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indianaumpire15

F1 step towards 3rd from sent position

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At what point does the pitcher become an infielder when he steps towards third?

I was talking with another umpire in our local HS group who had a play the other day where a team had an R1 only who faked like he was going to steal second the pitcher stepped towards third and threw the ball to F5 after his non pivot foot landed.  F5 then threw to second and R1 was safe.  The umpires did not call a balk.

My understanding of this has always been since the a feint to third base is legal in HS that once a pitcher steps towards third and his pivot foot raises up off the rubber he has made himself a fielder and can now throw to any base legally.

Just want some clarification on this.  Thanks guys.

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F1 has two roles on the field. He is either a pitcher or a fielder, depending on whether or not he has engaged the rubber. He cannot be both at the same time, and the legality of his actions are dependent on his role. If he has not engaged the rubber, he can throw wherever he wants, except to pitch the ball to the batter (he can throw home, of course, but would be dong so as a fielder). If he's engaged the rubber, pitching regulations are in force, and he is subject to balking and all the restrictions that come along with it.

In your example, in order to legally become a fielder once he engages the rubber, F1 must step backward off the plate, as specified in FED 6-1-2 and 6-1-3. But if he doesn't disengage, he must gain distance by stepping toward the base to which he's throwing.

I think what you stated in your understanding is mixing two different scenarios. F1 can feint to 3B as a pitcher, meaning he doesn't have to disengage but must step toward the base. If he does disengage, he can throw to anybody or any base all he likes, and this isn't considered a feint, since he's a fielder and not a pitcher.

Regarding your question, it's not the step that defines when F1's role changes -- it's whether or not he legally disengaged the rubber.

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It's R1 only...Balk.   He cannot step and throw to 3B. It's unoccupied and he isn't throwing there to make a play on or drive back a runner.

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24 minutes ago, ElkOil said:

 

I understand what you’re saying about disengaging but at some point the step towards third has to disengage F1 or he would not be able to wheel around and throw to first.  I am trying to figure out at what point that is.  Or is that thinking misplaced?

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2 minutes ago, Richvee said:

It's R1 only...Balk.   He cannot step and throw to 3B. It's unoccupied and he isn't throwing there to make a play on or drive back a runner.

So F1 can step towards third fake a throw then throw to F5 and that would be legal?

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2 minutes ago, indianaumpire15 said:

I understand what you’re saying about disengaging but at some point the step towards third has to disengage F1 or he would not be able to wheel around and throw to first.  I am trying to figure out at what point that is.  Or is that thinking misplaced?

He can only step to 3B if there's an R3, or an R2 attempting to advance. IF there's an R3, he can step there and not throw. When he steps there, his pivot foot must disengage in order for him to wheel and throw to 2B or 1B. There is a case play that has F1 stepping to 3B, not disengaging and stepping to 1B...That's a balk, though I.m not sure how someone can accomplish this move without lifting the pivot foot.

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2 minutes ago, indianaumpire15 said:

So F1 can step towards third fake a throw then throw to F5 and that would be legal?

Throwing or feinting to an unoccupied base would be a balk unless there was a runner there or a runner appearing to go there from 2B.

I asked the question at an Evans clinic a while ago. A legal step toward a base from the rubber will be a legal dissengage if the pivot foot comes off the rubber and the pitcher can than run or throw to any base. 

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5 minutes ago, Richvee said:

He can only step to 3B if there's an R3, or an R2 attempting to advance. IF there's an R3, he can step there and not throw. When he steps there, his pivot foot must disengage in order for him to wheel and throw to 2B or 1B. There is a case play that has F1 stepping to 3B, not disengaging and stepping to 1B...That's a balk, though I.m not sure how someone can accomplish this move without lifting the pivot foot.

Wait you can only do the 3-1 move when there is a R2 advancing or an R3?  That is not what we are taught in Indianapolis.  Plenty of players step toward third and then throw to 1st with R1 only here and it’s never been a balk.  That’s at the college level also.

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4 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

Throwing or feinting to an unoccupied base would be a balk unless there was a runner there or a runner appearing to go there from 2B.

I asked the question at an Evans clinic a while ago. A legal step toward a base from the rubber will be a legal dissengage if the pivot foot comes off the rubber and the pitcher can than run or throw to any base. 

