Skip to main content

In a Game on tuesday evening, My sons team have bases loaded and only 1 out, the opposing teams manager calls for time out and visits the mound,all infielders huddle with coach,and during this time the ball is handed to 2nd baseman. Coach leaves the field and pitcher toes the rubber where ump points to him to pitch, the 2nd baseman then run toward runner with lead off of 2nd and a rundown happens,Runner on 3rd scores during rundown.
Umpire calls 2nd out and allows score. From the stands I voice to umpire that this a Balk, that when the pitcher toes rubber with out the ball it is a automatic balk. I know with out a doubt he heard me.Manager did not protest play and did not question umpire until inning was over. Both umpires admitted to mistake and told manager he should of questioned call at time. He said its over and cant be reversed.My question is should the umpire reversed his no call when he realized it and he did realize when I yelled the rule from stands or did he at that time need to be questioned from manager before he could reverse himself. The next batter grounded out for 3rd out and if it would of been 2nd out run woul have scored. My sons team lost by 1 run.
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Of course you are correct that this was a balk. the pitcher can not be on or about the rubber without the ball. BALK.

It could not be anything but a balk as time was called and can not be put back in until the pitcher has the ball and is on the rubber.

The umpires blew this call. Your teams manager also needs to take some heat for allowing this to stand.

You want to hope that there are not HS umpires with so poor a level of knowledge. Of course once you know that you have blown a call involving a rule, you should confer with your partner and get the call right...unfortunately some umpires dont see it that way....
Your are normally bang on with your rules knowledge but I have to differ with you this time. In this case it is not a balk or an out. It is nothing because as you accurately noted the ball can't be put back into play without the pitcher being on the rubber with the ball. If he didn't have the ball then it becomes a nothing, reset everybody and get the ball to the pitcher, and put the ball in play.

piaa_ump is right on this rule too. I’m sure the reason you disagree is that you can’t find it stated in the NFHS rule book or case book that this is an illegal act. However, let me remind you that the NFHS rule book is written to supersede some Official Baseball Rules and to clarify others. It doesn’t state every rule that must be enforced. Therefore, you have to go to the next step and consult the Official Baseball Rules which states in 8.05 (i) if there is a runner , or runners, it is a balk when --- (i) The pitcher, without having the ball, stands on or astride the pitcher’s plate or while off the plate he feints a pitch. The rule book goes on to say the intent of the balk rule is to prevent the pitcher from deliberately deceiving the runner. Certain specifics should be borne in mind: (a) straddling the pitcher’s rubber without the ball is to be interpreted as intent to deceive and ruled a balk.

In the example of this HS play not only has the pitcher deceived the runner but the umpire as well since he, the pitcher, has taken his position on the rubber and the umpire has pointed to him to put the ball in play.
No, I am wrong......Micheal is right on this. After a closer read, and a consultation with my rule books and partner, the call should be nothing. you can not have time in unless the pitcher has the ball on the rubber.

If he didn't have the ball then it becomes a nothing, reset everybody and get the ball to the pitcher, and put the ball in play.

Nothing in the NFHS rules allows this basic rule of baseball to be overidden due to deception. NO Balk.......

good catch Michael.
Last edited by piaa_ump
Originally posted by Starzz:
Piaa...couldn't they have also made a travesty call???

I am assuming you mean on the attempted hidden ball trick. If so then no, he attempted a valid play but did so with a deadball. It wouldn't be any different than trying to appeal a base during a deadball. He was trying something that he knew he could do just at he wrong time.
Now in the orginal play it was good thing or it would have been a balk.
Last edited by Michael S. Taylor
One good thing I like about this board, it gets you to thinking about rule interpretations. Some things just aren’t black and white. However, I still have the opinion that the pitcher has committed a balk in the case of this ‘hidden ball’ play. I did read the rulebook a little closer and through the help of the Baseball President of TASO (Texas Association of Sports Officials) found the rule. Rule 7-2-5 of the NFHS rules states: Art. 5: It is also a balk if a runner or runners are on base and the pitcher, while he is not touching the pitcher’s plate, makes any movement naturally associated with his pitch, or he places his feet on or astride the pitcher’s plate, or positions himself within approximately five feet of the pitcher’s plate without having the ball.I just asked the Baseball Pres. how he would call this play without even saying how I felt and he called a balk. So for now, it’s a balk at least in Texas High School Baseball.
Michael here it is.....(from NCAA)

"When the umpire realizes his mistake of putting the ball into play improperly, he should rectify his mistake because we all know that a ball cannot be made live until all the proper elements are in place; the pitcher, with the ball, gets on the rubber, the batter assumes his normal position in the batter's box and the catcher is within the lines of the catcher's box."

