Help with supposed "balk"


#1

Hi. My son is a freshman in high school. Lefty, pitches from the left side of the rubber. For his full windup, he is experimenting with a new motion: starts with both feet in front of the rubber, both feet pointing to the left of home plate; his pivot (left) foot is backed up against and touching the rubber; his stride (right) foot is off the rubber; he takes a small back step with his stride (right) foot; then he turns his pivot (left) foot square against the rubber; then he proceeds with his leg kick etc.

One of his “coaches” - who was more of a basketball player than a baseball player in his day - told him this is a “balk”. I don’t think it is, as it seems to meet Rule 5.07(a)(1):

(a)(1) The Windup Position
The pitcher shall stand facing the batter, his pivot foot in contact
with the pitcher’s plate and the other foot free. From this
position any natural movement associated with his delivery of
the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without interruption
or alteration. He shall not raise either foot from the
ground, except that in his actual delivery of the ball to the batter,
he may take one step backward, and one step forward with
his free foot.

What do you all think? Balk or no balk? Thanks!


#2

I’m not an ump but I believe the re-positioning of the pivot foot is normally not considered a step. So no balk in my opinion.


#3

Thanks.


#4

Why would you take a small step back with a runner on base? Why would you not pitch from the stretch instead of pitching through a full windup?

If your son does this back step with his stride foot and then proceeds to throw over to first, it is a balk. Your sons normally delivery is to step back, thus he must throw home. IF HE THROWS TO 1st - IT IS A BALK!

A balk will be called when a pitcher who is on the rubber makes any motion naturally associated with his pitching delivery and does not actually deliver the ball, feigns a throw to first or third base and fails to complete the throw, or fails to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base. Once a pitcher has swung his free leg back past the pitching rubber while in the process of his leg kick, he must then deliver the ball to the plate or to second base on a pick-off attempt.


#5

Where did he say there was a runner on base?


#6

If there are no runners on base, it is called an illegal pitch, not a balk.


#7

I was reading this thinking the same thing.


#8

I didn’t say he uses this with runners on base. I said it is “his full windup”, and it was his coach who called it a “balk”. Whether balk or illegal pitch, the question is whether it is legal? In this regard, it appears the answer depends on whether one is in high school or in MLB.

In MLB, there is no question that this is legal. MLB Rule 5.07(a)(1), which I quoted above, is clear that the pitcher needs only his pivot foot in contact with the rubber and his stride foot free. Watch David Price: left foot in contact with the rubber, his right foot free on the clay.

In high school, however, NFHS Rule 6, Sec. 1, Art. 2, adds the wrinkle that “The pitcher’s non-pivot foot shall be in any position on or behind a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate… During delivery, he may lift his non-pivot foot in a step forward, a step sideways, or in a step backward and a step forward, but he shall not otherwise lift either foot”. This means that, pitching from the left side of the rubber, my son’s right foot needs to be at least up against and touching the rubber. I confirmed this with a friend who is a local high school umpire.


#9

Why are you being a jerk? And to the others, simple deduction of what is was written.

You used the word BALK – not me. You can only have a BALK with runners on base - thus the logical question of why would he use a full windup with runners on is a reasonable question. Simple deduction of the written facts - the ones you wrote. Clear difference between a BALK and an illegal pitch in terminology.

The key words in ART 2 and ART 3 make it clear.

ART 2 - For wind-up:
non-pivot foot shall be in any position on or behind a line extending

Therefore he must start his wind up with ANY part of his foot touching this imaginary line. Very simple and straight forward.

ART 3 - Stretch
entire non-pivot foot in front of a line extending

Therefore in a stretch with whether runners are on or not, NO part of the foot can be touching the imaginary line and the ENTIRE foot must be in front of the line. Very simple and straight forward.


#10

He wrote BALK – Can only have a BALK with runners ON BASE! At no other time can you have a BALK. Real simple to understand my question if you read what he actually wrote and put that "BALK" word into the context in which is used with respect to pitching.

So… he said runners were on by using the word BALK — because you cant have a BALK unless there are runners on.

Kind of like saying " I have a sibling that is a female." And then someone asks you about your “sister” and you say … “What sister!!! I never said I have a sister.”