In pro ball it’s not legal to feint to third in HS and college it is.

Your second addition about the question you asked is how I always looked at it.  In rule sets where the step to third is legal.

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ART. 4 . . . Balk. If there is a runner or runners, any of the following acts by a pitcher while he is touching the pitcher's plate is a balk:

 

b. failing to step with the non-pivot foot directly toward a base (occupied or unoccupied) when throwing or feinting there in an attempt to put out, or drive back a runner; or throwing or feinting to any unoccupied base when it is not an attempt to put out or drive back a runner;

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4 minutes ago, Richvee said:

ART. 4 . . . Balk. If there is a runner or runners, any of the following acts by a pitcher while he is touching the pitcher's plate is a balk:

 

b. failing to step with the non-pivot foot directly toward a base (occupied or unoccupied) when throwing or feinting there in an attempt to put out, or drive back a runner; or throwing or feinting to any unoccupied base when it is not an attempt to put out or drive back a runner;

6.1.5 SITUATION: With R1 on third base and R2 on first base, F1 steps and feints to third and then steps and throws to first attempting to pick off R2. The throw goes into dead-ball territory. The offensive team’s coach wants a balk to be called because the pitcher never threw the ball toward third. RULING: When the pitcher stepped off the pitching plate in his feint to third, he became an infielder. Hence, when his throw goes into dead-ball territory, all runners are awarded two bases. R1 gets home and R2 gets third. Had F1 stayed on the pitching plate dur- ing his feint to third and his throw to first, all runners would be awarded one base. R1 would get home and R2 would get second. This would not be a balk as F1 made a legal feint and a legal pickoff attempt with no prior motion to pitch.

 

This case play seems to be in direct contradiction of that and it says the step towards is a legal disengage.

Its just a confusing deal on this one.

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12 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

Throwing or feinting to an unoccupied base would be a balk unless there was a runner there or a runner appearing to go there from 2B.

I asked the question at an Evans clinic a while ago. A legal step toward a base from the rubber will be a legal dissengage if the pivot foot comes off the rubber and the pitcher can than run or throw to any base. 

Just to clarify....A legal step toward a base from the rubber means there is a runner at that base or a runner is attempting to gain that base.

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12 minutes ago, indianaumpire15 said:

Wait you can only do the 3-1 move when there is a R2 advancing or an R3?  That is not what we are taught in Indianapolis.  Plenty of players step toward third and then throw to 1st with R1 only here and it’s never been a balk.  That’s at the college level also.

I find that difficult to believe for HS, and impossible for NCAA. This is pretty basic stuff.

 

1 minute ago, indianaumpire15 said:

This case play seems to be in direct contradiction to that.  No advancement here by R2 and they say the step towards is a legal disengage.

The play you cite has runners on 1st and 3rd. That's the customary (legal) third to first move.

"6.1.5 SITUATION: With R1 on third base and R2 on first base, F1 steps and feints to third and then steps and throws to first attempting to pick off R2...."

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18 minutes ago, Richvee said:

He can only step to 3B if there's an R3, or an R2 attempting to advance. IF there's an R3, he can step there and not throw. When he steps there, his pivot foot must disengage in order for him to wheel and throw to 2B or 1B. There is a case play that has F1 stepping to 3B, not disengaging and stepping to 1B...That's a balk, though I.m not sure how someone can accomplish this move without lifting the pivot foot.

What Rich said.

In addition, as I re-re-read your OP, in the end, it's no harm no foul since R1 was safe at 2B. Even if a balk was called, the result would have been the same.

Sometimes umpires get confused, too, and I can see there being enough confusion in this play that as the ump's brains were processing what happened, they let the whole thing play out. You can always call the balk after the fact, anyway, so there's no rush.

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17 minutes ago, indianaumpire15 said:

Wait you can only do the 3-1 move when there is a R2 advancing or an R3?  That is not what we are taught in Indianapolis.  Plenty of players step toward third and then throw to 1st with R1 only here and it’s never been a balk.  That’s at the college level also.

I can better understand your confusion now. I fear you've been taught incorrectly.

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4 minutes ago, ElkOil said:

What Rich said.

