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Balk Guide

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One of the most misunderstood rules in baseball is the balk. Below are the most common rules associated with what constitutes a balk.


  1. Pitcher comes in contact with the rubber without having the ball.
  2. While in contact with the rubber, the pitcher drops the ball either purposefully or accidentally.
  3. Pitcher pumps more than twice before delivering the pitch.
  4. If the pitcher defaces the ball in any way and delivers the pitch, the play will continue. If the hitter reaches base in any way, all runners move up and no out is recorded, the play can be ruled legal. If the manager elects not to accept the play, the pitch is ruled a ball and a balk will be called.
  5. Pitcher stretches twice.

Getting Set

  1. Pitcher delivers pitch from the set without coming to a complete stop with runner(s) on base.
  2. Pitcher removes his hand from the ball in the set position.
  3. After coming to a stop in the set position, pitcher fakes with any part of the body, except the head.
  4. Pitcher steps forward off the rubber from the set position with his pivot foot.


  1. If the pitcher attempts a pickoff move from the windup position, he must first step off the rubber with his pivot foot first.
  2. Pitcher throws to first (left hander) or third (right hander) after his non-pivot foot has broken the plane of the back edge of the rubber.
  3. Pitcher fakes a throw to first base without first stepping back off the rubber with his pivot foot.
  4. Fails to step first with the non-pivot foot toward any base before making a throw.
  5. Fakes or throws to an unoccupied base except when making a play.
  6. Steps toward occupied third and then turns to throw to first without first disengaging the rubber.


  1. Pitcher, while in contact with the rubber, makes an attempt to throw pitch and does not throw pitch.
  2. Pitcher pitches from the windup position without maintaining contact with the rubber with pivot foot
  3. Pitches from the set position with his pivot foot outside the end of the rubber.
  4. Makes a quick pitch.
  5. Fakes toward home.
  6. Fails to pitch after making any motion habitually associated with the pitching motion.
  7. Pitcher delivers the ball without facing the batter.
  8. Commits any act which, in the umpire’s judgment, is an illegal attempt to deceive the runners.






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