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VolUmp

Balk Questioning by nice (ignorant) coach

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FED

Starting Pitcher comes out to warm up with an assistant coach catching.  No idea where the catcher was.

I employed the advice of some of my respected brethren on this board and tried some preventive officiating.  (Never Again)

Every pitch is from the set, and there's no stop.  I quietly say to his coach, "Coach, I realize he's just warming up, but he's throwing everything from the set and he's got no stop.  Is he gonna give me a stop when he has a base runner?

Coach: "Oh yeah, he will ... we've worked on that with him."

Me: "Good enough."

His coach jogs out and speaks to him as the catcher finally comes to his position.

On the 1st base runner that this kid has, he blows through the set.  "TIME!  THAT's a BALK."  R1 goes to 2B.

HC comes out and says, "What did he do?

Me: "No stop at all coach.

"Yes he did."

Me: "Coach, if I don't see a stop, then he didn't stop.  Let's play."

 

Next inning, very same thing.  I call the same balk.

Coach: "OK, so I know he's stopping, but you want him to stop for how long ... a full second?"

Me: "Coach, he's not stopping at all.  It must be complete.  It must be discernable.  He doesn't have to hold it for one full second unless you want to play it safe."

Coach: "He's pitched this way all year.  He's coming to a complete stop."

Me: "Coach, we're done.  Please return to the dugout."

 

Coach ... calling out to his pitcher from the dugout ... "Zane, I don't know how to help you ... the umpire won't explain what you're doing wrong, so hold it and count one one thousand."

Three pitches later.  Balk.

Coach ... calling out to his pitcher from the dugout ... "Zane, I know it's not fair, but you're gonna have to learn how to pitch all over again.  He's not telling me what you're doing wrong."

==========================================

I never said another word to the coach about the balks.  He never approached me again.  Catcher kept saying, "Come to a stop, Zane."

Would any of you have reacted after the first "call" from the dugout?

Would any of you have reacted after the second "call" from the dugout?

Would any of you have reacted or explained any differently than the way I did after the first balk?

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12 minutes ago, VolUmp said:

Would any of you have reacted or explained any differently than the way I did after the first balk?

Yes.

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FED
Starting Pitcher comes out to warm up with an assistant coach catching.  No idea where the catcher was.
I employed the advice of some of my respected brethren on this board and tried some preventive officiating.  (Never Again)
Every pitch is from the set, and there's no stop.  I quietly say to his coach, "Coach, I realize he's just warming up, but he's throwing everything from the set and he's got no stop.  Is he gonna give me a stop when he has a base runner?
Coach: "Oh yeah, he will ... we've worked on that with him."
Me: "Good enough."
His coach jogs out and speaks to him as the catcher finally comes to his position.
On the 1st base runner that this kid has, he blows through the set.  "TIME!  THAT's a BALK."  R1 goes to 2B.
HC comes out and says, "What did he do?
Me: "No stop at all coach.
"Yes he did."
Me: "Coach, if I don't see a stop, then he didn't stop.  Let's play."
 
Next inning, very same thing.  I call the same balk.
Coach: "OK, so I know he's stopping, but you want him to stop for how long ... a full second?"
Me: "Coach, he's not stopping at all.  It must be complete.  It must be discernable.  He doesn't have to hold it for one full second unless you want to play it safe."
Coach: "He's pitched this way all year.  He's coming to a complete stop."
Me: "Coach, we're done.  Please return to the dugout."
 
Coach ... calling out to his pitcher from the dugout ... "Zane, I don't know how to help you ... the umpire won't explain what you're doing wrong, so hold it and count one one thousand."
Three pitches later.  Balk.
Coach ... calling out to his pitcher from the dugout ... "Zane, I know it's not fair, but you're gonna have to learn how to pitch all over again.  He's not telling me what you're doing wrong."
==========================================
I never said another word to the coach about the balks.  He never approached me again.  Catcher kept saying, "Come to a stop, Zane."
Would any of you have reacted after the first "call" from the dugout?
Would any of you have reacted after the second "call" from the dugout?
Would any of you have reacted or explained any differently than the way I did after the first balk?

I usually tell them he has to come set or stop long enough for me to say "stop". Some kids, and coaches, just don't get it.

Next it will be intetesting to see how you explain that he has to come set and stop even with no one on base.

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I learned 15 years ago to use the "stop" as the timing mechanism for when to drop down.  It has made all the difference in how I can recognize a balk.  If I can't discern that fraction of a second to drop down, then it wasn't complete.  It wasn't discernable.  How coaches can look at a pitcher blow through a stop and swear that he's stopping will never cease to amaze me.  But, part of the problem is, and I hate to say it, my brethren who just don't like to call balks, so they let these kids get away with it.  Then it's no wonder how they get annoyed when I come along and rock their world.

