A question about not calling a balk


#1

Why don’t the umpires call a balk on Tim Hudson (of the Braves) everytime he has a man on base? In his stretch, he comes to two (2) stops before he throws to the plate. He stops at his chest and then moves down to his waist and stops again. It has been many years since I read the rules, but I can’t imagine that that rule has been changed. When a stop is made the next move is suppose to be a throw to the plate or to the base. Does he have a special permit to do that? This is Big League Baseball. I am amazed every time I see him pitch that no manager, ump, or player calls attention to this.
This is my first time to blog, so be patient with me if I did something wrong, but please answer my question. Thanks, Oldpitcher


#2

I don’t know if what Hudson does is necessarily a balk as long as…

  1. He does it the same way every time.

  2. He comes to a discernable stop the second time. I guess the umps are interpreting his first stop as still being part of his “Stretch” move.

I just learned the balk rule last year and when I went to opening day I noticed that the pros do many things that are technically illegal…

  1. Pitch off the end of the rubber.

  2. Intentionally walk a man with the catcher starting out outside of his box.

The bottom line is that a balk is what the ump says is a balk (which is why it helps to discuss exactly what parts of the balk rule will be called before the game).

In my experience, many of them only focus on things that fall in the realm of trying to deceive the runner (and are more loose when it comes to definition of what is a legal delivery).