What the F*%k is a Balk?

contribution from friend of YF-SF Mike Morse, internationally accredited umpire, distinguished graduate of the Harry Wendelstedt umpiring academy, and University of Chicago Ph.D:
Here’s my pet peeve: amateurs who browse the rule book and then think they fully understand it. “Any move naturally associated with his pitching motion” is not some general idea of when someone thinks that the pitcher might be pitching, but it has a specific interpretation. This interpretation is even listed in the rule book, so it shouldn’t be a mystery: “If a lefthanded or righthanded pitcher swings his free foot past the back edge of the pitcher’s rubber, he is required to pitch to the batter…” In other words, when a left handed pitcher lifts his right foot, he can either pitch or step and throw to first, so long as the foot does not go back past the rubber.
There are thirteen ways to balk: One we have already covered, although this also covers a host of other things, like turning the shoulders when in the set position, stepping forward off the rubber, etc.
2. Faking a throw to first. 3. Not stepping toward a base on a pick-off throw. 4. Throwing to an unoccupied base. 5. A quick pitch, when the batter is not ready. 6. Pitching without facing the batter. 7. Pretending to pitch while not on the rubber. 8. Delay of game. 9. Standing on or near the rubber without the ball and pretending to pitch. 10. Removing his hand from the ball after becoming set while not pitching or throwing. 11. Dropping the ball when on the rubber. 12. Pitching when the catcher is not in the catcher’s box. 13. Not stopping before pitching from the set position.
To fully understand the balk rule, however, you really need to understand the various rules that apply to the Set Position and the Windup. I won’t go into those here.

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