What is a balk?

Author's Note

I've watched a lot of baseball, both on TV and at the ballpark, and like pitcher Mark Buehrle, I've found the balk rule to be one that I can never guess what the umpires are going to decide. I think it's especially difficult for umpires to make the call against left-handed pitchers, who can easily pivot and throw to first base in a pickoff attempt without changing much from the pitching motion. The rule makes sense on paper, but it's often so subjective that it makes enforcement difficult.

Related Articles


  • MLB.com. "Official Rules: 8.00 The Pitcher." (Aug. 10, 2012) http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/pitcher_8.jsp
  • Padilla, Doug. "Buehrle still confused over balk rule." ESPN.com. March 9, 2011. (Aug. 10, 2012) http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/white-sox/post/_/id/3569/buehrle-more-confused-than-ever-over-balk-rule
  • Von Lehman, Joseph. "By The Numbers: Understanding The Balk." CBS New York. May 3, 2012. (Aug 10, 2012) http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/05/03/by-the-numbers-understanding-the-balk/