Neither team should ever be put in a position of disadvantage because of an umpire's mistake. Whenever possible, the umpire must take whatever steps needed to correct his error. It will take some explanation to both managers and in your words, " a do over" would be the appropriate way to handle the error.
I will let you read the posts on this again as far as whether it should be a balk or not. But when you make a blanket statement like a balk is a deliberate move to deceive the defense that is just flat wrong. First of all the pitcher is taught to deceive runners, that's part of his job. The thing he has to learn is how to do it legally. Have you never seen a LH pitcher start his pitch from the set and step to first to pick-off the runner. That is about as deceptive as it gets and is perfectly legal.

Now there are a whole other type of balk that is administrative, quick pitches, dropped ball on the rubber, and not stopping to name some. These are not even a little deceptive to a runner, maybe to the batter, but balks none the less.

If the ball was "live" you would be right....but since it was a dead ball it was not a balk. Nothing can happen until the ball is made live and it was not. This turns out to be an Umpire error. You can not have action without a live ball. The only recourse is to nullify the action and reset the play...

And like you've heard before there are a lot of things a pitcher can do to decieve runners that are legal.

First of all I want to commend you and Michael S. for your professionalism and knowledge you exhibit when discussing issues on this board. I find on some other boards this is not the case so I don’t bother to post there. I want to make one more statement regarding this issue and then I’ll be through since I don’t think I can add anymore.

I do see the case you are making and may have a valid point to the intent of the rule; however, the rulebook has to be read as written and not to intent. One can’t be positive of the intent. You say “nothing can happen until the ball is made live” but it should be stated ‘no play can happen until the ball is made live’. This leads to my premise. There is a distinction between ‘play’ and ‘act’ by definition. The defense can’t make a ‘play’ on the runner at 2nd with the ball dead but the pitcher can commit an illegal ‘act’ (6-2-5) or (6-2-1 a- i) with the ball dead. Therefore, by rule (6-2-5) the ‘act’ with runners on is penalized by a balk and the runners advance one base. With no runners on the ‘act’ may be subject to a delay (20 sec. rule) of game (6-2-2c) which is penalized by a ball on the batter. If the rules were to state that a balk cannot happen in a dead ball situation then 6-2-5 becomes only during a live ball situation. Also, if 6-2-5 were to start out ‘In a live ball situation, it is also a balk ……..’ then the case for a balk is closed but still the delay of game is possible. The defense rests its case (any lawyers out there?)
I appreciate your comments and knowing, as you do, the tone of some umpiring communities on the web, I also admire the way differences are handled here in this forum.

I have always attempted to come across, not as a rules guru, but just as a working umpire. I hope to share some of my experience and knowledge. I am always eager to hear of a new or different interpretation or mechanic that can help me refine my craft. I will admit I am having a hard time following your interpretation, but I am bringing this to my chapter meeting tonight for discussion.

My support for my position is the Jaksa/Roder manual Page 138 Chapter 18 which states that a Balk can only occur if there is a runner and a live ball.

So, I'll follow up with you in PM after tonights discussion. I do agree with you that the rule book is vague and unclear about many points and that is why we refer to Jaksa/Roder and the BRD manuals for interps. But I owe it to the players to make sure we are on the same page......
Last edited by piaa_ump
I'm like piaa_ump, I can see where you are coming from but still can't agree. My suggestion is to show the quote that was posted about Dave Yeast by NCAA to your TASO official and see if he changes his mind and consequently yours.

I also would like to thank you for your compliments and hopefully this board can continue in it's civil and informative ways.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.