What is a balk?
Even if you were only casually watching a baseball game, you’ve probably seen it: a pitcher makes a slight movement on the mound, and then the umpire stops play and signals for the runners to advance one base – all while there appears to be no activity taking place. Play continues after the television announcers spend a few seconds debating the meaning of a strange term known as “balk.” But what precisely is a balk in this context? With a vast number of permutations, it’s one of baseball’s more complicated laws, and it may often lead to misunderstanding among those on the field, as it has in the past.
If an umpire determines that the pitcher pretended to perform one of these things without clearly intending to follow through, the pitcher is called for a balk, and each of the runners is advanced one base.
Pitchers must first and foremost come to a complete halt with their bodies motionless and hands together after reaching agreement with their catcher on a pitch before beginning their motion toward home plate.
Balks are called when there is any fluidity between getting the sign and throwing home that results in the set being skipped or when a pitcher falters while the set is being played.
- Additionally, if their hands fall apart from the set without delivering either a pitch or a pickoff throw, it is considered a balk.
- Lefties must ensure that their right foot is planted in the direction in which they intend to throw once they have raised their right foot.
- If the pitcher is throwing to first, the right foot must land on the left side of the line.
- In order to finish their motion, righties must face the third-base side and aim it in a definite direction toward either a) home plate or b) the base to which they are pitching.
- If they do, there will almost always be a balk on their part.
- A balk occurs when a pitcher initiates any type of action that resembles his or her typical delivery, but then pauses before delivering the pitch as intended.
- The pitchers must release the ball with their backs to the hitter, which means that even Luis Tianthad to finally turn his tornado windup back toward home plate.
Major League Baseball’s rule book first included the balk in 1898, and for more than 100 years, a pitcher could fake a pickoff throw to one base before firing to another (for example, fake to third and throw to first) – but that practice was incorporated into the balk definition during the 2013 season.
Yes, that is also a balk, and the runners are given the opportunity to proceed.
Carlton, a Hall of Fame pitcher, holds the MLB record for the most balks with 90, and he is the only pitcher in history to have thrown more than one pitch in a game.
While on the mound, though, it is something to be avoided at all costs, and it is a rule that all pitchers should be familiar with as they progress up the ranks.
What is a Balk?
In its most basic definition, a balk occurs when a pitcher attempts to intentionally fool a hitter or a baserunner. An example might be a pitching mound flinch after the pitcher has been set up, a deceptive pick off attempt, or even something as basic as dropping the ball once you have been set up. There are a variety of activities that might result in a refusal to comply. Each time a balk is called while runners are on the field, all of the runners are forced to advance up a base. Because the umpire is unable to read the pitcher’s thoughts, some motions are deemed dishonest and will result in a balk being called.
Balk or Pick off Move for Left Handed Pitchers
The following is the regulation governing a left-handed pitcher’s pick-off maneuver. If the pitcher does not adhere to this regulation, the error is referred to as a balk. First and foremost, as the pitcher begins his motion and his right foot crosses his left knee, the pitcher must deliver the ball into the strike zone. A balk will be called if he attempts to come to first in the game. Some pitchers would cross over their right knee but not cross over their right foot, which might cause a base runner to become confused and allow him to choose his way over to first base without a balk being thrown at him.
- For left-handed pitchers, the following is the rule for performing a pick-off move: An intentional balk occurs when the pitcher fails to adhere to this regulation. Before any further action can be taken, the pitcher must throw home when he begins his motion and his right foot crosses over his left knee. A balk will be called if he attempts to come to the front. Some pitchers would cross over their right knee but not cross over their right foot, which can cause a base runner to become confused and allow him to choose his way over to first base without a balk being thrown into the game.
Balk or Pick off Move for Right Handed Pitchers
- Before throwing a pitch home, the pitcher must come to a complete stop in order to set his position. Unless you walk off the back of the rubber, the pitcher won’t be able to shift his shoulders or move about once he has been set. A balk will be called if you do not finish your motion after it has been initiated. A balk will be called if the ball falls to the ground, whether intentionally or unintentionally, as the pitcher is getting ready to pitch. A balk will be issued for any sort of deceit that isn’t a straightforward pitch or pick off attempt. In the event that you turn and make a pick-off attempt to first base but do not throw the baseball without stepping off the field, a balk will be called.
Doug Bernier, the founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, made his Major League debut with the Colorado Rockies in 2008 and has since played for five different organizations (the Colorado Rockies, the New York Yankees, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Minnesota Twins, and the Texas Rangers) over the course of his 16-year professional baseball career. He has experience at every infield position in the Major Leagues and has played every position on the field professionally, with the exception of catcher.
