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Gaining Ground toward 2nd


jms1425

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With a runner on 2nd... When a pitcher makes the inside move for a pickoff attempt, what constitutes "gaining ground" toward 2nd?

Assume the pitcher is using the set position, so the non-pivot foot is in front of the pivot foot. Where must the non-pivot foot land in order for him to "gain ground"?

1) Does it have to "clear the rubber"?

2) Can it land partially on the rubber, as long as the non-pivot foot is then completely behind the pivot foot (which is in contact with, and parallel to, the rubber)?

3) Does just some of the non-pivot foot landing behind the pivot foot suffice? That is, the non-pivot foot is now closer to 2nd base than it was to start.

Maybe these pics will better illustrate. Which of these is/are legal moves?

Slide1.JPG

Slide2.JPG

Slide3.JPG

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9 hours ago, MidAmUmp said:

2nd pic is borderline.

3rd pick is a balk. 

He has to clear the rubber. 

@MidAmUmp - Can you give a citation (rulebook, supplement, etc) for support? I haven't found anything anywhere that says anything about clearing the rubber. Plus, the 2nd pic would not be "borderline" if indeed he has to clear the rubber - unless "clearing" it amounts to getting "some portion of your foot past the back edge." Is THAT the interpretation?

BTW - this came up in a D3 game this year. I'm in C, the pitcher made what I believe was a move that looks like the 2nd picture, and the coach started yelling that he has to clear the rubber. I remember hearing that, too, but given my angle, the shadows that were at work, etc. I could not tell if he cleared it or not, so I did nothing (i.e., no balk). Afterward, I dug into the rule book and could only find the issue of "gaining ground." Hence my question here.....

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54 minutes ago, jms1425 said:

@MidAmUmp - Can you give a citation (rulebook, supplement, etc) for support? I haven't found anything anywhere that says anything about clearing the rubber. Plus, the 2nd pic would not be "borderline" if indeed he has to clear the rubber - unless "clearing" it amounts to getting "some portion of your foot past the back edge." Is THAT the interpretation?

BTW - this came up in a D3 game this year. I'm in C, the pitcher made what I believe was a move that looks like the 2nd picture, and the coach started yelling that he has to clear the rubber. I remember hearing that, too, but given my angle, the shadows that were at work, etc. I could not tell if he cleared it or not, so I did nothing (i.e., no balk). Afterward, I dug into the rule book and could only find the issue of "gaining ground." Hence my question here.....

Well...

9-1-a-6) The pitcher must step directly and gain ground toward a base in an attempt to pick off a runner

9-1-b-3) When the pitcher starts the delivery from the set position and the entire free foot or any part of the stride leg breaks the plane of the back edge of the pitcher’s rubber, the pitcher is committed to throw or feint a motion toward second base or pitch to home plate

9-1-c At anytime during the pitcher’s preliminary movements and until the natural pitching motion begins, the pitcher may throw to any base provided a step that gains ground and is directed toward such base is taken before making the throw (see 9-1-a-[6])

9-3-c While in a pitching position, throw to any base in an attempt to retire a runner without first stepping directly toward such base; or throw or feint a throw toward any base when it is not an attempt to retire a runner or prevent the runner from advancing;

1) The pitcher, while touching the pitcher’s rubber, must step toward the base, preceding or simultaneous with any move toward that base The pitcher is committed, upon raising the lead leg, to throw to the base being faced, to second base or to the plate When throwing or feinting a throw to a base not being faced, the pitcher must step immediately, directly and gain ground toward that base

Note If the pitcher throws to the first baseman who is playing off the base, a balk shall not be called if the fielder moves toward first base in an attempt to retire the runner.
2) The “spin” or “open” move to second base is legal if the pitcher raises the lead leg and immediately, with a continuous motion, steps directly toward second base. The pitcher need not throw. 

 

It's pretty hard to step "directly toward second base" without clearing the rubber and stepping directly toward second base. The last time I checked, 2nd base was behind the rubber and home plate is in front of the rubber so if he doesn't clear the rubber, he's made a motion to home plate without delivering a pitch, and that is a balk. 

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Additionally one of the video test questions on the NCAA test showed a pitcher not clearing the rubber to pick to 2nd. The correct answer was:

Call a balk and as soon as the pickoff is caught by the infielder, call time and award all runners one base from the base occupied at the time of the pitch.

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46 minutes ago, MidAmUmp said:

Well...

9-1-a-6) The pitcher must step directly and gain ground toward a base in an attempt to pick off a runner

9-1-b-3) When the pitcher starts the delivery from the set position and the entire free foot or any part of the stride leg breaks the plane of the back edge of the pitcher’s rubber, the pitcher is committed to throw or feint a motion toward second base or pitch to home plate

9-1-c At anytime during the pitcher’s preliminary movements and until the natural pitching motion begins, the pitcher may throw to any base provided a step that gains ground and is directed toward such base is taken before making the throw (see 9-1-a-[6])

9-3-c While in a pitching position, throw to any base in an attempt to retire a runner without first stepping directly toward such base; or throw or feint a throw toward any base when it is not an attempt to retire a runner or prevent the runner from advancing;

1) The pitcher, while touching the pitcher’s rubber, must step toward the base, preceding or simultaneous with any move toward that base The pitcher is committed, upon raising the lead leg, to throw to the base being faced, to second base or to the plate When throwing or feinting a throw to a base not being faced, the pitcher must step immediately, directly and gain ground toward that base

Note If the pitcher throws to the first baseman who is playing off the base, a balk shall not be called if the fielder moves toward first base in an attempt to retire the runner.
2) The “spin” or “open” move to second base is legal if the pitcher raises the lead leg and immediately, with a continuous motion, steps directly toward second base. The pitcher need not throw. 

