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Fake to 3rd then throw to first now illegal


SteveA

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This may actually slow down the game, IMO. Runners at first will take slightly bigger leads, causing more deliberate play by the pitcher, including more throws to first. Far more throws to first than there would have been under a legal fake to third, legal throw to first move. There is nothing illegal about the fake to third piece, or the throw to first piece. To make the COMBINATION of two legal moves illegal is a mockery, IMO. Additionally, if I understand this, if a pitcher fakes to third and the runner on first starts toward second, the pitcher can only make a play on him if he continues to second? So the runner can just stand there eight feet off the bag singing "Pitcher's got a big butt, pitcher's got a big butt," and that's going to speed up the game? Obviously, the runners at third will also take larger leads, since a fake to third becomes much less likely, further slowing the pitcher's deliver time down.

Why not ban all pick off moves, since they are mostly unsuccessful? Maybe we can ban unassisted triple plays while we are at it, since they are so rare. Yeah, that's the ticket, you can make two legal outs unassisted, but since that third one is so rarely successful, let's just ban it, even though there is nothing illegal about the individual tag play involved. That tag play would just be illegal if made in COMBINATION with two other legal plays.

This rule change has no basis in fair play -- or common sense. If time is your concern, let's just forget all about what Earl Weaver said makes baseball a better game than all the others and just have a game clock, for crying out loud. Just run three plays into the line and run out the clock.

I think that you make some very valid points. I agree that making the combination of two legal moves illegal is indeed a mockery of the rules. IMO while the the play rarely works, it does force the baserunner at first back to the bag. As such, it keeps the baserunner on first honest. I agree that we will probably see more pickoff throws to first as a result. If MLB was indeed serious about speeding up the game I have a few suggestions. Limit "walk up" music to the player's first at bat in a game. Also, have the hitter keep one foot in the box while he's receiving signs from the third base coach. The umpires need to enforce the twelve second rule for pitchers when there is no one on base. There are better ways to speed up the game than changing rules that help the defense.

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I think there is some validity in attempts to speed up the game, although there aren't enough pickoff attempts that this (or even eliminating pickoffs altogether) would shave a minute off the game.

It is an oversight in the rules that they allow the pitcher a limited number of pitches to the plate before punishing him with a walk, but place no limits at all on the number of pickoff attempts. I think I'd be in favor of setting a limit on pickoffs of any kind, and that incentivizing baserunning is probably a good thing.

Does anyone really understand the balk rule in its entirety? Have you read the thing? There are prohibitions against pitching when you're not facing the batter. There is a clarifying statements stressing the rule is all about not deceiving the runner, but most called balks have nothing to do with deception. For God knows what reason it's actually a balk if you throw an intentional ball and the catcher isn't in the catcher's box. If the pitcher delays the game "unnecessarily" it's a balk. I'm fairly sure 75% of the balk rule hasn't been called in my lifetime.

I doubt it's even noticed, much less overturned. The announcers may mention once in a while that they changed the rule, but otherwise it'll essentially have no impact on gameplay.

Yes, I do have a decent understanding of the MLB balk rules, as well as the High School Federation balk rules, and umpire in games using each. The catcher's balk you describe is about the catcher legally lining up for play, it is only charged to the pitcher because there is no violation until the pitcher pitches the ball. It is akin to a delay of game penalty in the NFL being charged to the quarterback.

Frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing MLB make a rule change to actually call more balks on moves that are, in fact, illegal. Certain pitchers are allowed to balk on every pitch because of the very fact that they do it on every pitch. It is considered "part of his normal pitching motion," which is a load of bunk, IMO. If the move is illegal, it should be called. To say a guy like Broxton, or maybe Rodney, should be allowed to double set, move their leg, or bob their hands because they do it on every pitch is clearly unfair. I hate it that there are times I have to watch a pitcher balk on every pitch without calling it because of that rule. That would be a real change for the better. My opinion is that if your "normal pitching motion" is a balk move, you should be required to change it, or be called for a balk on every pitch! But, unfortunately, an umpire must enforce the rules, even the bad ones.

I'd also like to see the second base umpire make more balk calls on certain LHP that throw to first while stepping more toward home than first. It is hard for a first base umpire to see the angle as to whether it is more toward home or first, and it is difficult for the home plate umpire, as well, since he is set up to view the pitch. Neither umpire is likely to call a balk unless he is certain. The second base umpire has the best view of that. Any umpire can call a balk, but there is a tendency to not make that call from second base. I suppose the thinking is that you don't want to be perceived as making a call "out of your area." It is actually easier to make that particular call in the two-man mechanic, as the base umpire right behind the pitcher and can clearly see the angle and where he lands his right foot.