Doug departed from professional baseball after 16 years and went on to work as a Major League scout for the Colorado Rockies for two years after his retirement.
How Many Ways Can a Pitcher Balk in Baseball (With Examples)
In one of my recent baseball games, we faced a pitcher who made three balks in one inning, and we were unable to score. The fascinating part about this was that he ended up balking in three distinct directions. After reading that, I started thinking about how many variations there are in which a pitcher might balk, and how many various ways a pitcher can balk is there? I made the decision to find out. In baseball, how many different ways can a pitcher make a mistake? According to the Major League Baseball’s official rules, there are 13 different ways a pitcher can balk.
Unless you’ve been playing baseball for a long time, it may appear like there are multiple ways for a pitcher to balk, but you may still be perplexed as to what exactly those different ways are. Check out the 13 different ways the Major League Baseball defines a balk.
Ways a Pitcher can Balk in Baseball
For further information on balks, please check Section 6.02(a) of the official 2019 Major League Baseball Rules & Regulations.
- While touching his plate, the pitcher performs any gesture that would normally be connected with his pitch, but fails to deliver the pitch as intended. In which the pitcher feints a throw to first or third base while still touching his plate, but ultimately fails to execute the throw
- Despite touching his plate, the pitcher does not stride straight toward any of the bases before throwing to that base. Except for the purpose of creating a play, the pitcher tosses or feints a throw to an unoccupied base while his plate is still in contact with the ground. The pitcher throws a pitch that is not allowed
- In order to avoid facing the batter, the pitcher throws the ball to him while facing away from him. While he is not touching the pitcher’s plate, the pitcher can perform any move that is normally linked with his pitching motion. The pitcher unduly prolongs the game’s duration. When the pitcher does not have the ball in his hands, he stands on or astride the pitcher’s plate, or he feints a pitch while off the plate. Once in a legal pitching posture, the pitcher removes one of his or her hands from the ball, unless he or she is making an actual pitch or attempting to throw to a base. While the pitcher is touching his plate, the ball either unintentionally or purposely slips or falls out of his hand or glove
- The pitcher throws when the catcher is not in the catcher’s box, despite the fact that he has given up an intentional base on balls. While in Set Position, the pitcher throws the pitch without pausing to catch his breath
Are you interested in learning more about baseball’s laws and regulations? Check out this pocket-sized version of the Official Rules of Baseball book available from Amazon.
Examples of Balks
It is the primary purpose of the balk rule to prevent pitchers from misleading the runner on base. When in doubt, umpires should consider whether or not the pitcher was attempting to fool the runner by throwing a curveball. A balk is called when it is found that the pitcher attempted to fool the runner by throwing the ball in his direction instead of through it. It is one of the most prevalent reasons for a balk that people will observe is when the pitcher does not get into a predetermined posture.
- Following this basic guideline will assist pitchers in avoiding violations of the 13th balk rule, which is listed in the preceding section.
- A pitcher flinching is considered a deceptive motion, and any umpire who sees it will label it a balk right away.
- They both break Rule 1 from the list above, which specifies that a pitcher may not fail to deliver the ball if he makes any movement linked with his throw.
- If a pitcher pitches to a base that is not occupied, this is considered an unnecessary delay and is a violation of the 8th rule, which was previously discussed.
- The final scenario we’ll discuss is when the catcher is not in the catcher’s box at the time.
- The majority of people will notice that baseball grounds have a catcher’s box painted behind home plate, however this box may be removed during the course of a game, as has happened on several occasions.
- Runners are granted one base for every base that the catcher sets up outside of the catcher’s box.
Following a brief introduction to balks and the many laws that govern them, it becomes simpler to comprehend what a balk is and why it exists. Are you interested in knowing more about the many varieties of balks available? Visit mikescottbaseball.com for a video explaining the Balk Rules.
What happens when a pitcher balks?
In the event of a balk by a pitcher with runners on base, the umpire will signal a balk and all runners will be moved up one base. Unless the batter is able to advance to first base as a result of a hit, an error, or a walk, and all other runners are able to advance at least one base, the play will proceed as if the balk had never occurred in the first place. As a result, if a pitcher gets called for a balk but is still in position to deliver the pitch to home plate, the hitter has the option to swing and attempt to reach base via a hit.
Whenever a pitcher makes a balk with no runners on base, a ball is called and the action is over.
Is a balk an error on the pitcher?
Despite the fact that a balk appears to be an error, or at the very least a mental error, in most cases a balk ends in a dead ball, with no faults being awarded to any of the participants. Balks have no consequences other than that players are granted a base (if there are runners) or a ball is called in the event of a balk (if there are no runners).
Can you balk from the windup?
