• “Hey Blue, the runner busted his butt running to first base, the least you could do is move 10 ft. to make a call!”~~~

  • “Wipe the dirt off that called strike, Blue!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, did they stop printing the rulebook in Braille?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, Lenscrafter called and said your new glasses will be ready in 30 minutes!”~~~

  • “You're killing me, Blue!”~~~

  • “Blue, that was a strike in any bowling alley!”~~~

  • “Sweep the plate Blue! It's the least you can do!”~~~

  • “Wake up Blue, you're missing a great game!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, you're getting better, you almost made the right call that time!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, Stevie Wonder could see that one!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, you really shouldn't be in the game until you get warmed up!”~~~

  • “Blue, just 'cause it's a night game, doesn't mean you should be asleep!”~~~

  • “Blue, if that pitch were any further outside it would be in the West Desert!”~~~

  • “Somebody call the police, this guy is impersonating an umpire!”~~~

  • “Blue, now I know why there’s only one eye (I) in umpire”~~~

  • “You can go home Blue. We'll take it from here.”~~~

  • “Come on Blue, it’s a strike zone, not an end zone!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, does your wife let you make decisions at home?”~~~

  • “Blue, kick your dog, he's lying to you!”~~~

  • “Blue, if the pitcher is throwing too fast for you, we can ask him to slow it down!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, how can you sleep with all these lights on?”~~~

  • “I’ve seen better Blues in a box of crayons!”~~~

  • “I’m gonna break your cane and shoot your dog!”~~~

  • “If I had a dollar, Blue, for every good call you’ve made, I’d be broke!”~~~

  • "Is that your final answer?”~~~

  • “The magic 8 ball says……”~~~

  • “When your dog barks twice, it's a strike!”~~~

  • “Mix in some consistency once in awhile!”~~~

  • “Take off that welding mask”~~~

  • “Lenscrafter called... They'll be ready in 30 min.”~~~

  • “Open your good eye!”~~~

  • “Can I pet your seeing eye dog after the game?”~~~

  • “Looked pretty good from up here Blue!”~~~

  • “Do your sleeping at home Blue!”~~~

  • “You must be losing them in the lights!”~~~

  • “Why do you keep looking in your hand...do you have a map of the strike zone in it?”~~~

  • “I'll take three pencils!”~~~

  • “For a guy that only works 2 hours a day, you're doing a pretty bad job!”~~~

  • “Hey blue, if you had one more eye you'd be a Cyclops!”~~~

  • “RING..RING....Wake up call Blue!”~~~

  • “I've seen better blue in a toilet bowl!”~~~

  • “What's a matter you gotta broken arm?”~~~

  • “Look through the mask, not at it!”~~~

  • “It really is hot today - that strike zone is melting!”~~~

  • “Wrong!”~~~

  • “Here's a quarter, go buy a strike zone!”~~~

  • “How's work experience going Blue?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue…if you had one more eye, you’d be a Cyclops!”~~~

  • “Keep that up and we’ll shoot your dog and break your cane!”~~~

  • “"Easy Flinchy" – After a slight flinch behind the plate.”~~~

  • “I thought only horses slept standing up!”~~~

  • “You're blinking way to long!”~~~

  • “Come on Blue, that pitch was so far outside it had a hat and coat on!”~~~

  • “You couldn't see the plate if your dinner was on it!”~~~

  • “Wake up Blue, you're missing a great game!”~~~

  • “Somebody call the police, this guy's impersonating an umpire!”~~~

  • “You're like a bat without sonar!”~~~

  • “I didn't know we were golfing today, I would have brought my clubs!”~~~

  • “Did you star in "Weekend at Bernie's"?”~~~

  • “Hey blue, that call was a get outta here quick call!”~~~

  • “I thought only horses slept standing up!”~~~

  • “That was higher than a t-shirt at Mardi Gras!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, it's against the law to make prank calls!”~~~

  • “(Hold up cell phone) Is this your cell phone? Because it has three missed calls!”~~~

  • “That pitch was like your last date, you didn't want to see her or call her.”~~~

  • “To batter as he steps into the box: "You better be swinging. You're standing in the strike zone."”~~~

  • “After the ump has dusted off home plate: "You're gonna make someone a great wife someday!”~~~

  • “You're not gonna sleep a minute tonight because you've slept all game!”~~~

  • “Did you make the call on WMD in Iraq as well?”~~~

  • “Is your rule book written in Braille?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, how can you sleep with all these lights on!”~~~

