Jose Bautista Balk Double Reminds Us that Baseball Rules Are Confusing…Even to Players (Video)
Most baseball are already pretty hazy on what the hell a balk actually is. On Tuesday night in Toronto, things got even more confusing thanks to what was, apparently, a Jose Bautista balk double.
Here’s what happened. As White Sox starting pitcher John Danks was delivering a 2-2 pitch to Bautista in the bottom of the third, he apparently failed to “come set.” In other words, he was supposed to bring his hands together, pause, and then pitch. But his hands were just together the whole time and he suddenly pitched. Which is a balk.
In most cases, balks are called before the pitch is actually thrown, and if there’s a runner on base he gets to advance. However, in this case, the second base umpire called the balk after the pitch had left Danks’ hand, and Bautista cracked a line drive to deep center that went over the center fielder’s head and bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double.
So what happens then? Do you nullify the hit, advance the runners (there were two on second and third), and do the pitch over?
In high school baseball, yes. But not in Major League Baseball. It turns out that enforcing a balk in MLB is like enforcing a penalty in the NFL. A football team might decline a penalty if the outcome of the play was more beneficial than assessing yardage and re-doing the play. Similarly, a baseball umpire will not enforce a balk when the ensuing play is more beneficial to the batting team than re-doing the play.
In this case, Bautista hit a double that plated two runs, which was better than getting one run and doing the 2-2 pitch over again. So the balk was not enforced.
You learn something new every day in baseball, huh?
Of course, I’d love to show you the play, but MLB Advanced Media hasn’t made the video embeddable for some reason. (Probalby because they don’t want us figuring out their obscure rules.) So if you want to check out the Jose Bautista balk double for yourself, click here. Sorry.
Hat Tip – [Cut4]