The Balk!

The Balk!

“You got to be kidding”, I mutter out loud,
“balk”, is the call, with a moan from the crowd.
All I did was move my chin,
well maybe my shoulder I turned just a bit.
Now my hips didn’t move all that much,
and I my feet on the rubber may have moved just a touch.
I know, I know, my glove kept on moving,
but I scratched myself for an itch I was feeling.
As I raise my arms to plead my case,
There’s a stern look on the umpire’s face.
“Balk”, again is the call from the plate,
as my catcher comes out at the plight of my fate.
with his mask in hand, he says without a stutter,
“for crying out loud pitch, your still on the rubber!”

There was a game where Vic Raschi was called for a balk four times. He was ready to go through the roof, but Allie Reynolds said he’d put a stop to it. He did. the next day when he was pitching, he took the rubber and held on to the ball, then called time and stepped off the rubber and went to th rosin bag. Back on the rubber, he held on to the ball—and held on to it—and held on to it. The umpire was getting very restless, and finally he went out to the mound:
Umpire: "Why don’t you throw the ball?"
Reynolds: “I’m afraid to.” Allie Pierce Reynolds, who was not afraid of anything.
Umpire: "What do you mean, you’re afraid to throw the ball?"
Reynolds: "Because if I let go of the ball, you’ll call me for a balk."
The umpire spluttered and then said the hell with the balk rule, the Yankee pitchers could go back to what they were doing—just coming to a slight hesitation before throwing the ball. This was in 1950. Two years later the rule was rewritten. :baseballpitcher:

My wife and I enjoy reading your comments. We both remember those days and relate rather well to them.

That poem and others that I found were in letters that I would write my Mrs. when I was away on the road for extended periods of time. Long distance phone calls would have been nice but out of the question because they were just too expensive.

I have about 18 years worth piled up somewhere in suitcases - attic, basement, and elsewhere. I’ve got some pictures dated in the 70’s,80’s and early 90’s of some refurbished ballparks that I use to call home, and some I use to be with the visiting team.

One of my favorites was Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A bandbox if there ever was one, not much on the amenities, but then is was what it was and nothing more. A club I was with played there one night and some of the guys shared glances back and forth with some girls from a private college prep school called Miss Holly’s School for Girls or something like that. Doesn’t one of the guys get a baseball from one of the girls and returns it with a special note on it. Unfortunately, the ball go sidetracked to a kid in a section near the young lady - well, Pittsfield’s finest gave us a visit pronto. The kid’s mother was not amused. Our staff was a little concerned also - that guy was holding the highest batting average for our club, up to that point, at 180, and spending the night in a Pittsfield calaboose was the last thing we needed.

Great story on Vic Raschi. By the way, if anyone ever wondered why sales of Pepto-Bismol went off the charts from March to October, guys like Vic Raschi probably pushed his pitching coach in that direction. Again, great story Zita.