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    • Guest Brendan Philbin
      By Guest Brendan Philbin
      Hi there. I play first base for my high school team and am having a problem with my coach regarding the way I am holding runners on. Here is the situation. With a runner in first base and a lefty pitcher, I play pretty much behind the runner. When my pitcher (the move of whom I can see before the runner) makes his initial start of his stretch, I sneak in behind the runner and receive the ball from the pitcher on a pickoff throw. My coach says this is illegal in that it is throwing to an unoccupied base and I am deceiving the runner. So I need your help, is if legal what I am doing because I have had great success with it. If possible, please cite some rules from the Official a Rule Book in your response. Thanks!
    • Guest Richard
      By Guest Richard
      I have a feeling this has been a common topic but I can't seem to find any answers that specifically answer this as right or wrong so please help...
      Situation: Runner on 1st only - Pitcher set position.  Pitcher begins wind up and runner takes off to steal second base.  Pitcher turns and throws to player covering 2nd base to tag runner on the steal.  Now here's the controversy...all umpires I speak with on this give me different answers.  Some say balk, some say legal.  I know, and I have shown those calling it a balk, that rule 8.05(m)(b) gives a pitcher the right to make this move as 2nd base is not considered occupied in this situation.  The next dilemma is this...If the pitcher makes this move and then the runner stops and goes back to 1st, I am being told that it is NOW a balk because the runner stalling his movement to 2nd cancels the pitchers justification to throw to 2nd "for the purpose of making a play" since the runner is not stealing. My problem, and hope for clarification for, is this accurate?  Is the runner stalling a way to "defeat" the pitcher able to throw to 2nd during a 1st to 2nd steal or is it still a legal move whether the runner continues or stops?
      Thank you for any help and clarification I can get because it's been a point of contention since before the season began, we have 3 games left and I STILL don't have an answer so I don't let my pitchers make the move in fear of an unknown balk call because of an umpires interpretation of the two lines;
      (1)"for the purposes of making a play" and
      (2)"With a runner on first base the pitcher may make a complete turn, without hesitating toward first, and throw to second. This is not to be interpreted as throwing to an unoccupied base"
      Because depending on interpretation, the second line could cover the move as legal regardless of the runner stopping his steal or not.
    • Guest Jim
      By Guest Jim
      In a game last night we had a man on 3rd.  The pitcher is in the set position, picks up his left leg (right hander) and steps directly towards third, and making a throwing motion - but stops short of throwing the ball.  I immediately called for a balk, as did my 3rd base coach, and the umpire agreed.  However, the chief umpire told me I'm wrong and that the only base(s) the pitcher must throw to if he steps towards them are first and home.  I'd argue a fake throw to third from the set is a balk.  Am I wrong?
    • By jroller
      So here is a related question to the topic brought up in this thread: Pickoff from the Windup
      Is it possible to be in the windup and attempt a pickoff to 2nd?
      The comment on the rule states that the pitcher may "step and throw to a base." Is that even possible to 2nd? If so, how?
    • By jroller
      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. 
      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

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