Using MLB or Fed rules, I had a sitch yesterday in high school whereby the left-handed pitcher had a runner on first base. The left-handed pitched moved slowly and the pitcher brought his free leg up while at the same time leaning towards home yet never opened his hips and his landing leg came down within the 45 degree line to make a legal pickoff attempt at first.
Leaning towards home, albeit small, is not cause for a balk in my estimation. The knee nor foot never crossed back, his foot landed where it has to; the pitcher came set, etc,
The phrase distance and direction is for guidelines of when a pitcher throws over as I understand it.
When it all nets-out, there is no balk for simply leaning a bit towards home, is there, as long as all other parameters/actions are legal, correct?
Was a balk called?
IMO, it's where the body is going. Imagine for a second that you could freeze the pitcher as he was "leaning towards home." Would he have fallen over towards the plate or more towards first?
Where the body goes, that's where the pitch/throw must go. It doesn't matter if he was clever enough to not cross the pitcher's plate with his free foot; his body still was headed home, and so the ball batter go there too.
Now is that picky? Yeah could be. But I have seen the least little thing (in OBR higher levels) called where maybe you wouldn't call it a balk in lower leagues. For instance, did it pass or fail the "intent to deceive the runner" test?
After all of that, I swear that the born-again Yankee lefthander (Andy Pettite) balked on EVERY toss to first.
So there! ;-)
Deceit is L E G A L. It just has to be within the rules.
Does the pitcher have to tell the runner he's going to throw over?
Does the catcher have to tell the batter the pitch and location?
Does the runner have to tell the defense whentn he's going to steal?
DECEIT IS LEGAL!!!!!
I think Pettitte puts his knee past the back plane of the rubber. That's legal. It's only a balk if his foot goes back of the rubber and he then goes to 1B.
Deal with it.
Mike...no, I did not call a balk. But, I had been hearing all about distance and direction and wondered if that applied here.
Re your question of, "Would he have fallen over towards the plate or more towards first?", it is really hard to say as I did not see it. I would like to think that if a pitcher can give a micro-lean or even a medium-lean forward and still come down within the 45 degree line, more power to him.
Thank you very much for your response.
Rich......I agree with your DECEIT is legal in all the ways you discuss When I hear that a balk is anything that deceives a runner, I think to myself all of the things you said, and more.
Thank you very much for your response.
If his body is leaning toward home and his foot didn't pass the rubber, it's a good possibilty that his leg is coming with his body. If it is, he better be throwing home. I knew a kid that would do just that, he would start moving home slightly and then move to first. I banged him the first time I saw it. The manger heard what I said he did and he replay," But he can't do that!" I told him exactly, that's why I balked him. The look was priceless. He said no,no,no, he meant he couldn't move toward home and change his direction to first. I told he did and it is illegal.
Michael S. Taylor
The "45 degree line" you're talking about isn't in the rules. It IS, however, in the FED casebook. The casebook is an interpretation of the rulebook, so I'll stipulate to it, although it's more a guideline than a rule.
I have my FED book with me not OBR but the rules as to what constitutes a balk are almost identical (although the enforcement is quite different).
6-2-4(a) - any feinting toward the batter or first base
Once the pitcher makes a motion toward home plate he's committed to go home. I'll bet dollars to donuts that he knows excactly what he's doing. It's deceit, and while deceit isn't outside the rules, this particular form of deceit IS outside the rules.