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Old Wed Jul 05, 2006, 09:49am
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 2,972
Stealing Home, P in Windup, Balk or No Balk?

Okay everybody, I need some insight here. Assume the following:

1. OBR rules
2. 1 man umpire
3. R2, R3 2 out
4. Pitcher in windup position
5. R3 attempts straight steal of home

I've read, re-read, and read again, rule 8.01 and I still have questions.

In terms of how the pitcher delivers the legal pitch

1. Can he speed up his delievery and still have that be a legal pitch?
2. Does the wind up have to look the same every time or is it as long as his pivot foot (in this case his right foot) is in contact with the pitcher's plate it's a good pitch?
3. What constitutes a balk versus a regular pitch here and as umpires what do you guys watch for in the prepitch to make sure you nail this call when working a 1 man game?

Thanks guys...I would appreciate any and all insight on this...

For what it's worth, I called the play a legal pitch, R3 out at home. To describe the situation in detail would require a YHTBT as I'm sure you can appreciate. Any scenarios/assumptions will be appreciated...Thanks!
It's like Deja Vu all over again
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Old Wed Jul 05, 2006, 10:10am
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 164
Heh....I can describe some really fun ones on this! But I have to get to work!!!

1 - Yes he can. There is NO rule about the "speed of delivery", except for a quick pitch, and that has to do with the batter being ready in the box only.

2 - No, it does not! As long as the pitcher satisfies what is required of him to pitch the ball legally, he can change the way he does his windup at will.

3 - A balk is a balk. If he balks, call it. I think you are thinking too far into this. Most coaches do! But really, there is no such thing as a "regular pitch", thus, there is no way for a "regular pitch" to challenge a balk. There IS legal pitches, and illegal pitches. If the pitcher does an illegal pitch with runners on base, it is a balk.

Anyway, sounds like you probably got the call right. Every time this scenario has come up in a game, and the pitcher has done something different than usual from the windup, the offensive teams coach has always argued that the pitcher balked, and it was always a pretty heated discussion. Such is the life of a baseball umpire. It is an unusual play, and I am sure that more than a few umpires call it wrong.
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Old Wed Jul 05, 2006, 10:12am
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 17,245
1) Yes

2) The windup can vary. The pivot foot is one requirement

3) Look for a "quick pitch", a step off with the wrong foot, a flinch
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