The intentional balk is a tactic used in baseball. It involves the pitcher deliberately balking in order to move a baserunner from second base to third base, in order to prevent sign stealing.
(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.
In disengaging the rubber the pitcher must step off with his pivot foot and not his free foot first. He may not go into a set or stretch position—if he does it is a balk. that known as “the stretch.” But if he so elects, he shall come to Set Position before delivering the ball to the batter.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One cannot call a balk on a third baseman. Ever. A balk can only be called on a pitcher.
Rule 5.02(a) says a catcher’s balk happens when the catcher is out of position on a pitch: “Except that when the batter is being given an intentional base on balls, the catcher must stand with both feet within the lines of the catcher’s box until the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand.”
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.
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.”
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.
The penalty for a balk provides that if a batter reaches first base safely on a hit or error, base on balls, or otherwise on a pitch on which a balk is called, the batter shall be entitled to first base only if all other runners have advanced one base or more on the play, in which case the balk is disregarded.
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 go to their mouth while on the pitching plate (rubber). If a pitcher brings the pitching hand in contact with the mouth without distinctly wiping off the pitching hand before it touches the ball, that is an illegal act and results in an illegal pitch or balk.
Can You Pickoff to an Empty Base? 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.
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.
With runners on base, call a balk. With no runners on base there is no infraction and no penalty. If a pitcher swings any part of the free foot past the back edge of the pitcher’s plate, the pitcher is required to pitch to the batter, except to throw to second base on a pick-off play.