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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 02:57pm
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Had this in my game the other day:

Pitcher tries the old "third to first" pickoff move in the third inning and does it legally by stepping to third, then removing his pivot foot from the rubber, then making a move to first.

Later in the game, he tries it again, but he doesn't remove his pivot foot from the rubber. I call balk. Coach goes nuts. He wants a rule reference on why this is a balk, and i couldn't recite an exact rule (OBR) but i said he must disengage before making his move to first.


So help me out guys. What rule is he breaking when he does not remove his foot from the rubber?
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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 03:09pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by bossman72
Had this in my game the other day:

Pitcher tries the old "third to first" pickoff move in the third inning and does it legally by stepping to third, then removing his pivot foot from the rubber, then making a move to first.

Later in the game, he tries it again, but he doesn't remove his pivot foot from the rubber. I call balk. Coach goes nuts. He wants a rule reference on why this is a balk, and i couldn't recite an exact rule (OBR) but i said he must disengage before making his move to first.


So help me out guys. What rule is he breaking when he does not remove his foot from the rubber?
I assure you, the pitcher did break contact with the rubber ... and I don't even have to have seen the play.

Try it yourself!

There is simply no way a right-handed pitcher can step toward 3rd and then throw to 1st and not break contact with the rubber with his pivot foot unless he is Gumby!

He may not have done it as soon as you would have like ... but it happened.

The only time I ever call a balk on that maneuver is if it looks like ONE maneuver. If I see "two parts" to the move, then it's almost impossible for the move to be illegal.

David Emerling
Memphis, TN
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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 03:31pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by David Emerling
I assure you, the pitcher did break contact with the rubber ... and I don't even have to have seen the play.

Try it yourself!

There is simply no way a right-handed pitcher can step toward 3rd and then throw to 1st and not break contact with the rubber with his pivot foot unless he is Gumby!

He may not have done it as soon as you would have like ... but it happened.

The only time I ever call a balk on that maneuver is if it looks like ONE maneuver. If I see "two parts" to the move, then it's almost impossible for the move to be illegal.
I did try it, and it wasn't even hard. You step foreward with your left foot, and then you step backwards with your left foot.

How can you ever call this move a balk if you think the pitcher steps off every time?
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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 04:09pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by bossman72
Had this in my game the other day:

Pitcher tries the old "third to first" pickoff move in the third inning and does it legally by stepping to third, then removing his pivot foot from the rubber, then making a move to first.

Later in the game, he tries it again, but he doesn't remove his pivot foot from the rubber. I call balk. Coach goes nuts. He wants a rule reference on why this is a balk, and i couldn't recite an exact rule (OBR) but i said he must disengage before making his move to first.


So help me out guys. What rule is he breaking when he does not remove his foot from the rubber?
Rule 8.05c Comment 2.

Now, don't get offensive about this but, how do you know it's a balk, if you don't have a Rule book? And the reason I ask is because, it took approximately 15 seconds to look it up. Just wondering.

David, you kiddig right?

There is no way it can be done, but you called a balk when it was done?

I have seen it done in a HS game and had to correct my partner when he called a balk. And I didn't ask, "if there was something he wanted to ask me about his call" either.

We had partnered long enough in HS and OBR baseball, that I knew he just made a mistake and WE, corrected it.

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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 05:19pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by jicecone
Quote:
Originally posted by bossman72
Had this in my game the other day:

Pitcher tries the old "third to first" pickoff move in the third inning and does it legally by stepping to third, then removing his pivot foot from the rubber, then making a move to first.

Later in the game, he tries it again, but he doesn't remove his pivot foot from the rubber. I call balk. Coach goes nuts. He wants a rule reference on why this is a balk, and i couldn't recite an exact rule (OBR) but i said he must disengage before making his move to first.


So help me out guys. What rule is he breaking when he does not remove his foot from the rubber?
Rule 8.05c Comment 2.

Now, don't get offensive about this but, how do you know it's a balk, if you don't have a Rule book? And the reason I ask is because, it took approximately 15 seconds to look it up. Just wondering.

David, you kiddig right?

There is no way it can be done, but you called a balk when it was done?

I have seen it done in a HS game and had to correct my partner when he called a balk. And I didn't ask, "if there was something he wanted to ask me about his call" either.

