Did MLB make changes to the Balk rule?

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All you need to know about if the MLB changed the Balk rule for the upcoming season of the league.

Gerrit Cole
Did MLB make changes to the Balk rule? 2

According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, Major League Baseball plans to “increase enforcement of the balk rule” during the 2023 season. This information comes from Passan. The crackdown, which is timed to coincide with the introduction of the pitch timer, is aimed at bringing under control deliveries that are described as “bouncing” or “rolling.” The aforementioned tics have the potential to blur the line between when the timer is intended to stop and when it actually does stop at the beginning of a pitch.

Morgan Sword, the executive vice president of operations for Major League Baseball, stated on Tuesday during a media briefing that the league has “slipped a little bit centrally” with calling the rulebook illegal pitches and balks. ESPN reported that Sword’s comments were made.

The balk rule has been around since the late 1800s, but it is still one of the most complicated rules to explain to someone who is just passingly familiar with the sport. The gist of the matter is that pitchers are not supposed to be able to purposefully mislead baserunners by distracting them with twitches or odd movements before the beginning of their delivery. This is one of the fundamental rules of the game. All runners are allowed to advance one base, and the pitch, if it was delivered, will be considered a dead ball retroactively. The penalty for balking is that the pitch will be considered a dead ball retroactively.

Here’s a list of actions that can be deemed a balk, according to Baseball Reference:

  1. Starts his pitching motion without completing the pitch;
  2. Fakes a throw to first base;
  3. While standing on the rubber, throws to a base without stepping directly toward that base;
  4. While standing on the rubber, throws or fakes a throw to an unoccupied base, unless a runner is running toward that base;
  5. Makes an illegal pitch, including a quick pitch;
  6. Pitches while not facing the batter;
  7. Makes any part of his pitching motion while not touching the pitching rubber;
  8. Unnecessarily delays the game;
  9. Stands on or astride the pitching rubber without the ball;
  10. After assuming the windup or set position, removes one hand from the ball except in the course of making a pitch or throw to a base;
  11. Drops the ball while standing on the pitching rubber;
  12. Pitches while the catcher is not in the catcher’s box;
  13. Pitches from the set position without coming to a complete stop.

There are going to be a lot of frustrated pitchers as a result of these new regulation changes because it is quite possible that it will influence their pitching routine, which may cause them to get off to a slower start throughout the season.

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