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Can a balk be called when te batter is not in the batters box?


piranhaost

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Hello guys,

We had a game last week where a batter wasn't standing in the battersbox. The pitchers stood in set position on the pitching rubber. Runner on 1st decided to steal 2nd where the pitcher flinched and was penalized with a balk. Coach opposing team said that a balk can not be called when a batter is not in the box. I thought that the balk rule was intended to protect the runner and has nothing to do with the fact if a batter is or isn't standing in the battersbox. Anybody can clarify? Thanks 

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3 minutes ago, piranhaost said:

Hello guys,

We had a game last week where a batter wasn't standing in the battersbox. The pitchers stood in set position on the pitching rubber. Runner on 1st decided to steal 2nd where the pitcher flinched and was penalized with a balk. Coach opposing team said that a balk can not be called when a batter is not in the box. I thought that the balk rule was intended to protect the runner and has nothing to do with the fact if a batter is or isn't standing in the battersbox. Anybody can clarify? Thanks 

I concur with your assessment!  
Ex: Pitcher on rubber during HBT

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If there was a time out, and the ball hadn't been put in play yet, ... then no, you can't have a balk during 'dead ball' time.   But, if play was 'live' ... yes, that can still be a balk.  Your summation is correct.

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The restrictions when the pitcher take the rubber apply to the pitcher regardless of the actions of the batter.; he/she is obligated to not perform any illegal action which can result in a balk. There is nothing in the rule about the batter being in a ready position to hit. The pitcher with the batter out of the box is easily relived of any potential for a balk by simply stepping off. This is a coaching issue and I bet the pitcher does not repeat this error in the future.

As mentioned, the rules are there regardless of the position of the batter, and since F1 in your scenario failed to follow those rules, you have a balk.

 

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OBR (Definitions) A BATTER is an offensive player who takes his position in the batter’s box.

OBR Official Interpretation:  2018 Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual: A batter’s time at bat begins the moment the preceding batter is put out or becomes a runner.

From the 2016 BRD (section 52, p. 56): 

Note 70:  The definition affects balks at all levels. Question:  Can a pitcher balk when a batter is not in the box? Answer: Yes.

For NCAA their current rule 9-4a-5 actually states “…a player becomes the batter as soon as the previous batter reaches base, or is put out. The new batter does not have to enter the batter’s box to be considered the batter.”

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