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FED - F1 turns shoulders to check R1


BrainFreeze

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15U club tournament game, FED rules.  I called a balk that was disputed, and I was pretty sure I had the right call.  I'm reviewing the FED rules, and now I'm confused.

I would like some feedback and advice please.  Here's the situation, along with my reasoning for the balk. 

F1 is pitching from the set position with R1.  I'm going to call his initial stretch position A:  hands at sides, feet slightly apart, standing up straight facing 3B, with his back to 1B and R1.  

F1 now turns his shoulders to look at 1B and R1 -- I'm calling that position B.  He holds that position briefly, and slowly rotates his shoulders until he's back in position A, where he stops completely.

When F1 stopped after returning to position A, I called a balk.  Here's why:

FED 6.1.1 allows the shoulder turn to first:

Quote

... Turning the shoulders to check runners while in contact with the pitcher's plate in the set position is legal.  

FED 6.1.3 defines when/how the pitcher comes set from the stretch:

Quote

... [the pitcher] shall go to the set position without interruption and in one continuous motion.... Natural preliminary motions such as only one stretch may be made.  

So position B is legal (6.1.1).  While he's turning his shoulders back from position B to position A, he can step towards 1B and throw (6.1.3), or he can disengage the pitcher's plate (6.1.3).  What he cannot do is return to position A and stop -- he's required to come set because position B is the one stretch (6.1.3)

Help?  I've tried to find some references for this, but to no avail.  

It seems like there's a conflict here between 6.1.1 and 6.1.3

 

Be kind:  it's my first post here.

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Welcome!

I wish I could be more positive, but you're mistaken.

Checking the runner (moving from "A" to "B" and back) is not a motion to come set, and nobody would ever mistake it for one. It's still part of "A," and F1 is entitled to come set after checking the runner.

Unless he brings his hands together, this is nothing.

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maven, I'm mistaken all the time, just ask my ex...

And thank you for your answer.  The defensive HC said the same thing, and FED 6.1.1 is pretty clear that turning shoulders to check the runner is not a balk.

But 6.1.3 is also pretty clear about coming out of the stretch in one continuous motion without interruption.  And we do balk pitchers for failing to do that whether or not their hands are moving.  Think of the pitcher who leans in for the sign, starts to straighten up and then leans in again.  That's a balk whether or not his hands or feet have moved at all. 

I understand I just described a different motion.  But, I don't understand why one is a balk and the other isn't.

My take on the situation was that when F1 turned his shoulders back towards the batter ( moving from "B" to "A" ) he needed to continue that motion to come set or he would violate 6.1.3

So I guess that's where I'm getting stuck -- at what point does turning shoulders under 6.1.1 give way to uninterrupted continuous motion of 6.1.3 ?

I don't have a FED casebook -- do you know whether it's addressed in there?  ( I need a casebook anyway.... )

 

Thank you again!!

Edited by BrainFreeze
Added clarifying question
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11 minutes ago, BrainFreeze said:

maven, I'm mistaken all the time, just ask my ex...

And thank you for your answer.  The defensive HC said the same thing, and FED 6.1.1 is pretty clear that turning shoulders to check the runner is not a balk.

But 6.1.3 is also pretty clear about coming out of the stretch in one continuous motion without interruption.  And we do balk pitchers for failing to do that whether or not their hands are moving.  Think of the pitcher who leans in for the sign, starts to straighten up and then leans in again.  That's a balk whether or not his hands or feet have moved at all. 

I understand I just described a different motion.  But, I don't understand why one is a balk and the other isn't.

My take on the situation was that when F1 turned his shoulders back towards the batter ( moving from "B" to "A" ) he needed to continue that motion to come set or he would violate 6.1.3

I don't have a FED casebook -- do you know whether it's addressed in there?  ( I need a casebook anyway.... )

 

Thank you again!!

 

What movements constitute coming set?  Looking at 1st isn’t one of them.  He can do both simultaneously but otherwise they are two separate moves. 
Once he begins his stretch he must continue etc…

Can he step off middle stretch?

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@Tborze, pitcher had turned his shoulders to look at the R1 -- that's legal under FED. 

It's legal, but I thought it was part of the stretch ( FED 6.1.3 -- "only one stretch may be made" ). 

So, I ruled that after F1 had turned to look at R1, any movement after that shoulder turn required him to go "to the set position without interruption and in one continuous motion".

I agree with you -- it's two separate moves, but my understanding is that the pitcher only gets one move.

@maven says it's nothing, and TBH from the way it looked I might be inclined to agree.  But I'm still trying to get my arms around *why* it's nothing.

 

20 minutes ago, Tborze said:

Can he step off middle stretch?

He should be able to, shouldn't he?  He can disengage, or step and throw to 1B, or step and feint to 2B or 3B if there are runners there. 

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9 minutes ago, BrainFreeze said:

@Tborze, pitcher had turned his shoulders to look at the R1 -- that's legal under FED. 

It's legal, but I thought it was part of the stretch ( FED 6.1.3 -- "only one stretch may be made" ). 

