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The Balk/no Balk

Frayed Knot
Jul 20 2005 10:30 PM

This was a new one on me, both for the "type" of balk it was and for the fact that is was: a) argued (supposedly not allowed) and then b) reversed.

Apparently, is wasn't a balk because Williams stepped off the rubber first which makes him like an infielder now, not a pitcher. So I guess that makes his throw a non-pitch (essentially, like a pick-off throw). But, of course, the batter likely has no idea this is the case and it's a "live ball" as it's traveling.
So what happens if said batter swings and knocks the ball into the parking lot?; or swings and hits a grounder to short?; or swings and misses?; or simply fouls it off or any one of a number of other possiblities?

I can't figure out how a hack at a supposed non-pitch would get handled.

Jul 20 2005 10:47 PM

I was thinking the same thing after it was reversed and explained. If an "in-
fielder" hurls the ball towards home and the batter got a hit ... I bet we'd
see some umps in a huddle scratching their heads. Good job reversing,
we may have to wait ten more years for a batter to get a chance to swing
at a "pitch" like that.

Frayed Knot
Jul 20 2005 11:09 PM

There's a story I heard once -- not sure if it's true.

Hack Wilson - who had that great season for the Cubs in the early '30s: 56 HRs/191 RBIs - never came close to matching that season again in part because pitchers started realizing he had trouble w/breaking balls (it also may have had something to do with the fact that he drank most of his meals but that's a different story).
Anyway, one game there's a play at the plate while Hack is on deck and when the heave comes in from the OFer Hack steps up and smacks the thing back the other way muttering; "that's the first fastball I've seen in weeks".

Don't know what the ruling was there either.

Jul 20 2005 11:23 PM

I'd have to figure that if any ball headed towards home plate was intercepted by a batter, one of two things would happen: (a) if the ball was in play, then that's interference and at least the runner is out; (b) if it's a dead ball (like they're throwing it around the horn after a K, except they decide to include the catcher, but the next hitter runs up to the plate and whacks it), then... um... I just don't think that would happen.

Either way, what Woody Williams did there was a balk in my book.

Johnny Dickshot
Jul 20 2005 11:56 PM

I figured "balk" too, but when Cameron made an out and Reyes didn't score, I figured fate was telling us the umps made the right call after all. The ball never lies.