 

It's pretty hard to step "directly toward second base" without clearing the rubber and stepping directly toward second base. The last time I checked, 2nd base was behind the rubber and home plate is in front of the rubber so if he doesn't clear the rubber, he's made a motion to home plate without delivering a pitch, and that is a balk. 

All three illustrations have the pitcher doing just that.

MLBUM (for OBR):

In stepping to a base, the pitcher must lift his entire non-pivot foot off the ground and bring it
down in a location different from where it started and toward the base. The entire non-pivot foot
must move in a direction and distance to the base. This will constitute a step. The pitcher is not
allowed to lift his non-pivot foot up and bring it back down in the same spot where it started. In
stepping, the heel of the pitcher's free foot may not end up in the same spot it started.

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27 minutes ago, MidAmUmp said:

It's pretty hard to step "directly toward second base" without clearing the rubber and stepping directly toward second base. The last time I checked, 2nd base was behind the rubber and home plate is in front of the rubber so if he doesn't clear the rubber, he's made a motion to home plate without delivering a pitch, and that is a balk. 

In none of the rules you quoted does it say the pitcher must clear the rubber. The closest is 9-1-b-3), that *IF* his foot breaks the plane of the back edge, then he MUST throw or feint to 2nd (or pitch to home plate), but that is not the issue here.

And as Rich said, in all three pics I posted, the non-pivot foot steps in the direction of 2nd base. Only in the first pic does it "clear the rubber".

34 minutes ago, MidAmUmp said:

Additionally one of the video test questions on the NCAA test showed a pitcher not clearing the rubber to pick to 2nd. The correct answer was:

Call a balk and as soon as the pickoff is caught by the infielder, call time and award all runners one base from the base occupied at the time of the pitch.

I don't remember the video test question, but that would be the kind of applicable evidence I was hoping for. Naturally, we can't see the old tests, though, so I can't refer to that. Not to mention others have said "legal in all three", so there still doesn't seem to be a definitive answer. 

51 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

Gin ground means gain ground.  There is nothing saying how much is necessary.

So what is the starting point for that determination? In all three pics, the non-pivot foot finishes closer to 2nd base than it began. So, if the non-pivot foot's starting point is the line of demarcation, then all 3 moves are legal. If the line of demarcation is the closest point from the pitcher to 2nd base (say, his pivot foot's rear edge), then the first two moves would be legal, but the 3rd would not.

This is the essence of the question.

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9-1-b-3) When the pitcher starts the delivery from the set position and the entire free foot or any part of the stride leg breaks the plane of the back edge of the pitcher’s rubber, the pitcher is committed to throw or feint a motion toward second base or pitch to home plate.

 

I don't see that this requires F1 to clear the back of the pitcher's plate for every attempted (feint) or actual pick at 2B.    This part is what requires him to pitch in the event that he decides not to pick.    For picks to 1B and 3B, for instance, if he does clear the back of the pitcher's plate, he can only make a pitch.  But it's not the case for 2B, where he can throw, feint or pitch to 2B.

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You can look up the video question on the NCAA central hub. Thats where I copied/pasted the correct answer. 

 

Look, keep calling it the way others are telling you. 

 

Not to be a prick but it's not too hard to figure out who I am. My resume speaks for itself. I know how the NCAA wants it called. 

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24 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

All three illustrations have the pitcher doing just that.

MLBUM (for OBR):

In stepping to a base, the pitcher must lift his entire non-pivot foot off the ground and bring it
down in a location different from where it started and toward the base. The entire non-pivot foot
must move in a direction and distance to the base. This will constitute a step. The pitcher is not
allowed to lift his non-pivot foot up and bring it back down in the same spot where it started. In
stepping, the heel of the pitcher's free foot may not end up in the same spot it started.

Don't quote MLB rules that don't apply to the college game. 

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1 hour ago, MidAmUmp said:

You can look up the video question on the NCAA central hub. Thats where I copied/pasted the correct answer. 

 

Look, keep calling it the way others are telling you. 

 

Not to be a prick but it's not too hard to figure out who I am. My resume speaks for itself. I know how the NCAA wants it called. 

I think that video question was more a violation of : "6) The pitcher must step directly and gain ground toward a base in an attempt to pick off a runner. "Directly" is interpreted to mean within a 45 degree angle measuring from the pivot foot toward the base the pitcher is throwing to or feinting a throw."

