Illegal Pitch

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March 28, 2004 3:31 PM

My son has an odd stretch when he pitches, I've
seen 2 other pitchers in the nation with a simular wind up. One on the Texas Area Code Team
What he does is spring forward opens up toward the plate and makes his pitch. Their complaint is his rear foot comes off the ground will going forward. In the CIF rule book it says that
the front foot is the only foot that can come off the ground, but even when you drag your toe at some point your foot will lift off the ground! The other coaches are complaining at every game but when the pitcher is topping out at 96 I really believe they are being petty due to the difficulty in hitting the ball. 1 umpire wouldn't call it so the coach kept complaining to the first base umpire until he finally called. Both umpires said this is in the grey area but how can you make a call if theres no
clear call! The 1st base ump told my son I'm doing you a favor so you won't have a PROBLEM when CIF rools around. We then spoke to a D-1 ump which said its leagal! I'm trying to set up a meeting with the head ump to rule on this so it won't come up anymore!Whats your advice ? It would be greatly appreciated.
 
 
 
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March 29, 2004 2:21 AM

it is a broad area but if a pitcher does it every pitch....no crime
 
 
 
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March 29, 2004 10:37 AM

I guess this is something I'd have to see. If the move looks as ugly as it sounds, I'm leaning towards balking the move. Ive seen a lot of moves and a lot of balks. If this is a move that only 2-3 players in the nation use, its needs to be looked at closely. If it was totally legal under NFHS codes then it would be widely taught. Ive never seen it.
 
 
 
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March 29, 2004 12:56 PM

quote:
Originally posted by jonesin:
it is a broad area but if a pitcher does it every pitch....no crime


Doing something every time doesn't make it legal.
 
 
 
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March 30, 2004 3:23 AM

i agree bob....

if a pitcher pitches a way and doesnt change his form or motion and does the same windup or quick step from the stretch it isnt a crime....came across that, but if he does change it up sure its a balk....you cant take the true necessities away, but if its border line and he doesnt change it throughout the game then no crime.....reply back would love to learn more from your standpoint
 
 
 
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March 30, 2004 10:10 AM

Here is where you have a problem. "but if its border line"..........so who decides if its borderline?....the umpires of course.

If its borderline, then it becomes judgement. Any each umpire has his own judgement. It wont matter at that point if the last 2 umpires didnt think it was illegal when the 2 umpires today judge that it is.

I would not want to be doing something so radical that only 2-3 pitchers in the country are trying to get accepted as legal when it counts.

I may not be imaging this correctly. As I say, I'd need to see it. But it sounds like a duck.
 
Last edited by piaa_ump March 30, 2004 10:10 AM
 
 
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March 31, 2004 3:54 AM

piaa

good point...hard topic to debate i guess....but if he obviously balks everytime he throws then yes call it....mechanics make a pitcher...some pitchers have weird approaches to the plate that look like balks but are not....love your opinion .....really good point
 
 
 
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March 31, 2004 11:43 AM

A pitcher from Denton Texas has this same motion. It has been discussed thoroughly in Texas for 3 years and nothing has been done. He also pitched in the World Wood Bat, and has signed with University of Arizona. I think one of the keys is that his motion never varies.

My son's team faced him last night and there were 5 pro scouts with guns on him.
 
 
 
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March 31, 2004 9:33 PM

The player mentioned by coons2004 is Javier Guerra and plays for Denton Ryan High School. Though his delivery is controversial it has never been ruled illegal by the NFHS. If you want to see a video of his delivery follow this link and click on his name in the list. This is compliments of Perfect Game USA and requires RealPlayer 10 to view.

http://www.perfectgame.org/newplayers_list.cfm?tn=03national
 
 
 
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April 1, 2004 11:15 AM

"But the delivery has more than a couple of scouts and coaches questioning whether it is legal per baseball rules or not. At least one coach has sent in film to the NCAA for a ruling before he decides to start recruiting him. What he does is comparable to what a women’s softball pitcher does prior to release, except with a standard ¾’s release point. He takes a hard, big hop off his back (right) leg at the point when he starts coming forward in his delivery, lands hard on his front (left) leg and completes his arm stroke with his right leg probably a foot in front of the pitching rubber. While every pitcher looses contact with the rubber before he throws the ball, His action is so severe and exaggerated that there is little, if any, precedent for it at this level."

I looked at the video and took the above quote from the young mans profile. I would of course abide by any interpretation that the NCAA will rule on, but until that time. BALK....BALK....BALK.....

