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.
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.)
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.
Rule 6.02 (a)(1) Comment: If a left-handed or right-handed pitcher swings his free foot past the back edge of the pitcher’s rubber, he is required to pitch to the batter except to throw to second base on a pick-off play.
By rule, the pitcher must “gain ground” towards first base. Left-handed pitchers may throw to first base out of their delivery meaning they can mimic a leg kick to the plate and then deliver the ball to first base for the pick-off attempt.
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.”
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.
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.
Baulk is a British variant of balk. In British publications, balk and baulk are used interchangeably, and both spellings appear about equally often. Canadian writers favor balk, and Australians favor baulk.
If a catcher leaves the catcher’s box before the pitcher delivers the pitch (as when giving an intentional walk), the pitcher shall be charged with a balk (with runners on base), or with no runners on, an illegal pitch (ball to the batter).
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.
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.
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.
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.
A pitcher can not feint a throw to first base.
It’s legal if the pivot foot turns or slides as the pitcher pushes off the rubber, providing there is no loss of contact with the rubber. The pitcher may also legally slide the pivot foot across the pitcher’s plate. If contact with the rubber is maintained, that sliding is not considered a step and is allowed.
When stepping off the rubber, the pitcher must do so without hesitation or interruption and must make no movement normally associated with his motion to pitch. Coaching. From the windup position, the pitcher may step directly and throw to an occupied base.
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.
It’s not a balk because he’s not in his set position yet.
Balks aren’t the most common plays by any stretch. According to Baseball Reference data, 153 balks were called in 2019 over 4,858 games—one every 31.75 games. In other words, in 2019, each MLB team committed, on average, about five balks over the course the 162-game season.
In any event, there is nothing in the ORB rule book that says a pitcher can’t throw towards an infielder near second or third — but not covering that particular base(s). Just as long as his move is legal while moving off the rubber.
(c) When a pitcher swings any part of his free foot past the back edge of the pitcher’s rubber, it is a balk if he does not pitch to the batter, unless he throws (or feints a throw) to second base on a pickoff play. (Note that this violation is in reference only to the pitcher’s foot.
Yes, that is a legal play.