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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 07:53am
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All;

Two months ago, I wrote on this board about an umpire who called a balk on a dead ball. I followed up with a four part series in the membership section (another shameless plug for eumpire here) about the fallout from this blown call. The situation:

R2, R3, extra innings, FED rules. The defense intentionally walks the batter to load the bases. An intentianal walk in FED creates a dead ball. (For OBR purposes, let's assume that the manager now calls time and goes out to talk to his pitcher). Then, F3 sneakily keeps the ball and the pitcher mounts the rubber without the ball. The deceived plate umpire calls "play" and the deceived R1 leads off and is tagged out by F3. U1 calls a balk and the the winning run scores from third; game over; s$$$house follows.

In my four part series, I pointed out that one could not have a balk during a dead ball. Since the ball was not legally put in play, the umpire should have instructed both sides as to proper procedure, cancelled the balk, cancelled the out, and had a do-over.

Recently I have been corresponding with an eumpire member about the call. Over the weekend, he emailed me the following letter concerning a discussion that he had with a retired MLB umpire. I have deleted the MLB umpire's name as well as the name of the letter's author.

-----------------
Hi Peter,

Thought I might throw more fuel on the fire. I was showing the case to a retired major league umpire who lives here in Little Rock (name of MLB umpire deleted) and he says the play's a balk, no ifs and(s) or buts. He says the rule in 8.05 doesn't make any exceptions for whether time has been called or any other factor. Any rules I can cite back to him that you pulled your ruling from? Obviously, you probably have more important things to do, but I've got the umpiring community here absolutely divided! It's all thanks to you!

signed name deleted
--------------------

First, does anyone want to answer his question for OBR? I did all the research for FED so I'll let someone else answer this one. Now to the interesting part.

It's easy for an MLB umpire to pontificate on the rules for a situation that he will never have to face. No major league team is ever going to try such a boneheaded play. Yet, I would venture to guess that a major league umpire would be considered an authority by any protest committee even when he was blatantly wrong.

If we can have a balk with a dead ball, why not a triple, or a strikeout. By this MLB umpire's ruling, we could have a balk when the pitcher stands on the rubber with his thumb up his a$$ after letting a routine ground ball go through his legs on a comebacker.

This all demonstrates that we can only give advice on the type of ball that we actually work. That's why I don't respond to LL questions. I am not that good yet.

Peter

[Edited by His High Holiness on Aug 6th, 2002 at 07:56 AM]
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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 09:02am
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HHH

Peter:

I am sitting here at my desk this morning having a very nice internal chuckle.

Your feelings about MLB umpires and being authoritive is exactly how I have felt for the last three years.

A "retired" umpire even makes the story more funny.

Since private sources seem to have a much better chance of communicating with "authoritive" sources these days perhaps we can start to identify THEM as to believable or not.

Balking with a "dead ball" . . . how funny.

But of course I thought the same thing when bFair said the runners lane was active even on throws from inside the diamond.

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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 10:24am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tim C
Peter:

But of course I thought the same thing when bFair said the runners lane was active even on throws from inside the diamond.

C'mon, Tee, my lane argument included play with a live ball, was in accordance with the rule as it is written, and had NO written documentation to the contrary except for one writer's opinion in his book (whereby the writer has been proven wrong on many of his other opinions).

While many opposed the thought regarding the running lane, not one shred of evidence existed that said the rule, as written, would be altered to NOT include throws from the middle infield. Many provided hearsay myth to the contrary that was, of course, unsupported. Some even said throws from the infield would not apply because there was no caseplay that showed it as illegal---despite the wording of the rule causing it to be illegal. Perhaps the same people wouldn't consider it unsportsmanlike conduct for a player to drop his drawers and crap on an umpire's shoes----since there's no caseplay showing it as an example of unsportsmanlike conduct. Hmmm....there seems to be a fallacy in the logic that an example must exist. Unfortunately, some people can't seem to comprehend written concepts but can only understand specific examples.

As for the balk, there is evidence that the defense cannot "putout" a runner during a dead ball. There is evidence that the pitcher must be on the rubber with the ball for the ball to be put in play. When that does not exist, how can you have a live ball? What risk was the runner in? NONE (except that an umpire might blow a call and allow the defense to put him out with a dead ball).

Keep me out of the camp that says merely because an MLU says it then it must be so. If that were case, then I guess a catcher's throw striking a BU on steal attempt would be a dead ball (Runge). There needs to be greater authoritative opinion beyond one man's opinion unless the one man is authorized as the spokesperson for the rules committee.