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11 minutes ago, VolUmp said:

I learned 15 years ago to use the "stop" as the timing mechanism for when to drop down.  It has made all the difference in how I can recognize a balk.  If I can't discern that fraction of a second to drop down, then it wasn't complete.  It wasn't discernable.  How coaches can look at a pitcher blow through a stop and swear that he's stopping will never cease to amaze me.  But, part of the problem is, and I hate to say it, my brethren who just don't like to call balks, so they let these kids get away with it.  Then it's no wonder how they get annoyed when I come along and rock their world.

Granted there are those that will not call the no stop balk. Even so, once you call the no stop balk...and then ANOTHER...You would think any baseball player and coach should get the message. Make sure your set is complete today. This umpire isn't afraid to call the no stop balk.

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8 minutes ago, Richvee said:

Granted there are those that will not call the no stop balk. Even so, once you call the no stop balk...and then ANOTHER...You would think any baseball player and coach should get the message. Make sure your set is complete today. This umpire isn't afraid to call the no stop balk.

Note that the coach said:  "He's been pitching this way all year."     There's evidence exhibit 'A' that some umpires just won't call that balk, (conflict avoidance) though I suspect it's because that a good many of them don't know it is a balk.  

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Interesting ... I recall seeing Jim Evans's Balk Video (before it was on DVD) and I recall there are 27 forms of a balk.  I felt then, and I feel now, that very few of those really deceive the runner or batter, and just need not be called.  From day 1, the no-stop balk bugged me as the most egregious ... it takes away the running game from the offense, and since it is a written rule, not an unwritten rule, or a traditional understanding, I've called that balk very consistently over my career.  And I will admit, it really sucks to call a balk and the offended team didn't even see it.

I've found that that the balk that the opposing (offensive) team complains about most often is the no-stop balk, so it amazes me that guys are either afraid to call it or are too ignorant to call it.

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7 minutes ago, BrianC14 said:

Note that the coach said:  "He's been pitching this way all year."     There's evidence exhibit 'A' that some umpires just won't call that balk, (conflict avoidance) though I suspect it's because that a good many of them don't know it is a balk.  

I get it. But I don't always believe the "He's been doing it all year" line either. Maybe he's been doing it all year and only got called for a balk twice before today :D

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Just now, Richvee said:

I get it. But I don't always believe the "He's been doing it all year" line either. Maybe he's been doing it all year and only got called for a balk twice before today :D

Oh yes, grain of salt, and all that.  

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9 hours ago, VolUmp said:

FED

Starting Pitcher comes out to warm up with an assistant coach catching.  No idea where the catcher was.

I employed the advice of some of my respected brethren on this board and tried some preventive officiating.  (Never Again)

 

I don't see this as an indictment of the preventive officiating at all -- in fact, I think it helped the situation.

 

Did you have a partner?  What did he say about the move?

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30 minutes ago, noumpere said:

I don't see this as an indictment of the preventive officiating at all -- in fact, I think it helped the situation.

I agree — the situation was at least no worse than without the preventive officiating. And everyone was made aware in warmups that there was a problem: anyone trying to play the game right would not have been surprised by the balk calls.

It sounds like a coach who's used to bullying umpires into no-calls, to gain his pitcher a substantial advantage. Preventive officiating will be ineffective against intentional mischief, which aims at cheating, not fair play. That's not a reason to give up preventive officiating.

Kudos to the umpire who sticks to his guns.

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2 hours ago, noumpere said:

Did you have a partner?  What did he say about the move?

My partner is a very good Rookie umpire who has not yet learned or gained the confidence to call a balk.  He's actually older than I, so I didn't want to make him think he'd been missing them, and we never discussed it.

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Two brief comments, both matters of opinion, to take or leave:

(1) I read nothing negative in your OP about preventive officiating. You tried, but the coach didn't want to hear. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

(2) By not discussing no-stop balks with your rookie partner (no post-game?), you passed up a good learning experience for him. If he is "a very good rookie," he is likely to be educable.

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From a coaching perspective a no stop balk issue is easy to address. Your F1 has to understand he must be quick from his stop to the plate. Not from the start of his motion to the plate. In other words, there is a minimum amount of time he can set, (and yes, it may vary by umpire), but there is no practical maximum time he can set. Rather then giving the umpires a hard time and giving your kids an excuse, the communication can simply be; take your time, nothing is happening until you go to the plate.

