Ok - I have looked at old threads, and still not clear.  These are two separate questions:

1.  During the wind-up - a pitcher has his pivot foot parallel with the rubber, however the entire side of the pivot foot is in contact with the rubber (heel, side of foot, etc.), and the non pivot foot has the rear of the heel engaged against the leading edge of the rubber.  Legal or not?

2.  LHP - pick-off move - raises his right leg (hang move), during the the leg lowering his hands break from his glove, then steps towards 1B and throws.  Balk is called - reason given is the hand break.  I don't know that I have ever heard that the hands can't break, "prior" to the lead foot initiating direction.

Original Post

I've never heard that either. I've umpired a little at the high school level and I've never heard of that being called. Usually the coaching point (for the base runner) on a lefty pick to first is the back shoulder. Not the hands breaking. I could be wrong though

1.  I can't conceptualize how you'd even do that.  Do you mean that the pivot foot is perpendicular with the rubber?  If the pivot foot is parallel with the rubber, it would be weird and uncomfortable to have the non-pivot foot on the rubber at all.  I think of the stretch position when I think of the pivot foot parallel with the rubber.  Then the non-pivot foot would be in front of the rubber.  Maybe I'm missing something.

2.  Never heard of a balk being called for hand break.  Usually the tell for a LHP is if the non-pivot foot crosses behind the pivot leg.  Once you cross over, you must go towards the plate.

bballman - you had it right, it is parallel, no perpendicular, so the way it would look is (LHP) - left foot parallel where his outside of his left foot is fully engaged against the rubber, and the back of the right foot heel is in contact with the rubber.  In essence the feet (toes) are pointing 90 degrees away from each other.

Certainly a strange position, but I don't see anything illegal with it...  But then again, I'm not an ump, just a pitcher's dad.

Maybe this kid's sister takes ballet - sounds like first position

1. Well, if you look at the feet separately each one is in a legal position - so I'll go with legal.  Odd, but legal.

2. For the given reason, that's not a balk.  I mean - you have to break your hands to throw, and I've never seen a pitcher wait until his foot lands to break his hands. The rule just requires a step before the throw - not before the hand break.

First position is move like toes are 180 degrees from each other, this is half of that or 90 degree angle

Luckily I know just a bit more about baseball than I do ballet.

I thought when my 2017 was about 12yo we were going to have to sign him up for ballet.  For some weird reason, he developed a problem starting his wind-up - sort of did a start-stop-start again which threw off his entire motion.   Threw out of the stretch a good portion that year.

1 is a legal set position. If he's going to a windup with it, it would most likely be a no-stop balk.

2 sounds like a balk for not directly stepping to the base. Based off what you said, his leg starts to go down then he begins to step towards first. The hands breaking at that point also might cause it to be a balk for making a motion naturally associated with the pitch, if the leg is going down at the time.

Last edited by Matt13

Matt,

I was hoping you'd respond...I have always trusted your understanding of rules.

Not sure I understand the no stop balk....there is a redirection of the right foot that has the back of the heel engaged with the rubber from pointing at catcher to in front of the pivot foot parallel with the rubber, then the leg lift.  Why no stop balk.  Picture the exact windup of David Price, only he starts with his left foot engaged with the rubber parallel, not perpendicular...stride foot action same as Price.

Second question regarding balk, the explanation give by the FU was that the hand break was the cause of he balk, not a result of the action from the lead leg.  I do however have a question for you regarding your comment.  Can the lead leg (LHP) not travel up, then down, "prior" to committing to direction?  I don't see the leg coming down (without direction) be deceptive.

Edit to add:  This is Texas HS if makes a difference

Last edited by Back foot slider
Back foot slider posted:

Matt,

I was hoping you'd respond...I have always trusted your understanding of rules.

Not sure I understand the no stop balk....there is a redirection of the right foot that has the back of the heel engaged with the rubber from pointing at catcher to in front of the pivot foot parallel with the rubber, then the leg lift.  Why no stop balk.  Picture the exact windup of David Price, only he starts with his left foot engaged with the rubber parallel, not perpendicular...stride foot action same as Price.

