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Balk?

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FED rule set, HS varsity game, 3-man crew.

R1, 0 outs.  1B playing well off and behind the runner (10'-12') and is making no attempt to "sneak" back for a quick pick-off.  After getting his sign, the pitcher is in a legal set position, typical jump turn to "attempt" a pick-off and throws the ball away. We have U2 in A and I'm U3 in C. U1 and myself call balk immediately and place R1 on 2B.  No complaints from anyone but after the inning, U2 wanted to know my ruling.  Also, after the game the three of us are by our cars discussing the play.  Myself and U1 are positive we got it right but I'm having a hard time locating the written rule.

I remember seeing a training video at one of our classes a few years ago stating this is a balk but cannot find the rule.  This is what I've read, maybe I'm misinterpreting something?

ART. 4 . . . Balk. If there is a runner or runners, any of the following acts by a pitcher while he is touching the pitcher’s plate is a balk: a. any feinting toward the batter or first base, or any dropping of the ball (even though accidental) and the ball does not cross a foul line (6-1-4); b. failing to step with the non-pivot foot directly toward a base (occupied or unoccupied) when throwing or feinting there in an attempt to put out, or drive back a runner; or throwing or feinting to any unoccupied base when it is not an attempt to put out or drive back a runner;

Also, I'm sure this has been discussed but after doing a search I could not find anything.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

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Was the throw at the base or F3?

If to the base and there's no F3 there, no balk - his pick-off throw was toward the base. If to F3, then a balk.

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Depending on where F1 threw the ball, this might not be properly a balk. But the outcome is the same either way (because the throw went out of play), so fine.

If he threw the ball near-ish 1B, and there was no fielder nearby to receive it, and that explains how it went out of play, then it's not a balk. Play the bounce (out of play, make the award, etc.)

The rule requires that F1 step and throw to a base. If he did that, then it's legal, even when there's no fielder there. (The Evans balk video has a play where F1 steps and throws and the ball rolls right up to 1B and stops: legal).

This is the converse of the question we get about throwing to a fielder who is not near a base.

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I guess that answers my question.  He threw it to F3 who wasn't expecting it.  Thanks!

 

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1 minute ago, urout17 said:

I guess that answers my question.  He threw it to F3 who wasn't expecting it.  Thanks!

Right, so if F3 is not near the base and the ball sails over his head: yes, balk.

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@maven,  based on the rule, does the throw to F3 and not 1B constitues "feinting toward first base"? Thanks for your insight as always!

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11 minutes ago, kristoffae said:

@maven,  based on the rule, does the throw to F3 and not 1B constitues "feinting toward first base"? Thanks for your insight as always!

Yes.

 

Note that the FED definition of "proximity" is actually "close enough to R1 to reasonably make a play" -- see this case play 9from an old book, so the exact reference might be different):

6.2.4 SITUATION J: With R1 on first base and two outs, F1 attempts to pick off R1. As F1 pivots to throw,
he realizes that F3 is not on the base, but is in his normal defensive position. F1 completes the throw
without interruption. The coach of the offensive team wants a balk called on F1. RULING: As long as F3 is
in the proximity of the base, F1 would not be guilty of a balk. Proximity is umpire judgment and is based
on whether the fielder is close enough to the base to legitimately make a play on the runner.

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BTW.....the lead-off hitter hit the first pitch of the ballgame for a HR.  The game ends 1-0.  Can't remember working a game and that happening before.

 

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46 minutes ago, kristoffae said:

@maven,  based on the rule, does the throw to F3 and not 1B constitutes "feinting toward first base"? Thanks for your insight as always!

Yes, and:

  1. The followup question is usually, "how can it be a feint when he actually threw the ball?!?" The answer is that "feinting toward 1B" is in fact elliptical for "feinted a throw to 1B." He feinted a throw TO 1B, as pitchers may legally do to 2B, by actually throwing the ball to a fielder who was NOT near the base.
  2. This is the provision of the balk rule that he violated (namely, 6-2-4a's prohibition of "any feinting toward the batter or first base").
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How do you tell where a wild throw was intended to go? If the pitcher throws his pickoff attempt away why would it would it be a balk? If the runner may advance beyond the base he would be entitled to if there was a balk, why would you deny that opportunity on a wild pickoff throw?

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2 hours ago, noumpere said:

Yes.

