If a pitcher makes any sort of motion that mimics his or her normal delivery, and then stops before firing the pitch, that’s a balk. A pitcher also can’t throw a pitch right after getting the ball back from the catcher, nor can he or she throw one while at least one of the catcher’s feet is out of the box.
Why is a balk illegal? The balk rule exists to limit the pitcher’s ability to deceive the batter and any base runners. The balk rule consists of specific actions a pitcher is unable to make and these actions are illegal because they help level the playing field between the pitcher and the offense.
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.
The former home of the San Francisco Giants was notorious because of the gusty winds. According to the legend, Giants pitcher Stu Miller was blown off the mound by a gust of wind and the home plate umpire called a balk.
(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.
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.)
Once a pitcher steps off the pitching rubber, they are considered an infielder and they are allowed to do whatever they want. If they want to fake a throw to first base after stepping off the rubber, they are able to do that without breaking any rules.
However, if in the umpire’s judgment, the pitcher has thrown this ball to the shortstop in this case – legally or not, in such a manner that delays the game, then a BALK shall be called on the pitcher and ALL runners advance one base.
(A) Straddling the pitcher’s rubber without the ball is to be interpreted as intent to deceive and ruled a balk. (B) With a runner on first base the pitcher may make a complete turn, without hesitating toward first, and throw to second. This is not to be interpreted as throwing to an unoccupied base.
If no runners are on base and the pitcher commits an otherwise balkable action, there generally is no penalty. However, delivering a quick return or pitching while off the rubber (which constitute balks when runners are on base) results in a ball being called with the bases empty.
If the pitcher drops the ball while in contact with the rubber and the ball does not break the plane of the foul line, that is a balk. If the ball crosses the foul line, that is a wild pitch and the ball remains live.
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.
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.
The term heater is another name for a high velocity fastball. This nickname is to help describe a pitch that is “coming in hot” or “on fire” hence calling it a heat.
Players must realize that improper use of detached equipment is against the rules. The catcher’s mask was designed for protection, not to field a ball. The fielder’s glove was made to catch a batted or thrown ball, not to be tossed at a thrown or batted ball.
Umpires should call “Balk” loud enough to hear, but if he doesn’t it doesn’t change the result, still a homer! The balk is only if the pitch ends up in the catchers mitt or if he doesn’t deliver the ball, this is why pitchers might not even deliver the ball if he knows of the call prior to release.
When a balk is made on a pitch that is a fourth ball it shall be ruled the same as when the batter hits a balk pitch and is safe on a hit or error, provided all runners advance at least one base on the play.
Once a pitcher throws 21 pitches (under 14) or 31 pitches (15–18) in a game, the pitcher must rest and not participate in pitching. Furthermore, pitchers may not be catchers if more than 40 pitches were thrown by the player.Youth limits.
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.”
In baseball, it is illegal to pickoff to an empty base. Performing a pickoff to an empty base violates the rule about throwing to an unoccupied base. Therefore, a balk will be called when a pitcher tries to pickoff an empty base.
pitching from the mound and making a throw across the diamond to first base are two totally different throwing motions (at least they should be). Pitching requires a full range of motion in delivering the baseball, and pitchers get used to that delivery moving downhill off the mound to the plate.
A pitcher can not feint a throw to first base.
The pitcher is not prohibited from throwing the ball to any fielder from within the circle the way she is if her foot is in contact with the pitcher’s plate. There are no rules which prohibit a pitcher delivering a pitch to not step outside the circle but there are prohibitions against her crow-hopping during a pitch.