So, I ruled that after F1 had turned to look at R1, any movement after that shoulder turn required him to go "to the set position without interruption and in one continuous motion".

I agree with you -- it's two separate moves, but my understanding is that the pitcher only gets one move.

@maven says it's nothing, and TBH from the way it looked I might be inclined to agree.  But I'm still trying to get my arms around *why* it's nothing.

You are incorrect--the pitcher does not only get one move. He gets one move to come set. If he's not coming set, it's not a violation of 6.1.3 to move multiple times.

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12 minutes ago, BrainFreeze said:

@Tborze, pitcher had turned his shoulders to look at the R1 -- that's legal under FED. 

It's legal, but I thought it was part of the stretch ( FED 6.1.3 -- "only one stretch may be made" ). 

So, I ruled that after F1 had turned to look at R1, any movement after that shoulder turn required him to go "to the set position without interruption and in one continuous motion".

I agree with you -- it's two separate moves, but my understanding is that the pitcher only gets one move.

@maven says it's nothing, and TBH from the way it looked I might be inclined to agree.  But I'm still trying to get my arms around *why* it's nothing.

 

He should be able to, shouldn't he?  He can disengage, or step and throw to 1B, or step and feint to 2B or 3B if there are runners there. 

I think you are missing the “hands coming together “ part of “coming set”. ?

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Hi @Matt thanks for your response.  

Can I ask why I'm incorrect?  I agree he gets one move to come set, and I appreciate you clarifying.

But 6.1.3 also says "Natural preliminary motions such as only one stretch may be made."  And that's part of what's confusing me.

 

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My point about F1 stepping off mid stretch is no different than turning!  

3 minutes ago, BrainFreeze said:

Hi @Matt thanks for your response.  

Can I ask why I'm incorrect?  I agree he gets one move to come set, and I appreciate you clarifying.

But 6.1.3 also says "Natural preliminary motions such as only one stretch may be made."  And that's part of what's confusing me.

 

See my response above. 
If F1 adjusts his hat, is that part of his motion to start his stretch?  

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6.1.1 J

With R1 on first base, F1, from the set position and prior to bringing his hands together while in contact with the pitchers plate, (a) abruptly and quickly turns his shoulders toward first base in an attempt to drive back the runner or (b) casually turns his shoulders to observe the runner at first base. Ruling: legal in both A and B

 

 

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3 minutes ago, BrainFreeze said:

Well @Tborze, he can step off mid stretch yes.  What he can't do is stop mid-stretch. 

This is what's causing my confusion, and I apologize if I sound thick, I'm not trying to haha

6.1.1 allows the shoulder turn to check runners.

The other responses I've got seem to fit together like this:  Pitcher can turn shoulders to check runners.  Then he's allowed to turn back, even if he stops completely.  Then he's allowed to bring his hands together to come set. 

I get that - i think.  But it doesn't seem consistent with 6.1.3 and one continuous motion without interruption. 

And that's my confusion.

Its one continuous motion once he BEGINS his motion! 
Thats what you’re not getting!  I quoted a CB play. Did that not help?

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3 hours ago, maven said:

Welcome!

I wish I could be more positive, but you're mistaken.

Nothing negative about being mistaken -- I signed up to get feedback from other umpires, and hopefully give constructive feedback when I can. 

Thank you again. 

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4 minutes ago, Tborze said:

Its one continuous motion once he BEGINS his motion! 
Thats what you’re not getting!  I quoted a CB play. Did that not help?

Our replies crossed paths.   the CB play made it completely clear. 

Thank you again!  I appreciate your effort and I hope I wasn't too frustrating. 

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59 minutes ago, BrainFreeze said:

@maven says it's nothing, and TBH from the way it looked I might be inclined to agree.  But I'm still trying to get my arms around *why* it's nothing.

In the stretch, the hands must be apart.

When set, the hands must be together.

When F1 checked 1B, he didn't move his hands. So it wasn't a move to come set.

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From the 2016 BRD (section 397, p. 265): 

FED Official Interpretation:  Hopkins:  The pitcher may not turn his shoulders “during or after the stretch.”

2005 NFHS Baseball Rule Interpretations

SITUATION 19: F1 is in the set position. Having taken his sign from the catcher, he brings his hands together and moves to become set. As he is still in the process of becoming set with his hands together, he turns his shoulders to check the runner at first base. RULING: This is a balk. The ball is dead and the runner on first will be awarded second base. Turning the shoulders in the set position after bringing the hands together during or after the stretch is a balk. (6-1-1)

SITUATION 17: While in the set position, the pitcher has not yet come set. With his pitching hand at his side and his glove hand in front of his chest, he quickly turns his shoulder to check the runner at first base. RULING: This is a legal move. (6-1-1)

2019 NFHS Case Book Play 6.1.1 Situation G:  The bases are loaded. F1, while on the pitcher’s plate (a) fakes a throw to first while in the windup position or (b) from the set position prior to beginning the stretch, turns his shoulder and glances at the runner. RULING:  In (a) this would be a balk and (b) is legal.

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