is to step back, with his free foot, toward 1st base (some might call it a sideways rocker step), then lifts his leg and completes his pitch to home.

With runners on base, balk or not?

With no runners, is there any problem with this?

Thanks

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We're still waiting for authoritative guidance on this from FED.

For my association, this is an illegal pitch. For the windup, the rocker step is explicitly permitted by rule 6-1-2. For the set, rule 6-1-3 does not permit a rocker step, and this difference supports ruling the rocker step illegal in the set. With runners on, this would be a balk; otherwise, a ball to the batter. The ball is dead immediately when F1 takes a rocker step.

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I agree with Maven  -- and I'll go farther and opine that FED will want this balked.  I base this on FED's relative (and somewhat understandable) "conservative" positions in the past on pitching restrictions -- moving both hands is a motion to pitch, hybrid stance, etc.

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In a high school game, I agree with the above answers. However, in any summer ball I've called with FED rules, the illegal hybrid stance is is conveniently forgotten.  Still wouldn't allow it with runners on though. 

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From the 2016 NFHS Baseball Case Book:

6.1.3 Situation H:  With R1, F1 is in set position in a wide stance. He lifts his nonpivot foot to shorten his stance and then returns to his wide stance (a) during his stretch and before his stop or (b) after his stop. Ruling:  This is legal in (a), but is a balk in (b). If the nonpivot foot is lifted after the stop, he must immediately pitch or step directly toward a base and throw to that base.

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Fed wants there to be a clear differentiation between Windup position and Set (Stretch) position. Thus, no hybrid stance (because it can be pitched directly from, as a Windup, or can transform into the Set).

I was taught (as a catcher first, then later as an umpire), that within the Fed ruleset, if a pitcher assumes the Set position at any time – including with no Runners on, R3 only, R2-R3, or bases loaded (or, situations that would permit the Windup and its various windup motions) – he must abide by the specific requirements of the Set position. His feet must be in parallel and (generally) in line, he must come Set with a stop and his hands in the approved region, etc. So, rocker steps, toe taps (without stopping), bouncing or rolling the hands (again, without stopping) are illegal.

I admit, in tournaments (Travel ball, Academy ball, Showcase ball) that use Fed rules, we aren't as draconian when bases are empty (we don't call an illegal pitch and asses a Ball for this), but when there are any bases occupied, we do Balk this.

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14 hours ago, MadMax said:

Fed wants there to be a clear differentiation between Windup position and Set (Stretch) position. Thus, no hybrid stance (because it can be pitched directly from, as a Windup, or can transform into the Set).

I was taught (as a catcher first, then later as an umpire), that within the Fed ruleset, if a pitcher assumes the Set position at any time – including with no Runners on, R3 only, R2-R3, or bases loaded (or, situations that would permit the Windup and its various windup motions) – he must abide by the specific requirements of the Set position. His feet must be in parallel and (generally) in line, he must come Set with a stop and his hands in the approved region, etc. So, rocker steps, toe taps (without stopping), bouncing or rolling the hands (again, without stopping) are illegal.

I admit, in tournaments (Travel ball, Academy ball, Showcase ball) that use Fed rules, we aren't as draconian when bases are empty (we don't call an illegal pitch and asses a Ball for this), but when there are any bases occupied, we do Balk this.

I don't think that is a FED requirement.  The pivot foot must be parallel to the rubber.  But, the free foot doesn't have to be, and it only needs to be in front of a ine through the front of the rubber -- not "in line" with the pivot foot.

I'm not sure what you mean by "toe taps," but if you mean a tap as F1 is coming set, or a tap as he's delivering, I would have both of those as legal (assuming other requirements are met

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2 minutes ago, noumpere said:

I'm not sure what you mean by "toe taps," but if you mean a tap as F1 is coming set, or a tap as he's delivering, I would have both of those as legal (assuming other requirements are met

There are pitchers who "ramp up" by tapping their toe/foot on their free foot, seeming to push themselves incrementally up the mound to the set position. There are #BC coaches who will complain, or at least annoyingly inquire, as to that being a Balk because F1 is lifting his foot and putting it down, repetitively, albeit an ever so slight amount. Provided he stops and fully pauses, it's legal; if he is still "tapping" and this propels him into his pitching motion, it's illegal.

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5 minutes ago, MadMax said:

Provided he stops and fully pauses, it's legal; if he is still "tapping" and this propels him into his pitching motion, it's illegal.

In the latter case, you seem to be envisioning a no-stop balk, which is illegal independent of any toe taps (toe tapping doesn't make an otherwise legal move illegal).

So you agree that the toe tapping by itself is nothing? Provided F1 satisfies the requirements of the set position, it's a legal means of distracting the batter.

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