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Pickoff from the Windup


jroller

Question

Apologies in advance for the long-winded post:

 

Background Info:

 

So, a couple of years ago, I read in OBR that a pickoff attempt from the windup is legal. This blew my mind since I nor anyone I've ever asked about it has seen it employed. Everyone assumes a pitcher on the rubber in the windup must disengage to attempt a pickoff, but that is simply not true per OBR 8.0.1 (a).

 

Rule 8.01(a) Comment: In the Windup Position, a pitcher is permitted to have his “free†foot on the rubber, in front of the rubber, behind the rubber or off the side of the rubber.

 

From the Windup Position, the pitcher may:

(1) deliver the ball to the batter, or

(2) step and throw to a base in an attempt to pick-off a runner, or

(3) disengage the rubber (if he does he must drop his hand to his sides).

In disengaging the rubber the pitcher must step off with his pivot foot and not his free foot first. He may not go into a set or stretch position—if he does it is a balk.

 

Also, there is this:

© At any time during the pitcher’s preliminary movements and until his natural pitching motion commits him to the pitch, he may throw to any base provided he steps directly toward such base before making the throw.

 

Rule 8.01© Comment: The pitcher shall step “ahead of the throw.†A snap throw followed by the step directly toward the base is a balk.

 

So, very clearly, it is legal. Why it is never seen, I don't know, but because it is never seen it should work; however, it is equally likely to be ruled incorrectly for the very same reason. 

 

Questions:

1) Playing in 12U Cal Ripken. What it is the proper etiquette for alerting the umps that we may try this during a game? Should I approach in a pre-game conversation?  I don't think an in game argument will go my way if he calls a balk (assuming our pitcher otherwise executes the move correctly).

 

2) I have recorded videos of one of our pitchers working on it in practice. The first shows his normal motion from the windup. 

 

In the other two, you will see pickoff attempts to first from the windup.  In one, Camden brings his hands together. I believe doing so is not a part of his "natural motion," as he has to pause here before pitching. Thus his next movement, a step back, is actually the beginning of his natural pitching motion. As such, a pickoff attempt from this position (hands together) should be legal.

 

In the second of these two, Camden never brings his hands together. He steps on the rubber, pauses (to give runner time to move off of the base), brings his pitching hand and ball to his ear (in what looks like him scratching his head), then he steps and throws to first. I like this move better, as it positions the ball in a throwing position before making the pickoff attempt, thereby giving him an added advantage. This, too, should be legal according to OBR rules.

 

Would like your feedback on each.  (Note: these are not moves we have practiced and there is lots of room for polishing them up; we just did a quick shoot after practice tonight.)

 

Here are the links:

 

1) Throwing Home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uC46vjqiQXg

 

2) Pickoff to First (hands "set"): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdyEgTmf_5U (really, just the first attempt shows hands set)

 

3) Pickoff to First (hands not "set"): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qEVGP9F8KU

 

Thanks,

 

Jim

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The second video is exactly what you want to do, either method. The last video will get you balked. 

 

 

Yep, I agree with this ^^^

 

And I would remind the umpires before the game that this is a move that you like to do.  Don't try to tell them the rules.  

 

You could maybe fib a little bit and say "we got balked on this last week" so we thought we'd let you know that we might try this move at some point today. 

 

Then just make sure you execute it properly.  

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The second video is exactly what you want to do, either method. The last video will get you balked. 

Thanks, mstaylor.  Two follow up questions:

 

1) When you say "either method" are you stating that all of the attempts in the second video are valid, legal moves?  That is, the one attempt with his hands set in front of him AND the ones with his hands at his sides?

 

2) What about the last video will get you balked? Is it that he raised the ball to his ear? If so, why?

 

Thanks again.

 

 

 

 

The second video is exactly what you want to do, either method. The last video will get you balked. 

 

 

Yep, I agree with this ^^^

 

And I would remind the umpires before the game that this is a move that you like to do.  Don't try to tell them the rules.  

 

You could maybe fib a little bit and say "we got balked on this last week" so we thought we'd let you know that we might try this move at some point today. 

 

Then just make sure you execute it properly.  

 

Thanks also, johnnyg08. 

