May 17, 2021

Reds’ Pitcher Steps Off Rubber and Delivers a Pitch…Is That Legal?

Reds’ Pitcher Steps Off Rubber and Delivers a Pitch…Is That Legal?



Would it be the same ruling if there was a runner on third stealing home?
In that situation is the pitchers only option to get a runner stealing home to deliver a pitch?

Donny Brusca

What this video fails to mention is that this is perfectly legal if there is a runner at third who is attempting to steal home. In this situation, if the pitcher steps off and throws home, it is NOT a pitch and the batter is not permitted to swing or bunt at it, as he may be called for interference if it hinders the catcher’s play at the plate. I think this is an important point that shouldn’t have been omitted.

William Bell

Even with a runner attempting to score, Castillo’s move would be a balk because he disengages the pitcher’s plate after he starts his motion to deliver the pitch. He would have to disengage prior to making any movement associated with the pitch for the “throw” to the plate to be legal.


I’m a Reds fan so I may be biased. But I have a problem with the ump being able to ask for a “rules review” here. If balks are not reviewable and there’s really no other infraction they may have missed then they shouldn’t be able to get New York to call a balk. The umps didn’t misunderstand balk rules—they just didn’t catch it. Now if they want to just make balls reviewable I’m fine with that but that’s not the rule currently.

Anthony Duva

Suppose the hitter got a base hit on the pitch. Does the offensive team get a choice of the actual play (base hit) or is it a dead ball and there is no pitch?. I would think it is a Delayed balk and see what happens. Comments?

Donny Brusca

In OBR, all balks are delayed dead. If the batter reaches first base (such as by a hit) and all runners advance, then the balk is ignored. Otherwise, the balk penalty is enforced. It is NEVER the offensive team’s choice. In high school (NFHS) rules, however, all balks are immediately dead, so even if the batter hits a home run, only the balk is awarded and the batter remains at bat.

John Gilmore Sr.

It’s nice we get and explanation of what happened however, no one ever sites what the MLB 20 or 21 rule book rule is located. Explanations are fine but for new umpires just starting to umpire and their league uses MLB rules, it would be
nice to have the experts site the rule and rule number. How about it experts?

Stan Dyer

These types of things happen all the time in lower level games. It’s difficult for umpires to watch everything they have to watch, whether the Sun is in their eyes, or not.
A big one I see is pitchers who want to feint to first base by first stepping off the back of the pitcher’s plate. That’s fine, except that most take their hands apart at the same time, and that’s illegal. The pitcher cannot separate his hands except to make a pitch, or to throw to a base until his pivot actually touches the ground behind the pitcher’s plate.

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