Bottom line, let's enforce the rules that are in place, don't make up new rules that penalize legal moves in a misguided effort to try to save time.

This rule change has nothing to do with the unusual situations you are describing, and involves two distinct, legal moves. Faking to third is legal, and will remain so. Either throwing or faking to first after legally stepping off the pitchers plate is legal and will remain so. Neither move here is illegal in any way (and shouldn't be), and are totally understood by all players, coaches, managers, etc. in the game. This rule is bad. It makes a legal play illegal only if it happens to follow another legal play.

I disagree that this won't be noticed. I am afraid, however, that many people won't realize that the game is moving slower in these first-and-third situations because of this inappropriate rule change.

I will tell you this, I'm sure that every MLB team will coach their runners to take off a few steps from first if the pitcher fakes to third in order to draw a reaction from the pitcher. In fact, I think we will see set plays where the runner on third starts for home, causing the pitcher to step off and go toward him, and then have the runner on first take off, creating a natural and instinctual play by the pitcher, resulting in a ridiculous balk, and a run scored. The existing play wasn't really unfairly bending the rules in any way, but the trick plays by the offense that this silly rule will cause will be, IMO. Speeding up the game? I doubt it.

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Yes, I do have a decent understanding of the MLB balk rules, as well as the High School Federation balk rules, and umpire in games using each. The catcher's balk you describe is about the catcher legally lining up for play, it is only charged to the pitcher because there is no violation until the pitcher pitches the ball. It is akin to a delay of game penalty in the NFL being charged to the quarterback.

Frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing MLB make a rule change to actually call more balks on moves that are, in fact, illegal. Certain pitchers are allowed to balk on every pitch because of the very fact that they do it on every pitch. It is considered "part of his normal pitching motion," which is a load of bunk, IMO. If the move is illegal, it should be called. To say a guy like Broxton, or maybe Rodney, should be allowed to double set, move their leg, or bob their hands because they do it on every pitch is clearly unfair. I hate it that there are times I have to watch a pitcher balk on every pitch without calling it because of that rule. That would be a real change for the better. My opinion is that if your "normal pitching motion" is a balk move, you should be required to change it, or be called for a balk on every pitch! But, unfortunately, an umpire must enforce the rules, even the bad ones.

I'd also like to see the second base umpire make more balk calls on certain LHP that throw to first while stepping more toward home than first. It is hard for a first base umpire to see the angle as to whether it is more toward home or first, and it is difficult for the home plate umpire, as well, since he is set up to view the pitch. Neither umpire is likely to call a balk unless he is certain. The second base umpire has the best view of that. Any umpire can call a balk, but there is a tendency to not make that call from second base. I suppose the thinking is that you don't want to be perceived as making a call "out of your area." It is actually easier to make that particular call in the two-man mechanic, as the base umpire right behind the pitcher and can clearly see the angle and where he lands his right foot.

Bottom line, let's enforce the rules that are in place, don't make up new rules that penalize legal moves in a misguided effort to try to save time.

This rule change has nothing to do with the unusual situations you are describing, and involves two distinct, legal moves. Faking to third is legal, and will remain so. Either throwing or faking to first after legally stepping off the pitchers plate is legal and will remain so. Neither move here is illegal in any way (and shouldn't be), and are totally understood by all players, coaches, managers, etc. in the game. This rule is bad. It makes a legal play illegal only if it happens to follow another legal play.

I disagree that this won't be noticed. I am afraid, however, that many people won't realize that the game is moving slower in these first-and-third situations because of this inappropriate rule change.

I will tell you this, I'm sure that every MLB team will coach their runners to take off a few steps from first if the pitcher fakes to third in order to draw a reaction from the pitcher. In fact, I think we will see set plays where the runner on third starts for home, causing the pitcher to step off and go toward him, and then have the runner on first take off, creating a natural and instinctual play by the pitcher, resulting in a ridiculous balk, and a run scored. The existing play wasn't really unfairly bending the rules in any way, but the trick plays by the offense that this silly rule will cause will be, IMO. Speeding up the game? I doubt it.

Good stuff. I think that teams will also work with their pitchers on stepping off of the mound in first and third situations. After stepping off the mound, the pitcher could then fake to third and still keep the option of throwing back to first. Also, they will probably tell the pitchers to step off the mound if the runner on third breaks/fakes to the plate to counter the trick plays. We'll probably see several force balks because of the rule change.

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I honestly still think that looks like a balk. O'day looked to come straight home, had to make a 90 degree turn and the another to get Rios.

? He clearly stepped toward third, not home. Maybe I don't understand what you mean by "looked to come home." The pitcher can look in any direction, what matters is which way he steps. If looking toward home with your head and eyes constituted a balk, just about every pick-off attempt by a LHP would be a balk.

