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Nic

Moving hands/elbow after coming set

Question

How do you rule in this situation? How would you have handled the coach? 

11U Cal Ripken OBR

Top of 1st, RH pitcher comes to the set position. Home team is on the first base side. 

Pitcher would come set, and continue moving his pitching hand inside his glove, which in turn would move his glove hand.

This was not a part of his routine.  It was sporadic from pitch to pitch. It depended on what pitch was called. He would dig in the glove to go from a FB grip to a CB grip.

And occasionally, his elbow would move. Other times, he wouldn't move his hands at all. 

I was bothered by a) the glove hand movement, and b) the elbow movement

Moving the glove seems like a false start to me. But the thought that kept popping in my head was, "if I'm running on first, I'm deceived by the elbow moving if I'm going on first movement." 

We were asked by director to work with the pitchers in regards to balks this weekend. Meaning we gave a warning first. 

After the top of the inning, I walked over to a coach from that team and simply said, "if you could quiet the pitchers' hands once he comes set, I'd appreciate it, coach." 

To which he responded, "is he doing it intentionally? The rule is there to not intentionally deceive the runner, IS HE INTENTIONALLY DECEIVING THE RUNNER? NO." Turns his back and leaves. They kept talking about it, and at one point they got mean. "Whys he always acting like he knows SH*#? Why can't he just umpire?" 

The coaches are former minor league players who are as arrogant as they come. 

But I was unsure of what the threshold is for how much movement of the hands after coming set is allowed. I was taught to come still. But who knows why I was taught that growing up.

So I let it ride the rest of the way today. I wanted to error on side of caution. 

But if intent to deceive is a determining factor, it doesnt absolve that deception still exists. I argued intent to deceive doesnt matter. Only that deception is happening.

Thanks in advance!

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You gave them a chance to address it. They chose to act like ass hats.

If F1 never comes set because something was moving, issue the warning as directed. If F1 moves after coming set, issue the warning as directed.

When the arrogant d-bags bark about it tell them why it's a balk- no stop or start/stop. Next time F1 does it, balk him. Sooner or later some one will address it with F1.

Sometimes you just need to umpire.

Just my .02. YMMV.

 

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3 minutes ago, Kevin_K said:

You gave them a chance to address it. They chose to act like ass hats.

If F1 never comes set because something was moving, issue the warning as directed. If F1 moves after coming set, issue the warning as directed.

When the arrogant d-bags bark about it tell them why it's a balk- no stop or start/stop. Next time F1 does it, balk him. Sooner or later some one will address it with F1.

Sometimes you just need to umpire.

Just my .02. YMMV.

 

Thanks. Good advice. 

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18 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

Adjusting the ball in the glove to change the grip for a different pitch is legal.

 

But how much do you allow? If it causes his hands to move, and occasionally his elbow, would that not be too much, and grounds for a balk

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1 hour ago, Nic said:

But how much do you allow? If it causes his hands to move, and occasionally his elbow, would that not be too much, and grounds for a balk

Did you think he started his pitching motion and stopped?  Did he separate his hands?  Were any runners picked off?  Are they even leading off at this age?

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39 minutes ago, Tborze said:

Did you think he started his pitching motion and stopped?  No.

Did he separate his hands?  No.

Were any runners picked off?  No.

Are they even leading off at this age? Yes.

I know its tough without seeing it.

1.He'd come set. He'd stop.

2.He'd go digging. 

3.Both hands would start moving as he acquired the grip. not dramatically, but noticeably from my position at B/C. Tremors very jerky motions.

4.Occasionally his elbow even got involved and was moving. 

Perhaps its not a balk and I was overblowing it. Just seemed like *something* illegal was going on. 

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5 hours ago, Nic said:

I know its tough without seeing it.

1.He'd come set. He'd stop.

2.He'd go digging. 

3.Both hands would start moving as he acquired the grip. not dramatically, but noticeably from my position at B/C. Tremors very jerky motions.

4.Occasionally his elbow even got involved and was moving. 

Perhaps its not a balk and I was overblowing it. Just seemed like *something* illegal was going on. 

If you didn't think he started his pitching motion and stopped, then it's not a balk.  Just like when pitchers at hat level turn their shoulders more than you'd see in MLB -- it's not a balk.

 

All that said, it is HTBT.

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10 hours ago, Nic said:

But how much do you allow? If it causes his hands to move, and occasionally his elbow, would that not be too much, and grounds for a balk

How do you change a grip without moving your hands?

 

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Sadly, the worse part of this tale was the coaches and their reaction. The best answer would have been to tell you "thank you" and that they would say something to the kid, even if they had no plans to do so. By spouting off like that, they just created an environment where any calls you make there after will be perceived to be aggressive towards their team and they will use that as justification for acting like jerks. In due course an ejection will be forthcoming and they will complain to high heaven that you were just being vengeful... No good deed goes unpunished as they say.

Next time, if you think it is a balk, call the balk. If it is not a balk, ignore it. At 11, most of the kids can't figure out how to come completely still, not turn their shoulders a little when set and trying to see 1st etc... 

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Is there even a balk at that level, or is it an illegal pitch?

Hands in the glove are OK, but elbow to me is a balk. That could be a start stop, because one of the first moves in a pitch is the elbow moving.

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14 minutes ago, maineump said:

Is there even a balk at that level, or is it an illegal pitch?

Hands in the glove are OK, but elbow to me is a balk. That could be a start stop, because one of the first moves in a pitch is the elbow moving.

at that age yes a balk, depending on rule set, I've seen as young as 10s be called that way.

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Q:  Were they intentionally acting like massive douchebags, or did it just come naturally?

A:  Who cares?  Send them to scream at their windshields.  There's no room for that level of ass-hattery around 11-year-olds.

 

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