According to the rules of baseball, a balk is “an illegal act by the pitcher with a runner or runners on base, entitling all runners to advance one base.” The purpose of the balk rule is to preserve a balance between runners attempts to steal bases and the defense’s attempts to retire them.
8.04 When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.”
Twenty Ways to Balk- Interrupts his pitching motion.
The penalty for a balk is that all base runners are awarded one base. The penalty for an illegal pitch is awarding one ball to the batter (unless the batter reaches first base safely on the pitch).
The rules state that a pitcher must step toward the base he throws to. It doesn’t matter if you’re set or not. If you’re on the rubber, that makes you a pitcher and you must step before throwing.
A balk occurs when a pitcher makes an illegal motion on the mound that the umpire deems to be deceitful to the runner(s). As a result, any men on base are awarded the next base, and the pitch (if it was thrown in the first place) is waved off for a dead ball.
’ ” Under a rule change imposed by Major League Baseball for this season, pitchers can no longer fake a pickoff throw to third base. Pitchers who did this would almost always follow by wheeling and firing to first — or to second, if a duped runner had taken off in that direction. No more.
The pitcher may fake a throw to second or third base from the rubber, but not to first base. This may be done from the windup or the set position. (You do not have to step off the rubber to fake to 2nd or 3rd. Only if you fake to 1st.)
In baseball, the penalty for a balk is the play is ruled a dead ball and each base runner is allowed to advance one base. However, a balk is a delayed dead ball and the penalty can be ignored if the batter safely reaches first base.
The actual definition in the MLB rulebook states “The pitcher, while touching his plate, feints a throw to first or third base and fails to complete the throw” (Rule 6.02(a)). In other words, it is simply not allowed to fake a throw to first or third base while touching the pitching rubber.
Guest Randy. A USSSA umpire told me that according to the discussion at a recent umpires meeting, a pitcher can pause his leg kick indefinitely at the top of his kick. This is when pitching from the stretch and after coming set.
It’s not a balk because he’s not in his set position yet.
From the windup position, any natural movement associated with delivering the ball commits the pitcher to pitching the ball in a single, continuous motion. This includes any motion by hand, arm, or legs. Failing to deliver the pitch is a balk (with runners on base).
(Under current rules, the only base a pitcher may feint to is second.) Umpires should indicate balks called under Official Baseball Rule 6.02(a)(3) (no step) by slapping the side of their leg after calling the balk. This indicates the balk is for failure to step directly towards a base.
According to rule 8.01, ‘pitchers shall take the sign from the catcher while standing on the rubber’. Unless there is a quick pitch situation, where they setup off then back on quickly to pitch, there doesn’t seem to be any penalty for the pitch signs coming from the dugout.
This seems to meet the definition of “illegal pitch” in the MLB rulebook, which reads, “An ILLEGAL PITCH is (1) a pitch delivered to the batter when the pitcher does not have his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate; (2) a quick return pitch. An illegal pitch when runners are on base is a balk.”
In professional baseball, under Rule 6.02(a)(9), a balk occurs if the pitcher is standing on or astride of the pitching rubber without the ball. As play after a foul ball, hit batsman, or time out, must not resume until the pitcher is on the pitcher’s mound, the infielder cannot use these times to obtain the ball.
To avoid a balk call, be sure that you step toward first base when you throw. You must “disengage from the rubber” before throwing to first base. For RHPs this means you move your back foot [the one touching the rubber] first.
By rule, a batter can not cause a pitcher to balk. A balk is the result of an illegal action by the pitcher while any base is occupied. If the batter leaves the batter’s box with both feet during the pitch and the pitcher delivers the pitch, two strikes are called on the batter.
One of the more uncommon, but still exciting, ways to end a baseball game is by the pitcher making one costly mistake with a balk. What is a balk off? A “balk-off”, also known as a “walk-off balk”, refers to a baseball team winning a game because of a balk on the pitcher.
The umpire is required to yell “Infield fly, if fair” and will typically raise one arm straight up to signal to everyone that the rule is in effect. If the umpire believes the catch is a sure thing, he can call the play as an infield fly and declare the batter out, even if the ball was not caught.
According to the note in Rule 8.01 (b), at the Little League Major Baseball Division and below, the pitcher is not required to come to a complete and discernible stop before delivering the pitch, whether there are runners on base, or not.