Second question regarding balk, the explanation give by the FU was that the hand break was the cause of he balk, not a result of the action from the lead leg.  I do however have a question for you regarding your comment.  Can the lead leg (LHP) not travel up, then down, "prior" to committing to direction?  I don't see the leg coming down (without direction) be deceptive.

Edit to add:  This is Texas HS if makes a difference

The reason it would likely be a no-stop balk is that he described it as a windup. It's not. Because the entire free foot is in front of the rubber and the pivot foot is in contact with the front of the rubber, it makes it a set position. If he's using it as a windup, there's probably not a stop.

As for stepping to a base, the step has to be direct. If the leg starts to come down and then move towards the base, that's not direct. I'm not going to definitively say it's a balk (that's why I said it sounds like one) without seeing it, but given the way my mind's eye sees it, it is. Think of it this way...if we allowed the leg to start coming down and then picking a direction, there's an unintended advantage to the pitcher. He could hypothetically bring the leg down almost to the ground before committing to pitch or to a base.

A general point for balks: MLB is not the place to evaluate what is a balk and is not to translate it to lower levels. There are technical balks that are called there that wouldn't be anywhere else, and other elephant balks aren't called.

Matt13 posted:
Back foot slider posted:

Matt,

I was hoping you'd respond...I have always trusted your understanding of rules.

Not sure I understand the no stop balk....there is a redirection of the right foot that has the back of the heel engaged with the rubber from pointing at catcher to in front of the pivot foot parallel with the rubber, then the leg lift.  Why no stop balk.  Picture the exact windup of David Price, only he starts with his left foot engaged with the rubber parallel, not perpendicular...stride foot action same as Price.

Second question regarding balk, the explanation give by the FU was that the hand break was the cause of he balk, not a result of the action from the lead leg.  I do however have a question for you regarding your comment.  Can the lead leg (LHP) not travel up, then down, "prior" to committing to direction?  I don't see the leg coming down (without direction) be deceptive.

Edit to add:  This is Texas HS if makes a difference

The reason it would likely be a no-stop balk is that he described it as a windup. It's not. Because the entire free foot is in front of the rubber and the pivot foot is in contact with the front of the rubber, it makes it a set position. If he's using it as a windup, there's probably not a stop.

As for stepping to a base, the step has to be direct. If the leg starts to come down and then move towards the base, that's not direct. I'm not going to definitively say it's a balk (that's why I said it sounds like one) without seeing it, but given the way my mind's eye sees it, it is. Think of it this way...if we allowed the leg to start coming down and then picking a direction, there's an unintended advantage to the pitcher. He could hypothetically bring the leg down almost to the ground before committing to pitch or to a base.

Matt,

Regarding being a stop balk, his front foot does have a stop when it is placed parallel in front of the pivot foot....not sure if still applies?  BTW - I looked at MLB, and it looks like the pivot foot ONLY has to be in contact with the pitching plate, and does not matter if it is parallel.

Regarding balk, if the lead leg can't start down prior to stepping towards 1B, wouldn't we see balks called a lot more frequently?  I just don't see that...not saying that is not the rule, but just don't see that strictly enforced with LHP.

Back foot slider posted:
Matt13 posted:
Back foot slider posted:

Matt,

I was hoping you'd respond...I have always trusted your understanding of rules.

Not sure I understand the no stop balk....there is a redirection of the right foot that has the back of the heel engaged with the rubber from pointing at catcher to in front of the pivot foot parallel with the rubber, then the leg lift.  Why no stop balk.  Picture the exact windup of David Price, only he starts with his left foot engaged with the rubber parallel, not perpendicular...stride foot action same as Price.

Second question regarding balk, the explanation give by the FU was that the hand break was the cause of he balk, not a result of the action from the lead leg.  I do however have a question for you regarding your comment.  Can the lead leg (LHP) not travel up, then down, "prior" to committing to direction?  I don't see the leg coming down (without direction) be deceptive.

