Can a right handed pitcher make a move to first without leaving the rubber. Question being can a right handed pitcher make a move the same as a left handed pitcher to first by picking up his left foot and stepping backward straight toward first base then throwing? It applies to the rules but most umpires say it is a balk. My question is why? He is stepping straight toward the bag.
Original Post

quote:
Originally posted by Jeff Connell:
Can a right handed pitcher make a move to first without leaving the rubber. Question being can a right handed pitcher make a move the same as a left handed pitcher to first by picking up his left foot and stepping backward straight toward first base then throwing? It applies to the rules but most umpires say it is a balk. My question is why? He is stepping straight toward the bag.

The umpires who call this a balk are correct. If the non-pivot (left) leg breaks the plane of the pitcher's plate, he's committed to pitch.

Try it yourself. The way you describe the move, your left leg will break the plane. And it's physically impossible to step directly toward first base in this manner.
Last edited by bluezebra
The "plane" being the horizontal plane of the rubber, parallel to the ground, not the vertical plane of the rubber, perpendicular to the ground.
It doesn't do that. It is the same move a righthander makes to third except rather than stepping forward, he steps backwards. At that point he throws to first. It doesn't break that part. The one thing other umpires have said is that it is two motions. He steps then throws. My argument is a lefthander does the same to first and right hander does the same to third. I believe it is just one of those we've never done it that way things. I have not found a rule that prohibits it to me so I don't call it except when they mess up and swing their foot toward home while stepping backwards.
Jeff, when stepping back to first, you are actually talking about the pitcher "swinging" (never touching the ground again) his lift foot down and back then pivoting his body towards first and landing facing first then throwing to first. Right?
Correct. Same motion as going to third except he steps back instead of forward. After he plants he turns his shoulders and throws. But when done right he does not turn his shoulders until he plants left foot on ground. Not trying to argue just justifying rightness of my call in my mind.
What you are describing sounds like a jab step without the hop. I would have to see the move to make a determination. Sounds like a very poor pick off move. From your second description it sounds like he is gaining ground but the direction the foot is turned is wrong. The rule states he has to gain ground in the direction of the base being thrown to. He has to step towards the base. This move is a very deceptive move. I say BALK...
My interpretation is it is just as deceptive as a lefthander but the back is turned. Again, I don't buy the deceptive part because pitching is about deceiving batters and runners.
I have ruled it legal since he steps directly toward the bag and then throws. His only deception is he picks his foot up like going home but then steps toward first. It is very effective because most coaches tell their runners to go when he picks the front foot up on a right hander while trying to steal second.
The reason it is a big deal is because it almost always gets the runner in a run down. it is very unorthodox and coaches and runners are totally thrown by it. It has changed how coaches tell their runners to get a lead. I have heard several coaches try to explain why it should be a balk and none of them fit a rule, again just what everybody has always been told. I have yet to hear anyone quote a rule that applies as to why it should be a balk. I will try to simulate it tonight with my son and put a copy of the video on here.
pitching is not to deceive runners. Batters, yes, runners no. that's the whole point of the balk rules, imo.
quote:
Originally posted by goMO:
pitching is not to deceive runners. Batters, yes, runners no. that's the whole point of the balk rules, imo.

Your "imo" is wrong. The balk rule is about deceiving runners, not batters. That's why the runners advance, and there is no ball given to the batter.

How can an illegal move to a base deceive a batter?

It would be nice if those without umpiring qualifications, experience, and rules knowledge, not interpret rules.
Last edited by bluezebra
If you are referring to me, I have 25 years. I just enjoy the interaction over rules. I think the main thing is that I believe every umpire, association, state interprets rules differently. I believe pitching is all about deception. There are just some things you can't do that would make the game very boring. There have to be rules. It is like someone saying that a cadence of a quarterback is not about deceiving the defense. If it was not about deception, the QB would have to use the same cadence every time. Pitching is about deception within the rules. I still say that the move is legal, just unorthodox. If someone shows me where it illegal by the rule book, I will change my mind and rule balk.
quote:
Originally posted by bluezebra:
It would be nice if those without umpiring qualifications, experience, and rules knowledge, not interpret rules.

