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Fellow umpires, I need to present a situation to you. Personal and professional relationships are affected by it (along with financial, as in who owes who a beer... or two). This situation was presented to me (us - a group of friends and colleagues): "I put a pitcher in play standing on rubber taking signs. 2nd baseman had ball trying to trick runner. I called a balk. Right or wrong?" The responses started to roll in of "Right on" and "Right" and "100%". I picked up on the "put a pitcher in play..." component, meaning that the ball was Dead, thus, the following HBT could not work. I countered, and said, "Not a balk. Reset. The ball cannot be put in "Play" because the components for doing so were not correct." I went further to say (while others are still saying "Balk" and "That's deception!"), "Nope. Ball cannot be made live (with Plate Umpire saying "Play!") until the pitcher has the ball on the mound on the rubber, ready to pitch (or take signs). If the ball was still Live all along, then yes, that's a balk. But you cannot have a HBT work out of a Dead Ball situation. Cannot. Impossible." I was then embroiled in a cascade of belittling declaratives and arguing, mostly centering around how I'm "obtuse" and how what F1 & F4 did was "deception" and should be called a "balk". I then said, "In order for the umpire to call "Play" and make the ball Live, the pitcher must have the ball and be on the rubber, ready to pitch (or take signs). Otherwise, his standing anywhere else means nothing, because the umpire cannot make the ball live until those criteria are met. Even if you (the umpire) mistakenly call "Play!", the only recourse is to reset it back to the conditions when Dead. R2, F1 with ball (finally), ready to pitch, "Nice try next time!", and Play!" Further declaratives were presented, such as "It is deception because the pitcher cannot be on the rubber without the ball." and "It's a balk." The original questioner then stated "I had Time (called) because (the) base came up (off its moorings).", further reinforcing that it was, in fact, a Dead Ball situation, and that the PU had to make the ball Live again... which means that Rule 5.11 (2014) has to be followed. I was then subjected to a severe text-lashing, with one such statement presented - "Max, I can call anything I want to at any time 'cause I'm the ump". Then, Rule 6.02a (Comment... it must be 2015 re-numbering quoted) was presented several times: "If there is a runner, or runners, on base it is a balk when: Straddling the pitcher's rubber without the ball is to be interpreted as intent to deceive and ruled a balk." I responded, each time, "When the ball is Live, (that's) absolutely (correct)." Next, was a truly wonderful statement: "You're just FULL OF CRAP Max!!" I then quoted Rule 5.11 again, this time verbatim. The words "Idiot" and "Hard headed" were then applied to me. To his credit, the OP then asked, "What about deception though... No penalty?" I replied with, "Ball was never Live." I have since talked with a couple of the discussion participants individually, and while civil and friendly, there is a sentiment that, for this "deception", the defense must be penalized with a Balk call. My fundamental point is that it can't be – it cannot be a Balk, it cannot be an Out, it cannot be anything – because the ball wasn't Live to begin with. Because the Umpire(s) lost track of where the ball is, and the PU said "Play!" in error does not make that ball Live, because according to the Rules, that ball has to be in the possession of the pitcher in order to be (made) Live; the ball residing in the F4's glove is Dead, and cannot be made Live by any declaration of (any/the) umpire. In essence, in order for Rule 6.02 (which I guess in the 2015 renumbering was 8.02?) to be valid and applied (a Live ball), then 5.11 has to be valid and followed. I am rather upset by this discussion. In no way am I trying to one-up anyone, nor am I trying to get anyone to say, "Wow Max, you are right, and we're nothing in your brilliance!". I'm just trying to point out the simple fundamental fact. I have no criticism of the OP, who called "Play!" without recognizing the ball not in the possession of the pitcher – these sort of things happen to any/everyone one us. There's plenty of us who have not even put a ball back into "Play!" after a foul ball! And I don't have a criticism of him calling a Balk... He didn't seem to get any kick-back at the time about it. He approached our group with this question, because it was bugging him. I don't even have a qualm with most of my colleagues who feel that a Balk should be called (Again, I think I'm right that Balk isn't warranted, by Rule), because, of course, I may be wrong. I'm confident that I'm not, but I could be. The answer lies in the Rules, and the official interpretation and application of them... and this here "obtuse idiot" wants to know what needs to be interpreted and applied for this situation. Thank you for your attention and insights... Let 'em rip.