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I would like to know why pitchers do it. Is there any advantage that I am missing? I don't usually call it but there are a few that push it too far. There are some that won't hang their arm when they take their stance but will drop it and swing it partway through their sign taking. Or they will hang their arm, bring back to their leg and then go back to the hanging. To me this is unexceptable. I'm not saying they are creating a balk but I will tell them to pick one or the other.

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I would like to know why pitchers do it. Is there any advantage that I am missing? I don't usually call it but there are a few that push it too far. There are some that won't hang their arm when they take their stance but will drop it and swing it partway through their sign taking. Or they will hang their arm, bring back to their leg and then go back to the hanging. To me this is unexceptable. I'm not saying they are creating a balk but I will tell them to pick one or the other.

I don't see any advantage. I usually killed it when I coached so my pitchers would save their energy for the late innings. It is probably either nervous energy or poor coaching or a combination of both. I have never seen a gorilla arm pitcher pick any runners off with the arm hang and dangle/swing. It doesn't fool anyone. Some of the teenagers probably think it looks cool in some weird way. "Oooh look at my bulging biceps. I'm freakin' huge." (grin) Anyway, I don't call it.

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I don't see any advantage. I usually killed it when I coached so my pitchers would save their energy for the late innings. It is probably either nervous energy or poor coaching or a combination of both. I have never seen a gorilla arm pitcher pick any runners off with the arm hang and dangle/swing. It doesn't fool anyone. Some of the teenagers probably think it looks cool in some weird way. "Oooh look at my bulging biceps. I'm freakin' huge." (grin) Anyway, I don't call it.

Last summer I had one coach whine about a pitcher putting the ball behind his back and F1 was twirling it in his hand.... "Hey, Blue! THAT SHOULD BE A BALK!" he yells... (with his volume hitting a peak as he says the final word)

"Time!" says I, and politely but firmly tell him to refrain from using that word, and if he yells something else that CAUSES F1 to balk, then he will then have entered "The Ejection Zone". (e.g., I provided he and his team with a warning). Then I politely mentioned to him that, 'No, rolling the ball behind his back is not a balk.' :wave: (Having been a pitcher in a previous millenium, I was left wondering how any F1 would get an advantage from that maneuver. :)

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As a varsity coach I used to teach holding the glove above the chin. The reason was on a pickoff at first we were able to get the ball out quicker and arm was positioned on a direct line with the throw to first. Or at least thats the way I saw it. It was a little quicker and I wanted every advantage I could LEGALLY get.

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As a varsity coach I used to teach holding the glove above the chin. The reason was on a pickoff at first we were able to get the ball out quicker and arm was positioned on a direct line with the throw to first. Or at least thats the way I saw it. It was a little quicker and I wanted every advantage I could LEGALLY get.

A balk for that? I would bet not. And if they did, they were probably the rule book geek that never played the game that we all love to hate.

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A balk for that? I would bet not. And if they did, they were probably the rule book geek that never played the game that we all love to hate.

Agreed. Calling a balk on that is Booger Picking 101.

I've seen pitchers with their glove up high as Polo has described, and at the most, what I look at is whether or not there's a complete stop prior to the pitch being thrown. (Some have tried to sneak that by, similar to the pitcher that brings it all the way to the belt without a stop before pitching). Otherwise, leave that stuff alone.

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In OBR under the letter of the rule , balk.

Even if not played under fed, I will allow a 12 y/o to turn his shoulders, just as long as he doesn't jerk them. I've also seen some pretty good deliveries, not necessarily at 12y/o who incorporate a look at first.

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Can you answer this for me: 12-under pitcher on rubber in stretch comes set. Turns shoulders to look at first and then pitches. Balk or not?

Thanks,

Todd

Is this in Little League? Or a youth league that requires the runner to remain in contact with the base until the pitch reaches the batter? ?

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On the gorilla arm, it will increase timing with a snap throw to first, ie quick hands, quick step and gets them, thus a balk.

If a kid turns his shoulders and he is set, it is a balk. As well as glove above chin, ie whole glove. If the level of play is not there, then a warning ie for the 12s. If you see that in FED/HS, and he makes a couple of throws to first, walk to mound tell him no no; and if does it again balk them.