Edit to add:  This is Texas HS if makes a difference

The reason it would likely be a no-stop balk is that he described it as a windup. It's not. Because the entire free foot is in front of the rubber and the pivot foot is in contact with the front of the rubber, it makes it a set position. If he's using it as a windup, there's probably not a stop.

As for stepping to a base, the step has to be direct. If the leg starts to come down and then move towards the base, that's not direct. I'm not going to definitively say it's a balk (that's why I said it sounds like one) without seeing it, but given the way my mind's eye sees it, it is. Think of it this way...if we allowed the leg to start coming down and then picking a direction, there's an unintended advantage to the pitcher. He could hypothetically bring the leg down almost to the ground before committing to pitch or to a base.

Matt,

Regarding being a stop balk, his front foot does have a stop when it is placed parallel in front of the pivot foot....not sure if still applies?  BTW - I looked at MLB, and it looks like the pivot foot ONLY has to be in contact with the pitching plate, and does not matter if it is parallel.

Regarding balk, if the lead leg can't start down prior to stepping towards 1B, wouldn't we see balks called a lot more frequently?  I just don't see that...not saying that is not the rule, but just don't see that strictly enforced with LHP.

Under OBR, The thing to remember is that parallel/perpendicular are not relevant to determining whether the position is a set or a windup. The location of the feet relative to the rubber determines the position. If the free foot is entirely in front of the rubber, it is a set position. FED states that a windup has the pivot foot on top of the rubber, and a set has the pivot foot is parallel to or in contact with the front of the rubber with the free foot entirely in front. NCAA states that a set has the free foot in front of the pivot foot. By interpretation (clarified at this year's meeting,) a stance like the one you describe is illegal.

LHP throws to first...if any part of the leg starts moving to first, it's okay. The best angle for this balk is from PU. I would say that if you are seeing this missed, it's because PU is watching the hands and not the legs; most often, though, there is movement to first by some part of the leg.

1. 6-1-3... For the set position ...  "Before starting delivery, he shall stand with his entire non-pivot foot in front of a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher's plate..."   Penalty - Illegal pitch... w/ no runners on, ball to batter... w/ runners on illegal act is a balk.  If as you note "and the back of the right foot heel is in contact with the rubber.", then as a base guy (won't see that from the plate most likely) I'm probably going to say something to the pitcher in a way such that no one knows what we're discussing.  It's the don't pick the scab.  I may "employ" the first baseman to help me ;-).  From "A" it'll be awfully difficult to tell if his right heel is actually touching the rubber because I have the left toe pointing at me.  From "B" - I'll see it and say something quietly. Although part of me sees absolutely no advantage to that position. In fact, it's got to be damn awkward to stand that way on top of a hill.

2. I agree with others - I got nothing.  I will assume he came to the set position.  That is he started in some other manner, brought his hands together and was bringing them to their "compete and discernible stop" position.  If he started with his hands together, then came to "another stop" - that's a balk (I've seen that too).  The one thing that wasn't clear from your description was "raises his right leg (hang move)," - if you mean he pauses his leg for more than perhaps a half second in the air, then I've got  a balk for stopping (no continuous motion after set). Another thing that is a balk is if after coming to the set position you take your hand off the ball unless of course you step completely backwards with your pivot foot behind the rubber (think swatting a bee or wiping the brow) - that could be what that BU was thinking about - easy to misinterpret. I can only hope his partner and he talked about it after the game. With regard to the step and throw - for a lefty especially it's important to make sure he steps ahead of the throw or as it gets drilled into your mind makes progress towards the base.  For the lefty that does that simultaneous step backwards and throw to first without moving the free foot - just know what happened first.  If the hands moved prior to, then balk.