  • “Stevie Wonder could see that one!”~~~

  • “Flip over the plate and read the directions!”~~~

  • “How about some Windex for that glass eye!”~~~

  • “The French judge says it's a strike!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, diarrhea has more consistency than your strike zone!”~~~

  • “You need to go to confession after that call!”~~~

  • “I've seen better Blues in a box of crayons!”~~~

  • “Don't bother brushing off the corners, you're not calling them anyway!”~~~

  • “We know you're blind, we've seen your wife!”~~~

  • “They're putting your strike zone on the back of milk cartons!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, that's not a 9 iron he's hitting with!”~~~

  • “How do you sleep at night?”~~~

  • “I was confused the first time I saw a game too!”~~~

  • “I've gotten better calls from my ex-wife!”~~~

  • “Good thing there are not three choices!”~~~

  • “Somebody get the ump his prescription mask!”~~~

  • “You flipping coins?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue is that a dinner plate? Apparently it has no corners!”~~~

  • “Admit it.... You lied!”~~~

  • “Why don't you get your Seeing Eye dog to call it for you?”~~~

  • “I forgot the Milk-Bone for your seeing-eye dog!”~~~

  • “Have you lost your strike zone in the lights?”~~~

  • “Now I know why there's only one eye (I) in umpire!”~~~

  • “You couldn't get a pitchout right!”~~~

  • “You're making more bad calls than a telemarketer!”~~~

  • “Kick your dog, he's lying to you!”~~~

  • “Be careful when you back up, so you don't fall over your dog!”~~~

  • “Did you haul in your strike zone on a tractor trailer bed?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, if you had another eye it would be lonely!”~~~

  • “You couldn't call hogs!”~~~

  • “Keep calling them like that and you'll be bagging groceries in no time!”~~~

  • “Get a hammer and some nails, the plate is movin' around again!”~~~

  • “You call more strikes than a union delegate!”~~~

  • “Did your glass eye fog up?”~~~

  • “You couldn't call a cab!”~~~

  • “The circus is in town and the clowns are wearing blue!”~~~

  • “It's a strike zone, not an end zone!”~~~

  • “You really shouldn't be in the game until you get warmed up!”~~~

  • “Come on Blue, turn that mask around and get a GOOD look!”~~~

  • “You can go home blue, we'll take it from here!”~~~

  • “How'd you become an umpire? Flunk out of tollbooth school?”~~~

  • “How about asking the crowd?”~~~

  • “Do you want to use another lifeline?”~~~

  • “3 Blind Mice, 3 Blind Mice,”~~~

  • “What were you, a lookout for the Titanic?”~~~

  • “How many fingers am I holding up?”~~~

  • “(For an umpire is slow getting in position) C'mon blue, put the Snicker Bar down!”~~~

  • “Sweep the plate! It's the least you can do!”~~~

  • “Move around, you're tilting' the infield!”~~~

  • “Move around Blue, you're killing' the grass!”~~~

  • “It sure sounded like a strike!”~~~

  • “How'd you get a square head in that round mask?”~~~

  • “Have they stopped printing the rulebooks in Braille?”~~~

  • “Don't donate your eyes to science, they don't want 'em'”~~~

  • “Does your wife let you make decisions at home?”~~~

  • “Pull the good eye out of your pocket!”~~~

  • “Wipe the dirt off that called strike!”~~~

  • “Sure you don't want to phone a friend?”~~~

  • “You can open your eyes now!”~~~

  • “Do you get any better or is this it?”~~~

  • “You're blinking too long!”~~~

  • “You couldn't make the right call if you had a phone book!”~~~

  • “You couldn't make a call in a phone booth!”~~~

  • “Do you take Visa or American Express?”~~~

  • “Leave the gift giving to Santa!”~~~

  • “Take out your glass eye and wash it!”~~~

  • “Guess again, the last call was wrong!”~~~

  • “Blue, do you feel guilty?”~~~

  • “If the pitcher is throwing too fast for you, we can ask them to slow it down!”~~~

  • “Your strike zone is a moving target!”~~~

  • “You're getting better, you almost made the right call that time!”~~~

  • “Punch a hole in that mask, you're missing a good game!”~~~

  • “Hey, Sleeping Beauty, wake up!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, Magnum P.I. called and he can't find your strike zone!”~~~