Another issue you could have is whether or not you can refuse to participate in the windup. Pitchers are capable of refusing to windup, despite the fact that this is not particularly often. When starting from the windup, pitchers must adhere to all of the 13 regulations listed above, which are still in place. Balks are called when a pitcher begins his pitching action from the windup and decides he does not want to finish his delivery. This is known as the windup rule. It is also considered a balk if a pitcher is standing on the rubber and accidently drops the ball.
Pitching from the windup is standard practice when no runners are on base, whereas pitching from the stretch is standard practice when runners are on base.
The runners are granted the next base if a pitcher makes a mistake with runners on (usually during a stretch pitching appearance).
Why would a pitcher intentionally balk?
Balks are currently a very infrequent occurrence in baseball, but is there a specific moment and situation in which a pitcher should purposely balks? As it turns out, there is one available! In the first game of the 2019 season, Kenley Jansen intentionally balked while pitching against the Cubs. This particular scenario involved a two-run lead for the Dodgers in the ninth inning, two outs remaining in the frame, and one runner still on second base. To avoid the runner on second base (Jason Heyward) from potentially stealing pitching signals, Kenley Jansen purposely balked to send the runner up to third base.
It is far less likely that the runner will steal pitching signs when on third base with the runner on third base. See this video by Jomboy Media, which does an excellent job of breaking down the play if you’re interested in watching this deliberate balk in action.
Balk – Wikipedia
This article is about the unlawful conduct in baseball that occurred in the past. See alsoBalk for further information (disambiguation). Bob Shaw owns the big league record for the most balks in a single game with five, which he set in 1989. In baseball, a pitcher can engage in a variety of prohibited motions or acts that are considered foul play. Pitching impersonation is the most common type of infraction, with pitchers pretending to throw when they have no intention of doing so. An intentional balk results in a dead ball or a delayed dead ball in games played according to the Official Baseball Rules, which regulate professional baseball in the United States and Canada.
In some rule sets, such as the National Federation of High Schools Baseball Rules in the United States, a balk results in an immediate dead ball, which is very common in baseball.
In Major League Baseball, the balk rule was first implemented in 1898.
It is the subject of this article to talk about illicit baseball activity. SeeBalk for further information (disambiguation). In a single game, Bob Shaw has the big league record for the most balks, with five. An unlawful pitching motion or movement can be committed by a pitcher in baseball, and this is known as abalk. It appears that the vast majority of these breaches involve pitchers who pretend to be in the game when they have no intention of really pitching. An intentional balk results in a dead ball or a delayed dead ball in games played according to the Official Baseball Rules, which regulate professional baseball play in the United States and Canada.
In some rule sets, such as the National Federation of High Schools Baseball Rules in the United States, a balk results in an immediate dead ball, which is particularly prevalent in baseball.
Since 1898, the strike zone has been a part of Major League Baseball.
- Pitching posture is switched from the windup to the set (or vice versa) without the rubber being properly disengaged
- A pitcher who, when on the rubber, makes a move that is associated with a pitch but does not finish the delivery If one fails to come to a complete halt with his or her hands together before attempting to pitch from the fixed posture, it is considered unprofessional. Pitches to a base without taking any steps toward it (thereby increasing distance in the direction of that base)
- Except in the case of a play in progress, throws or feints a throw from the rubber to an unoccupied base. A throw that takes several steps or feints from the rubber to first or third base without being completed
- Delivers a rapid return pitch, which is a pitch delivered immediately after receiving the ball back, with the purpose of catching the hitter off guard. Drops the ball while it is still on the rubber, even if it is by mistake, as long as the ball does not cross a foul line thereafter
- This unnecessarily prolongs the game. a pitcher who throws with his back to the batter
- Except while making a pitch or a toss, one keeps his or her hands together on the rubber after bringing them together. Without the ball, the player stands on or astride the rubber, or he replicates a pitch without the ball When attempting a throw to a fielder from a position that is not directly at a base, Delivers a pitch during a squeeze play or a steal of home if the catcher or another player walks on or in front of home plate without possession of the ball, or if the batter is touched by the catcher or another player (or the bat). The ball has been declared dead, the hitter has been awarded first base, the pitcher has been charged with a balk, and a run has been scored.
Balk regulations differ depending on which rule set is being used. Nonetheless, if the pitcher is seen spitting on the ball, defacing or modifying the ball, rubbing the ball on his/her clothing/body, or putting a foreign substance to the ball, it will result in the pitcher being ejected from the game; however, it is not a balk.
There are differences between the regulations for balks under different rule sets.
While behaviors such as spitting on the ball, defacing or changing the ball, rubbing the ball against the pitcher’s clothes or body, or adding a foreign substance to the ball do not constitute balks, they will result in the pitcher being ejected from the game if they are discovered.