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With the "we've been pitching this way all year" - all I can tell you is I have run into this issue in no less than three different seasons where my pitchers haven't been called for a single illegal pitch until one of our last tournaments - in one case Nationals.   In all these scenarios we had played 60-80 games before getting called on something we had been doing all year.  So, yeah, there is certainly an inconsistency in how umpires deal with balks/illegal pitches (especially the no-stop).   And in my experience it seems to be more "important" tournaments where many umps either turn up their game, or realize that they're also being watched/evaluated so they better start calling things.  Now, it doesn't excuse someone who's been getting away with something all year long, but sometimes you simply don't realize you're doing it, and it's actually valuable to have an umpire call it so you can correct it.  It's a lot easier to work on something you get called on after game three of the season, rather than trying to fix your mechanics in the gold medal game of the National Championship where you've finally stumbled onto a diligent umpire.

Anyway - Ask any cop who has given a ticket for failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.  The driver will not only insist they stopped, the driver actually believes they stopped. But if you're the cop watching the wheels it's very easy to see they never stop moving.  But without a full video replay of the act you are never going to convince the driver they didn't stop.  The coach is going to see what he wants to see, but the player in all likelihood believes he is stopping.   Good luck trying to explain it.

 

 

 

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"Pause longer", is not difficult to explain.

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If his leg starts moving before his hands/arms stop moving, he didn't stop.

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99% of all statistcs are made up. That being said, 99% of people in uniforms working games don't call the most basic balks, no stop, no step, start stop, let alone a Hybrid in FED. I have heared some of these guys say this proudly "I have never called balk" aaaarrrrggggg.......

Then there are Umpires,

Image result for 1% patch

 

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On 5/23/2017 at 2:55 PM, KenBAZ said:

From a coaching perspective a no stop balk issue is easy to address. Your F1 has to understand he must be quick from his stop to the plate. Not from the start of his motion to the plate. In other words, there is a minimum amount of time he can set, (and yes, it may vary by umpire), but there is no practical maximum time he can set. Rather then giving the umpires a hard time and giving your kids an excuse, the communication can simply be; take your time, nothing is happening until you go to the plate.

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
 

I would think that if he holds the ball longer it is more effective at slowing down the running game.  I saw that this weekend in a men's league game.  Pitcher held his stop for varying lengths and it really disrupted the other teams ability to steal.

Called my first dropped ball balk this weekend too.  Never saw that happen before.  Cost him a run as well.

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I too am on the band-wagon against those who do NOT call the most basic balks, and unfortunately, it is the majority of guys I work with (excluding the college level). It seems a 'change in direction' has become a 'complete and discernible stop' to most umpires. So when a pitcher 'bounces his hands', he, and his coaches, think he stopped... he didn't, and it should be called a balk. Further, we shouldn't be afraid to tell coaches, 'he didn't stop, he changed directions... his hands were going down, then went up without ever stopping'. 

I hate to say it, but I feel like Bob Davidson anymore, because balks are so common, because not enough umpires are calling them, it's become epidemic! 

But as I told a first base coach on Saturday, 'while I hate calling them, they'll never learn if I don't'... this after I balked a pitcher 3 times in 2 innings for not stopping... the coaches reply - 'you were right on all of them, and they need to learn, even if it's the hard way'. 

 

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How many of us miss the first "no stop" balk, but get the second one?

 

The coach will say "He did the same thing on the first pitch and you didn't call a balk!"  And I'll say, "Yep Skip, I missed the first one but I nailed the second one!:

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7 minutes ago, catsbackr said:

How many of us miss the first "no stop" balk, but get the second one?

 

The coach will say "He did the same thing on the first pitch and you didn't call a balk!"  And I'll say, "Yep Skip, I missed the first one but I nailed the second one!:

I think we'd all be lying if we didn't admit this has happened to us... but the challenge is having the intestinal fortitude to anticipate that comment from the coach, and STILL call the 2nd one! I think this is, at least in part, where things go south... guys figure, 'Well... I can't call it now'... then they go to their next game, and that slope becomes more slippery because perhaps they figure 'Well, I didn't call that before, I'll be unfair if I call it now.'. Next thing you know a guy goes a few years without calling a balk, and those of us who DO call them by the book get the grief. 

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11 hours ago, catsbackr said:

Well, I don't have a problem with saying I missed the first one if I need to.

Here's a problem I've faced missing the first no stop balk.....The OHC doesn't. "Blue that's a balk he didn't stop".  next pitch, he blows though the stop again, you call it. Now DHC is yapping you let OHC talk you into calling the balk. What's a good reply to the DHC?

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