 

Note that the FED definition of "proximity" is actually "close enough to R1 to reasonably make a play" -- see this case play 9from an old book, so the exact reference might be different):

6.2.4 SITUATION J: With R1 on first base and two outs, F1 attempts to pick off R1. As F1 pivots to throw,
he realizes that F3 is not on the base, but is in his normal defensive position. F1 completes the throw
without interruption. The coach of the offensive team wants a balk called on F1. RULING: As long as F3 is
in the proximity of the base, F1 would not be guilty of a balk. Proximity is umpire judgment and is based
on whether the fielder is close enough to the base to legitimately make a play on the runner.

Same numbering and wording in the 2019 casebook, for reference. 

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1 hour ago, Senor Azul said:

How do you tell where a wild throw was intended to go? If the pitcher throws his pickoff attempt away why would it would it be a balk? If the runner may advance beyond the base he would be entitled to if there was a balk, why would you deny that opportunity on a wild pickoff throw?

Judging whether it's a throw to the base (legal) or F3 away from the base (balk) is part of the umpire's job.  If the ball goes reasonably close to F3, I'm not giving the benefit of the doubt to the [pitcher; I'm calling it a balk.

And, in FED, as you know, a balk is an immediate dead ball -- I'd like to leave it live (I wish the rule was changed), but Id enforce it as written, here.

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2 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

How do you tell where a wild throw was intended to go? If the pitcher throws his pickoff attempt away why would it would it be a balk? If the runner may advance beyond the base he would be entitled to if there was a balk, why would you deny that opportunity on a wild pickoff throw?

As @noumpere said, Fed requires it to be dead immediately.

OBR (and probably NCAA - not sure) says to leave the ball alive on a balk pick-off that goes wild. Runners are protected to their next base, but any advance past that leaves them liable to be put out.

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Shirley, you jest, Mr. noumpere and Mr. yawetag. Nothing in FED rule 6-2 (Infractions By Pitcher) says that a pitcher throwing a pickoff attempt away is a balk. Why do you want us to be in a position of guessing (even an educated guess) what was intended by the pitcher on the pickoff throw?

The case play (6.2.4 Situation J) presented says “completes the throw without interruption.” Doesn’t that mean to you that the throw has been caught by a fielder? That’s how you tell where the throw was intended to go. If the throw has not been caught by a fielder then it is a wild throw and a live ball. Of course, in FED a balk is an immediate dead ball but where was it a balk before he threw the ball away?

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1 hour ago, Senor Azul said:

Shirley, you jest, Mr. noumpere and Mr. yawetag. Nothing in FED rule 6-2 (Infractions By Pitcher) says that a pitcher throwing a pickoff attempt away is a balk. Why do you want us to be in a position of guessing (even an educated guess) what was intended by the pitcher on the pickoff throw?

The case play (6.2.4 Situation J) presented says “completes the throw without interruption.” Doesn’t that mean to you that the throw has been caught by a fielder? That’s how you tell where the throw was intended to go. If the throw has not been caught by a fielder then it is a wild throw and a live ball. Of course, in FED a balk is an immediate dead ball but where was it a balk before he threw the ball away?

The throw can be completed without it being caught. Those are two separate events. I believe the point of the "completes without interruption" is to specify that there was not a balk on him getting confused and stopping his motion or something like that.

Noumpere and yawetag are saying that, if in the judgement of umpire, the throw was intended not for the area of the base, but instead for the first baseman, not in the area of the base, it's a balk. 

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Thanks, Mr. Biscuit, for explaining what those posts mean. I can’t imagine that anything in my oeuvre (thanks Mr. maven for giving me a reason to use that word in polite society) would suggest to you that I do not comprehend what I read. I am saying that they are wrong, not just wrong but egregiously wrong.

You just ignored the fact that nothing in the actual rules supports their assertion. Here are a couple more rules to be considered. They are base award rules. A wild throw from the pitcher that goes out of the field of play warrants a one-base or two-base award depending on where his pivot foot is (or as Mr. grayhawk might not say, one from the rubber and two from the field).

Please note that the pitcher can throw a wild pickoff out of the field of play and it is not a balk. So why would it be a balk for a wild pickoff that stays on the field of play?

