A balk so nice, I did it twice

Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto was a little too deceptive for his good the other night. He was called for a balk in the 1st inning.

The umpire does an elaborate chicken dance to explain the call. What is he trying to convey? He is saying he “broke” or “buckled” his front leg before turning to throw to first. This is a movement associated with going to the plate. Once you make a movement associated with throwing home, you have to throw home.

This is a classic start/stop balk. Good on the ump to catch it. It happens really fast. Given that Cueto did not protest, the Reds manager did not protest, and the quickness of the call, I am willing to wager the Brewers tipped the umpire off to this move.

Did Cueto learn his lesson? Nope.

He got nabbed an inning later for the same move. Back to the drawing board for the pitcher.

Balks are confusing. RuleGraphics takes some of the confusion out through rule book language, key points, and illustrations. Find out more at our website.


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