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Guest Bert Guymer

Balk

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Guest Bert Guymer

Is this a balk? Runners are at 3rd and 1st. They throw a pick off to third but 3rd baseman isnt on the bag. He’s 15 ft off the base towards second. He makes the catch and immediately throws to second to try and get the runner from 1st out. Appears to be a called decoy play to get the runner at 1st out at 2nd. 

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Rule set may vary ...

 

Critical piece of information needed: Did the pitcher throw to third base and F5 got there?  Or did the pitcher throw to F5 playing off the base?

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Guest Bert Guymer
2 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

Rule set may vary ...

 

Critical piece of information needed: Did the pitcher throw to third base and F5 got there?  Or did the pitcher throw to F5 playing off the base?

He threw to F5 playing off the base. Positioned 15’ from 3B towards 2B. 

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I started to say “balk” in NFHS ... but after reading through to find something to support that ... I believe it may be legal*.  I’m not seeing anything that seems to make it illegal since third base is occupied.

*Pending review and derision by fellow umpires.  :D

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36 minutes ago, Guest Bert Guymer said:

He threw to F5 playing off the base. Positioned 15’ from 3B towards 2B. 

If the pitcher did not disengage when he picked it's a balk in OBR and NCAA. Not a balk in NFHS.

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2 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

I started to say “balk” in NFHS ... but after reading through to find something to support that ... I believe it may be legal*.  I’m not seeing anything that seems it illegal since third base is occupied.

*Pending review and derision by fellow umpires.  :D

The key is that F1 *can* feint to third in FED.  So, he can throw to a fielder off the base--just like at second.

 

In OBR and NCAA, F1 *CAN NOT* feint to third.  So, any throw must be to the base or to F5 in position to make a play (the specific wording varies)--just like at first.

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Well, it seems as if the new tag line about telling us what rule set was used in the game in question has not been a roaring success yet. This OP did not specify which rule set so we have had to answer for all codes. The answer for high school rules could very well be that it is a balk—it depends on umpire judgment.

2007 NFHS Baseball Interpretations 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)

2019 NFHS Case Book Play 6.2.4 Situation J:  With R1 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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13 minutes ago, Senor Azul said:

Well, it seems as if the new tag line about telling us what rule set was used in the game in question has not been a roaring success yet. This OP did not specify which rule set so we have had to answer for all codes. The answer for high school rules could very well be that it is a balk—it depends on umpire judgment.

That's for throws to F3.  The OP had the throw to F5.

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That's for throws to F3.  The OP had the throw to F5.


I’ve had local guys mistakenly use that case play as proof that throwing to F4, F5 or F6 away from their respective bases is a balk. It would be nice if Fed would just publish a case play at second or third base to put this to bed that this is legal.

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Well ... here’s my beef ... that’s not what NFHS 6-2-4b says.

Rule 6 Pitching

SECTION 2 INFRACTIONS BY PITCHER

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:

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;

There is nothing in that rule that says anything about where a fielder must be or whether or not the ball has to be thrown to the bag.  Getting that interpretation out of that rule is irresponsible fantasy at best, inappropriately applying the wrong ruleset at worst.  Way to go NFHS.

Here is what the written rule of 6-2-4b requires:

While in contact with the pitching rubber and with a runner or runners on base ...

*The pitcher must step with the non-pivot foot directly toward the base he is throwing or feinting

*The base does NOT have to be occupied (meaning he can throw ahead of the runner)

*The pitcher may NOT throw or feint to an unoccupied base if it is not a play on a runner

 

 

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1 hour ago, noumpere said:

That's for throws to F3.  The OP had the throw to F5.

 

45 minutes ago, grayhawk said:

I’ve had local guys mistakenly use that case play as proof that throwing to F4, F5 or F6 away from their respective bases is a balk. It would be nice if Fed would just publish a case play at second or third base to put this to bed that this is legal.

 

 

Ok, I’ll argue on that side just on principle ... if it is legal at one base, it is logical and reasonable to assume the case play applies at all bases without some other specific language.

I think too many people are extrapolating case plays as rules.   Case plays should be used to help you learn to read situations and apply rules, not used in place of rules.

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1 hour ago, The Man in Blue said:

Well ... here’s my beef ... that’s not what NFHS 6-2-4b says.

Rule 6 Pitching

SECTION 2 INFRACTIONS BY PITCHER

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:

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;

There is nothing in that rule that says anything about where a fielder must be or whether or not the ball has to be thrown to the bag.  Getting that interpretation out of that rule is irresponsible fantasy at best, inappropriately applying the wrong ruleset at worst.  Way to go NFHS.

Here is what the written rule of 6-2-4b requires:

While in contact with the pitching rubber and with a runner or runners on base ...

*The pitcher must step with the non-pivot foot directly toward the base he is throwing or feinting

*The base does NOT have to be occupied (meaning he can throw ahead of the runner)

*The pitcher may NOT throw or feint to an unoccupied base if it is not a play on a runner

 

 

They, as well as OBR and NCAA get that interpretation out of the prohibition of feinting to a base. In the case of OBR and NCAA that would be both 1B and 3B. In the case of FED it would only be 1B.