  • “I've seen potatoes with better eyes!”~~~

  • “Next time buy a ticket if you're going to watch!”~~~

  • “Can I buy you another beer?”~~~

  • “We know your blind we've seen your wife!”~~~

  • “I’ve seen better blues in a crayon box!”~~~

  • “I've heard better calls at a square dance!”~~~

  • “I've heard better calls between two tin cans and a piece of string!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, were you looking for the curve?”~~~

  • “Hey Blues, which one of you is the designated driver?”~~~

  • “Move a little Blue, you're growing' roots!~~~

  • '


Michael LeavittPitch1-800QUESTION: How do you enforce the outcome of a balk? At what point is the play called dead? What happens if the pitch is delivered? If the pitcher hasn’t released the ball yet when the balk is called but the pitch delivered, is the pitch dead? If the pitch has been released and the batter doesn’t swing, then does the ball or strike count against him? If runners are on second and third and the balk occurs on the fourth ball, then how is it ruled? Is it any different if there are runners on first and second when the ball four balk is called? If the balk occurs and the runner hits a double and the runner on third fails to come home because of the balk call, thinking the play was dead, then how is it ruled?

  ANSWER: This is my fifth article on balks due to the fact that it has got to be one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted rules in baseball by the players, fans, coaches, and the umpires. You can read my other articles regarding what constitutes a balk. This article deals with what the outcome of different scenarios should be when the balk occurs... Why? Because I am finding no consistency amongst my fellow umpires. You would think the MLB rule book would be complete with explanations on the enforcement of the ruling, but it is really very brief. After conveying the 13 specific ways to balk the MLB rules say...

PENALTY: The ball is dead, and each runner shall advance one base without liability to be put out, unless the batter reaches first on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter, or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base, in which case the play proceeds without reference to the balk.

This short paragraph is what leads many to believe that the ball is dead, and it is if the pitcher stops his delivery. However, under MLB rules the ball is still live if the pitch is delivered. Note the penalty statement refers to “unless the batter reaches first on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter, or otherwise

  • FIRST ON A HIT - This means that the ball can be hit and he can get a single or more.
  • ERROR - This too would mean a batted ball with a wild throw. It could also mean a dropped third strike where the catcher is unable to complete the out on the batter-runner.
  • BASE ON BALLS - This means that ball four could count and the batter awarded a walk.
  • HIT BATTER - Getting hit by the balked pitch could get the batter to first base.
  • OR OTHERWISE - Very vague, and there must be other ways to get to first not described in this penalty clause.

NOTE: All of the above would count as long as the batter got to first and any runner advanced at least one base on the play. If the batter makes it to first safely and all runners have advanced, then the balk is ignored... But what do you do when that does not happen?


#1 SCENARIO - From Hardball Times “Every once in a while, the pitcher still throws the pitch if the call is late. In a 1977 Blue Jays-Yankees game, right after the third base umpire called Toronto pitcher Jerry Garvin for a balk, Garvin delivered a pitch that Lou Piniella hit for a double. Yankees baserunner Jimmy Wynn thought the ball was dead due to the called balk and remained on third base while Piniella ran out his hit to second. The umpires eventually awarded Wynn home due to the balk, but Piniella lost his double because not every runner advanced one base. He had to go back to bat, and he struck out.”LINK TO ARTICLE

RULING - Since the runner on third did not advance, then the hit was waived off. The batter was put back at the plate with the same count as before the balked pitch and play resumes.

#2 SCENARIO - The field umpire calls the balk before the pitcher released the pitch, is the ball dead?

RULING - There is nothing in MLB rules that makes a distinction between a balk called before the pitch is released and after the pitch is released. Instead, there is only reference to a balk called with a pitch delivered and a pitch not delivered. If the pitch is not delivered, then, “The ball is dead, and each runner shall advance one base without liability to be put out...” If the pitch is delivered, then all havoc and confusion may ensue by the fans, players, and coaches, but the umpires can clearly follow the guidelines on this page and make the correct ruling.

#3 SCENARIO - Runners are on second and third and the balk occurs on the ball 4 pitch,

RULING - The walked batter runner did not advance the runners on second and third so the pitch does not count. The batter returns to the box and play continues with the original count.

MLB 2013 200 #4 SCENARIO - Just as above, but runners are on first and second.

RULING - Ball four walks the batter runner and the two runners on base advance because of the walk, thereby waiving the balk. The pitch counts and play continues with the next batter and bases loaded.

