Hidden ball trick, where is the pitcher allowed to be and not to be.
by Brian G
Fix Your Eye On The Ball From The Moment The Pitcher Holds It In His Glove. Follow It As He Throws To The Plate And Stay With It Until The Play Is Completed. Action Takes Place Only Where The Ball Goes.(Umpire Bill Klem) True Back In The Day And True Today!
Brian Asked: We had a team try the ole hidden ball trick on us.
The pitcher was on the mound and in the rubber when it was executed.
The ump called it a ball and awarded us the extra base.
The question is, where can the pitcher be and not be during such an attempt at deception?
Rick answered: Brian, thank you for your question.
Rule 6.02(a) Comment(Rule 8.05 Comment): Umpires should bear in mind that the purpose of the balk rule is to prevent the pitcher from deliberately deceiving the base runner.
If there is doubt in the umpire's mind, the "intent" of the pitcher should govern. However, certain specifics should be borne in mind: (A) Straddling the pitcher's rubber without the baseball is to be interpreted as intent to deceive and ruled a balk.
I was taught that, as a base runner, you don't get into your lead until the pitcher steps on the rubber. I have always taught it as such. The reasoning is, even if the pitcher does have the ball, without contact with the rubber, he has no restrictions to his movements.
Base runners adhering to this rule can not be tricked.
Although I was unable to locate it written in the rules, I believe the pitcher cannot be on the dirt of the mound, without the baseball.
With your scenario, the call should have been a balk, runners advance 1 base.
The umpire got the penalty correct, just off on the terminology.
The way the rule is written, a base runner should never be caught in a hidden ball trick. If you don't step off into your lead, until the pitcher steps on the rubber, they can only get you with a legal pickoff move.
Yours in baseball,