"6-2-4a. Any feinting toward the batter or first base, ……."

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2 hours ago, grayhawk said:

 


I’ve had local guys mistakenly use that case play as proof that throwing to F4, F5 or F6 away from their respective bases is a balk. It would be nice if Fed would just publish a case play at second or third base to put this to bed that this is legal.

 

This is NJ’s high school interpretation. As I and others have talked about in many threads. We had the question of F1 throwing to F6 at the SS position with R 2 and NJSIAA says it’s. balk. This case play is their reference for their answer.

I don’t agree and would never call it a balk unless FED we’re to issue a caseplay specifically about r2 ( or r3).  

There’s no way a case play about F1 trying to pick R1 is comparable to picks at 2B ( or 3b in high school) 

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1 hour ago, Richvee said:

This is NJ’s high school interpretation. As I and others have talked about in many threads. We had the question of F1 throwing to F6 at the SS position with R 2 and NJSIAA says it’s. balk. This case play is their reference for their answer.

I don’t agree and would never call it a balk unless FED we’re to issue a caseplay specifically about r2 ( or r3).  

There’s no way a case play about F1 trying to pick R1 is comparable to picks at 2B ( or 3b in high school) 

 

4 hours ago, grayhawk said:

 


I’ve had local guys mistakenly use that case play as proof that throwing to F4, F5 or F6 away from their respective bases is a balk. It would be nice if Fed would just publish a case play at second or third base to put this to bed that this is legal.

 

Unfortunately @lawump is probably no longer able to suggest changes to the caseplay authors so we just have to tell NJ and anyone else who wants to use that interp at any other base to take out their pen and cross out "b" and write "a" in the rule cite for the 2007 Interp and add 6-2-4a as the rule cite for the 6.2.4J caseplay.

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2 hours ago, Jimurray said:

They, as well as OBR and NCAA get that interpretation out of the prohibition of feinting to a base. In the case of OBR and NCAA that would be both 1B and 3B. In the case of FED it would only be 1B.

"6-2-4a. Any feinting toward the batter or first base, ……."

Uhh. ... strike 2 for NFHS?

There is no feint in the play presented.  

The case book play specifically sites 6-2-4b.

 

Edit: I posted right as you were posting Jimurray ... still not correct application of either a or b though.

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4 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

Uhh. ... strike 2 for NFHS?

There is no feint in the play presented.  

The case book play specifically sites 6-2-4b.

 

Edit: I posted right as you were posting Jimurray ... still not correct application of either a or b though.

The rationale for balking a throw not to the base is that it is a violation of the feint rule. When MLB/OBR decided to prohibit the 3-1 move all they did was add third base to this rule:

"(2) The pitcher, while touching his plate, feints a throw to first or third base and fails to complete the throw;"

So in OBR/NCAA you can throw to a fielder not at 2B because you can feint there but not 3B or 1B. In FED you can throw to a fielder not at 2B or 3B because you can feint there but not to 1B.

 

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Here is the best you can do in the NFHS rule book:

Rule 6 Pitching

SECTION 2 INFRACTIONS BY PITCHER

ART. 2 . . . Delay of the game includes: a. throwing to any player other than the catcher, when the batter is in the batter’s box, unless it is an attempt to retire a runner; PENALTY: The pitcher shall be ejected from the game after a warning.

Still not a balk though.  Where that gets sticky is in defining “attempt to retire a runner”.  Is a fake play at third in an effort to bait the runner at first considered an attempt to retire the runner?  The play is designed to try to get an out.  Or do you only consider a direct play on a runner as an attempt?

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'

6 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

The rationale for balking a throw not to the base is that it is a violation of the feint rule. When MLB/OBR decided to prohibit the 3-1 move all they did was add third base to this rule:

"(2) The pitcher, while touching his plate, feints a throw to first or third base and fails to complete the throw;"

So in OBR/NCAA you can throw to a fielder not at 2B because you can feint there but not 3B or 1B. In FED you can throw to a fielder not at 2B or 3B because you can feint there but not to 1B.

 

That would be a second misapplication of yet another part of the rule book to try to get there ... A feint has a very specific definition, and that isn’t it.  If a throw occurs, it isn’t a feint.

Rule 2 Playing Terms and Definitions

SECTION 28 PITCHER, PITCH, PIVOT FOOT

ART. 5 . . . A feint is a movement which simulates the start of a pitch or a throw to a base and which is used in an attempt to deceive a runner.

 

season 4 episode 22 GIF

 

I would suspect people are misreading that section as 

ART. 5 . . . A feint is a movement which simulates the start of a pitch or a throw to a base and which is used in an attempt to deceive a runner.

If that is the case, again, that is NOT what that says.  What it says is 

Feint = (1) movement simulating the start of a pitch or movement simulating a throw to a base AND (2) used to attempt to deceive a runner.