2018 NFHS rule 8-3-3c. two bases if a fair batted or thrown ball becomes dead because of bouncing over or passing through a fence, or lodges in a defensive player’s or umpire’s equipment or uniform; or if a live thrown ball:

2. goes into a stand for spectators, dugout or player’s bench or over or through or lodges in a fence and it is not thrown by a pitcher from his plate as in 8-3-3d;

d. one base if a pitch or any throw by the pitcher from his pitching position on his plate goes into a stand or bench or over or through or lodges in a fence or backstop or touches a spectator or lodges in an umpire’s or catcher’s equipment;

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Case Play 6.2.4J: With R1 on first base and two outs, F1 attempts to pick off R1. As F1 pivots to throw, he realizes that F3 is not on the base, but is in his normal defensive position. F1 completes the throw without interruption. The coach of the offensive team wants a balk called on F1. RULING: As long as F3 is in the proximity of the base, F1 would not be guilty of a balk. Proximity is umpire judgment and is based on whether the fielder is close enough to the base to legitimately make a play on the runner.

In OP's situation, I have a balk. Also in Fed, a balk is an immediate dead ball (5-1-1k, but you knew that).

Edit later:
 

Quote

 

BRD 2016: 384 PITCHER: BALK: FOLLOWED BY THROW: IGNORED

FED: Not applicable. The balk may not be ignored since the ball is immediately dead on the cry of "Balk!" (5-1-1k)


 

NCAA and OBR go on to say you'd essentially ignore the balk if all runners advance one base and all others are at their risk.

Edited by yawetag
Added BRD.
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16 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

Thanks, Mr. Biscuit, for explaining what those posts mean. I can’t imagine that anything in my oeuvre (thanks Mr. maven for giving me a reason to use that word in polite society) would suggest to you that I do not comprehend what I read. I am saying that they are wrong, not just wrong but egregiously wrong.

You just ignored the fact that nothing in the actual rules supports their assertion. Here are a couple more rules to be considered. They are base award rules. A wild throw from the pitcher that goes out of the field of play warrants a one-base or two-base award depending on where his pivot foot is (or as Mr. grayhawk might not say, one from the rubber and two from the field).

Please note that the pitcher can throw a wild pickoff out of the field of play and it is not a balk. So why would it be a balk for a wild pickoff that stays on the field of play?

2018 NFHS rule 8-3-3c. two bases if a fair batted or thrown ball becomes dead because of bouncing over or passing through a fence, or lodges in a defensive player’s or umpire’s equipment or uniform; or if a live thrown ball:

2. goes into a stand for spectators, dugout or player’s bench or over or through or lodges in a fence and it is not thrown by a pitcher from his plate as in 8-3-3d;

d. one base if a pitch or any throw by the pitcher from his pitching position on his plate goes into a stand or bench or over or through or lodges in a fence or backstop or touches a spectator or lodges in an umpire’s or catcher’s equipment;

But I, and I don't think they, were not arguing for an errant pick off. It seems to me that we all agree that if the pitcher is attempting a legitimate pickoff, but throws wild and out of play, regular base awards would apply. 

But, In 8.05(b) it's states that it's a balk if the pitcher feints a throw to first and does not complete that throw. In our case, where F3 is considerably off the base and could not be considered in the vicinity of 1st, the pitcher does complete a throw, but not the throw to first. (Just realized that OP is FED, so the language is not write the same, but the same argument can be made using 6.4(a) in FED)

Now, if this a legitimate attempt to throw to first base, and it just so happens to be extremely errant and go straight to the F3, then we're fine and have nothing... But you're going to have a really hard time convincing me that his intent was to throw to the bag, not F3. 

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Here's another interp:

SITUATION 19: With R1 on first and no outs in a close game, the first baseman is playing about 20 feet in front of first base in case of a bunt attempt by B2. The pitcher, in the stretch position, throws to F3 in a pick-off attempt on R1. RULING: This is a balk. The first baseman is not in proximity of first base and is not close enough to legitimately make a play on the runner. The ball is dead and R1 is awarded second base. (6-2-4b)

Is Sr. Azul suggesting that this is a balk only if the ball is caught?  That if it's thrown wildly, it's not a balk? (I'm honestly asking those questions to be sure I understand his point of view.)

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40 minutes ago, noumpere said:

Is Sr. Azul suggesting that this is a balk only if the ball is caught?  That if it's thrown wildly, it's not a balk? (I'm honestly asking those questions to be sure I understand his point of view.)

He's stating that a wild pitch gives the runners an opportunity to advance past the one-base award they'd get on the balk, just as their own risk.

