Batter Cannot Cause Balk – MLB Umpire Misses the Call
Batter’s Actions Cause Pitcher to Balk
On July 11, 2017, the Rockies hosted the D’backs.
In the bottom of second, the Rockies had Ian Desmond on first and Gerardo Parra on third with two outs and Tony Wolters at bat facing Jorge De La Rosa. Wolters asked for a “late” time out which was not granted by plate ump Chad Whitson. De La Rosa, who took his eyes off the plate area for a moment, halted his delivery and Whitson called a balk on him scoring Parra and sending Desmond to second base. D’backs’ manager Torey Lovullo contested the ruling without success.
You can view this scenario by going to the link below:
or go to MLB.com, July 11, ARI@COL, “Parra crosses the dish on De La Rosa’s balk”
- In my opinion a balk should never have been called. The Comment to rule 5.04 (b) (2) on page 19 of the Official Baseball Rules is extensive. A section of the Comment reads, “If after the pitcher starts his windup or comes to a “set position” with runners on, he does not go through with his pitch because the batter has inadvertently caused the pitcher to interrupt his delivery, it shall not be called a balk. Both the pitcher and batter have violated a rule and the umpire shall call time and both the batter and pitcher start over from “scratch.”
- Because batters often ask for time after a pitcher starts his delivery, the probability of a pitcher halting his delivery is very high. Of course, pitchers should continue with their delivery if the umpire doesn’t grant time to the batter. But if the pitcher halts his delivery, don’t let the umpire call a balk. If a balk is called refer to 5.04 (b) (2). This is a rule that should be readily available to teams and broadcasters since the probability of this scenario can be common.
- If a batter does something with the intent of making the pitcher balk, the balk is nullified under rule 6.04 (a) (3). In the above situation, Wolters intent was not to draw a balk but when intent is not involved, the umpires should refer to 5.04 (b) (2).
- Intent or no intent, if the batter’s actions cause the pitcher to halt is delivery, no balk should be called.