The debate around “faking a throw to second base” has been a hot topic of discussion between players, coaches, and fans of Major League Baseball (MLB) for many years. While it is a common tactic and strategy used by pitchers, it is also seen as a violation of the rules of the game. This article will discuss what constitutes a “balk” and the implications of faking a throw to second base.
What is a Balk?
A balk is an illegal move made by a pitcher in an attempt to deceive the batter or baserunner. According to the Official Rules of Major League Baseball, a pitcher cannot “fail to deliver the pitch to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball, throw or feint a throw to second base, or otherwise make any motion naturally associated with pitching without delivering the pitch.” A balk is considered a dead ball and all runners are awarded one base.
What Does Faking a Throw to Second Base Entail?
Faking a throw to second base is when a pitcher makes a fake throwing motion with his arm and hand, as if he were throwing to second base, but does not actually throw the ball. This is done in an attempt to deceive the baserunner and make them hesitate or move off the base. It is important to note that the pitcher must not actually throw the ball in order for it to be considered a fake throw.
History of Faking a Throw to Second Base
The practice of faking a throw to second base is believed to have originated in the late 19th century, as a way for pitchers to deceive and slow down baserunners. It is a tactic that has been used by pitchers ever since, and is still seen today.
Is Faking a Throw to Second Base a Balk?
According to the MLB rules, faking a throw to second base is considered a balk. The umpire has the final say in determining whether or not a fake throw is illegal, and can call a balk if they believe the pitcher has committed a violation of the rules.
Repercussions of Faking a Throw to Second Base
The repercussions of faking a throw to second base can be significant. As mentioned previously, if the umpire determines it to be a violation, it will be called as a balk and all runners will be awarded one base. This can have a big impact on the game, as it can lead to runs being scored that would have otherwise not been.
Strategies for Avoiding a Balk
Pitchers can employ various strategies in order to avoid being called for a balk. This includes using a more exaggerated motion when throwing to second base in order to make it clear that the ball is actually being thrown, and being aware of the baserunners’ positions and movements in order to know when to throw to a base and when not to.
When is Faking a Throw to Second Base Legal?
Despite the fact that faking a throw to second base is generally considered a violation of the rules, there are some instances when it is allowed. For example, a pitcher may fake a throw to second base if they are in the process of making a pickoff move. Additionally, a pitcher can make a fake throw to second base in order to keep a runner close to the base, as long as they do not make any other motions that would indicate that they are actually throwing the ball.
Pros and Cons of Faking a Throw to Second Base
- Can be used as a strategic move to deceive and slow down the baserunners.
- Can prevent runners from stealing bases.
- Can be used to keep runners close to the base.
- Can be called as a balk if the pitcher does not make a clear motion when throwing to second base.
- Can have a big impact on the game if it is called as a balk.
- Can be difficult to execute correctly.
In conclusion, faking a throw to second base is a common tactic used by pitchers in an effort to deceive baserunners. While it can be a useful strategy, it is also seen as a violation of MLB rules and can be called as a balk if the umpire believes the pitcher has committed a violation. It is important for pitchers to be aware of the repercussions of faking a throw to second base, and to employ strategies to avoid being called for a balk.