#5 SCENARIO - Balk occurs on a dropped third strike with one out and runners on first and third.

RULING - Normally the batter would be out on the dropped third strike because there was less than two outs with first base occupied. Therefore the pitch is negated, the out is negated, and the batter gets a do-over.

#6 SCENARIO - Runner on first, balk called on pitch and the runner hits a double. The runner goes for third and is thrown out on the play.

RULING - Since the runner advanced at least one base, the balk is waived and the BR is safe at second and the runner is called out at third.

#7 SCENARIO - Runners at first and second with one out. Batter hits high pop fly and a balked pitch to the shortstop who drops the ball. The runner from second scores and the runner from first makes it to second base.

RULING - The infield fly rule is called and the batter is called out. This means that any other action is negated. The runners are reset and the batter gets a do-over with the same count from before the balked pitch.


I just love reading the umpire advice written by Carl Childress, Papa “C”. Carl’s advice to amateur umpires to to call the balk loudly while trying to scare the bejeebers (not his word) out of the pitcher so that the pitch is NOT delivered. This resolves all of the confusion that can come from a delivered pitch with a balk call. You do this by pointing at the pitcher with the left hand and loudly declaring, “That’s a balk!”


While researching I also found this great advice from Rule Book Edge to batters and runners on what to do when a balk is called...

What I will focus on are some specific points that apply to all balks.  In particular the penalty clause of the rule.  Contrary to popular belief, the play is NOT dead on a balk.
    It IS a dead ball only in certain situations.  For example if a pitcher fakes a throw to 1st and then doesn't throw the ball.  But if a throw is a made, or a pitch is made the play may not be dead.
    Specifically, it is not dead if the batter reaches first base and all other runners advance at least one base, or if the pitcher makes a wild throw on a pickoff attempt.
    What does this mean to the players?  The offense should be alert because they may be able to get more than the single base awarded on a balk, but careful because if they get greedy they can still get thrown out.  The defense should also be alert and not assume the play is dead while runners happily run around the bases.

What Should Players do in this Situation?


    If the batter hits the ball, run like you would on a regular base hit.  If it's a routine grounder and you get thrown out at first, the balk will be enforced and you will in essence get a "do-over" for the pitch, except all the baserunners get to advance one base.  (Note to Coaches in leagues with pitch counts: If the balk is enforced, the pitch is declared a no-pitch, and does not count towards the pitch count total).   But if the defense makes an overthrow or other error, you may end up getting 2 or more bases.   As well the baserunners ahead of you may get more than one base.    
    Do not get too greedy.  If you try stretching a long single into a double and get thrown out, the out will stand.  As long as you make it to first safely, and all runners advance one base, the balk is waived off.


    Always(*) try to advance at least one base.  Even if it's obvious you are going to be out, you have nothing to lose.  For example, if you're on 2nd base and there's a routine grounder to shortstop, go ahead and try to get to 3rd base.  If you're put out, the balk is enforced and you will be awarded 3rd base anyways.  But if they try to make a play on you and make an error (e.g. they throw the ball to the dugout trying to get you out at 3rd base), then you may end up with more than just the one base.   Do not just stand on your base, and cost your team a hit, as a Yankee player once did, turning a Lou Piniella double into a strike out.
    However, just like with batters, do not get too greedy.  If the batter makes it to 1st base safely and you've advanced one base, the balk no longer applies.  If you're on 2nd base, and the batter gets a clean base hit to the outfield, you can try to score but you do so at your own risk.  If you're out, you're out.
    This also applies on an attempted pickoff throw where a balk is called.  If as you dive back to 1st base, the ball gets away from the 1st baseman and goes down the rightfield line, get up and run to 2nd.  If you're out, the balk is enforced.  If you're safe, nothing happens, and if the rightfielder makes a bad throw... well you may wind up on 3rd base if you're lucky.   (Again, don't be greedy.... if you try pushing it to 3rd and get thrown out, you are OUT!)


And then there is the great advice to the defensive team...


Finish the play!  Remember the ball is not necessarily dead.   If you don't hustle after the ball, the offense can take more bases than they would have had with the balk, and if they get greedy, you can get them out trying to go for more bases.


I hope that this helps to clear up the confusion as to how the balk rule should be enforced when using MLB rules. If you are playing with high school rules then the balk call kills the pitch and the ball is immediately dead. For all other balk related questions, please refer to my other “Making the Right Call” articles related to balks.


COB Bottom2013