Again, the level of play is important. As the season has recently started, coaches are tending to push the limits. If you catch early, it can be nipped in bud. My other comment is, remember your best friend on the field is your partner in blue. Have pregame meetings with them, just to get on the same page, by doing as such, situations are covered early. There are always things popping up, that you can go, glad we discussed and are comfortable.

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Can you answer this for me: 12-under pitcher on rubber in stretch comes set. Turns shoulders to look at first and then pitches. Balk or not?

Thanks,

Todd

In all codes this is a balk. Only thing is that at 12 years old or so, I would first want to talk to the pitcher and the coach between innings. At this age they are still being taught. If its travel ball I might give a short and very quite warning to the pitcher and then balk from there on out.

If its Bronco or Babe Ruth or one of those leagues during the season then I would talk to the coach since I have to assume the kid doesnt know what they are doing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I had the chance to watch a game last week after I had finished mine and saw a balk called by the BU but after he and the UIC talked the BU changed his call. DC called time for a conference with his infield. After the conference the pitcher stepped on the rubber in the windup position with bases loaded. UIC called play, signs taken and pitcher steps off rubber and moves down the second base side of the mound then comes back on the mound but never re-engages the rubber, he is still just inches behind the rubber. Bends over like he is taking the signs from the catcher, nods his head and appears to start his windup. All runners make moves off bases occupied at which time the pitcher throws to third in an attempt to pick off R3. Is this a balk? Pitcher was not on the rubber so he would be a fielder? It was a definate attempt to trick the runners. So what would the proper call have been? I could see he was not on the rubber and most everyone else probably could see the same and when I was coaching I taught my boys to never leave the bag until the pitcher was on the rubber. So what's the call?

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I had the chance to watch a game last week after I had finished mine and saw a balk called by the BU but after he and the UIC talked the BU changed his call. DC called time for a conference with his infield. After the conference the pitcher stepped on the rubber in the windup position with bases loaded. UIC called play, signs taken and pitcher steps off rubber and moves down the second base side of the mound then comes back on the mound but never re-engages the rubber, he is still just inches behind the rubber. Bends over like he is taking the signs from the catcher, nods his head and appears to start his windup. All runners make moves off bases occupied at which time the pitcher throws to third in an attempt to pick off R3. Is this a balk? Pitcher was not on the rubber so he would be a fielder? It was a definate attempt to trick the runners. So what would the proper call have been? I could see he was not on the rubber and most everyone else probably could see the same and when I was coaching I taught my boys to never leave the bag until the pitcher was on the rubber. So what's the call?

Hemibee,

That's a balk for simulating a pitching motion while not engaged. 8.05(g)

JM

I know that rule is there, but I've never heard of somebody trying it.

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This may be a dumb question, but what is the rule on dis-engaging with the pitchers plate (rubber) prior to a pick off attempt to F3.

I was of the understanding that if F1 from the set position, turns and steps toward F3 and throws the ball that is a legal move. Am I correct?

Others have stated that F1 most first dis-engage with the pitchers plate prior to making his throw to F3, however in that senerio he becomes a fielder and not a pitcher correct?

Maybe I am making this much more difficult than it is.

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Good question.

If the pitcher legally disengages the plate, he is basically free to to what ever he wants. He becomes a fielder.

Without disengaging, he must both gain distance to 1st (or it is generally accepted no closer to home than the 45' mark) AND complete the throw to first.

This is why lefty pitchers have an advantage on pick offs to first like Andy Pettit. But pay attention to lefties non-pivot foot they are infamous for not gaining ground to 1st or even starting torwds home then making their move to 1st.

Also remember that the "jump move" is legal and is considered not disengaging. But, the same rules apply. He must gain distance and release. You will see "jump moves" which actually lose distance to first.

He can feint to any base but 1st. This is why you will see the often attempted, but hardly ever executed "31" move (feint to 3rd attempt at 1st), but not a "13" opposite type move.

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So if a right handed pitcher is in the set position and he turns, steps toward F3 with his left foot and completes the throw all in one motion then he has completed a legal move? Correct? The reason for the question we had a huge debate the other night about this very topic and things be came quite heated among several of the guys. Very non-professional actions from some of these men. This is my first year working for this association and my first year back in umpiring after 10 years off. I may need to look for another association!?

Thanks

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