It is not a phrase in the official rules, but it is occasionally used to describe an odd circumstance involving an intentional walk: when the pitcher releases the ball during delivery, the catcher is not entirely within the catcher’s box, and it is considered a violation. Because a balked pitch is classified as a “Pitcher Illegal Action,” the pitcher will still be charged with the foul ball. Pick-off attempts are not necessary to be made by a pitcher who has not yet exited the rubber before making the throw to an occupied base.
According to MLB regulations, “pitchers shall receive signs from the catcher while in touch with the pitcher’s plate” (the rubber), however the offense is not referred to as a balk in the rules.
Major League Baseball balk records
During his big league career, Steve Carlton was charged with 90 balks. Dave Stewart holds the big league record for the most balks in a single season with 16, which he achieved while pitching for the Oakland Athletics in 1988. Bob Shaw holds the big league mark for the most balks in a single game with five, which occurred on May 4, 1963, while pitching for the Milwaukee Braves against the Chicago Cubs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Four of the five balks occurred while the Cubs’ Billy Williams was on base: one in the first inning, then three more in the third inning, to complete the hat trick.
One of the reasons for Shaw’s balks was his difficulty adjusting to a new point of emphasis in baseball rules introduced at the time: umpires were instructed to strictly enforce a section of the balk rule that required the pitcher to come to a complete stop with his hands together for one full second before pitching when transitioning from the stretch to the set position.
During a single big league exhibition game in March 1988, knuckleballerCharlie Hough was penalized for nine balks, which resulted in the loss of the game.
Spec Shea dropped the ball while attempting to pick off Jackie Robinson at first base during the 1947 World Series (New York Yankees vs. Brooklyn Dodgers); after at least one further effort, he dropped the ball and the umpire called a timeout. Robinson was advanced to second base by Babe Pinelli. When heavy gusts at Candlestick Park prompted pitcherStu Miller to wobble unpredictably, he was penalized for a balk in the first All-Star Game of 1961, it became a legendary moment in baseball history.
In the bottom of the ninth inning of a tie game with DodgerEnrique Hernándezat third base, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat theTexas Rangers on June 18, 2015, when Rangers relief pitcherKeone Kelacommitted a balk against the Dodgers.
Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansenintentionally balked during a game against the Chicago Cubs on June 14, 2019.
Because Jansen was concerned that a runner at second base may steal signs, he purposely balked, moving the runner to third base.
After then, Jansen struck out batterVictor Caratinif for the last out of the contest. Other deliberate balks have happened in Major League Baseball, albeit on a rare occasion.
- Baseball Rules Chronology: 1845–1899 | BaseballLibrary.com
- Baseball Rules Chronology: 1845–1899 | BaseballLibrary.com
- Major League Baseball’s official website provides the following information: official rules
- Official information
- Official information MLB is ready to eliminate the old fake-to-3rd, throw-to-1st pickoff trick maneuver in the next season, according to Balk. The Washington Post published an article on May 10, 2012, entitled Archived from the original on May 15, 2012
- Abc”Official Baseball Rules 2018 Edition”Major League Baseball
- Abc”Umpires: Feature | MLB.com: Official info
- Abc On July 31, 2018, Steve Carlton was featured on Baseball-Reference.com, and Dave Stewart was featured on Baseball-Reference.com. Cleon abWalfoort abWalfoort abWalfoort abWalfoort abWalfoort abWalfoort, Cleon (May 4, 1963). “Shaw is the shakiest pitcher in the entire league.” Milwaukee Journal
- A scholarly journal The date was May 4, 1963. The box score and play-by-play for the Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Braves can be found at Baseball-Reference.com. “Hough has been called for nine balks.” The New York Times, March 8, 1988
- “1947 World Series by Baseball Almanac”
- “Candlestick Park, a.k.a. 3Com Park”
- “Candlestick Park, a.k.a. 3Com Park”. Baseball Statistics. Archived from the original on 2009-10-20
- “Dodgers win on Rangers’ balk”. MLB.com. The 18th of June, 2015. The following are some examples: Gilfix, Adam (June 19, 2015), “Talking Balk: All Walk-Off Balks in Major League Baseball History,” HSAC, retrievedJune 15,2019
- “Los Angeles Dodgers 5, Chicago Cubs 3,” HSAC, retrievedJune 15,2019
- Retrosheet. The 14th of June, 2019. September 7, 2021
- Retrieved September 7, 2021
- Ken Gurnick is the author of this work (June 15, 2019). “Have you ever witnessed a deliberate balk? You now have what you want “. MLB.com. 15th of June, 2019
- Retrieved 15th of June, 2019.
