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Balk or Legal Play?


hector
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This happened in a Babe Ruth game.

 

Runners on first and second with a right handed pitcher. The pither comes to a stop in the set position. The runner at second breaks toward third base. The pitcher steps directly toward third and throws to the third baseman who tags the runner out. The umpire called a balk saying you cannot throw to an unoccupied base. However I think the rule book says you cannot throw to an unoccupied base except to make a play. So I think it was a legal play.

 

What is the correct call?

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This happened in a Babe Ruth game.

 

Runners on first and second with a right handed pitcher. The pither comes to a stop in the set position. The runner at second breaks toward third base. The pitcher steps directly toward third and throws to the third baseman who tags the runner out. The umpire called a balk saying you cannot throw to an unoccupied base. However I think the rule book says you cannot throw to an unoccupied base except to make a play. So I think it was a legal play.

 

What is the correct call?

 

Bad call. No balk.

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I believe that most Rule books, do say "except for purpose of making a play". How one interprets that, is subjective. I'll assume the pitcher, was RH and stepped toward 3rd and did not disengage from the rubber.

 

If he stepped off, not a balk. If he didn't, than I'll assume not a balk, unless his left foot, when past/behind the rubber, in the course of his windup.

 

Interesting and subjective, as to whether he was making a play or throwing to an unoccupied base, would be my best guess.

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I believe that most Rule books, do say "except for purpose of making a play". How one interprets that, is subjective. I'll assume the pitcher, was RH and stepped toward 3rd and did not disengage from the rubber.

 

If he stepped off, not a balk. If he didn't, than I'll assume not a balk, unless his left foot, when past/behind the rubber, in the course of his windup.

 

Interesting and subjective, as to whether he was making a play or throwing to an unoccupied base, would be my best guess.

 

:thumb: This is correct.

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I believe that most Rule books, do say "except for purpose of making a play". How one interprets that, is subjective. I'll assume the pitcher, was RH and stepped toward 3rd and did not disengage from the rubber.

 

If he stepped off, not a balk. If he didn't, than I'll assume not a balk, unless his left foot, when past/behind the rubber, in the course of his windup.

 

Interesting and subjective, as to whether he was making a play or throwing to an unoccupied base, would be my best guess.

 

The pitcher did not disengage the rubber. And he did not cross his foot behind the rubber. He stepped strait to third base.

 

 

Here is another twist :

what would be the call if in the above situation if the umpire called balk, and the runner slowed up and got tagged out at third what is the call?

 

here is how I would rule on it:

It would be an inadvertant balk call since the pitcher did not actually balk. I don't think you would penalize the base runner who slowed up because of the balk call by calling him out. So I think the proper call would be to just put the runner back on second and have a "do over".

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The pitcher did not disengage the rubber. And he did not cross his foot behind the rubber. He stepped strait to third base.

 

 

Here is another twist :

what would be the call if in the above situation if the umpire called balk, and the runner slowed up and got tagged out at third what is the call?

 

here is how I would rule on it:

It would be an inadvertant balk call since the pitcher did not actually balk. I don't think you would penalize the base runner who slowed up because of the balk call by calling him out. So I think the proper call would be to just put the runner back on second and have a "do over".

 

Once the balk is called, the ball is dead.........the runner can't be tagged out!

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The pitcher did not disengage the rubber. And he did not cross his foot behind the rubber. He stepped strait to third base.

 

 

Here is another twist :

what would be the call if in the above situation if the umpire called balk, and the runner slowed up and got tagged out at third what is the call?

 

here is how I would rule on it:

It would be an inadvertent balk call since the pitcher did not actually balk. I don't think you would penalize the base runner who slowed up because of the balk call by calling him out. So I think the proper call would be to just put the runner back on second and have a "do over".

Than it would depend on the Umpire's judgment, I presume of what "unoccupied base meant".

 

As for your scenario, if a balk is called, the ball is dead. If a pitcher throws to a base, then a rundown ensues, I can certainly see justification for the balk, in the manner in which you describe.

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Than it would depend on the Umpire's judgment, I presume of what "unoccupied base meant".

 

As for your scenario, if a balk is called, the ball is dead. If a pitcher throws to a base, then a rundown ensues, I can certainly see justification for the balk, in the manner in which you describe.

 

I believe that i would have called a balk also, in this scenario.......

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Than it would depend on the Umpire's judgment, I presume of what "unoccupied base meant".

 

As for your scenario, if a balk is called, the ball is dead. If a pitcher throws to a base, then a rundown ensues, I can certainly see justification for the balk, in the manner in which you describe.

 

I don't think "unoccupied base" is a subjective term. If there is a runner legally on the base at the time of the pitch, it is occupied. If not, it is unoccupied. Similar to situation in which runner on 1B with one out is stealing on pitch when third strike dropped by catcher. Batter is out because R1 occupied 1B at time of pitch.

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I don't think "unoccupied base" is a subjective term. If there is a runner legally on the base at the time of the pitch, it is occupied. If not, it is unoccupied. Similar to situation in which runner on 1B with one out is stealing on pitch when third strike dropped by catcher. Batter is out because R1 occupied 1B at time of pitch.
I believe the definition says, "except if making a play". If no runner occupies a base, than why throw to a base and why the exception in the rule.
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Than it would depend on the Umpire's judgment, I presume of what "unoccupied base meant".

 

As for your scenario, if a balk is called, the ball is dead. If a pitcher throws to a base, then a rundown ensues, I can certainly see justification for the balk, in the manner in which you describe.

 

I believe that i would have called a balk also, in this scenario.......

 

 

Why would you have called a balk? Which scenario?

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I believe the definition says, "except if making a play". If no runner occupies a base, than why throw to a base and why the exception in the rule.

 

Exactly for a situation as outline above. In that situation, 2B was the official "occupied" base and 3B was "unoccupied". However, it would be patently unfair to force the pitcher to have to throw to the "occupied" base when there was no longer a play to be had there. Therefore, in such a situation, the rules allow the pitcher, without penalty, to throw to an "unoccupied" base for the purpose of making a play.

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Here is another twist to this that makes me believe the pitcher has to step off the rubber before throwing to the unoccupied base;

 

Lets say the same thing happens, but this time the runner is on third base and is stealing home. If the pitcher does not step off the rubber, then to me the batter can swing, because officially it would be a pitch. If he steps off, then the batter must move out of the way because it would not be a pitch.

Edited by Ram
Rule 13
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Let's take an example that we see all the time. 1st and 3rd and the runner on first breaks for second with the pitcher in the set position. The first thing we all yell is "STEP OFF!." Why do we yell this? According to the logic being used here in throwing directly to third shouldn't a pitcher be able to spin and throw to second as he would with a pickoff move? Or is it a balk, which I assume since everyone yells "step off" first, b.c the pitcher is throwing to an unoccupied base. In my opinion the same logic applies here and the pitcher has to step off the rubber otherwise it's a balk. Other opinions?

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