• MLB Wants To Not Allow “Fake-To-Third, Throw-To-First” Pick-Off Attempt

    Posted by on May 10th, 2012 · Comments (4)

    Via the AP

    Major League Baseball is poised to pick off the much-maligned move, the fake-to-third, throw-to-first ploy that often succeeds only in getting the whole ballpark to shout “Balk!”

    “I think they should get rid of it,” Yankees reliever Boone Logan said. “Us lefties can’t do that. If we do, they call a balk.”

    “Besides, how often does it work? Maybe once in never,” he said.

    The Playing Rules Committee has approved a proposal to make it a balk, too, with MLB executives and umpires in agreement. The players’ union vetoed the plan for this season to discuss it further. MLB is allowed to implement the change after a one-year wait — no telling whether that would happen if players strongly object.

    Under the new wording, a pitcher could not fake to third unless he first stepped off the rubber.

    I would do the opposite. In fact, if I were in charge of baseball, my first two moves would be:

    1. Make all “checked” swings count as strikes. “Checked swing” is an oxymoron. It’s either a swing or a take. You start to swing, and it’s a swing, in my book.

    2. Eliminate the balk call. Pitchers have to throw to first on a pick-off. If not, it’s a balk. But, they don’t have to throw to another base on a pick-off and it’s allowed by the rules. The whole thing with the balk is that they don’t want to allow the pitcher to deceive the runner. I ask: Why not? Why not allow the pitcher to do this? Pitchers are allowed to try and deceive the batter with varying the speed and break on their pitchers. Why are runners treated differently than batters?

    Comments on MLB Wants To Not Allow “Fake-To-Third, Throw-To-First” Pick-Off Attempt

    1. BOHAN
      May 10th, 2012 | 11:21 pm

      1. So once you start your hands its considered a swing????

      2. So you’re saying a pitcher shouldn’t be able to step off once he comes set or steps on the mound to take a sign???
      If a pitcher does a jump move (which most do) they have to throw to first but if they just simply set off behind the rubber they don’t.

    2. Evan3457
      May 11th, 2012 | 4:31 am

      Couldn’t disagree more with the 1st point.

      You’re asking for a massive increase in strikeouts (both swinging and called) in a game that already has too many of them. Long term, that will produce a massive decrease in power, and a return to 1960′s baseball, which, no matter what Tim McCarver says, was not the most scintillating type of baseball to watch.

    3. #15
      May 11th, 2012 | 6:34 am

      @ Evan3457:
      Yep. I agree wholeheartedly. I think what baseball has needed to do for a long time is clarify the definition of a swing. The “intent to strike the ball” is too vague. If the bat head (not the hands) cross the plate, ring ‘em up.

      On the “Ole Jeff Nelson”… I wouldn’t change the rule. There are other reasons to try this move, like seeing if a batter will tip a bunt, keeping runers from going on first move, etc…

      The game is shifting back to speed, strategy, and making regular contact with the pitch, this comes after a long preoccupation with PED enhanced long balls and nonchalance about strikeouts. I like this brand better. Homeruns (especially solo-shot) are over-rated and strikeouts are killers.

    4. MJ Recanati
      May 11th, 2012 | 9:20 am

      I’m actually very torn on the checked swing issue. On the one hand, Evan3457 is right in that removing the checked swing rule would depress offense and probably make the game less exciting overall. On the other hand, since I simply don’t see how umps can make these calls correctly, we’re basically accepting that a rule exists even though it’s probably improperly and subjectively enforced (moreso than the subjective strikezone, even).

      I’d like to see a better way of calling the checked swing or modifying the rule so that umpires can have an easier time making the right call.

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