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Guest Dan W

Balk or no Balk?

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Guest Dan W

USSSA 13U

 

Situation:  Runner at first, no outs.  Pitcher stands astride of the rubber with ball in his glove.  Pitcher reaches into his glove to move the ball to the throwing hand, moves the throwing hand with the ball to his back hip while stepping onto the rubber in position to take the sign from the catcher.  Umpire calls a balk because according to him: “The pitcher cannot put his hands together and subsequently break his hands while straddling the rubber.â€

 

Thanks in advance for your responses.

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You won't find that exact phrase in the Official Baseball Rules. The closest thing you will find is 8.05(g) which states there is a balk if "the pitcher makes any motion naturally associated with his pitch while he is not touching the pitcher's plate." I don't think I have that here, especially in a 13 year old game. It is asking for trouble. 

 

I am by no means a rule expert, so I am interested in what others have to say as well. 

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Not a balk, and this:

 

“The pitcher cannot put his hands together and subsequently break his hands while straddling the rubber.â€

 

is made up.

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The umpire may be confusing the comment in 8.01 that the pitcher must seperate his hands when he steps off (to prevent a quick pitch) for this... But even a violation of that isn't a balk...  :shrug:

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Guest Guest

Thank you all for your responses.  We argued with the umpires on this and both umpires were admit that the pitcher could not break his hands while astride of the rubber.  I asked for him to cite the rule and his response was “Trust me I’ve been doing this for 20 years.† I refrained from responding with “Then you’ve been wrong for 20 years†but I really wanted to.  Also for those wondering if the pitcher was somehow feinting a pitching motion.  When the pitcher stepped on to the rubber to take the catcher’s sign (after the “balk motionâ€), his glove hand was on his front knee slightly hunched over, throwing hand with ball behind his back…the “typical stretch†position.  When the balk was called the runner on first base was still standing on the bag.  I assume because the pitcher was not on the rubber.

 

BTW greyhawk this was at a USSSA tournament at Steed Park, San Clemente.

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Thank you all for your responses.  We argued with the umpires on this and both umpires were admit that the pitcher could not break his hands while astride of the rubber.  I asked for him to cite the rule and his response was “Trust me I’ve been doing this for 20 years.† I refrained from responding with “Then you’ve been wrong for 20 years†but I really wanted to.  Also for those wondering if the pitcher was somehow feinting a pitching motion.  When the pitcher stepped on to the rubber to take the catcher’s sign (after the “balk motionâ€), his glove hand was on his front knee slightly hunched over, throwing hand with ball behind his back…the “typical stretch†position.  When the balk was called the runner on first base was still standing on the bag.  I assume because the pitcher was not on the rubber.

 

BTW greyhawk this was at a USSSA tournament at Steed Park, San Clemente.

 

I've worked with some good umpires in USSSA and some bad ones.  I've seen guys call balks for taking signs off the rubber in USSSA, so I guess this one shouldn't be a surprise.  I asked for games in their last tourney down at Steed, but I rarely get games when I request them.  I will likely not umpire for them at all next year.  Not worth the $110 they ask us to pay for the 7 games I got this year.  Too many other better choices for me at this point.

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USSSA 13U

 

Situation:  Runner at first, no outs.  Pitcher stands astride of the rubber with ball in his glove.  Pitcher reaches into his glove to move the ball to the throwing hand, moves the throwing hand with the ball to his back hip while stepping onto the rubber in position to take the sign from the catcher.  Umpire calls a balk because according to him: “The pitcher cannot put his hands together and subsequently break his hands while straddling the rubber.â€

 

Thanks in advance for your responses.

 

 

I have a balk--not for what the umpire said--I have a balk because "move the throwing hand with ball to his back while stepping on the rubber"  you can not move the ball and your pivot foot at the same time.  Guys don't hurt your back throwing a ump under the bus.

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Perhaps they're misinterpreting 8.05 j ?

 

 

The pitcher, after coming to a legal pitching position, removes one hand from the

ball other than in an actual pitch, or in throwing to a base

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USSSA 13U

 

Situation:  Runner at first, no outs.  Pitcher stands astride of the rubber with ball in his glove.  Pitcher reaches into his glove to move the ball to the throwing hand, moves the throwing hand with the ball to his back hip while stepping onto the rubber in position to take the sign from the catcher.  Umpire calls a balk because according to him: “The pitcher cannot put his hands together and subsequently break his hands while straddling the rubber.â€

 

Thanks in advance for your responses.

 

 

I have a balk--not for what the umpire said--I have a balk because "move the throwing hand with ball to his back while stepping on the rubber"  you can not move the ball and your pivot foot at the same time.  Guys don't hurt your back throwing a ump under the bus.

This is a joke, right?

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I have a balk--not for what the umpire said--I have a balk because "move the throwing hand with ball to his back while stepping on the rubber"  you can not move the ball and your pivot foot at the same time.  Guys don't hurt your back throwing a ump under the bus.

 

I disagree. F1 is not bound by the pitching restrictions until he has completed his set position initialization. The set position doesn't start the instant F1 touches the pitcher's plate. You often see F1s engage the rubber as they make all kinds of movements. Once they settle down, then they are in the initial set position and the pitching restrictions are in effect. Unless there is something extrordinary going on in this OP description, I have nothing.  

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USSSA 13U

Situation: Runner at first, no outs. Pitcher stands astride of the rubber with ball in his glove. Pitcher reaches into his glove to move the ball to the throwing hand, moves the throwing hand with the ball to his back hip while stepping onto the rubber in position to take the sign from the catcher. Umpire calls a balk because according to him: “The pitcher cannot put his hands together and subsequently break his hands while straddling the rubber.â€

Thanks in advance for your responses.