I think the only incorrect statement is that he's trying to apply this to Fed, when you can't. In Fed, it would be immediately dead and runners would only advance the one base, no matter where the ball ends up.

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1 hour ago, yawetag said:

He's stating that a wild pitch gives the runners an opportunity to advance past the one-base award they'd get on the balk, just as their own risk.

I think the only incorrect statement is that he's trying to apply this to Fed, when you can't. In Fed, it would be immediately dead and runners would only advance the one base, no matter where the ball ends up.

Not a wild pitch - a wild throw.

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22 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

Thanks, Mr. Biscuit, for explaining what those posts mean. I can’t imagine that anything in my oeuvre (thanks Mr. maven for giving me a reason to use that word in polite society) would suggest to you that I do not comprehend what I read. I am saying that they are wrong, not just wrong but egregiously wrong.

You just ignored the fact that nothing in the actual rules supports their assertion. Here are a couple more rules to be considered. They are base award rules. A wild throw from the pitcher that goes out of the field of play warrants a one-base or two-base award depending on where his pivot foot is (or as Mr. grayhawk might not say, one from the rubber and two from the field).

Please note that the pitcher can throw a wild pickoff out of the field of play and it is not a balk. So why would it be a balk for a wild pickoff that stays on the field of play?

2018 NFHS rule 8-3-3c. two bases if a fair batted or thrown ball becomes dead because of bouncing over or passing through a fence, or lodges in a defensive player’s or umpire’s equipment or uniform; or if a live thrown ball:

2. goes into a stand for spectators, dugout or player’s bench or over or through or lodges in a fence and it is not thrown by a pitcher from his plate as in 8-3-3d;

d. one base if a pitch or any throw by the pitcher from his pitching position on his plate goes into a stand or bench or over or through or lodges in a fence or backstop or touches a spectator or lodges in an umpire’s or catcher’s equipment;

Where does it say it's not a balk?  Or that it supercedes or ignores a balk?   Whether the throw itself was the balk, or the balk occurred before the throw.

I'm suspecting that if F1 threw to F3 off the bag and threw badly (or not so badly but F3 just missed) it's a balk, even if the ball ends up going out of play.

If in FED the ball is dead once balk has been called the ball by definition can't go out of play - it died before that, no?

 

 

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Mr. noumpere, yes, of course, that’s what I am saying. An errant throw is not a balk. Do the terms wild throw or throws the ball away mean that it cannot be anywhere near a fielder who is not in a position to make a play or else it is a balk? Just in case you did not see my previous posts in this thread here are some unmistakable declarations from me—

Nothing in FED rule 6-2 (Infractions By Pitcher) says that a pitcher throwing a pickoff attempt away is a balk. Why do you want us to be in a position of guessing (even an educated guess) what was intended by the pitcher on the pickoff throw?

If the throw has not been caught by a fielder then it is a wild throw and a live ball.

Of course, in FED a balk is an immediate dead ball but where was it a balk before he threw the ball away?

Please note that the pitcher can throw a wild pickoff out of the field of play and it is not a balk. So why would it be a balk for a wild pickoff that stays on the field of play?

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Mr. yawetag, while I applaud your attempt to use the BRD (by the way, did you just acquire a copy?), I think you completely misconstrued the meaning of the entry you cited. The heading for the section you quoted should have given you a clue—Balk followed by a throw. It does not say that the act of making a wild throw is a balk.

In fact, the text in that section says things such as the following:

OBR: Following a balk and wild throw…

NCAA:  If a balk is followed immediately by a wild throw…

I grant you that if the actual wild throw was considered a balk at the FED level then you would kill the ball immediately. But is the term wild throw interpreted to mean anywhere but in the general direction of a fielder who is not in a position to make a play on the runner?

The following text can be found in the PBUC, the Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual, and the MLBUM—granted these interpretations are for OBR but I think they can be instructive for us in this question about FED pitching rules.

If the balk is followed by a pickoff throw to a base that is caught by a fielder, call “Time” the moment the fielder catches the ball, then enforce the balk. If the balk is followed by a wild throw to a base, the Approved Ruling of Official Baseball Rule 6.02(a) provides that the runner may advance beyond the base to which he is entitled at his own risk. In that situation, the umpire shall call the balk in the usual manner but shall not call “Time” until all play has ceased (runners have stopped trying to advance and a fielder is in possession of the ball in the infield).

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