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...base on the play which would negate the balk.


Piniella not only lost a ribby double, he struck out for the third out of the inning.

In the above play if Woods made the catch for the putout, the umpires would invoke the balk penalty the moment the ball was caught. Wynn would be awarded one base on the balk and would score and Piniella would return to the plate with the same count prior to the balk. In essence it’s a free swing for the batter when he swings at a pitch following a balk since if the batter and all runners advance one base on the play, the balk is ignored. If they don’t, the batter simply resumes his at bat.

Sometimes a throw to a base follows a balk. If a throw to a base follows a balk, the ball is dead the moment the fielder catches the ball and all runners are awarded one base. However, if the throw is wild, any runner/runners may advance beyond the base to which they are entitled at their own risk.

The Yankees hosted the Boston Red Sox on Sept. 25, 2009. In the bottom of the fourth inning the Bronx Bombers had A-Rod on first and one out when Red Sox pitcher Hunter Jones balked before throwing to first base. A-Rod took off for second and Red Sox first baseman Victor Martinez after catching Jones’ throw, threw wild past second base. But the moment Martinez caught the ball, the ball became dead. If Martinez did not catch the ball and A-Rod attempted to go beyond second base, he would do so at his own risk.  A-Rod was allowed to stay at second base which was his awarded base on the balk.

To summarize:

(1)  The ball remains alive and in play following a balk after a pitch is delivered and if the batter and all runners advance one base on the play, the balk is nullified as we saw with the Teixeira-A-Rod play. If a runner attempts to advance further than his awarded one base, he does so at his own risk.

(2)  If a batter hits a fly ball that is caught following the call of a balk, the umpire should call “Time” the moment the ball is caught and the balk penalty is enforced. Runners would advance one base and the batter would remain at bat with the count he had prior to the pitch. If the fielder drops the ball after a balk is called, and if all runners including the batter advance at least one base on the play, the balk is nullified.

(3)   Following a throw to a base after a balk, the ball is dead the moment it is caught and the balk penalty is enforced. If the pitcher’s throw to the base is not caught, the ball remains alive and in play and a runner can attempt to advance beyond his awarded one base at his own risk.

In summary, both teams should not quit when they hear an umpire yell “BALK.” A lot can happen after a balk is called.