We had partnered long enough in HS and OBR baseball, that I knew he just made a mistake and WE, corrected it.

I didn't say I've called this move a balk BECAUSE the pitcher failed to break contact ... I have called it a balk because the pitcher executed the maneuver in one continuous fashion, just as the rulebook instructs us not to allow.

A classic violation is when the pitcher steps with his left foot toward 3rd and then spins around on his LEFT foot toward 1st. To execute this maneuver the pitcher will certainly break contact with the rubber -YET- it's a balk!

It's a balk because the maneuver is executed in one continuous fashion.

OK ... OK ... I guess it's possible not to break contact with the rubber when executing this maneuver, but to do so, it would look so incredibly bizarre that there would be little reason not to call it a balk.

The REASON this maneuver should be called a balk should MOSTLY involve whether the maneuver was continuous from 3rd to 1st. If so ... it's a balk; whether or not his pivot foot ever broke contact with the rubber.

David Emerling
Memphis, TN
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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 05:25pm
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It's a balk because the throw to first is not a "direct" step and throw from the rubber - there was a detour from direct when the feint to 3B was made.

Emerling is out to lunch on claiming the impossibility or the now dialed back "bizarreness" of a 3rd to 1st move made without breaking contact. It's common enough that the FED saw fit to explicitly allow the move, even though FED rules also require a direct step to a base being feinted/thrown to.
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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 05:37pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Hensley
It's a balk because the throw to first is not a "direct" step and throw from the rubber - there was a detour from direct when the feint to 3B was made.

Emerling is out to lunch on claiming the impossibility or the now dialed back "bizarreness" of a 3rd to 1st move made without breaking contact. It's common enough that the FED saw fit to explicitly allow the move, even though FED rules also require a direct step to a base being feinted/thrown to.
Put your foot in a rut in front of a 24-inch piece of rubber pointing 180-degrees from a direction toward which you will ultimately throw.

Step 180-degrees AWAY from that direction with the other foot and then "turn" and throw behind you -BUT- keep that right foot in contact with the rubber the whole time.

See you in the Emergency Room!

At best, you're going to have to do a little hop to get that foot out of the rut so you can turn it. That, alone, will break contact with the rubber, even if the foot ultimately comes back down ON the rubber - which is unlikely as it will almost always end up in FRONT of the rubber.

This maneuver is possible IF the foot is placed directly on top of the rubber - which I've never seen a pitcher do; or, there is virtually no hole in front of the rubber - which might happen on a perfectly groomed mound in the first inning.

Otherwise, I'll stand by my point.

David Emerling
Memphis, TN



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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 05:41pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by jicecone
Rule 8.05c Comment 2.

Now, don't get offensive about this but, how do you know it's a balk, if you don't have a Rule book? And the reason I ask is because, it took approximately 15 seconds to look it up. Just wondering.
[/B]

Now, it wasn't exactly how the rulebook described it. When i was being taught balks by another umpire in the association, i asked him about the third to first move and he said that he has to break contact with the rubber before throwing to first. He did a little demonstration for me that he said was from the Jim or John Evans balk video (which i obviously dont have or seen) where the pivot foot is in contact with the rubber on the step to third, then without moving the pivot foot at all, step and threw to first. So if any of you have seen this video, you might know what i'm talking about.

But that's what happened. I balked it. Dave Hensley gave me the rule i needed. Thank you guys very much.
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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 05:55pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by bossman72
Quote:
Originally posted by jicecone
Rule 8.05c Comment 2.

Now, don't get offensive about this but, how do you know it's a balk, if you don't have a Rule book? And the reason I ask is because, it took approximately 15 seconds to look it up. Just wondering.

Now, it wasn't exactly how the rulebook described it. When i was being taught balks by another umpire in the association, i asked him about the third to first move and he said that he has to break contact with the rubber before throwing to first. He did a little demonstration for me that he said was from the Jim or John Evans balk video (which i obviously dont have or seen) where the pivot foot is in contact with the rubber on the step to third, then without moving the pivot foot at all, step and threw to first. So if any of you have seen this video, you might know what i'm talking about.

But that's what happened. I balked it. Dave Hensley gave me the rule i needed. Thank you guys very much. [/B]
"... without moving the pivot foot at all" ???

With his toes still pointed toward 3rd he throws to 1st?

I'd like to see that!!!