In my opinion this move is not pitching from 60'6" as governed by the rule book. This is a move to shorten the distance by at least a foot or more.

Dodgerdad, if this is the move your son is doing, I now do not have any question that I would balk it every time.
 
 
 
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April 1, 2004 12:02 PM

Balk, Balk, Balk!

You gotta try to stay in contact with the rubber. Most pitchers don't, true, but this is close to a crow hop!
 
 
 
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April 2, 2004 11:57 PM

Thanks for the replies... My son has the exact same delivery of
Javier Guerra.. Is this pitch has been ruled legal in Texas! How
about in California? I really need a quick response!!! Thanks...
 
 
 
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April 5, 2004 12:33 AM

c'mon EVERY pitcher leaves the rubber with back foot, only difference is stong rotators rotate off plate, linear pitchers go straight off just like this. Look at the toe drag; if u look at the mound after any game from LL up you will see
marks from the same motion 9/10 times. Look at video of pitchers, like u would if u were teaching a pitcher; ALL of them leave the rubber with the back foot, part ofg what their instructors/coaches look at is HOW they leave the rubber

Brown well off rubber at release

 
Last edited by Just Me April 5, 2004 12:39 AM
 
 
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April 5, 2004 9:08 AM

Not even close to the same thing. Yes, all pitchers leave the rubber as a result of the natural motion of pitching. But this is a deliberate movement to gain an unfair advantage. (my opinion).. BALK....BALK....BALK.

And I will add this.....Until a definitive approval comes from NFHS, NCAA or NAIA, the only opinion that counts is the Umpires.......Once approved, then I will happily agree that it is legal. Until then anyone who tries this with me gets Balked.
 
Last edited by piaa_ump April 5, 2004 9:11 AM
 
 
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April 5, 2004 12:17 PM

Ump thats ridiciculous. Its taking "unfair advantage" to try and throw the ball as hard as possible? Baloney. Taking steroids is taking unfair advantage, applying a foreign substance to the ball is taking unfair advantage, corking a bat is taking unfair advantage. This kid is exaggerating his push off the rubber. The reason its so evident and "ugly" is because its poorly timed and probably hampering his ability to throw harder.
Pitchinside:
"You gotta try to stay in contact with the rubber. Most pitchers don't, true, but this is close to a crow hop! "
NO PITCHER tries to keep his rear foot in contact with the rubber. For it to be a crow hop he would have to land on the post foot, with weight still back and then jump again.
 
 
 
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April 5, 2004 12:57 PM

I'm not an umpire, but that is the most obvious balk I have ever seen.
 
 
 
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April 5, 2004 1:31 PM

Just me,
It might be ridiculous to you from your point of view. In my opinion, (and its clearly labeled as such) this move is a balk, plain and simple. Your attempt to call it a "poorly timed" and "exaggerated push" off the rubber is like calling the Grand Canyon a ditch. Thats just too much simplification for me. A hop and a push are two different animals.

But, as an umpire, I will abide by any sanctioning body that will approve this move. So far I know of none who has. Its a balk to me.

As to your statement, "is it unfair advantage to try and throw the ball as hard as possible?" Of course not, it is however unfair advantage to try and shorten the distance from the 60'6" as set by the rules. And that is what I say it is.

Until such a time as this move is sanctioned, then the only opinion of this that matters is the umpires. I judge balks, so if your pitcher is using this move, be prepared for the balk call.
 
 
 
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April 5, 2004 2:32 PM

you need to move to Texas...from what I understand, lots of coaches have tried to argue that Javi's pitch is a balk and they get absolutely no where...maybe we need to send our umps to PA for school Smile
 
 
 
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April 5, 2004 2:38 PM

maybe they otta just teach their teams to hit instead of trying to get the umps to win their games for them
 
 
 
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April 5, 2004 2:42 PM

This move has been studied and discussed in the state of Texas for 3 years. Since it has been studied by the UIL and is still not being determined as a balk, I would take that to mean that they are sanctioning it as a legal pitch.

Also in the PG World Wood Bat, I do not think that there were any balks called on this. Maybe the PG people can comment on this. Sometimes the absence of a call is the actual call. Meaning that the many umpires that have actually seen it in person have either not wanted to step out and make a decision, or have determiined it as legal.
 
 
 
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April 5, 2004 3:03 PM

I guess its a good thing for the young man that I dont umpire in Texas. I see it as a balk.

I do wonder how much advantage this motion provides. If a pitcher can throw 91-92 with this controversial motion, what would he throw with a conventional motion?
 
