Monday, January 28, 2013

Official: Popular Fake to 3rd Pickoff Move Now Illegal

Balk! The fake-to-third pickoff ploy is now officially illegal in professional big league baseball.

After lengthy discussion in 2012 and formalized during the annual umpire meetings in Scottsdale, Major League Baseball has banned the infamous fake-to-third pickoff move, creating a 14th way for pitchers to balk.

Fake-to-third will be illegal in 2013.
The fake-to-first maneuver was previously and will continue to be illegal pursuant to MLB Rule 8.05(b), which states, "it is a balk when—the pitcher, while touching his plate, feints a throw to first base and fails to complete the throw." The newly imposed rule implements similar language with the phrase "first base" replaced with the term "third base."

Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre explained the reasoning behind MLB's decision to pass the rule change: "A large majority of the managers, I mean a really good amount, wanted to eliminate [the fake-to-third move]... The feeling was, you're deceiving the runner or the hitter."

The ML players association previously had rejected the rules change, but the union is bound to its terms under the present collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Said former pitcher Jeff Nelson (not the umpire), "You'd always hear it from the crowd, yelling, 'Balk! Balk! Balk!' I guess the league's now playing into it."

Under the terms of the 2013 OBR, pitchers will still be permitted to fake a throw to second base from the rubber, while a pitcher's priveleges and restrictions as infielders once he has disengaged the pitcher's plate will remain identical to 2012 provisions.

2013 'Fake Pickoff Throw' Legality
1B (Fake to first): Illegal [same as 2012]
2B (Fake to second): Legal [same as 2012]
3B (Fake to third): Illegal [new]
HP: (Fake to home): Illegal [same as 2012]
Disengage: (Fake to any base after legally stepping off the rubber): Legal [same as 2012]

News: Rule Change Eliminates a Fake Pickoff


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