#11

Dsteg,

Your logic is correct. Somehow, I interpretted south_paw’s post the way he intended. My bad.


#12

[quote=“dsteg, post:9, topic:19868”]You used the word BALK – not me.[/quote]Wrong. I used the word “balk” - in quotes - in the title and in the post because it was not my word, but the word of the coach who said it to my son. Read my post again. It is very evident that the word “balk” was uttered by my son’s coach to my son, and not by me. Try remedial reading.


#13

Not only this, but I think we can safely assume that no high school pitcher is going from a full windup with men on base unless the bases are juiced.


#14

2022dad ---- You can not safely assume that at all!! I coach at the HS level in SoCal. The crap we see from players amazes us and I think you would be surprised at the stuff they pull. And let me tell you one more thing… it is getting worse!! The stuff we are getting from “travel ball” and current local Rec leagues scares the $%^& out of us on the staff. We spend many days just shaking our heads. That is no joke.


South_paw - WOW — And still even more a jerk even though I gave you a clear cut answer to your question from ART 2 and ART 3. Amazing.

Again… You wrote BALK. Or was it the coach who said it that came in and typed that word before you hit the SEND button??? So you neither wrote it nor said it. Do I have that correct now? Damn… where is that sarcasm font button…

I know you said the coach SAID IT, but why would any HS Baseball coach use the word BALK to refer to your son’s wind-up if he was not referring to when runners are on base. If the coach did use the word BALK to refer to a situation in which there are no runners on base then THAT PERSON SHOULD NOT BE COACHING at the HS level, or any level beyond NO LEADING Little League.

Fact breakdown from my newly passed remedial reading class: (I got an A+!)

You wrote:

For his full windup, he is experimenting with a new motion: blah blah blah

Then you wrote in the very same post:

One of his “coaches” - who was more of a basketball player than a baseball player in his day - told him this is a “balk”.

So, from simple reading (again thanks for that remedial reading class recommendation) and even more simple logic you can deduce this:

Your son is pitching from a full windup with this new motion while runners are on base.

Why else would a HS Coach do this:

told him this is a “balk”

So, in short, and through my wonderful time in my remedial reading class this morning my question as to why would he be pitching from the wind-up with runners on makes complete sense. That is to anyone that is not made of straw…

From NFHS situations 5 through 7 (which should account for what you son is doing) I will let you make the call:

SITUATION 5: The pitcher places his pivot foot on the pitching plate with the toe of the pivot foot in front of a line through the front edge of the plate and the heel of his pivot foot behind the back edge. His non-pivot foot is in front of the line extending through the front edge of the pitching plate. The pitcher attempted to pick-off the runner at second base. RULING: This is an illegal pitching position. When the pitcher moved in his pick-off attempt, he made an illegal pitch and a balk would be enforced. (6-1-2 Penalty)

SITUATION 6: The pitcher places his entire pivot foot on top of and parallel to the pitching plate. No part of his pivot foot is on or in front of the front edge of the pitching plate. His entire non-pivot foot is in a line with the pivot foot, on top of the pitching plate with no part of the non-pivot on or in front of the line of the front edge of the pitching plate.RULING: While this appears to be an unusual and a non-functional pitching stance, it is a legal wind-up position. (6-1-2)

SITUATION 7: The pitcher places his non-pivot foot on top of the pitching plate at a 45-degree angle with one-third of his pivot foot in front of the front edge of the pitching plate and the heel of his pivot foot behind the back edge of the pitching plate. His non-pivot foot is entirely in front of the front edge of the pitching plate. Without making any other movement, the pitcher places his pivot foot entirely behind the pitching plate. RULING: The pitcher initially assumed an illegal pitching position. Since he made no other movement, he is allowed to step back off of the pitching plate with his pivot foot and correct his illegal position. (6-1-2, 3)


#15

“blah blah blah”? I stopped reading right there. Ask doc to up your meds.


#16

I worked alongside a college umpire for 13 years at another job. He was an umpire while working as a sales rep at our local firm. He advised me that the first wind up a pitcher does is what they called an “established wind up and delivery”, especially if he consistently repeats the motion. so by my understanding if that is part of his normal delivery from pitch-to-pitch then there is NO-BALK


#17

As long there isn’t a pullback on his stride he’s okay