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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 09:18am
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Strange pitching motion: balk or no?

FED rules, not that it really matters as far as I know:

Right-handed F1 sets up in a stretch position, with his right foot in contact with the pitchers plate and his left foot directly in front of his right.
F1 comes set and pauses.
Then F1 lifts his left foot, steps 'backward' with his left foot directly towards 1st base, plants his left foot, then steps towards home with his left foot and pitches towards the batter.

I'm probably not describing it very well... it kinda looks like how a pitcher will sometimes step backward toward 1st when pitching from the windup position... only he was in the set position.

Is this a balk or not? I can't see anything against this in 6-1-3 or 6-2-4, but I do have a hard time parsing 6-1-3.
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 09:39am
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I have it as a balk for "not going directly to the plate" (or whatever the specific wording is).

I think Wendelstadt says it's legal in OBR, but it's still a commitment to the plate so runners would steal on it all day long.
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 10:30am
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Is he really stepping back with the free foot or is he just not taking a stride (as most pitchers do)? If he is truly stepping back, then I agree with Bob, that's a balk.
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 11:10am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jTheUmp View Post
FED rules, not that it really matters as far as I know:

Right-handed F1 sets up in a stretch position, with his right foot in contact with the pitchers plate and his left foot directly in front of his right.
F1 comes set and pauses.
Then F1 lifts his left foot, steps 'backward' with his left foot directly towards 1st base, plants his left foot, then steps towards home with his left foot and pitches towards the batter.

I'm probably not describing it very well... it kinda looks like how a pitcher will sometimes step backward toward 1st when pitching from the windup position... only he was in the set position.

Is this a balk or not? I can't see anything against this in 6-1-3 or 6-2-4, but I do have a hard time parsing 6-1-3.
It sounds like a Little League "windup from the stretch". That's legal in Little League 12 and under. But a balk in Juniors and above.

It would be a balk in high school rules also.

Rita
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 11:10am
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He stepped towards 1st and didn't throw there. Balk.
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 12:17pm
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He took two steps, not "a" step. Balk.
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 12:18pm
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In Cal Ripen legal pitch. Babe Ruth and up, balk.
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 12:36pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toth View Post
In Cal Ripen legal pitch. Babe Ruth and up, balk.
Doesn't Cal Ripken have the modified diamond 70/50 and allow lead offs for certain ages now?

Tim.
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 01:26pm
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OBR at the MLB level allows Cliff Lee to do this:

Cliff Lee Delivers A Pitch - YouTube

In fact their is no restriction in OBR on free foot placement in the windup. I don't know if the youth leagues that use OBR have the same wording. In any case they will have to stop doing it to pitch in HS and College.
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 01:55pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by umpjim View Post
OBR at the MLB level allows Cliff Lee to do this:

Cliff Lee Delivers A Pitch - YouTube

In fact their is no restriction in OBR on free foot placement in the windup. I don't know if the youth leagues that use OBR have the same wording. In any case they will have to stop doing it to pitch in HS and College.
I'm pretty sure the discussion here was about doing this from the stretch, Jim.

Tim.
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 01:58pm
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Thanks, umpjim... it looked exactly like Cliff Lee's motion in the video below (only this kid was right-handed).

So I should've balked him then... (this league is based on FED rules with modifications: no pitcher's mound, 75' bases, 56' pitcher's plate distance, etc)...

I didn't, for 2 reasons:
1) wasn't sure if it was a balk or not.. had never seen it before and didn't want to tell a kid he couldn't do something that he was actually allowed to do.
2) The other team was having a field day stealing bases on him because of his motion. I figured, if this pitcher is ok with allowing 2 stolen bases for every runner, who am I to argue?
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 02:12pm
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Originally Posted by BigUmp56 View Post
I'm pretty sure the discussion here was about doing this from the stretch, Jim.

Tim.
Cliff Lee's foot position is the same when he stretches or winds up. JP Howell is another example. You can tell whether they will wind up or stretch from other cues however.
Edited to add: I see what you are saying. The step back and stretch to a stop should preclude any further windup motion. I would agree. I don't think Lee or Howell do it that way.

Last edited by umpjim; Thu May 30, 2013 at 02:30pm.
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 02:21pm
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Originally Posted by umpjim View Post
Cliff Lee's foot position is the same when he stretches or winds up. JP Howell is another example. You can tell whether they will wind up or stretch from other cues however.
And under OBR, the foot position doesn't matter. Under NCAA and FED it does (or is supposed to).
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 02:43pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by umpjim View Post
Cliff Lee's foot position is the same when he stretches or winds up. JP Howell is another example. You can tell whether they will wind up or stretch from other cues however.
Edited to add: I see what you are saying. The step back and stretch to a stop should preclude any further windup motion. I would agree. I don't think Lee or Howell do it that way.

This is a decent video showing how Lee delivers the ball to the plate with and without runners. You'll see the difference.

Cliff Lee 2011 Highlights - YouTube


Tim.
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Old Thu May 30, 2013, 07:31pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jTheUmp View Post
Thanks, umpjim... it looked exactly like Cliff Lee's motion in the video below (only this kid was right-handed).

So I should've balked him then... (this league is based on FED rules with modifications: no pitcher's mound, 75' bases, 56' pitcher's plate distance, etc)...

I didn't, for 2 reasons:
1) wasn't sure if it was a balk or not.. had never seen it before and didn't want to tell a kid he couldn't do something that he was actually allowed to do.
2) The other team was having a field day stealing bases on him because of his motion. I figured, if this pitcher is ok with allowing 2 stolen bases for every runner, who am I to argue?
In Fed, this is a balk - the "hybrid stance" which was a PoE this year
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