 
 
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April 5, 2004 3:10 PM

I'm curious about this - just as I was back when the Texas kid was doing it last year and it was being looked into. What balk rule does this motion violate? A lot of the time you'll hear people in the stands call for a balk anytime anything which looks "funny" happens, but I don't think that's the rule. Where in the rules do you find a basis for calling a balk on this pitcher?
 
 
 
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April 5, 2004 3:13 PM

Piaa WHY do you see this as a balk? By that I mean what rule does it violate? I dont ump that much but I have read the MLB rulebook and the (03) NCAA book and I cant see a basis for calling this a balk. NCAA says the pitcher cant take a running start or a step with the post leg but this is clearly not a separate step with the post leg
 
 
 
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April 5, 2004 3:14 PM

ha
pdog you type faster than me angry
 
 
 
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April 5, 2004 3:30 PM

again, I'll preface this as my opinion.

Under NFHS rule 6 section 2 article 4 d.
Article 4 If there is a runner or runners, any of the following acts by a pitcher while he is touching the pitchers plate is a balk.

D. Failing to pitch to the batter in a continuous motion immediately after any movement of any part of the body such as he habitually uses in his delivery.

I do not see this motion as continous I see it as 2 separate motions. The hop being a separate part of this delivery. Compared to a conventional delivery it clearly is (to me) not continuous.

That being said..I am for the third time saying that if and when it is sanctioned, I would be more than happy to call it legal. But my thoughts are that if it was legal and provided any real advantage to a pitcher that we would see it widely in the college and pro ranks. I have never seen it done live by anyone. Maybe if I did, I wouldnt see it this way.
 
Last edited by piaa_ump April 5, 2004 3:35 PM
 
 
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April 5, 2004 3:58 PM

Piaa I dont think that argument has a leg to leap on.
biglaugh
He's from windup, has turned sideways and the leap occurs as part of his motion with hand break. It is after leg lift but before rotation. It would not be possible for him to do anything other than deliver the ball to the plate.
Re advantage I think most coaches would see it as a fault, rightly or wrongly. My kid (LHP) is being told to d/c a similar , less extreme motion in his delivery, because his instructor feels it is detrimental. Who knows.
Also, as this is from windup, presumably there would be no runners on. Has to be continuous its in the middle of his delivery, could not possibly be construed as an attempt to deceive a runner even if it was from stretch with runners on.
Interesting tho. There was a major league signing a few years ago that threw like this . Cannot recall name. Anyone else know it?
 
Last edited by Just Me April 5, 2004 4:36 PM
 
 
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April 5, 2004 11:45 PM

My son is being forced to change his delivery or
it will be an illegal pitch! The ump states that the rule being enforced is that he is replanting his rear foot! But he is in a open position, his weight is forward, even if he drags his rear foot they say its a hop/jump?
With this delivery he has touched 97mph. They first tried to call it a crow hop but had to change thier call! They could not show a rule saying it was illegal, but stated if would probably be placed in the rule book... how can change a rule in the middle of the season? My son pitched Friday & went 8 inns With his old style pitching & was still hitting 91-93 in the 8th. Just because its different doesn't mean its wrong!!!
 
 
 
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April 6, 2004 12:30 AM

I dunno. I was going to say that It does when little minds think that it should, and that I especially liked the fact they cant actually find a rule that is violated.
But then I realized that I havent actually seen your sons delivery, just the other young man in the link above. So hey they have seen it and I havent so their view is at least informed whereas mine is conjectural. If you think it is the wrong decision appeal if possible, otherwise move on and adjust the motion, Afterall its just another judgement call, really. How about if he keeps the leap just doesnt let the foot touch down again?
ANy chance of you posting a clip or a link showing the motion in question?
Say Piaa does it actually say in the rule book that you cant "replant" the foot? Even the foot draggers usually rotate the foot up and around eventually.
 
Last edited by Just Me April 6, 2004 12:57 AM
 
 
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April 6, 2004 11:22 AM

I am a high school umpire in a chapter that umpires some of the Denton Ryan kids games. I have never umpired a game pitched by this kid but have first hand knowledge since I have a son, his age, who has played against him in the select summer leagues. First of all let me say this kid is very talented. IMO, he could change his delivery to the more conventional method and still be just as effective. But as coons2004 has said his delivery, in 3 years, has never been ruled illegal by the powers to be i.e. NFHS, TASO or UIL. But also, I might add, they have skirted the issue by never saying it was legal either. In other words, they avoid the issue. I believe it may be because this kid graduates this year and they avoided the issue so as not to affect his ability on the mound. I think this delivery may be addressed specifically in the coming seasons.

