View Single Post
  #5 (permalink)  
Old Mon Jan 28, 2002, 12:21pm
Bfair Bfair is offline
Official Forum Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 813
The rule states F1 must step directly to the base.
While a pitcher is allowed to lift his leg back (not beyond the rubber) and then step to the base he is facing is not necessarily within the parameters of that statement, it has been allowed for years and will continued to be allowed. Don't fight it, it is custom and practice based on accepted standards. Certainly a long argument could be had discussing that point, but that argument won't change anything.

If a pitcher throwing to a base he is facing starts OTHER movement associated with his pitch before stepping to that base, you can balk him. If ever in doubt, let the factor of deception be your deciding factor.

I had a LH pitcher last year in adult ball who would always come set at his waist in the middle of his body. His first motion in his pitch was a significant and obvious move of his glove (with his pitching hand still in the glove) moving to his left hip. He would then raise his leg and deliver the pitch.

When he made the same move and delivered to 1B, I balked him. He had caught R1 breaking to 2B on the move. Now, I'll be very honest that had I seen the move and he had not been successful in catching R1 stealing, I probably would have warned him; telling him his arms were starting his pitch before his foot went to 1B. I would consider that preventative umpiring---get him right so I don't have to award a base. In this case, I didn't have that option as he had picked off R1, and I felt forced to call the balk. It's quite possible R1 saw the pitch start just as I had, and the defense wasn't getting the benefit of that doubt.

From that point on, F1 attempted the necessary adjustment, but I could tell he wasn't accustomed to delivering the pitch without his initial move to his left side with his hands. He finally gave up on it during that game. When I saw him later in the year, he had corrected that niche in his motion.

This is a situation that some may consider nitpickin, and I would have rather handled it with a warning. Most items that fall into that category I attempt to handle with a warning vs. a balk---it's preventative umpiring. It's letting the pitcher know what YOU think as he may not have had OTHER officials see it the same way.

Just my opinion,


Reply With Quote