 

I have actually primed the pump a bit on this ahead of time. I contacted our UIC to inquire about the move and the etiquette for bringing it up. He said he would remind his crews of the rule and let them know to expect to see it this week.  He, too, suggested I mention it to them beforehand to let them know we are the team he was referring to.

 

As is common, we have a number of very young (teens/early 20's) umps who are learning the ropes. Generally, they do a great job, but with such an obscure rule for a move you rarely ever see (I've NEVER seen it at the ripe old age of 47), I wanted to feel comfortable using it at critical moment and know I wouldn't face an argument I was likely to lose.

 

Thanks again to all.

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Everything in the second is legal. In the third video you are trying to introduce extras that will screwed up and will get you balked. Trust me, with just a runner on first the coach will look like a kid on Christmas when he steps on in the wind-up. He will have him moving on first move and that will get him picked. 

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8.01(a)

The Windup Position. 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. He shall not raise either foot from the ground, except that in his actual delivery of the ball to the batter, he may take one step backward, and one step forward with his free foot.

Reading the last sentence, except that in his actual delivery of the ball to the batter, once he lifts his leg and goes to first, it is an illegal pitch and should be a balk?

Not sure how any of the scenarios are legal, need some more explanation from the senior members.

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8.01(a)

The Windup Position. 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. He shall not raise either foot from the ground, except that in his actual delivery of the ball to the batter, he may take one step backward, and one step forward with his free foot.

Reading the last sentence, except that in his actual delivery of the ball to the batter, once he lifts his leg and goes to first, it is an illegal pitch and should be a balk?

Not sure how any of the scenarios are legal, need some more explanation from the senior members.

Bumps,

 

Rule 8.01(a) Comment: In the Windup Position, a pitcher is permitted to have his “free†foot

on the rubber, in front of the rubber, behind the rubber or off the side of the rubber.

From the Windup Position, the pitcher may:

(1) deliver the ball to the batter, or

(2) step and throw to a base in an attempt to pick-off a runner, or

(3) disengage the rubber (if he does he must drop his hand to his sides).

In disengaging the rubber the pitcher must step off with his pivot foot and not his free foot first.

He may not go into a set or stretch position—if he does it is a balk.

 

So in (2) it is legal to try to pick off a runner from the windup

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Everything in the second is legal. In the third video you are trying to introduce extras that will screwed up and will get you balked. Trust me, with just a runner on first the coach will look like a kid on Christmas when he steps on in the wind-up. He will have him moving on first move and that will get him picked. 

 

Thanks.  I understand and I agree. It is so commonly believed that a pitcher cannot pick off from the windup that the odds of the pick being successful are great, if executed properly... and it really is as simple as stepping to the base then throwing.

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8.01(a)

The Windup Position. 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. He shall not raise either foot from the ground, except that in his actual delivery of the ball to the batter, he may take one step backward, and one step forward with his free foot.

Reading the last sentence, except that in his actual delivery of the ball to the batter, once he lifts his leg and goes to first, it is an illegal pitch and should be a balk?

Not sure how any of the scenarios are legal, need some more explanation from the senior members.

 

I agree that this certainly appears to contradict #2 in the comment; however, I think it bears a closer reading and further contemplation. 

 

1) I suspect the statement is meant to dictate that once in the windup position (facing batter, pivot foot in contact) that the pitcher cannot reposition himself. He has to remain still. For instance, the pitcher could not, after being in the windup, then step further left (or right) on the rubber, or even stretch a cramp out of his hip.

 

2) If that line, in fact, meant that, the only way to lift his foot would be as part of his motion to deliver the ball; the pitcher could then never disengage the rubber!

If the rule meant what it seems to imply on first reading, by rule, all a pitcher in the windup could EVER do is deliver the ball to the batter. True?

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The secret to picking to first from the rubber in either stance is to step first before you start your hands. You start your hands first and you have committed to the pitch. 

That depends a little on the rules code.  In the video the pitcher took the rubber with the hands together and then threw to first.  That's legal.

 

If the pitcher takes the rubber with the hands apart and then moves both at the same time to join them, that's a commitment to pitch in HS ball.  The pitcher is allowed to stop at this point though in pro and college ball without it being a commitment to pitch.

 

To the OP: the umpires you have might not know this distinction so be sure to have your son take the rubber with the hands together to be more sure of this not being balked.

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