Abalki is defined as “an unlawful conduct by the pitcher with a runner or runners on base, entitling all runners to advance one base,” according to baseball regulations. The balk rule is intended to maintain a healthy balance between runners’ attempts to steal bases and the defense’s efforts to retire them. The lack of strict enforcement of the balk rule from the 1930s to the 1950s resulted in a significant decrease in base stealing attempts. As a result of more stringent regulation in 1988, the season became known as the “Year of the Balk.” There are 13 possible acts that constitute a balk under the balk rule (8.05 of the Major League Baseball rules), making the regulation difficult and technical to understand.
A pitcher may be charged with a balk if he does any of the following:
- Starts his throwing action but does not complete it
- Fakes a throw to first base while standing on the rubber
- Throws to a base but not walking directly toward that base while standing on the rubber
- And Unless a runner is going toward that base, the pitcher throws or fakes a throw to an unoccupied base while standing on the rubber
- Makes an unlawful pitch, including a rapid pitch, without permission
- Pitches that are not directed at the hitter
- When a pitcher performs any component of his throwing motion without touching the pitching rubber
- It unnecessarily slows down the game
- Without the ball, he or she stands on or astride the pitching rubber
- Once the windup or set position has been achieved, one hand is removed from the ball, unless when making a pitch or throwing to a base
- Whilst still standing on the throwing rubber, the ball is dropped Pitches are thrown while the catcher is not in the catcher’s box
- Pitches from a predetermined point without coming to a complete halt
It should be emphasized that if a ball is placed in play on a pitch that is otherwise ruled a balk, the balk call will only be upheld if the batter and all baserunners do not advance at least one base as a result of the hit ball, which is unlikely to happen. Upon finding this to be true, the balk call is overturned and the outcomes of the game are upheld. Moreover, this is true even if one or more of the attacking players are eliminated prior to reaching the designated scoring position. Using the above scenario, the pitcher commits a balk, but the batter gets the ball safely to second base; the runner reaches second base but is thrown out at third base.
As an alternative, if the hitter put the ball in play and the runner was pushed out at second base, the play would be erased and the balk call would be allowed to stand, with the runner now on second base and the batter remaining at bat, with no balls or strikes being added to the count.
When the Major League Baseball Rule Committee announced in 2012 that it was considering changing the rule to make a move that had previously been legal illegal, the committee included the infamous “fake to third and throw to first” play, which is only successful once in a blue moon and is generally considered a waste of time for everyone involved, among other things.
This is perfectly lawful.” The Rules Committee suggested to make this unlawful unless the pitcher first walks off the pitching rubber before attempting to throw (which would make the move useless as an attempt to deceive the runner).
It was implemented in 2013, and it made the fake throw to third and throw to first play a callable balk.
- Major League Rule 8
- An article from USA Today on the idea to broaden the balk rule
- And a video from the National Football League.
What Is a Balk in Baseball? A Complete Explanation
If you watch enough baseball, you’ll see an umpire raise his hands, exclaim “balk!” and guide a baserunner (or baserunners) to the next base at some point during your viewing session. Sometimes it’s evident what caused a balk to be called, and other times, despite your best efforts, you’re left scratching your head as to what just occurred. Don’t be concerned — you are not alone! So what exactly is a balk? When a pitcher makes an unlawful move when there is at least one runner on base, the pitcher is called out on a balk.
The regulation was introduced in order to prohibit pitchers from attempting to fool the baserunner while pitching (s).
Balks may be found in a variety of forms and sizes.
So let’s get down to business and answer the pressing question.
What Is a Balk in Baseball?
bmcent1 courtesy of Canva.com You could have heard the term “balk” and wondered what it meant, or you might be someone who doesn’t watch baseball and has never heard of the term “balk.” If you don’t understand anything or are just perplexed, it is entirely OK. Balks are unusual and unpredictable in such a way that even experienced observers may be perplexed by them. A balk is defined as any unlawful move or failure to stride directly toward a base with a runner or runners on base in order to mislead the baserunner (s).
- In this case, the keyword is “runners,” because you can only balk while someone is present on base.
- When the bases are empty, an action that would typically result in a balk is treated as a no-pitch, or in certain cases as an unlawful pitch (depending on what transpired, but that’s a discussion for another day).
- In this particular instance, Jackie Robinson was dancing off third base, which resulted in the pitcher losing the ball and making an error, which allowed Robinson to score as a result.
- As though for want of a better expression, the youngster cried, “Jackie threw him off his game!” Consequently, a discombobulation of the pitcher may appear to be appropriate.
- If you look at the rulebook, you’ll see that Rule 6.02 outlines no less than 13 possible instances in which to balk.
