If you step back off the rubber, first, a fake is legal. If you perform a pick off move where the first move is NOT a step back, off the rubber, then a fake is NOT legal – it is a balk.
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.
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.
Twenty Ways to Balk- Interrupts his pitching motion.
The ol’ fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff move, a pitcher’s trick that fooled only the most gullible base runners, will now be a balk.
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.
Rule 6.02(a)(5) Comment: A quick pitch is an illegal pitch. Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter’s box. With runners on base the penalty is a balk; with no runners on base, it is a ball.
Definition. 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.
(d) Official Baseball Rule 6.02(a)(3) requires the pitcher, while touching the pitcher’s plate, to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base. If a pitcher turns or spins off of his free foot without actually stepping, or if he turns his body and throws before stepping, it is a balk.
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.
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.
When a balk is called, there is a delayed dead ball. If the batter safely reaches first base and all other runners safely advance one base, the dead ball is waived and the play stands. Otherwise, the ball is dead from when the pitcher balked and all base runners advance one base.
The word is “used in laws, regulations, or directives to express what is mandatory.” In short, a runner can’t decline a balk. And, no, Heyward couldn’t have moved back to second base later in the at-bat.
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.)
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.
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 pitcher can not feint a throw to first base.
It can become monotonous when a pitcher makes throw after throw after throw to first base in a vain attempt to pick off a pesky baserunner. This rule will limit pitchers to just two “step offs” or pickoff attempts per plate appearance.
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.
A pitcher may change to another position only once during the same inning in NFHS and pro, but only once per game in NCAA (NFHS 3-1-2; NCAA 5-5b, NCAA 9-4e; OBR 5.10d Comment 1).
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.
Rule 8.05(e) Comment: A quick pitch is an illegal pitch. Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter’s box. With runners on base the penalty is a balk; with no runners on base, it is a ball. The quick pitch is dangerous and should not be permitted.
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.