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VBlue71

F3 not covering on pick-off

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Wendelstedt interpretation manual and Evans balk video are crystal clear on this play but the game was played under FED rules so I'm looking for a FED interp.  

R1 & R2, F1 pitching from the stretch, F3 not holding R1.  Right-handed F1 not realizing F3 isn't holding R1 picks to first.  F1 steps directly towards first, gains distance, and throw the ball directly to the base.  F3 is caught off guard and doesn't move a step.  The ball hits R1 as he dives back to the base and comes to rest beside him.  Is this a balk in FED?  It's not under professional rules.   

I've had a number of umpires tell me this is a balk but they tend to confuse throwing the ball to F3 who is standing still away from first base vs. throwing it directly to the base as they explain why it's a balk.    

Can anyone help by pointing me to the exact FED rule or a FED casebook play covering this situation?

Thanks in advance for your help.  

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For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure that is a balk in OBR. I think it's usually read as a feint, as the first baseman isn't in a position to make a play (unless I'm misreading, and the F3 could have made a play if he had reacted to the throw). 

EDIT: Well, clearly I misremembered, making this post worth very little :P

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Here are the applicable rules--

2019 NFHS rule 6-2 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;

Subparagraph 6-2-4a tells us that the pitcher cannot feint to first—he must throw. Subparagraph 6-2-4b tells that the pitcher has to step toward the base.

Please note that the rules require a throw to first base not to the first baseman—if a pitcher throws to or over the first base bag it is not a balk if no fielder is in position to field the throw. The throw directly to the base has satisfied the rule.

Also, it is the interpretation that following the direct step to first base, the throw be directly to that base (the rule doesn't actually specify that). When a pitcher throws to the fielder playing at his regular position (and not in a position to make a play) and not directly to first, he has not met the requirement of the rule to throw to the base.

Have not found a case play directly on point.

 

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As Señor Azul's post implies, the FED rule and interpretation are the same as OBR.

In neither code is it a balk to "step and throw to 1B when F3 is playing away from the base." The officials claiming otherwise need to remember that "I've never seen that" ≠ illegal.

The rule about 1B in all codes requires a step and throw to the base, which is what F1 did. In the OP, F1's throw to 1B was thus legal, and he was lucky that the ball hit R1. Play the bounce.

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FWIW, this is from J/R (so, for OBR) -- and I agree with the others that this FED interp is the same. (And, I edited J/R to match the "no feint to third" rule change):

 

11. steps to first base
(a) but does not complete the throw.
(b) but interrupts or hesitates in his motion to throw there.
(c) and throws to first baseman who, because of his distance from the base, is
unable to try a tag against the runner at first.
However, it is not a balk if a pitcher steps to
(a) first base and throws over the base when the first baseman is not in a
position to make a tag attempt.

(b) third or second base (regardless of whether there is a throw).
(c) third or second base and interrupts or hesitates in his motion to throw. The
step toward the base suffices to constitute a feint or throw, so any action
after the step is legal.
(d) third or second base and throws to a fielder who is at a distance from the
base, and due to the distance, is unable to attempt a tag of the runner.
(e) third, second, or first base from the windup position.

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So, since it is not a balk the ball remains live as long as the ball stays in play. The "penalty" to the defense is that the runners can advance as many bases as they can get on an overthrow. It really punishes the defense's stupidity!

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Teach the pitcher that with R2, there's no need to hold the runner at 1B. With R1 and R2, F3 should be playing defense. R1 isn't going anywhere. RHP, should be watching R2. 

I was the 1B coach in a game against a lesser-skilled friendly team. F3 was holding with 2 outs and R1 and R2, I suggested that F3 play defense and not worry about the runner, so he did, next hit was a hard ground ball just to his right. Had he been holding the runner, it would have been a base hit. Not holding, it was the third out. 

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Thanks to all who replied to this post.  In particular I appreciate the direct FED rule citations and melding the rules together for a clearer explanation of why it's not a balk.

This is a great site with a lot of helpful and knowledgeable people.  It can be a very valuable resource.

 

 

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