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Old Tue Oct 07, 2008, 11:57am
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NF Balk rule

Is there a portion of the NFHS rulebook that deals with a pitcher using an action the "deliberately deceives" the runner, and listing that as a balk?

I cannot find one, yet that is the catch-all we hear all of the time. The book lists things that are balks, but I find nothing about "deceiving" the baserunner.
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Old Tue Oct 07, 2008, 12:07pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Illini_Ref View Post
Is there a portion of the NFHS rulebook that deals with a pitcher using an action the "deliberately deceives" the runner, and listing that as a balk?

I cannot find one, yet that is the catch-all we hear all of the time. The book lists things that are balks, but I find nothing about "deceiving" the baserunner.

That's because deceit is legal - if done within the limits in the rules.
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Old Tue Oct 07, 2008, 12:15pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Illini_Ref View Post
Is there a portion of the NFHS rulebook that deals with a pitcher using an action the "deliberately deceives" the runner, and listing that as a balk?

I cannot find one, yet that is the catch-all we hear all of the time. The book lists things that are balks, but I find nothing about "deceiving" the baserunner.
remember that there's legal deception and illegal deception...the whole point of a legal, attempted pick off is legal deception
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Old Tue Oct 07, 2008, 03:40pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Illini_Ref View Post
I cannot find one, yet that is the catch-all we hear all of the time.
That's a catch-all for people who don't understand the rules. Pitchers legally deceive runners all the time. If they deceive the runner and violated one of the balk rules, then it's a balk because they violated the rule.

You may be thinking of the comment under Rule 8.05 in the OBR: Umpires should bear in mind that the purpose of the balk rule is to prevent the pitcher from deliberately deceiving the base runner. If there is doubt in the umpire’s mind, the "intent" of the pitcher should govern.

I would not rely on that comment to support a balk call. Most of the illegal deceitful acts are already covered as balks elsewhere in the rules - straddling the rubber without the ball, mimicking the pitching motion when not in contact, feinting a throw to first base, etc.
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Old Wed Oct 08, 2008, 05:42am
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Originally Posted by Delaware Blue View Post
I would not rely on that comment to support a balk call. Most of the illegal deceitful acts are already covered as balks elsewhere in the rules - straddling the rubber without the ball, mimicking the pitching motion when not in contact, feinting a throw to first base, etc.
I agree. Don't call a balk unless you have observed a violation of one of the balk rules. The "intent to deceive" lets you NOT call a balk when it is clear that there was no intent to deceive. A good example: Stepping off with the wrong foot. I often won't call a balk unless the pitcher makes a move toward a runner after he steps off, especially during summer rec ball or fall ball.
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Old Wed Oct 08, 2008, 09:25am
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Originally Posted by ChapJim View Post
I agree. Don't call a balk unless you have observed a violation of one of the balk rules. The "intent to deceive" lets you NOT call a balk when it is clear that there was no intent to deceive. A good example: Stepping off with the wrong foot. I often won't call a balk unless the pitcher makes a move toward a runner after he steps off, especially during summer rec ball or fall ball.
I disagree. Stepping off with the wrong foot (usually from the windup) is always a balk with runners on, as it simulates the start of a pitch: "started and stopped, coach."
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Old Wed Oct 08, 2008, 09:55am
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I'm with you. That's a balk every time, and I hate to call balks. Every borderline motion---especially the really crafty lefties---and I let it go. I'll even give a ventriloquist's warning an a quick set or something borderline. But that one you can't let go.
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Old Wed Oct 08, 2008, 11:15am
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There are some balks where while there is zero intent, they are textbook balks you have to call. Stepping off with the wrong foot is one, and dropping the ball while in contact with the pitchers plate is another. When you call them nobody argues (unless nobody in your association calls it, then when I step on the field I get the "nobody has ever called it a balk before), you really don't have to sell it that well.
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Old Wed Oct 08, 2008, 02:24pm
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Exactly!
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Old Thu Oct 09, 2008, 06:53am
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Originally Posted by Emperor Ump View Post
... you really don't have to sell it that well.
I don't sell balk calls anymore. For FED: "Time! That's a balk! Started and stopped!" (or "No step" or "Never came set"). Usually the coach can't even get out of the dugout before he knows why I called the balk.
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Old Thu Oct 09, 2008, 11:32am
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NASO puts out some good stuff for Fed rules on balks. Something you might want to look into. Remember, rule with the book not by the book. There are times when you can cringe and not call a balk, then there's that blatent one you have to call even though there is no advantage gained. The problem in dealing with youth league as well as HS coach's is they may or may not understand balk or no balk situations, which leads to an argument.
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Old Thu Oct 09, 2008, 11:59am
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Here was the premise for my question. This move was taught to HS players by a local coach and he asked me about it.

RH pitcher. Runner on first, pitcher in the set position. Pitcher picks his rigth (non pivot) foot straight up as he would his left to pitch (about 2 feet off the ground). Some runners, who are not real experienced at the HS level, will go when the knee comes up not realizing which knee it is. Pitcher then brings the foot down behind the rubber and throws to second.

I have a problem with this play, although it is not specifically covered in the rules. Maybe you could stretch them to say that the movement is one that is "associated with his delivery", but is it really since it is the other leg?
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Old Thu Oct 09, 2008, 01:52pm
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Originally Posted by Illini_Ref View Post
Here was the premise for my question. This move was taught to HS players by a local coach and he asked me about it.

RH pitcher. Runner on first, pitcher in the set position. Pitcher picks his rigth (non pivot) foot straight up as he would his left to pitch (about 2 feet off the ground). Some runners, who are not real experienced at the HS level, will go when the knee comes up not realizing which knee it is. Pitcher then brings the foot down behind the rubber and throws to second.

I have a problem with this play, although it is not specifically covered in the rules. Maybe you could stretch them to say that the movement is one that is "associated with his delivery", but is it really since it is the other leg?
He throws to 2nd? Has the runner already taken off? If the runner is still at 1st, you have a balk for throwing to an unoccupied and there being no play. But let's say he steps off in the manner you describe and throws to first. Explain your rationale for a balk call when the DC says the pitcher was simply and properly disengaging from the rubber.
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Old Thu Oct 09, 2008, 01:58pm
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Originally Posted by Fritz View Post
He throws to 2nd? Has the runner already taken off? If the runner is still at 1st, you have a balk for throwing to an unoccupied and there being no play. But let's say he steps off in the manner you describe and throws to first. Explain your rationale for a balk call when the DC says the pitcher was simply and properly disengaging from the rubber.
No you don't. He stepped off first, so he's an infielder and can throw wherever he wishes.

I don't buy the idea that lifting his pivot foot off really high is simulating a pitch. Runners should go back to the base when the pivot foot moves. I'm not balking that. That confers an advantage only if the runner's an idiot.

The rules specify that disengaging the rubber involves moving the pivot foot directly back behind the rubber. It doesn't say how hight the knee is allowed to go as F1 steps off.
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Old Thu Oct 09, 2008, 02:07pm
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yep, my bad mb. Two trains of thought going on in the brain at the same time; then my fingers decided to send a text (a la California) and you see the result.
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