I have a balk--not for what the umpire said--I have a balk because "move the throwing hand with ball to his back while stepping on the rubber" you can not move the ball and your pivot foot at the same time. Guys don't hurt your back throwing a ump under the bus. F1 wasn't on the rubber.

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Not a balk, and this:

 

“The pitcher cannot put his hands together and subsequently break his hands while straddling the rubber.â€

 

is made up.

THIS, as so many have said in the past, is an umpire that knows just enough of the rule to get himself in trouble... but not enough to actually get it right.

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agreed, participants with a little bit knowledge are usually the thorn in our sides...

 

I often place some blame in the way the rules are written. The style is old fashioned and organized poorly. Here is the example I always use in OBR...

 

 

If there is  a runner, or runners, it is a balk when-

 

8.05d

The pitcher, while touching his plate, throws,  or feints a throw to an unoccupied base, except for the purpose of making a play 

 

Coach reads this part.....

The pitcher, while touching his plate, throws,  or feints a throw to an unoccupied base..

 

But not this part...

except for the purpose of making a play

 

 

The first part is the little bit of knowledge, the second part is the thorn we all deal with every season......

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It sounds like the OP was a case of the umpire saying he was assuming a pitching position,set in this case, off the rubber. This is illegal but from the sounds of it, not what happened. Once he steps on, give him a chance to adjust, this includes him reaching into his glove and removing the ball. Once he has settled, then look for infractions. Nobody calls more balks than me, but they have to be balks, not something pulled from an ugly orifice. 

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It sounds like the OP was a case of the umpire saying he was assuming a pitching position,set in this case, off the rubber. This is illegal but from the sounds of it, not what happened. Once he steps on, give him a chance to adjust, this includes him reaching into his glove and removing the ball. Once he has settled, then look for infractions. Nobody calls more balks than me, but they have to be balks, not something pulled from an ugly orifice. 

 

I think applying the advice from @MidAmUmp regarding advantage/disadvantage may be appropriate here, even if one thinks it could be a balk (which it isn't).  Runner is standing on the base because he sees F1 is not engaged.  What advantage has F1 gained by moving the ball from his glove to his hand prior to engaging, or as he is engaging?  Maybe not the best example, since this wasn't even a technical violation of the rule, but umpiring WITH the rules is going to be one of my 2014 goals to improve, so I am looking for ways to apply it.

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USSSA 13U

 

Situation:  Runner at first, no outs.  Pitcher stands astride of the rubber with ball in his glove.  Pitcher reaches into his glove to move the ball to the throwing hand, moves the throwing hand with the ball to his back hip while stepping onto the rubber in position to take the sign from the catcher.  Umpire calls a balk because according to him: “The pitcher cannot put his hands together and subsequently break his hands while straddling the rubber.â€

 

Thanks in advance for your responses.

 

 

I have a balk--not for what the umpire said--I have a balk because "move the throwing hand with ball to his back while stepping on the rubber"  you can not move the ball and your pivot foot at the same time.  Guys don't hurt your back throwing a ump under the bus.

This is a joke, right?

 

This is what I am thinking as well though it is missing an emoticon.

 

No balk.  Only if it is assumed he was on the rubber.  Then, maybe depending on level.

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It sounds like the OP was a case of the umpire saying he was assuming a pitching position,set in this case, off the rubber. This is illegal but from the sounds of it, not what happened. Once he steps on, give him a chance to adjust, this includes him reaching into his glove and removing the ball. Once he has settled, then look for infractions. Nobody calls more balks than me, but they have to be balks, not something pulled from an ugly orifice. 

 

I think applying the advice from @MidAmUmp regarding advantage/disadvantage may be appropriate here, even if one thinks it could be a balk (which it isn't).  Runner is standing on the base because he sees F1 is not engaged.  What advantage has F1 gained by moving the ball from his glove to his hand prior to engaging, or as he is engaging?  Maybe not the best example, since this wasn't even a technical violation of the rule, but umpiring WITH the rules is going to be one of my 2014 goals to improve, so I am looking for ways to apply it.

 

I've reached out an touched one!  :yippie::HD::clap::givebeer:

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Guest Dan W

Again thank you all for your replies I truly appreciate those taking time to respond.  It appears we pretty much have a consensus.  Although I can certainly read the rules it's beneficial to hear the interpretation from actual umpires.  I don’t ump and quite frankly wouldn't want to take the abuse I see from some coaches/spectators especially when they are clearly wrong.  It’s ironic that you never think about a good ump but the bad ump always stands out.  As a player, coach and fan thanks for what you guys (and gals) do, it’s a dirty job but…

 

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Again thank you all for your replies I truly appreciate those taking time to respond.  It appears we pretty much have a consensus.  Although I can certainly read the rules it's beneficial to hear the interpretation from actual umpires.  I don’t ump and quite frankly wouldn't want to take the abuse I see from some coaches/spectators especially when they are clearly wrong.  It’s ironic that you never think about a good ump but the bad ump always stands out.  As a player, coach and fan thanks for what you guys (and gals) do, it’s a dirty job but…

but ??? someone's got to do it ??? Some of us don't put up with the abuse...I wish more wouldn't. When you get to HS level and above, umpire understand that the idiots foaming at the mouth are idiots and don't pay them any attention. At the youth level, some of us don't put up with the abuse and send abusers to the parking lot if they can't behave...It ain't that hard to do and the ballfield is a better place for it. It isn't to much to ask that adult act like adults at youth sporting events.  

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