The step in the video was more to 3B than 2B. Whether clearing the rubber is required by NCAA would not be clear from that question. 

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You guys do understand sometimes you have to just umpire, correct??? Not every scenario is specifically covered in the rule book.

This is yet another example of why upper echelon college and professional umpires do not post on message boards...they get sick and tired of providing proper answers relayed to them from those in charge, only to have internet experts telling them they are wrong because "it's not in the book". Oh, they still lurk and read for laughs. I know because several ask me why I still do it. Sometimes I wonder.

The rules I've given you, when pieced together indicate that the pitcher must clear the rubber to throw to 2nd. That's how you umpire when the book isn't specific.

Call it your way, I'll call it mine. Again, I know how they want it called, and that's how I'll call it.

Here's a video of Jeff Nelson balking a pitcher for not clearing the rubber. Guess he's wrong, too?

 

 

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1 hour ago, MidAmUmp said:

You guys do understand sometimes you have to just umpire, correct??? Not every scenario is specifically covered in the rule book.

This is yet another example of why upper echelon college and professional umpires do not post on message boards...they get sick and tired of providing proper answers relayed to them from those in charge, only to have internet experts telling them they are wrong because "it's not in the book". Oh, they still lurk and read for laughs. I know because several ask me why I still do it. Sometimes I wonder.

The rules I've given you, when pieced together indicate that the pitcher must clear the rubber to throw to 2nd. That's how you umpire when the book isn't specific.

Call it your way, I'll call it mine. Again, I know how they want it called, and that's how I'll call it.

Here's a video of Jeff Nelson balking a pitcher for not clearing the rubber. Guess he's wrong, too?

 

 

Or was it an illegal feint to 3B?

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The NCAA interprets it this way. MiLB and MLB interpret it this way. If you work one of those two levels you should call it as such. Like MidAmUmp said, it was on the rules test for the NCAA this year. I don't know what else you need. 

If you don't work under those rules, interpret it how your supervisors tell you. 

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Oh...look! That's NCAA Secretary/Rules Editor Randy Bruns and 2 time CWS Umpire Steve Mattingly going over pitching rules at our 2016 Mid-American Advanced Umpire Clinic. 

That's HOW I know what they want called. 

IMG_0560.JPG

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2 hours ago, zm1283 said:

The NCAA interprets it this way. MiLB and MLB interpret it this way. If you work one of those two levels you should call it as such. Like MidAmUmp said, it was on the rules test for the NCAA this year. I don't know what else you need. 

If you don't work under those rules, interpret it how your supervisors tell you. 

We haven't seen any official interp in either code that requires "clearing the rubber". It may be that's how they want it called but absent a MiLBUM et. al. or a NCAA AR, guys reading the rule book might allow the free foot to land on the rubber behind the pivot foot in the direction of 2B without calling that a balk since the pitcher did gain distance and direction within the 45 degree angle of 2B. Both videos cited could be used to support "clearing the rubber" but also could be balks for other reasons. 

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1 hour ago, MidAmUmp said:

Oh...look! That's NCAA Secretary/Rules Editor Randy Bruns and 2 time CWS Umpire Steve Mattingly going over pitching rules at our 2016 Mid-American Advanced Umpire Clinic. 

That's HOW I know what they want called. 

You mean "The" Randy Bruns who worked the Midwest League, Eastern League, and then the American Association with Bob Davidson, Gerry Davis, Tim McClelland, Dan Morrison, Steve Rippley, Tim Welke, and Larry Young?

As a Super Conference umpire, worked the 1999 CWS with Super Conference College Assignor Rich Fetchiet, the 2003 CWS with Super Conference Umpire Joe Burleson and once again the 2006 CWS with Super Conference Umpire Joe Burleson again?

"That" Randy Bruns?

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2 hours ago, MidAmUmp said:

Oh...look! That's NCAA Secretary/Rules Editor Randy Bruns and 2 time CWS Umpire Steve Mattingly going over pitching rules at our 2016 Mid-American Advanced Umpire Clinic. 

That's HOW I know what they want called. 

 

Neil_deGrasse_Tyson_drops_the-6b234a52dc

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2 hours ago, dumbdumb said:

You mean "The" Randy Bruns who worked the Midwest League, Eastern League, and then the American Association with Bob Davidson, Gerry Davis, Tim McClelland, Dan Morrison, Steve Rippley, Tim Welke, and Larry Young?

As a Super Conference umpire, worked the 1999 CWS with Super Conference College Assignor Rich Fetchiet, the 2003 CWS with Super Conference Umpire Joe Burleson and once again the 2006 CWS with Super Conference Umpire Joe Burleson again?

"That" Randy Bruns?

Esteemed credentials. Could we get a quote from him that F1 should "clear the rubber" when picking to 2B? In accordance with the mantra IITBTSB which is sometimes not true do we have to see if the heel of F1's foot does not touch the rubber when he picks to 2B. Google " pick to second base" on MLB.com. I think most have cleared the rubber but is that a thing that U1 or U3 must focus on. I don't see it in the CCA balk responsibilties. Egregious no steps or steps to 3B are obviously balks.

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