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Yes, I do have a decent understanding of the MLB balk rules, as well as the High School Federation balk rules, and umpire in games using each. The catcher's balk you describe is about the catcher legally lining up for play, it is only charged to the pitcher because there is no violation until the pitcher pitches the ball. It is akin to a delay of game penalty in the NFL being charged to the quarterback.

Frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing MLB make a rule change to actually call more balks on moves that are, in fact, illegal. Certain pitchers are allowed to balk on every pitch because of the very fact that they do it on every pitch. It is considered "part of his normal pitching motion," which is a load of bunk, IMO. If the move is illegal, it should be called. To say a guy like Broxton, or maybe Rodney, should be allowed to double set, move their leg, or bob their hands because they do it on every pitch is clearly unfair. I hate it that there are times I have to watch a pitcher balk on every pitch without calling it because of that rule. That would be a real change for the better. My opinion is that if your "normal pitching motion" is a balk move, you should be required to change it, or be called for a balk on every pitch! But, unfortunately, an umpire must enforce the rules, even the bad ones.

I'd also like to see the second base umpire make more balk calls on certain LHP that throw to first while stepping more toward home than first. It is hard for a first base umpire to see the angle as to whether it is more toward home or first, and it is difficult for the home plate umpire, as well, since he is set up to view the pitch. Neither umpire is likely to call a balk unless he is certain. The second base umpire has the best view of that. Any umpire can call a balk, but there is a tendency to not make that call from second base. I suppose the thinking is that you don't want to be perceived as making a call "out of your area." It is actually easier to make that particular call in the two-man mechanic, as the base umpire right behind the pitcher and can clearly see the angle and where he lands his right foot.

Bottom line, let's enforce the rules that are in place, don't make up new rules that penalize legal moves in a misguided effort to try to save time.

This rule change has nothing to do with the unusual situations you are describing, and involves two distinct, legal moves. Faking to third is legal, and will remain so. Either throwing or faking to first after legally stepping off the pitchers plate is legal and will remain so. Neither move here is illegal in any way (and shouldn't be), and are totally understood by all players, coaches, managers, etc. in the game. This rule is bad. It makes a legal play illegal only if it happens to follow another legal play.

I disagree that this won't be noticed. I am afraid, however, that many people won't realize that the game is moving slower in these first-and-third situations because of this inappropriate rule change.

I will tell you this, I'm sure that every MLB team will coach their runners to take off a few steps from first if the pitcher fakes to third in order to draw a reaction from the pitcher. In fact, I think we will see set plays where the runner on third starts for home, causing the pitcher to step off and go toward him, and then have the runner on first take off, creating a natural and instinctual play by the pitcher, resulting in a ridiculous balk, and a run scored. The existing play wasn't really unfairly bending the rules in any way, but the trick plays by the offense that this silly rule will cause will be, IMO. Speeding up the game? I doubt it.

And my point is that baseball would be a better game with a vastly simplified balk rule that got rid of 80% or 90% of the rule as presently written. Why are umpires put in the position of punishing pitchers for twitching or dropping the ball? Basically just tell the pitcher he can't stop in mid-motion and turn around to catch a runner stealing, and leave it at that. Baseball shouldn't be football or basketball where the ref is parsing out and divining subtle changes in body positioning second-by-second, then handing out bizarre and draconian punishments for these split-second judgments.

I'm still bitter about a 2005 game that the O's lost because Steve Kline apparently moved a nose hair after having come to the set position. The ump would have done as well to call Kline for a 65-yard pass interference penalty.

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And my point is that baseball would be a better game with a vastly simplified balk rule that got rid of 80% or 90% of the rule as presently written. Why are umpires put in the position of punishing pitchers for twitching or dropping the ball? Basically just tell the pitcher he can't stop in mid-motion and turn around to catch a runner stealing, and leave it at that. Baseball shouldn't be football or basketball where the ref is parsing out and divining subtle changes in body positioning second-by-second, then handing out bizarre and draconian punishments for these split-second judgments.

I'm still bitter about a 2005 game that the O's lost because Steve Kline apparently moved a nose hair after having come to the set position. The ump would have done as well to call Kline for a 65-yard pass interference penalty.

I understand what you are saying, but most, if not all, of the balk rules were put in for a specific reason - usually because a player or team was getting an unfair advantage in some way. If a pitcher, for example, perfected a way to drop a ball just right, he could quickly pick it up and pick off a runner who thought the ball was pitched or thrown to a different base.