I believe the delivery to be a BALK! The reason, partly because of what has been stated already on this thread but also I believe the intent of the rule of pitching from the windup position is to maintain contact with the pitchers plate with the pivot foot until one continuous motion causes you to lift the pivot foot off the rubber. I believe the hop negates this continuous motion and places the start of the deliver some 12 to 15 inches in front of the plate. Let me also add there are a number of umpires in our chapter that see this motion as being continuous and don’t believe it to be a balk. Bottom line it’s a gray area. Until this delivery is specifically ruled upon it WILL NEVER be called a balk in the State of Texas.

The NFHS, TASO, UIL or whoever should step up and make a ruling. I really don’t care but I will say if it’s ruled legal it will be taught by coaches in the future. It not only increases body momentum which translates into a slight speed increase but also is very disconcerting to the batter seeing the whole body jump at you. I’ve studied it many times from the batters perspective and believe me, it does make a difference. ADVANTAGE PITCHER!!
 
 
 
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April 6, 2004 12:33 PM

This pretty much goes along with my thinking as well, Im glad to have an opinion from someone who has seen it.

I feel that the NCAA will rule on this. I've never seen this motion in a college game.
 
 
 
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April 6, 2004 2:34 PM

Follow this link to the S E T P R O public forms. It shows the pro pitcher, Craig House, who is the fella I was trying to think of. His motion is very similar and apparently, MLB legal.
same delivery in SHOW

HA! link wont work because the word s e t p r o is censored on this site. Must be some history here I dont know about.
Anyway if you wish to view clips of Craig House 's delivery which is essentially the same as this in terms of the leap visit the set pro
public forms Throwing mechanics, Instruction and training Debate forum. Its in a thread called Tiny Minds.
Really quite interesting as to how similar the deliveries are; some of the posters there relate that House had control problems with this delivery
Note go to no spaces http://www.s e t p r o.com/forums/index.php and select the throwing mechanics and training debate forum
 
Last edited by Just Me April 6, 2004 3:08 PM
 
 
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April 6, 2004 3:21 PM

Must be a balk.
 
 
 
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April 6, 2004 3:51 PM

Well, looking at the clips on that "other" site, two things are clear: 1) It is a continuous motion; and 2) It's not a "hop" followed by a pitching motion. The key is to watch the right foot - it doesn't "plant" a second time - it's being dragged along by the pitching motion (toe down.) Interesting. Although it looks "different", I can't see anything which would trigger a balk call under the rules.
 
 
 
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April 6, 2004 5:05 PM

I agree with piaa_ump. It looks like a balk to me. I have studied the video over and over a few times. He might gain a few mph if he goes to the conventional method of pitching. And I would also agree that the "hop" towards the pitcher would be gaining an advantage.
 
 
 
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April 7, 2004 12:39 PM

(g) The pitcher makes any motion naturally associated with his pitch while he is not touching the pitcher's plate;

Seems lke a no brainer here, the kid "posts" twice, once in contact, once while in front.
 
 
 
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April 7, 2004 4:52 PM

Pitch did you look at the clip?
 
 
 
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April 7, 2004 7:11 PM

Long time visiters to this forum will remember a discussion about a player that we named aptly "Skippy". Nothing was determined about his pitch legality but I dought that you would see this pitch at the next level. Have seen this pitch delivery once and thought that it might be illegal because the back foot actually was planted twice. When I saw this kid pitch, it was never ruled upon as a balk.

Interesting dicussion though.
 
 
 
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April 8, 2004 12:17 PM

Justme,
Yeh I watched, and yeh I asked my son (pitcher) what he thought, he said it was a legal delivery.

Question: If this is a legal move, what rule would you use to defend it? I don't get it (not the first time).

Seriously though, if it is a legal pitch, what would stop a guy from taking a "step" before he throws? Or getting a running start (ie. Cricket hurler) as long as you touch the rubber on your way to the plate?
 
 
 
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April 8, 2004 12:57 PM

Look at the tape. He doesn't replant his back foot before delivery - he's dragging it toe down. (I thought he was replanting at first - you have to focus on his foot to see that he's not.) If he replanted there's no question you "balkers" would be right. But he's not, it's just a long, high toedrag - a couple inches off the ground, but dragging nonetheless. I don't see a balk.
 
 
 
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April 8, 2004 1:40 PM

Differences of opinion, p-dog, are what makes this site worth checking every day.

Now, thats being said, nothing you've said convinces me your right and Im wrong. I dont see it as continous motion.
 
 
 
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