The Ole Ball Game

runner on first and pitcher is standing just behind rubber. facing home. he lifts his arms as if to start windup and then steps back and picks off runner who started to second. is that a balk.

by gerry lafond
(ft. myers)

Time of pitch established as soon as pitcher started his hands up, or stepped with his foot.

Time of pitch established as soon as pitcher started his hands up, or stepped with his foot.

Jerry asked: Runner on first and pitcher is standing just behind rubber,facing home.


He lifts his arms as if to start windup and then steps back and picks off runner who started to second.

Is that a balk?


Rick answered: Jerry, thank you for your question.

The answer for your question is in Rule 28 Pitcher, Pitch, Pivot Foot...Art 3...Time of the pitch is when a pitcher has committed himself to delivering the pitch to the batter. For the windup position, the "time of the pitch" occurs when the pitcher, a) first starts any movement of his arm(s) or leg(s) after stepping onto the pitcher's plate with his hands already together in front of his body;(b)with both hands at his side, first starts any movement with both arms or leg(s) prior to the pitch;(c)with either hand in front of his body and the other hand at his side, after bringing his hands together, first starts any movement of his arm(s) or leg(s) prior to the pitch.

From your description, the pitcher was not in contact with the pitcher's plate, thus there is no "time of pitch".

It is a bit deceptive on the pitcher's part, which is ok. Base runners have the responsibility to make sure the pitcher steps on the rubber before they take their lead.

Until the pitcher steps on, he is just another infielder, who is free to move as he wishes.

If a pitcher makes the mistake of winding up with a runner on, the runner needs to be sure that he is in contact with the rubber before he takes off.

In this case, no balk, if the pitcher wasn't in contact with the rubber.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

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Nov 13, 2014
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by: Jerry

i received another ruling on this from another umpire who stated it was a balk due to deception. pitcher can do anything he wants behind rubber except start a windup andrich then stop.

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