I think that you probably realize that you have exaggerated the balk issue in your post. It is not like you are portraying it. Umpires are not constantly calling balks on guys for wiggling their ears. There is a very real need to require the pitcher to come set without starting/stopping, and to throw the ball in the direction that he steps. Those are pretty much the two issues that encompass nearly all the balks that are called. Base runners, and even batters have the right to be protected from unfair deception. The odd balk rules involve plays that are rarely, if ever, seen for the very reason that the rules are in place. If we didn't have the rules, guys would be trying these tricks. Please don't think for a second that competitive players and coaches aren't always on the lookout for an edge. They are. They truly are. I know that if I was still coaching and the league my kids were playing in used MLB rules, I would immediately begin to false-start the guy on third, then start the guy at first if the pitcher steps toward third, and I have zero doubt that we will see that regularly in MLB-rules leagues as long as this new ill-conceived rule is in place.

This new rule change is not only overkill, but it has simply no basis, as far as fair play is concerned. Again, they should find some other way to make up for all the time wasted between innings for tv commercials.

Trust me, a generic balk rule like you suggest would cause far more problems than we presently see. Players and coaches demand to know specifically what they did wrong. Always. Rightfully so. We need specific rules. Having a generic rule like you suggest would actually put far more judgment on the umpire's shoulders. Then it would really seem arbitrary.

As to the Kline balk, I really am not familiar with the play, or what happened, so I can't comment on it. As in all sports, officials are hesitant to end a game on an official's call, if they can help it, so the idea that an umpire would call a questionable balk that ends the game is something that he would probably have a tendency to not want to do. A lot of times, there may be something we as fans don't know. Maybe teams had complained to the league office about some type of deception that Kline was doing and, after reviewing film, the league office may have sent a memo to all umpires to be aware of this and to call it if they see it. I have no idea in this case, of course, but things like that do happen. I know we got three or four such emails in football this year telling us to be aware of something one team or another might be doing. We even had a team that was using interlocking blocking like in the old flying wedge.

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.

I remember 1988, the "Year of the Balk."

Some rule changes and strict umpire crackdowns increased the ratio of balks-per-game from .08 % to .22 % ...... more than 3 times than the previous season !!! :eek:

I remember seeing Pirates pitcher Jim Gott getting so pissed off when the umpires called him for 3 balks in one inning for failing to come to a complete stop that he facetiously stopped for about 15 seconds on his next pitch, then finally threw to his catcher.

The very next season, they rescinded the rule change, and the ratio went back to a reasonable percentage of balks-per-game again.

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Not to detract from an otherwise interesting debate, but why do so many people think speeding up a game is a good thing? If I spend 100+ bones for a premium seat, I don't want to see a 90 minute game. I can understand not wanting a player to adjust his batting gloves 24 times between each pitch, but if the basis for this new rule is in speeding up the game then this smacks of barking up the wrong tree.

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Not to detract from an otherwise interesting debate, but why do so many people think speeding up a game is a good thing? If I spend 100+ bones for a premium seat, I don't want to see a 90 minute game. I can understand not wanting a player to adjust his batting gloves 24 times between each pitch, but if the basis for this new rule is in speeding up the game then this smacks of barking up the wrong tree.

I think most hard core baseball fans don't mind long games, unless the cause of the long games is too much offense across the board.

But for a sport that struggles with the reputation of being boring or slow compared to the other big money American sports leagues, keeping the games from being unnecessarily long is an important factor for attracting and keeping new fans.

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Not to detract from an otherwise interesting debate, but why do so many people think speeding up a game is a good thing? If I spend 100+ bones for a premium seat, I don't want to see a 90 minute game. I can understand not wanting a player to adjust his batting gloves 24 times between each pitch, but if the basis for this new rule is in speeding up the game then this smacks of barking up the wrong tree.

I don't care about long games, I care about games without pace. I'm not a fan of games where the pitcher takes 30 seconds between pitches, where David Ortiz and Derek Jeter step out to fix their batting gloves after every pitch, and where there's six mound visits by the pitching coach followed by six mid-inning pitching changes. I'm completely cool with a three hour game that's snappy and full of tension and stuff is happening all the time.

When I'm at OPACY I'm often with my kids, who're now six and four. They'll be happy to sit through an exciting 2.5 hour game. Not so much if it's three and a half hour mess of stall tactics and commercial breaks.

And when you're 41, have two kids, and a job that requires you to be up before 6am, it's nice when the O's game is over by 10:00 or so. If the game is anywhere but the Eastern time zone I'm pretty much precluded from seeing anything after the 5th or 6th inning without sacrificing beauty sleep. I'll do that for a pennant race or a no-hitter or something, but ain't no way I'm staying up to 1am for a standard-issue Royals game in June.

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