Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fake-to-Third: Reds Take Lead on First Regular Season Balk

The fake-to-third balk has finally happened in an MLB game at a high-stakes time. In a textbook situation for the move—one out, runners on first and third base—Rockies pitcher Edgmer Escalona stepped towards third
C Torrealba questions not the ump, but his pitcher
base and feigned a throw before wheeling to check the runner back to first, a move than in 2012 would have drawn no attention.

Instead, while broadcaster Thom Brenneman knowingly said, "you're not allowed to do that anymore," home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom uttered "that's a balk!" and calmly pointed to the infraction, signaling baserunner R3 Xavier Paul in to score. Even Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba gestured and yelled toward his pitcher, appearing quite cognizant of the new rule. Back on TV, Reds color commentator Chris Welsh provided his analysis of the play, saying what we were all thinking:
Well, it took longer into the season than I thought to finally see somebody who forgot that they changed the rule, no one told Edgmer Escalona. Up until this year, this move was permitted, it was not a balk. You fake to third, throw to first or not throw to first, but they took that rule off the books.
In Jan., fake-to-3rd was outlawed in part to speed up games (Popular Fake to 3rd Pickoff Move now Illegal).

Though the Escalona balk gave the Reds a 4-3 lead, the Colorado Rockies ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

Video: Escalona balks in violation of the newly revised OBR Rule 8.05(b) [it is a balk when—] (CIN)


Gil Imber said...

Pretty good -- all 3 umpires in the shot called the balk immediately.

Gil Imber said...

Wow, at the rate we're going this year, I'm surprised somebody hasn't tried to Challenge this thread too...

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