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3 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

Here is the best you can do in the NFHS rule book:

Rule 6 Pitching

SECTION 2 INFRACTIONS BY PITCHER

ART. 2 . . . Delay of the game includes: a. throwing to any player other than the catcher, when the batter is in the batter’s box, unless it is an attempt to retire a runner; PENALTY: The pitcher shall be ejected from the game after a warning.

Still not a balk though.  Where that gets sticky is in defining “attempt to retire a runner”.  Is a fake play at third in an effort to bait the runner at first considered an attempt to retire the runner?  The play is designed to try to get an out.  Or do you only consider a direct play on a runner as an attempt?

Delay of game is not remotely connected to whether throwing to a fielder is a balk depending on code and base. The best you could do is understand that in all codes the feint rule is what is considered to be violated. Which is why OBR added 3B to the rule when it wanted to eliminate the 3-1.

 

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9 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

Delay of game is not remotely connected to whether throwing to a fielder is a balk depending on code and base. The best you could do is understand that in all codes the feint rule is what is considered to be violated. Which is why OBR added 3B to the rule when it wanted to eliminate the 3-1.

No, the best we could do is fix the NFHS rule if we want it to be a balk.  Making $4!+ up because we want something to be a balk is wrong.  Applying another code because we want something to be a balk is wrong.

It may be a balk in NCAA and OBR ... if NFHS wants it to be a balk in NFHS, then they need to fix the rule.  Even their own case play is incorrect under their own rules.  Their is NO violation of written NFHS rules.

Delay of game is connected (albeit remotely) because it is the only spot in the NFHS rule book that gives you recourse when the pitcher throws to a fielder who is away from the base.  I’ll agree even that is tenuous in this particular play.

 

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I'm pretty sure FED published an interp on this (throwing to a fielder not at second base is legal).  I'm running out to officiate, but someone can check stevetheump or I will when I get back.

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30 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

No, the best we could do is fix the NFHS rule if we want it to be a balk.  Making $4!+ up because we want something to be a balk is wrong.  Applying another code because we want something to be a balk is wrong.

It may be a balk in NCAA and OBR ... if NFHS wants it to be a balk in NFHS, then they need to fix the rule.  Even their own case play is incorrect under their own rules.  Their is NO violation of written NFHS rules.

Delay of game is connected (albeit remotely) because it is the only spot in the NFHS rule book that gives you recourse when the pitcher throws to a fielder who is away from the base.  I’ll agree even that is tenuous in this particular play.

 

I'm not sure what you think may be a balk in NCAA and OBR but we do know that in FED with R1 if the pitcher throws from the rubber to F3 playing off the base it will be a balk unless the umpire judges proximity to making a play. I also know that with 2B or 3B occupied if the pitcher throws from the rubber to a fielder not at the base to make a play it is not a balk because if the pitcher can feint to the base he can throw to a fielder off the base and it won't be a balk. If the pitcher can't feint to the base, 1B only in FED, it will be a balk unless you can judge that a play was possible.

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On 9/1/2019 at 1:01 PM, noumpere said:

I'm pretty sure FED published an interp on this (throwing to a fielder not at second base is legal).  I'm running out to officiate, but someone can check stevetheump or I will when I get back.

I couldn't find anything in the Fed interps or in the BRD.

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On ‎9‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 2:41 PM, The Man in Blue said:

'

 

That would be a second misapplication of yet another part of the rule book to try to get there ... A feint has a very specific definition, and that isn’t it.  If a throw occurs, it isn’t a feint.

Rule 2 Playing Terms and Definitions

SECTION 28 PITCHER, PITCH, PIVOT FOOT

ART. 5 . . . A feint is a movement which simulates the start of a pitch or a throw to a base and which is used in an attempt to deceive a runner.

 

season 4 episode 22 GIF

 

I would suspect people are misreading that section as 

ART. 5 . . . A feint is a movement which simulates the start of a pitch or a throw to a base and which is used in an attempt to deceive a runner.

If that is the case, again, that is NOT what that says.  What it says is 

Feint = (1) movement simulating the start of a pitch or movement simulating a throw to a base AND (2) used to attempt to deceive a runner.

Its a feint because he didn't throw to the base...

 

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Its a feint because he didn't throw to the base...
 


Yep. Think of it this way:

Pitcher steps towards the base and doesn’t throw = “I wanted it to look like I was going to throw to the base but I didn’t.” Feint.

Pitcher steps toward the base and throws somewhere other than the base = “I wanted it to look like I was going to throw to the base but I didn’t.” Feint.

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6 minutes ago, grayhawk said:

Yep. Think of it this way:

Pitcher steps towards the base and doesn’t throw = “I wanted it to look like I was going to throw to the base but I didn’t.” Feint.

Pitcher steps toward the base and throws somewhere other than the base = “I wanted it to look like I was going to throw to the base but I didn’t.” Feint.

 

Or this way:

There are two different ways to feint "stepping and throwing to a base":

  1. Stepping and not throwing at all
  2. Stepping and throwing but not directly to a base

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