View Full Version : LH pitcher balk?

07-01-2008, 07:29 PM
In a recent Jr. Babe Ruth game, there was a runner on first. The LH pitcher was in the stretch and picked up his free foot until his knee was about waist high, where he stopped for about 2 seconds, then he continued and pitched to the plate. Is this a balk under OBR 8.01(b)?

07-01-2008, 08:15 PM
If the pitcher comes set, begins motion, and CEASES motion, it is a balk.

07-02-2008, 11:09 PM
Agreed ... same for any rule set I've ever seen.

07-03-2008, 01:10 AM
If the pitcher comes set, begins motion, and CEASES motion, it is a balk.

The thing to remember, Dano, is that it's a balk if he ceases all motion toward the plate. If he hangs that knee and his body is otherwise continuing in a motion to deliver the ball, it's not a balk.


07-03-2008, 02:52 AM
Something must be moving. Lower body or upper body to the plate or some type of pick move. I had several lefty pitchers when I coached. One of them's father was a lefty and a former pitcher. My son was also lefty but not much of a pitcher. The former lefty pitcher dad/coach taught most of the pitchers to come set, pick up their leg and keep their foot to the home plate side of the pitcher's plate so as to not "break the plane" and thus give them the option of throwing over to first or to deliver the pitch. The good ones, one made it to D-1 as a pick off specialist, could look at the plate/batter and step to first and fire off really quickly picking off almost anyone more than one step from the bag. It was a thing to see. Some of the more inexperienced ones would hesitate with the leg in the air while trying to decide to throw over or deliver the pitch. They got balked more often than not. Sometimes they would be hovering with the leg in the air and throwing over then stepping to the base. This was called 50/50. In regular season I wanted them to get balked so they would learn. In tourneys and playoffs I would sometimes discuss balks with base umpires to let them know I had a lefty with a very good move and then explain what they did so the umpire could look for it. I wanted them to see what I/we were trying to accomplish. We practiced lefty pick moves with mirrors and socks indoors during winter and some got pretty good at it. It killed me when an umpire did not truly know or care about balk rules and could be talked into calling balk by a crybaby coach on the other team. Once I explained the rule as I read it and taught it the umpires generally saw it my way.

At the upper levels you bet the coaches are looking for any advantage they can get. I would have the one kid who made it to D-1 walk guys intentionally if he got behind in the count and then pick them off. It drove one certain other coach of a rival legion team crazy. He cried and cried that it was a balk. Later on we coached fall ball together and discussed the lefty move I just described and how we taught it. Fortunately he was not as committed to teaching it as we were and his guys never got as good as ours.

It kills me when some umpires say the best balk call is the no balk call. I promise that most coaches at competitive levels are looking for an advantage anywhere they can get one and this is one of them. We owe it to the game to be prepared and know what we are looking for.
My two cents and your mileage may vary. Get Jim Evans Balk Video if you don't have it yet. It is that good.