What Is The Definition Of A Balk In Baseball?
1. An illegal move performed by the pitcher before he or she pitches the ball. When a pitcher performs a balk, each baserunner is allowed to advance one base. There must be at least one baserunner on base for a balk to be called by the umpire.
Can You Fake A Throw To First As A Pitcher?
When there is a runner on base, a pitcher may not fake a throw to first, otherwise it will be called a balk. However, there is one movement that a pitcher may do if they would like to reset and/or look at the runner at first base.
If the pitcher does not feel comfortable throwing the pitch, they must step directly backwards and off the rubber with the foot that is rested against it. The pitcher cannot make any throwing motion towards first base, otherwise they must deliver the ball to the first baseman. If they do not, then it is a balk. If the pitcher steps to the side of the rubber with the foot that is resting against it, they must also deliver the ball to first base, otherwise it is a balk.
What Happens When A Pitcher Balks?
As stated previously, if a pitcher balks with runners on base, each baserunner is allowed to advance one base. However, if a pitcher commits a balk when there are no runners on base, usually no penalties are called. Some exceptions such as attempting to pitch the ball before the batter is ready or pitching off of the rubber, which are balks when runners are on base, will usually result in the pitch being called for a ball if no runners are on base.
Why Is Balking Illegal In Baseball?
Although there is no official reason why the balk rule exists, the rule is in place to help create a fair playing field between the pitcher and the batters and baserunners. If the balk rule did not exist, pitchers would be allowed to fake deliveries to home plate, put illegal substances on the ball for additional movement and as well as other illegal actions that are in favor of the pitcher.
Is A Balk An Error In Baseball?
Although a balk is an illegal action, it is not considered an error. An error, in short, is a misplay on a ball in play that allows a baserunner to advance. A balk is an illegal infraction on the rules of the game, and is categorized differently in statistics.
Examples Of How Balk Is Used In Commentary
1. As you can see, after coming to the set position, Schilling separates his hands but does not go to the plate with the ball. Because of this, he’s called for a balk and the runner is allowed to advance to second base.
SportsLingo Goes The Extra-Inch With The Meaning Of Balk
A balk can only be called when there is at least one runner on base and is in place to prevent pitchers from deceiving the baserunner. The balk rule states that when a pitcher is on the rubber and they perform a move that is naturally associated with their delivery, but does not actually deliver the ball, they will be called for a balk.
Some instances where a pitcher can be called for a balk are:
- If the pitcher fakes or attempts a throw to first base or third base, but does not complete the throw, it’s a balk.
- If the pitcher raises their free leg and it goes back over the pitching rubber, the pitcher must deliver the ball to home plate or go fully around to second base and complete the throw to the base. If they do not do either, it’s a balk.
- If a pitcher raises their free leg, but brings it back down.
- If a pitcher moves their shoulders after they’ve become set, but do not deliver the ball.
- If a pitcher does not come to a complete stop, or set, before delivering the ball to the plate. The pitcher cannot attempt to do a “quick-pitch” on a batter. Before delivering a pitch, the pitcher’s body must be completely still, except for his head.
In the past, a pitcher was allowed to fake a throw to third and then to first base, if there were runners on first base and third base. However in 2013, this move was made illegal and is now considered a balk.
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