In addition, as I re-re-read your OP, in the end, it's no harm no foul since R1 was safe at 2B. Even if a balk was called, the result would have been the same.

Sometimes umpires get confused, too, and I can see there being enough confusion in this play that as the ump's brains were processing what happened, they let the whole thing play out. You can always call the balk after the fact, anyway, so there's no rush.

 

5 minutes ago, Richvee said:

Just to clarify....A legal step toward a base from the rubber means there is a runner at that base or a runner is attempting to gain that base.

 

5 minutes ago, maven said:

I find that difficult to believe for HS, and impossible for NCAA. This is pretty basic stuff.

 

The play you cite has runners on 1st and 3rd.

Fair enough guys maybe I was just reading too much into it and I also got confused.  Thanks for setting me straight on this one.

So just to clarify the feint to third move is only legal when there is an R3 or an R2 that is advancing or at least makes it appear he is trying to advance to third?

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Just now, ElkOil said:

I can better understand your confusion now. I fear you've been taught incorrectly.

I think it was a situation where I may have misunderstood and just seen other guys not call it.  I know for a fact I have been watching a HS game and seen a guy step towards third and wheel to first with an R1 only.  And no balk was called.  Now I know for sure that is a balk.

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*6.2.4 SITUATION A: 

With R3 on third and R1 on first, F1 stretches and comes set. He then swings his entire nonpivot foot behind the back edge of the pitcher's plate, steps toward second and (a) throws the ball to second in an attempt to retire R1, who is advancing there or (b) feints throw to second to drive R1 back to first, who has neither attempted nor feinted an advance to second. 

RULING: In (a), this is legal. In (b), it is a balk.

9 minutes ago, indianaumpire15 said:

6.1.5 SITUATION: With R1 on third base and R2 on first base, F1 steps and feints to third and then steps and throws to first attempting to pick off R2. The throw goes into dead-ball territory. The offensive team’s coach wants a balk to be called because the pitcher never threw the ball toward third. RULING: When the pitcher stepped off the pitching plate in his feint to third, he became an infielder. Hence, when his throw goes into dead-ball territory, all runners are awarded two bases. R1 gets home and R2 gets third. Had F1 stayed on the pitching plate dur- ing his feint to third and his throw to first, all runners would be awarded one base. R1 would get home and R2 would get second. This would not be a balk as F1 made a legal feint and a legal pickoff attempt with no prior motion to pitch.

 

This case play seems to be in direct contradiction of that and it says the step towards is a legal disengage.

Its just a confusing deal on this one.

The step is not in and of itself a disengage. He has to STEP with the free foot, then the pivot foot must come off the rubber to disengage. EWhat this case play talks about is F1 stepping to 3B with an R3, never lifting the pivot foot, then throwing to 1B.

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6 minutes ago, indianaumpire15 said:

So just to clarify the feint to third move is only legal when there is an R3 or an R2 that is advancing or at least makes it appear he is trying to advance to third?

correct

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4 minutes ago, Richvee said:

correct

You guys are life savers I can’t believe with all the complex rules I have a great handle on that I was so confused on this one.  I’ll be happy to tell my umpire buddy that I was wrong and why.

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46 minutes ago, indianaumpire15 said:

Wait you can only do the 3-1 move when there is a R2 advancing or an R3?  That is not what we are taught in Indianapolis.  Plenty of players step toward third and then throw to 1st with R1 only here and it’s never been a balk.  That’s at the college level also.

I'm thinking either you were mis-interpreting what was said, or there is something fishy being taught in Indianapolis.

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5 minutes ago, blue23ll said:

I'm thinking either you were mis-interpreting what was said, or there is something fishy being taught in Indianapolis.

I think I misinterpreted it.

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23 minutes ago, blue23ll said:

I'm thinking either you were mis-interpreting what was said, or there is something fishy being taught in Indianapolis.

Well, you know what they say about Indianapolisians...

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21 minutes ago, ElkOil said:

Well, you know what they say about Indianapolisians...

I'm afraid to ask

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48 minutes ago, blue23ll said:

I'm afraid to ask

I dunno. I just wanted to type "Indianapolisians." I'm sure they say nice things about them.

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