The Ole Ball Game

Correct Call on a Balk?

by Robert
(Saginaw, Texas)

Robert asked: Two outs, runners on 2nd and 3rd, batter with 2 strikes.


Batter grounds out to first and the inning appears to be over.

After the play the field umpire waives off the 3rd out saying he called a balk on the pitcher for not coming set, however, play was never stopped prior to be ball being put in play.

The umpires award the base runners bases (allowing the what was the winning run to score from third) and put the batter back in the box. He promptly strikes out on the next swing.

Was this the right call as the ball was put in play without the ball being called dead when the balk was called?


Rick answered: Robert, thank you for your question!

The rule covering balks is 2-28-art 2...A live ball delivered to the batter is a pitch. The term implies a legally delivered ball, unless otherwise stated.

When a pitcher commits a balk and completes his delivery to the batter, or delivers an illegal pitch, it is not considered a pitch, because the ball became dead at the time of the infraction.

In the situation you describe, the umpires got it right. Once the balk happened and was called, it ceased to be a pitch and became a dead ball.

Runners would advance one base, run scores, batter is still at the plate.

Generally an umpire will immediately call balk and signal dead ball. With this situation and the pitcher rolling through his set, there would be no way to stop the pitch before it was thrown; but the call creates the dead ball immediately, regardless how far it plays out.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

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