First and third - fake move to third


#1

Tonight in a high school game we had runners on first and third. The pitcher, without stepping off the rubber, steps towards third like a lefty attempting to pick a runner off first. The pitcher fakes the throw to third and spins picking our runner off of first… the umpire calls our kid out.

Our coach briefly argued with the umpire but off course the call was not reversed. The home plate umpire was asked to review the call but refused saying it was the field umpire’s call.

After the game I ask my son why they bothered arguing the call as it was a perfectly clean move… my son informed me the rule was changed a few years ago and in pro ball and college ball it is a balk. He then said “I guess the rule in high school has not followed suit”…

Upon doing some research I found the rule was indeed changed in 2013. But is this move still permitted in high school baseball?


#2

I’m not familiar with NFHS rules, but around here, HS is played under OBR and that move was deemed a balk in 2013, as you state.

The only way a pitcher can make that move is by first disengaging from the rubber. Perhaps the umpire was not focused and caught off guard by it and allowed the pick off.

The coach should have asked the umpire to ask for help from his partner, because from where the coach was sitting it seemed clear the pitcher never stepped off. Perhaps you get lucky and the plate umpire was focused. Umpires will not offer their input about their partner’s calls unless asked by the other umpire.


#3

Thanks for the reply Coach Paul…

The home plate umpire was ask to review the call but refused saying it is the field umpire’s call.

We were the visiting team and our lead off hitter was hit in his right forearm on the second pitch of the game. The home plate umpire ruled it a foul ball. Our hitter showed the home plate umpire the red mark and stitches from the ball indented on his arm. The umpire said to him “that mark could have been there before the game started”. In the three years my son has been playing high school ball in this area I have not seen any umpires overturn a call… no matter how obvious it is they got it wrong. So, I understand our coach’s position not to push the issue.


#4

No problem at all.

I see umpires overturn calls. Most of the time it’s due to the limitations of a two umpire system. Since there is not an umpire at each base like MLB or two base umpires like MILB many times we sacrifice distance and angle and tough calls like pulled foot at first base when runners are on second or first and second. The plate umpire sometimes has to move away from the first base line and the base umpire is in C position–not the best angle to see a pulled foot.


#5

Depending on the umpire and the league, some umpires are taught to stick with the call they made whether it was right or wrong. Mainly because they don’t want to show the coaches that they can argue their calls all game and get calls they don’t like overturned plus overturning a call also causes problems because then the other team gets upset and they will usually have some argument along the lines of “you can’t change the call” or “you made this call”. As CoachPaul said, usually it’s just tough for the umpires who are usually working two-man crews so sometimes positioning and views of the play aren’t the best. Personally as an umpire myself, I never overturn a call that is based on the umpire’s point of view (like safe and out calls for example) but if there is a call missed based on a rule that missed/not called then usually I’ll talk to my partner and change the call if necessary.


#6

IF I’m 100% certain my partner missed the call AND if the coach is pitching a fit, as I’m walking in the direction of the “discussion”, I’ll remove my cap so when my partner glances at me, he’ll know I have a different call and it’s up to him whether or not to appeal to me or take the beating and move on with the game. Once he sees me, I put my cap back on and get into position to keep the other coach away from my partner, if necessary. If I’m walking toward him and I do not remove my cap, he will usually appeal to me right away and I tell my partner and the coach I had the same call, and my partner re-affirms the call with the proper mechanic.


#7

I like that idea, I might have to give that a try.


#8

Thanks guys… it is nice to hear an umpire’s perspective.

The coach of the other team we were playing is known to be a “hot head”… throwing chairs in the dugout, screaming at players, etc… we had another terrible call against us earlier in the year and the coach at that school is just as bad, if not worse…

Our coach does not argue with the umpires… he will go out and state his case and move on… the parents of our boys don’t shout at the umpires or make “calls from the stands”. We keep everything as positive as we can for the boys… but it sure is frustrating at times when it appears the opposing coach intimidates the umpires.


#9

I seem to find the newer umpires are the ones most likely to be intimidated. I seem to find the ones who have more expirence are less likely to take crap from the pitches.


#10

This move was deemed illegal a few years ago for high school, it may be different for every state but this year in Alabama it was made legal and has caught a few guys on my team off guard this year because they did not know.