Just my opinion,

Freix

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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 10:43am
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bFair

Errr Steve, I was trying to say that your research was a GOOD THING on the runners lane.

Sorry if I wrote poorly.
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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 11:09am
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Peter:

Somebody should relate to the un-named (and justifiably so) retired (even more justifiably so) "Major League" umpire a quote made often on the internet.


"If you don't see it in MLB, don't allow it in your games."

Author Unknown
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 11:18am
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dead?

Why do you keep refering this as a dead ball balk? all the chickanery happened during dead ball but the balk wasn't called until the ball was put in play. Now we have a balk. Game over.
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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 11:39am
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Boone,

You have missed the point.

The Ball cannot be back in play, legally according to the play.

Please just take a second to review.

Player arrives at the base. Safe.

Time is called. Time is out.

Player "wanders" off base. He is called out.

At no time does the ball return to the mound. Time cannot resume "Live Ball" until the pitcher is on the pither's plate and the umpire declares "Play" --

Therefore the out could NOT be recorded until the ball was put back into play -- legally.

In fact, it is impossible to do the "hindden ball trick" after a dead ball situation.

I think you jumped to a conclusion.
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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 11:50am
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"the chickanery happened during dead ball but the balk wasn't called until the ball was put in play."


Boone:

The ball could not have LEGALLY been put in play under the cirumstances and when the umpire sees that the pitcher did not have the ball in possession when he took the rubber he has to rule the ball is still dead.

Get it?
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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 11:50am
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Just calls em as I sees em

Here's the original post:

Then, F3 sneakily keeps the ball and the pitcher mounts the rubber without the ball. The deceived plate umpire calls "play" and the deceived R1 leads off and is tagged out by F3. U1 calls a balk and the the winning run scores from third; game over; s$$$house follows.

Boone again: I got pitcher on the rubber. I got a decieved plate umpire calling play. I got F3 tagging the runner with the ball. I've got live ball balk on the pitcher.

Why on earth are you bending over to protect the punk team that is doing a crappy trick play? Call the balk. Score the run. Watch them slink off the field and see if they ever try that crap again.
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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 11:51am
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garth. The play said the plate guy was deceived. He didn't know it. GET IT?
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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 11:58am
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"garth. The play said the plate guy was deceived. He didn't know it. GET IT?"

Yes, unfortunately I get that you do not recognize the umpire's obligation to get the play right when he discovers he put the ball in play illegally and thus the ball IS NOT IN PLAY.

It's that simple. Since the conditions did not meet the rule requirements when he "put the ball in play" the ball was NOT LEGALLY PUT IN PLAY. The ball is still dead. There, normally, cannot be a balk when the ball is dead.

Get it now?

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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 12:05pm
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we will continue to disagree on this one.

However. When a batter hits the ball straight down, and trickles fair, but you think it hits him and call foul. It certainly didn't meet the requirement for a foul ball but you called it anyway and it becomes so.

I'd prefer to punish the offending team rather than protect them.
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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 12:08pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Boone
garth. The play said the plate guy was deceived. He didn't know it. GET IT?
Boone,

You are dragging up an ages-old debate. That is, is the ball in play whenever the umpire says, "Play," or is the ball in play only when the umpire says, "Play," and it is legal for him to do so?

The rules (OBR) require the pitcher to have possession of the ball and be in contact with the rubber in order for the plate umpire to declare, "Play!" So, if the pitcher does not have the ball, and the plate umpire erroneously says, "Play," anyway, has the ball legally been made live? Or is play still dead because the pitcher did not possess the ball?

The concensus among most seems to be that even though the umpire said, "Play," the ball could not legally be put into play so it is still dead. The umpire should correct his error. The ball was not made live legally. R1 should not be called out. No balk should be declared.

Personally, I've always believed the balk should be called, dead ball or not.


[Edited by Jim Porter on Aug 6th, 2002 at 12:11 PM]
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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 12:09pm
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Apples and oranges. I didn't see that the ball did not hit the batter. I DID see, by way of the play, that the ball was not legally in play, and it is my obligation to observe the rules of the OBR and make sure no action takes place when the ball is dead.

If you choose to disagree, you choose to disagree with the rule book, not with me.

Punish away.
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Old Tue Aug 06, 2002, 12:16pm
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Many moons ago, I was one of the lone voices on the Internet arguing that a balk should be called in this situation. I'm glad a former MLU agrees. The pitcher's action not only deceived the runner, it deceived the umpire. No rule mandates that a balk cannot be called during a dead ball. And the very nature of the offense calls for a penalty. I've got, and always will have, a balk.
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