David Emerling
Memphis, TN
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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 05:57pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Hensley
It's a balk because the throw to first is not a "direct" step and throw from the rubber - there was a detour from direct when the feint to 3B was made.

Emerling is out to lunch on claiming the impossibility or the now dialed back "bizarreness" of a 3rd to 1st move made without breaking contact. It's common enough that the FED saw fit to explicitly allow the move, even though FED rules also require a direct step to a base being feinted/thrown to.
"Common" is correct, Dave. I saw that a number of times during FED season and I have called it a balk at least four times during Legion season.
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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 08:38pm
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David,

A pitcher is worth a thousand words.

Or for your picture, a GOOD 1st to 3rd move.
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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 08:53pm
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The maneuver the FED book is trying to avoid is that little, itsy bitsy move toward 3rd with a colossal move toward 1st.

The move toward 3rd is token while the move toward 1st is significant. If that's the way it appears, it's a balk.

The move toward 3rd has to be substantial enough to constitute an actual move toward 3rd. The move can't be a brief prelude to the actual move to 1st.

An umpire is well advised to not dwell so much on whether the pitcher breaks contact with the rubber so much as to whether the move has "parts" or whether it is continuous.

Continuous ... BALK!

Parts ... OK!

That should be the standard by which this move is measured.

Every experienced umpired has seen this move enough to know what "normal" looks like without having to micro-observe little nuances.

If it looks "wrong", call it a balk. If asked for an explanation simply say that the pitcher executed the move in a continuous fashion. THAT prohibition is specifically outlined in the rulebook and then you won't be hard pressed to find a black & white explanation or some esoteric interpretation about having to break contact with the rubber.

David Emerling
Memphis, TN
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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 10:24pm
DG DG is offline
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The move is demonstrated on Jim Evan's video, and it looked fairly easy to do. However, I have never seen anyone fake to 3b and turn to throw to 1b without coming off the rubber.
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Old Mon Jul 18, 2005, 11:29pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by DG
The move is demonstrated on Jim Evan's video, and it looked fairly easy to do. However, I have never seen anyone fake to 3b and turn to throw to 1b without coming off the rubber.
Neither have I, although, I guess, if you contrive it enough for the purposes of a demonstration it could be done like ...

... placing your foot directly on top of the rubber so you can pivot on the smooth portion without having to deal with the typical rut in front of the rubber that is always there. And, I've never seen a pitcher place his foot directly on top of the rubber.

-or-

... creating an area in front of the rubber that is perfectly level and nearly flush with the rubber which would faciliate pivoting without having to remove the foot from the area in front of the rubber.

One thing is for sure - the right foot is simply going to have to pivot. If it's in a rut, then it is going to have to come out of that rut to facilitate pivoting.

On a classic 3-1 move, the pitcher will get his foot out of that rut by allowing his pivot foot to drag toward 3rd while stepping that direction -or- he will jump pivot after making the move toward 3rd. In either case, the foot is going to break contact with the rubber.

Not losing contact with the rubber is a theoretical point of interest to umpires for the purposes of discussion and test taking much like the question: If a pitch bounces on the ground and is struck by the batter for a homerun, does the homerun count? Yes, but you'll never see it in your lifetime.

David Emerling
Memphis, TN

[Edited by David Emerling on Jul 19th, 2005 at 12:38 AM]
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Old Tue Jul 19, 2005, 08:19am
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David --

Consider two pitchers.

The first stands in the set position with his feet in a line between the rubber and home plate. He then pivots, turns and steps toward first and throws to first for a pick-off. Legal, right?

The second stands in an exaggerated "closed" position. The line between his feet extends toward the third-base dugout. He then pivots, turns and steps toward first and throws to first for a pick-off. Legal, right? (A strange starting position, but still legal).

Now, the first pitcher, steps toward third in a feint. Stop the action. He's in (substantially) the same position as the second pitcher. Why couldn't he turn and throw to first? (Physically, I mean. I recognize it's a balk in other than FED).

Even with the "rut" you mentioned, if the pitcher moves the foot from the rut as part of the move toward first and not as part of the move toward third, it's a balk. The pitcher must disengage as part of, or as a result of, the move toward third for the 3-1 move to be legal (again, non-FED).

That said, I've never seen a pitcher not disengage as part of the move toward third (other than on the Evans balk video).
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