As for who watches what - it's a pregame discussion with your partner, but for a lefty if the PU watches the legs and the BU primarily watches the hands, then between the two picking up any illegal stuff by a left should be achievable (especially whether he's going home first - IOW that magical 45 degree line).

Matt13 posted:

1 is a legal set position. If he's going to a windup with it, it would most likely be a no-stop balk.

I disagree in FED.  To be set , the free foot must be entirely in front of a line through the front of the rubber.  If the heel is touching the rubber, that condition isn't met.

The FED put in rules to (attempt to) stop the "hybrid stance" -- the usual example was the free foot in front (indicating set) and the pivot foot across the rubber (indicating wind-up).  The OP, play 1, seems to describe the opposite of this -- the free foot is touching the rubber (indicating wind-up) and the pivot foot is parallel (indicating set).

NOUMPERE - is correct.  This is the wind-up, and although it may look somewhat difficult to have the feet in that position, however as stated before it looks very similar to the "wind-up" David Price uses, only his pivot foot is already on the rubber (parallel) with the entire side of the foot in contact with it.  His free foot is perpendicular to the rubber, with the back heel touching the rubber.  He brings his free foot in contact with the ground in front of the rubber (now parallel with the pivot foot), and then goes into leg raise.  There is a discernible stop / pause before leg lift.  I get it that this may be an illegal pitch, but again, not sure why.  I am not sure why the pivot foot being parallel has to indicate "set", or why it can't be "wind-up" as well.  Again, no refuting the rules, just not getting any perceived advantage / or disadvantage.

noumpere posted:
The FED put in rules to (attempt to) stop the "hybrid stance" -- the usual example was the free foot in front (indicating set) and the pivot foot across the rubber (indicating wind-up).  The OP, play 1, seems to describe the opposite of this -- the free foot is touching the rubber (indicating wind-up) and the pivot foot is parallel (indicating set).

This is along the way I was thinking...  I don't see anywhere that the pivot foot specifically can't be in the noted position.  The non pivot foot is in contact with a line extending through the front edge of the plate, which fits the requirement of where that foot is allowed to be.

Here are two pics of a co-worker I took to show the position of the feet.  First pic is how it looks while taking the sign  before any movement (free foot heel against rubber, toes pointing towards home  / pivot foot back side against rubber), second pic is where his free foot moves to before leg lift.

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Images (2)

So as I read he moves his free foot towards home and touches the ground and then;

From the windup the picture on the bottom shows the "Hybrid" stance which is illegal.

The top picture is legal

bballman posted:

1.  I can't conceptualize how you'd even do that.  Do you mean that the pivot foot is perpendicular with the rubber?  If the pivot foot is parallel with the rubber, it would be weird and uncomfortable to have the non-pivot foot on the rubber at all.  I think of the stretch position when I think of the pivot foot parallel with the rubber.  Then the non-pivot foot would be in front of the rubber.  Maybe I'm missing something.

2.  Never heard of a balk being called for hand break.  Usually the tell for a LHP is if the non-pivot foot crosses behind the pivot leg.  Once you cross over, you must go towards the plate.

Number 2 is not correct. The requirement to go towards the plate is only when the entire non-pivot foot crosses the BACK edge of the rubber (for High School). The pivot leg is not relevant in this scenario.

My BAD I thought both pics were from the windup

noumpere posted:
Matt13 posted:

1 is a legal set position. If he's going to a windup with it, it would most likely be a no-stop balk.

I disagree in FED.  To be set , the free foot must be entirely in front of a line through the front of the rubber.  If the heel is touching the rubber, that condition isn't met.

The FED put in rules to (attempt to) stop the "hybrid stance" -- the usual example was the free foot in front (indicating set) and the pivot foot across the rubber (indicating wind-up).  The OP, play 1, seems to describe the opposite of this -- the free foot is touching the rubber (indicating wind-up) and the pivot foot is parallel (indicating set).

And if you look at the pic, the conditions for a set position are met, but the requirements for a windup are not, which means using a windup from it would almost always make it illegal.

Last edited by Matt13