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Old Tue May 31, 2005, 07:30pm
mbyron mbyron is offline
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Originally posted by Dave Hensley
By Kalix's count, there were 13 different participants arguing the "no balk" side. At this point, you and Garth are the only two to have acknowledged the Evans ruling.

It's a pity you don't understand Evans' rationale. Kalix and I have (independently of each other) spent quite a bit of time explaining and defending that rationale, in terms that I thought were pretty understandable.
I hereby solemnly acknowledge that the quotation posted in this thread and attributed to Jim Evans seems to conflict with a post I made.

Yes, that's hedged and not much of a mea culpa, and for two main reasons:

1. Somebody (maybe CB) pointed out that there's a fine line involved in this play. The pitcher must pick up his foot to step off, and Evans seems to be supporting the view that if he picks it up "too high," then that's a balk. OK, fine, I'll take instruction: but what's too high? It seems: the step is too high when it becomes "deceptive." A number of us have argued that it's NOT deceptive, but, like Evans, let's ignore that argument and move on to...

2. Moreover, the Evans quotation still doesn't answer an important question about this issue: deception is illegal when it confers an unfair advantage. Nobody (including Evans) has explained what unfair advantage accrues to the defense from this dumb move. In deciding unfair advantage, one cannot assume that the opponent is stupid or ignorant of the rules (those are fair advantages).

Umpiring is a sphere of authority, not one of logic. Therefore, if authority instructs me that this is an instance of illegal deception, then I will call it that way. I still do not see the rationale, but I suppose that my view will matter only if I start my own umpire academy...

Oh, and for the record, Dave shares Evans's reasoning (illegal deception), but Kallix's was different: he said that lifting the pivot foot up high was not a step backwards. Sorry, that's not the call.

Edited because I had "offense" where I meant "defense" under #2.

[Edited by mbyron on May 31st, 2005 at 08:59 PM]