Boy, you're really an arrogant a-hole, aren't you??

And if you would pick up on some context clues, the two of you were making the same point.

It would be nice if those without literary qualifications, experience, or gramatical knowledge not try to interpret others' posts.
I don't know for certain, but doesn't the pitcher have to release his pivot foot from the rubber in order to make a legal move to first base?

If an umpire were to allow a pitcher to do this then I would give a steal sign on every pitch. If the pitcher does as you say (picks his left foot up as if pitching to home) then there is no way he is going to get the ball to first base in time for the 1Bman to get the runner out at 2nd.

I believe it has to be called a balk. I would get thrown out of a game before I would allow an umpire to let that move go without calling a balk.
Jeff Connell..If you looked carefully, you would have seen I was responding to goMo's statement, not your's.

IronHorse..Good name. That's about the extent of your brain cells. If you could read, you would see that I was responding to goMo's statement, not Connell's.

Along with my double-major, I have a minor in English. What are your qualifications? And "grammatical" is spelled with TWO "M"s.
quote:
Originally posted by grateful:
I don't know for certain, but doesn't the pitcher have to release his pivot foot from the rubber in order to make a legal move to first base?

If an umpire were to allow a pitcher to do this then I would give a steal sign on every pitch. If the pitcher does as you say (picks his left foot up as if pitching to home) then there is no way he is going to get the ball to first base in time for the 1Bman to get the runner out at 2nd.

I believe it has to be called a balk. I would get thrown out of a game before I would allow an umpire to let that move go without calling a balk.

Prepare to spend a lot of time on the school bus, or the locker room. FED: 6.1.3..Turn or jump step is legal. F1 does not have to disengage (legally) from pitcher's plate before throwing to a base.
Just checking BlueZebra. We have always had good interaction.
Again, I know the extent of the implications but I have never found anything to rule balk when it is done properly. But like many pick off moves, it is messed up much of the time.
Grateful, I hate to tell you but I have never seen it done right where the runner did not get picked off. Because the rigthy, like a lefty, picks his foot up like going home, then steps back. The runner, even if he is not stealing, gets his secondary and is picked.
Yes, you would spend some time watching unless you could find a RULE that made it a balk.
Thanks for your insight BlueZebra. If this catches on, it will change the balk rules I am sure. Or it will change coaches telling the runner to go when a righty picks up his foot.
jeff, i was looking forward to your son's simulation video of this move. are you able to post one? this is a great discussion!
quote:
Originally posted by Jeff Connell:
Just checking BlueZebra. We have always had good interaction.
Again, I know the extent of the implications but I have never found anything to rule balk when it is done properly. But like many pick off moves, it is messed up much of the time.
Grateful, I hate to tell you but I have never seen it done right where the runner did not get picked off. Because the rigthy, like a lefty, picks his foot up like going home, then steps back. The runner, even if he is not stealing, gets his secondary and is picked.
Yes, you would spend some time watching unless you could find a RULE that made it a balk.
Thanks for your insight BlueZebra. If this catches on, it will change the balk rules I am sure. Or it will change coaches telling the runner to go when a righty picks up his foot.

Thanks. I doubt it will change coaches' thinking, since 99% don't read the rule books and case books. Or ask an umpire.
bluezebra, You have hit the nail on the head. Most people other than officials tend to read only the first part of the rule not the entire rule, Additionally they don't have access to the case book, or their individual states rules interpretations. They read and quote what they want, using their own interpretations of the rule.
quote:
Originally posted by AZ ump:
bluezebra, You have hit the nail on the head. Most people other than officials tend to read only the first part of the rule not the entire rule, Additionally they don't have access to the case book, or their individual states rules interpretations. They read and quote what they want, using their own interpretations of the rule.

Here's a good example. When I lived in the San Fernarnando Valley (LA CITY), we broke off from the LA Units in the following sports: Football, Softball, Baseball, Basketball. As each season, starting with football, came, we invited all the coaches in the area to come to our pre-season clinics to learn the new rules, the interpretations, and to ask any questions they saw fit. The first basketball season three coaches showed up. A head coach and his assistant, and a head coach from another school. That was it. No other coaches from other sports came to any of our clinics. EVER!

