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gregm
05-05-2009, 05:49 AM
We may have a 10U tournament using USSSA rules, so I was reading them over to familiarize myself with the differences. I came across this rule:

8.05.B In age divisions 10U & younger, pitchers will be allowed some leniency in regard to balks. Pitchers will be called for all major violations and warned for minor violations that do not affect the outcome of a play. In all other divisions, balks will be strictly enforced without warning.

If anyone has any experience with this rule and how it is to be applied, please educate me. If there is no one, what would be your thoughts of what a major and minor balk would be. Thanks.

DaveD10
05-05-2009, 12:18 PM
No experience with this rule but for "major" type balks ( coming set - turning shoulders to drive runner back, feinting to 1st from rubber - no throw, non pivot foot behind rubber - pitcher doesn't throw home) "minor" ( pitcher steps off rubber breaks his hands before foot touches, dropping the ball, not consistently coming to discernible stop). It's hard to tell what a 10 year old is thinking but if umps judged he is intentionaly deceiving runners you have to call a balk.

Ozzy
05-05-2009, 12:30 PM
In my opinion, a balk is a balk! The little tykes need to learn and they will! If F1 does something that is by rule, a balk, than it affects play. You just cannot get around it.

It's the coaches that want every break under the sun, not the kids! Kids will learn if given the chance, coaches are unable to by their role! Heh, heh, heh!

Sorry, I just had to get a post in on this item. I will now return to the big diamond areas.

Peace!

lustersilk
05-05-2009, 05:41 PM
You are 100% correct Ozzy!

Fritz
05-05-2009, 06:32 PM
Sorry Oz........I respectfully disagree with you here. We are talking about 10U in this post. I ump everything from HS V on down, including little guys (and the occasional gal) this age. Black and white rules (a balk is a balk is a balk) sound great, but do nothing to help these young ones (and their often equally unknowing coaches) enjoy the game as they learn to get better.

Strike zone is well-defined in the rule book too but if you call it like that at the 10U level, it will be a walk-a-thon. Same goes for the balk - when at this age you have some kids getting their first taste of pitching with baserunners able to lead off and steal.

So call the obvious balks. But for the minor mechanical glitches, I usually go over to the coach between innings and explain what the kid is doing wrong. Most coaches don't know it either. Then, unless it is creating a problem for the runners (not usually the case), I tell the coach to work on it at the next practice and not during this game (that usually just gets the kid all messed up and creates a bigger issue).

I rarely get any grief for this approach and more often than not, get coaches from both sides thanking me for the assistance. As the kids gets older, enforce this (and the strike zone) a little tighter. Officiate the age and talent level you are doing and you will enjoy the games more and be a better representative of our profession.

Stepping down from my soap box now...............sorry Oz, I agree with many of your positions and your motto. But on this point, I have had my share of senior-level partners who drop down to do the little kids for some extra bucks and don't adjust for the age. Then complain about how bad the game or ball is. Just one of my pet peeves!

umpjmb
05-08-2009, 03:04 AM
Great post, Fritz...