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Old Thu Jul 09, 2015, 10:10am
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A "Balk" terminology question

Wow....can't believe I haven't visited here since 2002...Anyway, here's my question. On a sports forum, someone posted a clip of a pitch Reds' pitcher Johnny Cueto threw the other night. It was a Luis Tiant-esque wind up, turn towards second with an ever so slight pause, a shoulder wiggle and then finishing up the delivery throwing a big, slow curve. The batter kind of just gave up and put his bat on his shoulder during the pause part of the delivery and watched as the pitch was called a strike. This started a debate on whether it was or wasn't a "balk". I contended that you can ONLY have a "balk" called if runners were on base, to begin with. That set off a search of the MLB rule book to determine if a "balk" can be called with no one on base. The wording in the rule book is kind of contradictory. In one place, it states that a "balk" committed with no one on base is a ball and in another place it states (insert balk example) is a balk with men on base, and a "ball", if not. So, my question is, if a pitcher commits an illegal pitch/action (like a quick pitch or going to his mouth on the rubber) that results in a ball being awarded (would have been a balk if someone was on base) to the batter, is it still CALLED/CONSIDERED a balk (i.e. would an umpire say, "That's a balk...ball 1")?Thanks.
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Old Thu Jul 09, 2015, 12:48pm
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Illegal pitch

With no runners it is an illegal pitch which is a ball.
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Old Thu Jul 09, 2015, 01:23pm
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Originally Posted by Robert E. Harrison View Post
With no runners it is an illegal pitch which is a ball.
Balks are nothing in OBR/NCAA with no runners. The two defined Illegal Pitches are penalized with a ball with no runners.

Last edited by umpjim; Thu Jul 09, 2015 at 01:34pm.
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Old Thu Jul 09, 2015, 02:29pm
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Originally Posted by Robert E. Harrison View Post
With no runners it is an illegal pitch which is a ball.
And an illegal pitch is called an illegal pitch, not a balk......unless there are runners on base....right?

It's my contention that the term "balk" can/is ONLY be applied when runners are on base.
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Old Thu Jul 09, 2015, 03:12pm
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Originally Posted by walkerbard View Post
And an illegal pitch is called an illegal pitch, not a balk......unless there are runners on base....right?

It's my contention that the term "balk" can/is ONLY be applied when runners are on base.
The two Illegal Pitch violations are balks with runners on and balls without runners.

Your contention is correct but why would it be a point of contention. It seems pretty clear in the OBR rule book. Let's not talk about FED.
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Old Fri Jul 10, 2015, 11:18am
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Originally Posted by walkerbard View Post
And an illegal pitch is called an illegal pitch, not a balk......unless there are runners on base....right?

It's my contention that the term "balk" can/is ONLY be applied when runners are on base.
I agree with umpjim, you are quoting the OBR rule book. What is point that you are trying to make?
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Old Fri Jul 10, 2015, 01:33pm
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I think he's just looking for clarification on what it would look like in the real world when an illegal pitch is thrown (or as many fans might say, a balk occurs with nobody on base).

If that is accurate, then what should happen is: the play would be allowed to continue as the batter still has the opportunity to hit an illegal pitch and if the batter reaches first base the illegal pitch is ignored. Otherwise, the illegal pitch is called and a ball is added to the count regardless of the actual outcome of the play (i.e. the batter can ground out, take a strike, hit a foul ball, etc and that action is disregarded).

To further clarify your question, the umpire shouldn't be calling a balk in this case as "balk" is the term for wider range of infractions that occur with runners on base. Those infractions include committing an illegal pitch, as well as changing from the windup to the set position without disengaging the rubber, failing to come to a complete stop when coming set, making a "snap throw" to a base without stepping toward it, etc.

