Shoulder Turn and the Balk rule

How does turning the shoulders to check a runner constitute a balk under OBR? The OBR make no mention of this. The only thing close states that turning of the body to throw without first stepping toward first should draw a balk and I can’t see how turning the shoulders to check a runner could be labeled as faking a move to first.

I think the fact that the pitcher turns their shoulders towards the base, assuming it is first base, is viewed as a fake to first which is not allowed, the word for turning your shoulders towards the base is a shoulderfeint, which is seen as a fake throw

I agree that a hard quick turn of the shoulders could be taken as an attempt to make the runner think you are going to throw the ball and thus, be considered a fake to first. But come on, a turn of the shoulders to check a runner is almost needed by a right hander. The NFHS has actually determined that this is indeed a disadvantage for the pitcher and changed the rule to allow turning of the shoulders to check runners in the set position.

Is this a recent NFHS rule change? Last I checked, NFHS rules state that a pitcher can turn his shoulders while in the stretch position but only before he comes set. After coming set, he can no longer turn the shoulders.

This is the rule we play by up here in new york. I’ve never been taught you can turn after you come set.

http://www.ihsaa.org/b-baseball/05RulesChanges.htm

This is a link to what I found on the IHSAA website. It is from 2005.

At its annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 18-19, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee defined what is a balk and what is not for a high school baseball pitcher.

Rule 6-1-1 was revised to specify when a baseball pitcher can turn his shoulders toward base runners while on the mound. It is now legal for a pitcher to turn his shoulders to check a runner if he is in the set position and in contact with the pitcher’s plate. However, if the pitcher turns his shoulders in the windup position to check a runner, it is a balk. Turning the shoulders after bringing the hands together during or after the stretch is also a balk.

“The use of the shoulder turn while in the set position does not afford the pitcher an advantage, ” said B. Elliot Hopkins, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee. “The prohibition of such actually creates a disadvantage.”

I copied this section pertaining to the rule above in case some can’t find it. I don’t have a current NFHS rule book to confirm that nothing has changed since 2005, but there is no mention in the following years, 2006-2008 rule changes that retracts this rule.

What you have posted is specific to the state of Indiana only. Individual states can augment the NFHS rules if they choose. I was commenting on NFHS rules only.

By the way, the part about not being able to turn the shoulders to check a runner while in the wind-up makes no sense to me.

[quote=“Roger”]What you have posted is specific to the state of Indiana only. Individual states can augment the NFHS rules if they choose. I was commenting on NFHS rules only.

By the way, the part about not being able to turn the shoulders to check a runner while in the wind-up makes no sense to me.[/quote]

Good point. Why do they mention the wind-up in there? When would you ever need to turn your shoulders in the wind-up to check a runner?

This is not specific to Indiana. The official meetings are held in Indianapolis. I found the NFHS rule book for 2008 here is the excerpt from rule 6-1-1.
Rule 6-1-1 was revised to specify when a baseball pitcher can turn his shoulders toward base runners while on the mound. It is now legal for a pitcher to turn his shoulders to check a runner if he is in the set position and in contact with the pitcher’s plate. However, if the pitcher turns his shoulders in the windup position to check a runner, it is a balk. Turning the shoulders after bringing the hands together during or after the stretch is also a balk.
here is the address to NFHS site. You may have to search a little to find the book but it is there.

http://www.nfhs.org//Core/Search.aspx?query=baseball
go to the address above and do an advanced search for “2008 baseball rules” you should find it on page 3 of your search results.

here is a better address link

http://www.nfhs.org/custom/copy%20(2)%20of%20resourcelibrary/uploads/rules_information/baseball/2008baseballrb.pdf

Copy this into your address bar and it will take you directly to the rule book PDF.

This part says you can turn your shoulders while “pitching from the stretch” as many of us call it.

But this part says you can’t turn your shoulders after you’ve “come set” as many of us call it.

I think terminology is confusing the issue. Using their terminology, “the stretch” is a part of the overall set position. But many of us refer to “the stretch” as the total position and coming “set” is the part where you bring your hands together. My interpretation is that you still must come set with a noticeable pause and you cannot turn your shoulders once you’ve come set.

That thought had occurred to me also. It appears they use the term “set position” referring to activities most people would call the stretch and don’t distinguish a stretch position from a set position.

ART. 3 . . . For the set position, the pitcher shall have the ball in either his
gloved hand or his pitching hand. His pitching hand shall be down at his side or
behind his back. Before starting his delivery, he shall stand with his entire nonpivot
foot in front of a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate
and with his entire pivot foot in contact with or directly in front of the pitcher’s
plate. He shall go to the set position without interruption and in one continuous
motion. He shall come to a complete and discernible stop (a change of direction
is not considered an acceptable stop) with the ball in both hands in front of the
body and his glove at or below his chin. Natural preliminary motions such as only
one stretch may be made.
During these preliminary motions and during the set
position until a delivery motion occurs, the pitcher may turn on his pivot foot or

But then they say he will go to the set position, implying that the pitcher is not currently in the set position. ie meaning that until he comes to a complete stop he is not in the set position. A definition of “set position” needs to be added.