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dmriley    -- 06-03-2004 @ 1:01 PM
  Hi,

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I think the balk rule should be be totally struck from the rules altogether. Here is one obvious example from 8.05:

"However, if, with runners on first and third, the pitcher, while in contact with the rubber, steps toward third and then immediately and in practically the same motion "wheels" and throws to first base, it is obviously an attempt to deceive the runner at first base, and in such a move it is practically impossible to step directly toward first base before the throw to first base, and such a move shall be called a balk."

Our radio announcer calls this a "whirling-dirvish." This should be a balk but yet it is NEVER called and the rules say that it should be.

The problem with the balk rule that "it is obviously an attempt to deceive the runner at first base" (as stated in 8.05). Of course it is! The problem is with the very definition of "balk." Almost any type of motion to attempt to deceive a runner could conceivably be called a balk depending on the umpire. Since it is too subjectively called, my opinion is that it should be totally struck. Most runners are fairly familiar with all the possible pickoff moves.

I realize it is an attempt to be fair to the runner. If the balk rule is going to stay, then someone more knowledgeable about the English language than I)  should write it simply and clearly with less clutter. It seems to me that it is too complicated as currently written.



AtlantaBlue    -- 06-03-2004 @ 2:56 PM
  The reason you do not see the fake to third, throw to first NOT called as a balk is because as long as the pitcher disengages on the fake to third, he can then either fake to first or throw to first.  The important part is, the pitcher DISENGAGED on the fake to third.

If he did not disengage, then in everything except FED, it is a balk, and it should be called.

Pitchers deceive runners all the time.  Pitcher in a set position, sometimes he lifts his leg high in a leg kick before pitching, sometimes he just does a slide step.  Is it deceiving?  Sure!  Is it legal?  Sure!

Or a LH pitcher in a set position with a runner on first.  As long as the pitcher does not bring his foot past the back plane of the rubber, nor pause in his leg lift or delivery motion, he can get almost to the point of releasing the ball on the pitch and still come to first with the throw.  Is it deceiving?  Sure!  Is it legal?  Sure!

Pitchers deceiving runners is not illegal and is not necessarliy a balk.  Pitchers deceiving runners with any of the things mentioned in 8.05 and elsewhere is illegal and will be balked.

Are some balks judgment calls?  Sure!  But so is EVERY ball and strike call, and I don't think we should get rid of those.

Balks are a necessary part of the game.  It is just a part that not many people understand.


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