When it comes down to it, all of those circumstances are variants on the 13 different ways to balk that are laid forth in Rule 6.02.
Baseball Rules on Balks
All right, let’s get this party started, shall we? Rules 6.02 and 6.03 provide the following list of all 13 methods to balk, which has been edited for clarity: When there are runners on base, a balk can be called if any of the following conditions are met:
- All right, let’s get this party started. Rules 6.02 and 6.03 provide the following list of all 13 methods to balk, which has been edited for clarity. It is possible for a balk to be called if there are runners on base if:
- Let’s get this party started, shall we? Rules 6.02 and 6.03 provide the following list of all 13 methods to balk, with minor modification for clarity: When there are runners on base, a balk can be called if the following conditions are met:
- When the pitcher is touching the rubber, he or she fails to take a step directly toward a base before throwing to the base in question.
- This is best shown by the so-called “45-degree rule,” in which an imaginary line drawn 45 degrees from the mound away from home plate towards first base (for a lefty) or third base (for a righty) is drawn away from home plate (for a righty). The pitcher’s foot is judged to have crossed the line if it is determined that the foot has passed the line. Balk occurs when an outfielder crosses the line but chooses to throw to a base.
- The pitcher tosses or feints a throw to an unoccupied base while still on the rubber, unless he or she has to make a play (for example, if a runner is running before the pitch)
- The pitcher throws a pitch that is not legal. Typically, this is a so-called “fast pitch,” which is thrown before the hitter has a chance to become “properly set” in the batter’s box. In order to avoid facing the batter, the pitcher throws the ball to him while facing away from him. Any motion connected with a pitcher’s pitch that occurs naturally when the pitcher is not touching the rubber is permitted. The pitcher unduly prolongs the game’s duration. The pitcher stands on or astride the pitching rubber without the ball in his or her hands and pretends to throw a pitch to the batter.
- Likewise, this includes the rarely-used hidden ball trick, which needs the pitcher to be completely off the mound (since he does not hold the ball) in order for the trick to be done in a legal manner. Any other approach has a negative impact
- Once in a legal pitching posture, the pitcher removes one of his or her hands from the ball, unless he or she is making an actual pitch or attempting to throw to a base.
- This also includes a pitcher who comes to a predetermined position on the rubber and then breaks his hands without stepping off
- Additionally, this includes a pitcher assuming an established position and then breaking his hands without moving off the rubber
- Additionally, this includes a pitcher assuming an established position and then breaking his hands without moving off the rubber
- The pitcher throws the ball from a predetermined place without coming to a complete halt.
Rather than coming to a complete halt, the pitcher throws the ball from a fixed position.
How Often Do Balks Happen?
By any measure, balks aren’t the most prevalent of all possible plays. According to data from Baseball Reference, 153 balks were called in 4,858 games in 2019, for a rate of one per 31.75 games. In other words, during the course of the 162-game season in 2019, each Major League Baseball club made an average of around five errors. Balks have been extremely infrequent in baseball history, with the exception of one particularly bizarre season (which will be discussed more below). Since 1950, when the balk rule in Major League Baseball developed into what is basically its current form, clubs have averaged 4-8 balks each season in the majority of seasons.
Why Do We Have a Balk Rule? When Did It Originate?
tuckerjones2 courtesy of Canva.com Balks are used to enable base-stealing and, on a larger scale, to increase run-scoring and overall action. The easy answer to the “why” half of the question is that balks are used to increase run-scoring and overall action. In order to make it simpler for baserunners to steal, the regulation prohibits pitchers from trickery while runners are on base while they are on base. Throughout the twentieth century, with a few exceptions, stolen base trends have mostly mirrored balk trends in terms of frequency.
- This pattern is a combination of cause and effect.
- This also makes it easy to distinguish between the pitchers.
- Pitchers’ strategies of keeping runners on base will likely change if present trends make base stealing more or less enticing, resulting in a fluctuation in the number of balk calls, which might be in either way.
- The first recorded use of the term “balk” in baseball regulations dates back to what is widely considered to be the original set of baseball rules, which were created by Alexander Cartwright in 1845 and are still in use today.
- That rule was given a definition in 1857, which also included the addition of the enforcement of all runners advancing a base, which is still in use today.
- When the rule was amended in 1884, it was made clear that a pitcher may be penalized for purposely delaying.
- As an aside, other methods of protest were in place at the time, but they are no longer applicable, thus they have been excluded for the purpose of clarity.
- As a result of this modification, the balk rule had to be changed as well, however it’s unclear when exactly some of the rules were changed to their current form.
- By this time, the most of the elements of contemporary governance had been put in place.