And yet they complain.
bluezebra...

up above you said that umpires who call this a balk are correct......then you responded to me that I should prepare to spend a lot of time on the school bus or in the locker room after getting thrown out of a game for disputing a non-balk call on this....

you are the ump, so which is it, a balk or not?

Also for you umps out there, though I don't know all the rules, I have read the rule book cover to cover several times over the years to make sure I know it, but all umpires should know the rule book better than coaches do.....if I am not sure about a rule in a game situation I will ask the umpire; but if I am sure then I will make sure the umps get the call right.
quote:
Originally posted by grateful:
bluezebra...

up above you said that umpires who call this a balk are correct......then you responded to me that I should prepare to spend a lot of time on the school bus or in the locker room after getting thrown out of a game for disputing a non-balk call on this....

you are the ump, so which is it, a balk or not?

Also for you umps out there, though I don't know all the rules, I have read the rule book cover to cover several times over the years to make sure I know it, but all umpires should know the rule book better than coaches do.....if I am not sure about a rule in a game situation I will ask the umpire; but if I am sure then I will make sure the umps get the call right.

Congrats on reading the rule book. I might suggest you also read the case book. It gives better explanations than the rule book, itself.

The original post said, "step backwards". To me, that means toward 2b, which means the non-pivot foot breaks the plane of the pitcher's plate. That's a balk. However, if the RHP steps with his non-pivot foot DIRECTLY toward 1B, and throws, that's legal.
quote:
Originally posted by bluezebra:
IronHorse..Good name. That's about the extent of your brain cells. If you could read, you would see that I was responding to goMo's statement, not Connell's.

Along with my double-major, I have a minor in English. What are your qualifications? And "grammatical" is spelled with TWO "M"s.

Snazzy comeback. I know who you were responding to. goMo's first sentence is "pitching is not to deceive runners." To which you cleverly respond "Your "imo" is wrong. The balk rule is about deceiving runners..."

You then go on to berate folks who you don't feel are qualified, even though this guy's point is the same as yours. That makes you an a-hole. It also makes you look extremely intelligent, but of course you are a double-major w/ a minor in English. Very impressive.

My qualifications in regards to officiating probably don't match yours, but since I wasn't commenting on officiating, that's what folks with a JD (fancy letters for Law Degree) would refer to as irrelevant. I was commenting on common sense. But I like the way you throw up the "qualifications" defense when ever someone questions you. It was really classy when you threw it up at a 14 yr old kid because he put down "surfing" as a hobby. Glad to see your in it for the kids. Bluehair.

p.s. - I promise when I start turning in my posts for a grade I begin proofreading them for grimaticull errors.
Last edited by ironhorse
Jeff we need to see it, please post a video if you can.
quote:
Originally posted by ironhorse:
quote:
Originally posted by bluezebra:
IronHorse..Good name. That's about the extent of your brain cells. If you could read, you would see that I was responding to goMo's statement, not Connell's.

Along with my double-major, I have a minor in English. What are your qualifications? And "grammatical" is spelled with TWO "M"s.

Snazzy comeback. I know who you were responding to. goMo's first sentence is "pitching is not to deceive runners." To which you cleverly respond "Your "imo" is wrong. The balk rule is about deceiving runners..."

You then go on to berate folks who you don't feel are qualified, even though this guy's point is the same as yours. That makes you an a-hole. It also makes you look extremely intelligent, but of course you are a double-major w/ a minor in English. Very impressive.

My qualifications in regards to officiating probably don't match yours, but since I wasn't commenting on officiating, that's what folks with a JD (fancy letters for Law Degree) would refer to as irrelevant. I was commenting on common sense. But I like the way you throw up the "qualifications" defense when ever someone questions you. It was really classy when you threw it up at a 14 yr old kid because he put down "surfing" as a hobby. Glad to see your in it for the kids. Bluehair.

p.s. - I promise when I start turning in my posts for a grade I begin proofreading them for grimaticull errors.

An attorney. Says it all. You're a real putz, having to resort to name calling. I've been working with youth since I left the Marine Corps in Jan, 1955, both as a professional and a volunteer. In case your math is as poor as your spelling, that's 49 years. How much have you done?

