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Guest Alberto Mora

Stopping the windup

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Guest Alberto Mora

Hi, my name is Alberto Mora from Mexico. Last sunday I was pitching, the bases were empty and when I started my windup I stopped because my catcher was confused and keep giving signs to me. The home plate umpire told me that it was an illegal pitch, therefore he called a ball in the count. Was this right? I didnt throw the ball, just stopped and said to my catcher to go through the signs again. In my baseball knowledge nothing should be called. Thank you.

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Technically, correct call. Rule 5.07(a): "The pitcher shall stand facing the batter, his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate and the other foot free. From this position any natural movement associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without interruption  or  alteration."

In practice, with no runners this provision is often ignored, especially at lower levels, as the defense gains no advantage.

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If in the OP they were playing under OBR, there is a possibility the pitcher could have broken the 12-second rule—5.07(c). And there is at least one other point of view--

From the 2013 Wendelstedt manual (2013 edition, p. 272):

Play 567:  No one on, one out, 1-2 count. The pitcher, from the wind-up position, starts his motion, but stops halfway through. He then re-engages the rubber and begins to take signs again.

Ruling:  With no runners on base, there is no violation.

And on p. 95 of the same manual Mr. Wendelstedt states:  “If the pitcher stops his pitching motion in either position with no runners on base, there is no penalty. The pitcher and batter will start over from scratch.”

From the 2015 NFHS Baseball Case Book:

6.1.2 SITUATION A:  With no runners on base, F1 starts his windup or preliminary motion and the ball slips from his hand. RULING:  There is no infraction provided F1 delivers a pitch within 20 seconds after he received the ball. If F1 fails to do so, the batter is awarded a ball. If there had been a runner or runners on base, dropping the ball while in contact with the pitcher’s plate is a balk if the ball did not cross the foul line. Each base runner shall be awarded one base.

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4 hours ago, maven said:

Technically, correct call. Rule 5.07(a): "The pitcher shall stand facing the batter, his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate and the other foot free. From this position any natural movement associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without interruption  or  alteration."

In practice, with no runners this provision is often ignored, especially at lower levels, as the defense gains no advantage.

There is no penalty for violating 5.07(a). It's nothing with no runners in OBR.

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3 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

If in the OP they were playing under OBR, there is a possibility the pitcher could have broken the 12-second rule—5.07(c). And there is at least one other point of view--

From the 2013 Wendelstedt manual (2013 edition, p. 272):

Play 567:  No one on, one out, 1-2 count. The pitcher, from the wind-up position, starts his motion, but stops halfway through. He then re-engages the rubber and begins to take signs again.

Ruling:  With no runners on base, there is no violation.

From the 2015 NFHS Baseball Case Book:

6.1.2 SITUATION A:  With no runners on base, F1 starts his windup or preliminary motion and the ball slips from his hand. RULING:  There is no infraction provided F1 delivers a pitch within 20 seconds after he received the ball. If F1 fails to do so, the batter is awarded a ball. If there had been a runner or runners on base, dropping the ball while in contact with the pitcher’s plate is a balk if the ball did not cross the foul line. Each base runner shall be awarded one base.

That FED caseplay is stretched to stopping the windup and I am happy to do it to remain consistent with OBR/NCAA. But there were rulings or test questions in previous years that used the blanket penalty at the end of the 6.1 series of rules that called any 6.1 violation an illegal pitch. Some people still do.  If you know the umps in your territory abide by calling this a ball advise the pitchers to drop the ball when they catch a cleat or the catcher  messes them up or whatever. 

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No HS HC wants a ball penalty called when on defense. In this neck-of-the-woods, nearly all understand that they shouldn't expect that penalty called when they are on offense. 

I think that the HS umpire that calls this is risking having BOTH HC eye the crew with suspicion (what's next?). And worse would be if the HC umpire gives a penalty after being confronted by the OHC. I'd rather not penalize and shutdown douche-bag OHC that wants it both ways. 

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POE: Enforcement and Administration of NFHS Rules

…Other rules codes have significantly different objectives and rationales for their rules. When non-approved interpretations or rulings that are contradictory to NFHS rules as written are used, they can confuse students, coaches, umpires and fans.

Here in Ohio, we umpires are admonished to know and enforce the rules, all the rules.  Pitchers showing up at state tourneys using the hybrid position because “He’s done that all year!” or running lane violations that don’t get called or team personnel allowed to sit outside their dugouts are but a few examples among many that are sometimes and sometimes not enforced. 

Some forgotten instructor in a long ago Michigan clinic once said something to the effect: Use your good judgment for the gray areas; the rulebook for the black and white. 

And, if enough of us would consistently enforce the Mickey Mouse rules, they just might get changed.  It’s happened before: e.g.; coach assisting a runner, BR overrunning 1B, R1 at 1B.  (Just joking about that last one...or was I?) 

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