- The most recent alteration occurred in 2013, when the practice of faking a pickoff to third base while the pitcher was on the mound was made illegal.
Balks decreased as a result of the fall in stolen bases that began in the 1990s and has continued to diminish until the present day. So there you have it: everything you ever wanted to know about balks is right here!
Definition of a Balk in Baseball
Donald Miralle, courtesy of Canva.com Major League Baseball’s definition of a balk is as follows: “A balk is an unlawful act committed by a pitcher when one or more runners are on base.” In order to prevent a pitcher from fooling the baserunners, the regulation was put in place.”
- Remember how I described one really bizarre year? As a result of increased enforcement of the one-second pause rule in 1988, the Major League Baseball (MLB) recorded an absurd 924 balks in a single season, far outpacing the second-place single-season total of 407
- The Oakland A’s balked 76 times (nearly half the 2020 MLB total), with A’s pitcher Dave Stewart leading the way with 16. The rule was subsequently repealed the following year. Pitcher Charlie Hough was charged for nine balks in a spring training game in 1988, including seven in one inning, a foreshadowing of the so-called “Year of the Balk.” The record for the most balks committed by a pitcher in a regular-season game is five, which was achieved on May 4, 1963, by Milwaukee Braves pitcher Bob Shaw against the Chicago Cubs. At one point during the game, Shaw intentionally walked Hall of Famer Billy Williams before committing three consecutive balks, allowing Williams to score. In that game, the National League was enforcing balk laws more strictly, which was only in effect for a limited period lasting less than half of the season
- Hall of Famer Steve Carlton holds the record for the most balks committed in his career, with 90 in his career
- Since 1914, there have been at least 22 walk-off balks, sometimes known as “balk-offs,” in the history of the Major Leagues. The most recent instance came on August 19, 2018, when the Mariners defeated the Dodgers in the eleventh inning as a result of a Dylan Floro balk.
A fast pitch is a pitch that is thrown before the hitter has a chance to get into the batter’s box and swing at the ball. A rapid pitch results in a ball when there are no runners on base. The throwing of a fast pitch is called a balk when there are runners on base, and all runners are moved up one base.
What Is an Illegal Pitch in Baseball?
An unlawful pitch, according to Major League Baseball, is defined as follows: “(1) a pitch delivered to the batter when the pitcher’s pivot foot is not in touch with the pitcher’s plate; (2) a return pitch delivered quickly.” A balk is a pitch that is illegally thrown when runners are on base.
What Is the Catcher’s Box?
This is the area behind home plate, right in front of the umpire, in which a catcher is required to remain until the ball has been released from the pitcher’s hand. Any pitch delivered to the catcher’s box when he or she is not present is called a balk, and all runners are moved up one base as a result.
Can a Pitcher Fake a Throw to First Base?
A pitcher can fake a throw to first base as long as he takes the necessary steps off the rubber to make the throw. In the event that a pitcher attempts to throw to first base while he or she is engaged to the rubber, the pitcher will be called for a strikeout.
Can a Pitcher Fake a Throw to Second Base?
It is OK for pitchers to fake a throw to second base if they take a stride directly toward the base with their free foot after releasing the ball. In the case of a balk, a pitcher who feints a throw to second base but does not take a step toward the base will be called for the error.
Can a Pitcher Fake a Throw to Third Base?
A pitcher who is engrossed with the rubber will not be able to fake a throw to third base. Once the pitcher takes a stride toward third base, he must toss the ball to the base in order to avoid a balk from occurring. As a result, pitchers are prevented from impersonating a throw to third base and then picking off an unwary runner at first base.
- If a pitcher is engaged with the rubber, he will not be able to fake a throw to third. A balk occurs when the pitcher makes a stride toward third base after he has already thrown the ball there. As a result, pitchers are prevented from imitating a throw to third base and then picking off an unwary runner at first base.
Baseball Shorts: How the Balk got its name
This is the snub. An unlawful pitching motion used by a pitcher on the mound that permits runners to advance up a base without having to make a dash for the base. What are some of the most well-known balks, when was the regulation first implemented, and where did the term “balk” originate? The balk rule was first used in Major League Baseball in 1898. It said that if a pitcher made a move in the direction of a base, he was required to throw to that base. The balk rule was revised the following year to state that a pitcher may not impersonate a pickoff attempt.
- 1950: The introduction of a new regulation requiring a one-second pause before delivering a pitch to a batter with men on base.
- Following an instruction to umpires to crack down on balks, twenty balks were called in the first twenty games of the year as a result of the crackdown.
- The most well-known balk, according to legend, occurred at the 1961 All-Star Game at Candlestick Park.
- Giants pitcher Stu Miller was knocked off the mound by a blast of wind, and the home plate umpire labeled it a balk, according to the folklore.
