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?