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Guest John

Calling a balk for stalling?

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Guest John

My son is a 12u right-handed pitcher for a travel team.  He's been pitching for two years.  One of his moves is the following:  as he comes set to pitch from the stretch, he lifts his left leg as anyone would.  Sometimes he will hold that left leg in the air a for 3-4 second pause then pitch.  He's been successful at doing this as it throws off many batters he has faced.  During a game yesterday, an umpire called him for a balk for STALLING!  None of the coaches nor parents had ever heard of that and its never been called on him by any umpire anywhere!  He's played in many tourneys and pitched 100s of innings.  Never ever been called.  Is this a real thing that's just never been enforced or is that one umpire making this up??

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24 minutes ago, Guest John said:

One of his moves is the following:  as he comes set to pitch from the stretch, he lifts his left leg as anyone would.  Sometimes he will hold that left leg in the air a for 3-4 second pause then pitch.

Apart from the umpire's call, which is impossible to evaluate without video, no good pitching coach will allow this going forward. It confers no benefit, and is (obviously) at risk for being ruled a balk.

Any good runner knows that once F1 gets to the balance point, it doesn't matter how long he swings his leg, he's committed to pitch. Runners should go while the leg is swinging.

If F1 freezes on during the motion, that's a start/stop balk.

If F1 reaches the balance point without picking, and then picks, that's a balk for failing to step directly to a base.

No upside, substantial downside = bad tactic. There's a reason you never see this in pro ball.

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19 minutes ago, Guest John said:

My son is a 12u right-handed pitcher for a travel team.  He's been pitching for two years.  One of his moves is the following:  as he comes set to pitch from the stretch, he lifts his left leg as anyone would.  Sometimes he will hold that left leg in the air a for 3-4 second pause then pitch.  He's been successful at doing this as it throws off many batters he has faced.  During a game yesterday, an umpire called him for a balk for STALLING!  None of the coaches nor parents had ever heard of that and its never been called on him by any umpire anywhere!  He's played in many tourneys and pitched 100s of innings.  Never ever been called.  Is this a real thing that's just never been enforced or is that one umpire making this up??

Unnecessary delay is a balk.  CS call here. Shouldn't happen. Umpire doesn't understand the rules.

With runners on stopping during the delivery is a balk.  

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8.01

b) The Set Position. Set Position shall be indicated by the pitcher when he stands facing the batter with his entire pivot foot on, or in front of, and in contact with, and not off the end of the pitcher's plate, and his other foot in front of the pitcher's plate, holding the ball in both hands in front of his body and coming to a complete stop. From such Set Position he may deliver the ball to the batter, throw to a base or step backward off the pitcher's plate with his pivot foot. Before assuming Set Position, the pitcher may elect to make any natural preliminary motion such as that known as "the stretch." But if he so elects, he shall come to Set Position before delivering the ball to the batter. After assuming Set Position, any natural motion associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without alteration or interruption. Preparatory to coming to a set position, the pitcher shall have one hand on his side; from this position he shall go to his set position as defined in Rule 8.01 (b) without interruption and in one continuous motion. The whole width of the foot in contact with the rubber must be on the rubber. A pitcher cannot pitch from off the end of the rubber with just the side of his foot touching the rubber. The pitcher, following his stretch, must

 

** Some assumptions made from the post.  1) there are runners on, since a balk was called. 2) the "stalling" that the umpire referred to was the stopping with his foot in the air for "3-4-seconds".

 

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Well, if there's no one on base it can't be a balk (just an illegal pitch).  And if there is someone on base, he's only hurting his team by leaving his leg up like that to let the runner get a bigger jump.  So, the question is, why is he doing this with runners on base?

I think, technically, an illegal pitch/balk could/should be called if the pitcher fails to complete/continue his pitching motion without interruption.    That pause (or stall) could be deemed an interruption.

Considering the number of MLB pitchers who have added this to their repertoire (Cueto, Stroman to name a couple), I find it hard to believe it's illegal - one could argue that at some level he probably is "moving", even if we can't discern it with the eye - but in the end it's  a judgment call.   However, NONE of them do it with runners on base.

Some/many?most? umps will call it if a runner's on base (however, I think a very small number of pitchers would do it with runners on base)...very few will call it (an illegal pitch) if no one is on base.   

 

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22 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

- one could argue that at some level he probably is "moving", even if we can't discern it with the eye - but in the end it's  a judgment call.   

I agree to a certain point.  3-4 seconds (to me)  is well beyond that point.

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Someone always thinks they have figured out a way to beat rules that have been around for decades.  

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5 hours ago, Aging_Arbiter said:

After assuming Set Position, any natural motion associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without alteration or interruption.

And there you have it....Standing motionless with the free foot in the air for 3 or 4 seconds? Start/stop balk all day

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13 hours ago, Richvee said:

And there you have it....Standing motionless with the free foot in the air for 3 or 4 seconds? Start/stop balk all day

Only from set. Only with runners on.

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