You don't see many illegal pitches at the MLB level and while technically a pause during the pitch violates the requirement to "pitch without interruption" once the natural motion associated with pitching has started, there typically isn't that much scrutiny of this type of situation as long as the pause is part of the pitcher's typical motion, is consistent from pitch to pitch and isn't overly obvious. An "ever so slight pause" probably isn't go to draw the ire of many umpires, coaches or players at that level with nobody on base.
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Old Fri Jul 10, 2015, 03:06pm
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Originally Posted by ozzy6900 View Post
I agree with umpjim, you are quoting the OBR rule book. What is point that you are trying to make?
It was a discussion/argument on a sports board related to a video posted of this pitch by Johnny Cueto. (video is halfway down the page)

Johnny Cueto stops, whoas, wiggles with it before throwing pitch | MLB.com

One of the posters said this should have been called a "balk". I told him that first of all, you have to have runners on base to call a balk (he wouldn't have been in the wind up if runners were on base). He contended you didn't. That triggered a search of the MLB rule book which turned up the verbiage I described above. Just thought I'd run it past a few officials here for your point of view. As someone noted above, you don't see illegal pitches/actions that warrant an automatic ball to be called at the MLB level. I guess the illegal going to the mouth on the rubber is the most common and that doesn't happen often. But I've never heard of it referred to as a "balk" unless runner(s) are on base. Just a ball called. Thanks for all of your input.
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Old Fri Jul 10, 2015, 08:34pm
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A balk can only occur with runner(s) on base in FED also.
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Old Sat Jul 11, 2015, 01:00am
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Ok - We all agree that with no runners an illegal pitch is a ball and not a balk. What's the mechanic? Do you point and say "That's an illegal pitch" like you would with a balk, or do you do something different? And on a side note - in FED is it also an immediate dead ball?
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Old Sat Jul 11, 2015, 11:31am
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oh good lord

Quote:
Originally Posted by walkerbard View Post
Wow....can't believe I haven't visited here since 2002...Anyway, here's my question. On a sports forum, someone posted a clip of a pitch Reds' pitcher Johnny Cueto threw the other night. It was a Luis Tiant-esque wind up, turn towards second with an ever so slight pause, a shoulder wiggle and then finishing up the delivery throwing a big, slow curve. The batter kind of just gave up and put his bat on his shoulder during the pause part of the delivery and watched as the pitch was called a strike. This started a debate on whether it was or wasn't a "balk". I contended that you can ONLY have a "balk" called if runners were on base, to begin with. That set off a search of the MLB rule book to determine if a "balk" can be called with no one on base. The wording in the rule book is kind of contradictory. In one place, it states that a "balk" committed with no one on base is a ball and in another place it states (insert balk example) is a balk with men on base, and a "ball", if not. So, my question is, if a pitcher commits an illegal pitch/action (like a quick pitch or going to his mouth on the rubber) that results in a ball being awarded (would have been a balk if someone was on base) to the batter, is it still CALLED/CONSIDERED a balk (i.e. would an umpire say, "That's a balk...ball 1")?Thanks.

This has got to be the rule of the season for me.

There are TWO illegal pitches without runners in OBR. One is pitching without the foot in contact with the rubber. The other is the quick pitch.

WITHOUT RUNNERS, ANYTHING ELSE IS NOTHING!

I've been banging my head against the wall on this all season!

Rita
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Old Sun Jul 12, 2015, 07:37pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSUmp16 View Post
Ok - We all agree that with no runners an illegal pitch is a ball and not a balk. What's the mechanic? Do you point and say "That's an illegal pitch" like you would with a balk, or do you do something different? And on a side note - in FED is it also an immediate dead ball?
Yes, "that's an illegal pitch", instead of "that's a balk". In OBR it is delayed dead, same as a balk, in FED it is dead ball, same as a balk.
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Old Sun Jul 12, 2015, 11:56pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rita C View Post
This has got to be the rule of the season for me.

There are TWO illegal pitches without runners in OBR. One is pitching without the foot in contact with the rubber. The other is the quick pitch.

WITHOUT RUNNERS, ANYTHING ELSE IS NOTHING!

I've been banging my head against the wall on this all season!

Rita
Anything else beside old 8.02.
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Old Wed Jul 15, 2015, 11:06am
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Not wiping after going to mouth.

What about the ball called for not wiping after going to the mouth off the rubber. I thought that was a ball after the warning.
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Old Wed Jul 15, 2015, 12:13pm
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Originally Posted by Robert E. Harrison View Post
What about the ball called for not wiping after going to the mouth off the rubber. I thought that was a ball after the warning.
That is an 8.02 "2014" 6.02(c) "2015" violation. It is not an illegal pitch. The penalty after warning is a ball. There are also ball and other penalties in that section. There is also a balk penalty in that section with runners on for doctoring the ball.
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