- “Before throwing a pitch, I stretched out, and then there was an extra gust of wind, and I just trembled a little bit,” Miller explained.
- They were undoubtedly scratching their heads, wondering why the hell those runners moved ahead.” But where did the term “balk” originate from?
- From Middle Englishbalke, which came fromOld Englishbalca, which came from or was inspired byOld Norsebálkr (“division, ridge of land”), which came from Proto-Germanic*balkô.
- Because of the idea of balk in the fields as a barrier or obstacle, the modern use has taken on a metaphorical meaning.
The latter, in particular, provides an excellent explanation since the balk is a type of barrier. Overall, determining whether or not a pitcher is balking can be difficult to ascertain. All of the balks may be seen clearly in the linked video. My is a good way to bring this blog article to a close.
What is a Balk in Baseball? – MLB Balk Rules and More
Balk! What exactly occurred just now? The baserunner is now going up one base as a result of the umpire’s signal towards the pitching pitcher. Was it a balk because the pitcher threw an illegal pitch towards the home plate or anything else on the mound? If that’s the case, what precisely is a balk in the sport of baseball?
What is a Balk?
A balk (illegal motion) occurs when a pitcher makes a throwing motion or move that deceives the hitter or the baserunner and causes them to strike out. When a pitcher balks (dead ball), it can be anything from a flinch after being in the set position to throwing towards first base without taking a step off the mound. If a pitcher drops the ball during their windup, this is another instance in which a balk might occur. The final point to mention is that a balk may only happen while a runner is on first base, second base, or third base.
What Happens if a Balk Takes Place?
In baseball, a balk (illegal motion) occurs when the pitcher performs a throwing motion or action that is intended to fool the batter or the baserunner. Unexpected flinching after being in the set position, such as throwing towards first base without moving off the mound, is referred to as a balk (or dead ball). If a pitcher drops the ball during their windup, this is another example of how a balk might occur. Lastly, when a runner is on first, second, or third base, he or she is said to be out.
How often Do Balks Take Place in Major League Baseball?
A balk (illegal motion) occurs when a pitcher makes a throwing motion or move that deceives the hitter or the baserunner and causes them to make an error. When a pitcher balks (dead ball), it can be anything from a flinch after being in the set position to throwing towards first base without stepping off the mound. Another scenario in which a balk might occur is if a pitcher loses the ball during their windup. Lastly, when a runner is on first, second, or third base, he or she is said to have balked.
Can you Argue a Balk?
As a pitcher, there isn’t much you can do if an umpire calls a balk on your performance apart than disagreeing with him. However, if you disagree with the umpire’s decision, you should use caution in what you say to him or her. Consider the ejection of former Major League Baseball pitcher Mark Buehrle, who did so after expressing his disgust with two balk calls by the famed umpire Joe West. The following video, produced byJomboy Media, provides a more in-depth explanation of the scenario.
The MLB Balk Rule in Greater Detail
In general, pitchers are not permitted to feign a throw to an unoccupied base (i.e., one where there is no fielder) in order to try a pickoff since doing so will result in a balk call. A balk call is made if a ball is dropped from the pitcher’s hand while he or she is on the pitching mound as well. Finally, a balk can occur if the pitcher tries to make a rapid pitch before the hitter is ready in the batter’s box and the batter does not react in time.
Some of the most prevalent guidelines that right-handed and left-handed pitchers need to know in order to avoid bringing in a balk are listed below.
For Right-Hand Pitchers
- A right-handed pitcher must stride behind the pitching rubber with his right pivot foot and throw to the designated base in order to make a pickoff attempt. Before you may attempt to pick off a baserunner, you must come to a complete stop in your throwing stance. If you start in a windup position and then rapidly switch to a pick off attempt, here is an example of what you cannot do.
For Lefty Pitchers
- The right foot of the pitcher must point in the direction in which the ball will go no matter where they throw. For example, a pitcher must land with their right foot pointed towards first base in order to throw to first base. If you choose to throw to first, there is a 45-degree imaginary angle that your foot cannot cross if you want to throw to second. In order to try a fast pickoff maneuver, a pitcher must step off the pitcher’s rubber with their left foot and fire to first.
Conclusion on What is a Balk
Wherever the pitcher throws, the right foot of the pitcher must aim in the direction in which the ball will end up. As an example, while a pitcher is landing to throw to first base, he or she must point their right foot towards first base. Technically, there is an imaginary 45-degree angle that your foot cannot cross if you want to throw to first; nevertheless, this is not the case. In order to try a fast pickoff maneuver, a pitcher should step off the pitcher’s rubber with their left foot and fire to first.
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