As for the surfing comment, I was showing that being a surfer doesn't make one qualified to interpret rules. I would never attempt to say anything about surfing, because I don't participate. Just as a lawyer shouldn't try to interpret baseball rules.

Maybe you have a secretary, or a law clerk, to correct your spelling at work. You should hire one to do the same here. I find that people who resort to name calling, do so because they are immature, and have a weak command of the language.

I'll leave you with a thought; your "briefs" are too tight, and are cutting off the flow of blood to your little brain.
quote:
An attorney. Says it all. You're a real putz,

Followed by:
quote:
I find that people who resort to name calling, do so because they are immature, and have a weak command of the language.

All of this from the same person, now who's calling the kettle black?

quote:
Just as a lawyer shouldn't try to interpret baseball rules.

What if the law gig was his day job and umping his night? It is not unheard of to have an ump that has a day job. Actually it's very common.
Were you a full time amateur ump Blue? What did you do for money the other 8 or so months of the year? Are you a career student?
quote:
Originally posted by Glove Man:
quote:
An attorney. Says it all. You're a real putz,

Followed by:
quote:
I find that people who resort to name calling, do so because they are immature, and have a weak command of the language.

All of this from the same person, now who's calling the kettle black?

quote:
Just as a lawyer shouldn't try to interpret baseball rules.

What if the law gig was his day job and umping his night? It is not unheard of to have an ump that has a day job. Actually it's very common.
Were you a full time amateur ump Blue? What did you do for money the other 8 or so months of the year? Are you a career student?

Why don't you look at our profiles? Do you see any umpiring experience on his? And I wonder how he would react if someone who was totally unqualified was giving people legal advice?

And I didn't start the name calling. A great president once said, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen".
I'm not an attorney. I have a law degree. There's a difference, but way to jump to conclusions. And you have more umpiring experience than me. Congratulations. Since I wasn't interpreting a rule that never was the point, but I see your going to continuiously ram it down my throat. Well, here's your blue ribbon for that.

My only point was come down off your high horse. If this board was solely designed for people you deemed to have "expert" qualifications it would be a very boring place. I'm here to become a little more educated and to talk about the great game. It's a lot more fun when I don't have to sift through loads of condescension.
ironhorse...

I agree with you. I suppose we'll never really know if bluezebra knows what he is talking about, since his arrogance shines through more than anything else. It's too bad we have people with such an attitude working with our American teenagers.
As long as the pitcher steps directly toward first base and then throws the move is legal. They do not have to come to a set position first. They do not have to disengage from the rubber.

If a RH pitcher attempts to turn clockwise toward first that is not considered stepping directly toward first base. Once the left leg goes back past the rubber with only a man on first the pitcher is obligated to throw to the plate.

A balk is often called by incompetent umpires on a legal move in this situation. If your pitcher uses this move it is a good idea to go over it with the umpires before the game. It doesn't matter if you are right and umpire is wrong. Even the protest might not be upheld.
Gents, since this seems to be a highly contested topic, why don't you simply put the question to your state baseball rules interpretations guy, who will then refer it to NFHS for assistance. We are getting nowhere in this discussion and we should table this topic until either a video of the move is presented or final word from NFHS is presented. There is no reason to get derogatory towards others. This is an informational forum not a coach/umpire bashing forum... I submit that the original poster submit the request to his state High school rules program official for clarification.
wow - step away for a few days and look what happens!!

as some pointed out, I did say that pitching was about deceiving the batters, not the runners. I shouldn't have put the "imo" in that sentence.

I'm not an umpire. I'm a 13U coach who is trying to get a handle on the rules.

chill out blue. remember, baseball is life, not life and death. we're all here to get a better understanding of the rules, not a mouthful from you. If your attitude is the same when you ump, I can only imagine alot of frowns when people see you arriving at the game...

plus your quote "You're a real putz, having to resort to name calling" has to be the funniest thing I've seen all week!! classic!
Last edited by goMO
What u are describing would shut the running game down completely. You really wouldnt ever be able to steal a base on a move like this. It has to be a balk.