(Three Mostly) Bizarre Balks for Balki

1) Actually, that title is somewhat of a misnomer. This first balk is, like, totally obvious.

Show #9 (Season 2)
“The Unnatural”
Larry’s softball team has a chance of winning the championship, but with their star player unavailable, Larry’s hopes of winning the coveted trophy might rest on Balki’s shoulders

2) Okay, well this next one’s not so much obvious as perfect. It’s more like it’s so perfect that it should be a balk.

Show #32 (Season 3)
“Taking Stock”
Balki buys one share of stock in a cereal company and discovers that there aren’t the advertised number of raisins in a box. Knowing that the company is cheating the public, he decides to go to head office to complain.

3) And then there are the ones that are just so ridiculous. They make you wonder about the whole idea of a balk.

Show 77 (Season 5)
“Dog Day Mid-Afternoon”
Larry does all the work on an expose of a money-laundering scheme, but gets none of the credit. A disgruntled accountant arrives at the Chronicle with a bomb, upset that he has not gotten credit for his work on the scheme.

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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.

10 Responses to “(Three Mostly) Bizarre Balks for Balki”

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  1. David says:

    It’s a shame his fastball is so marginal, because Tom Milone would be a fun guy to watch if he can stick.

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  2. Do umpires even know what they’re calling anymore?

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  3. TheYellowSlant says:

    Number 2 was not a balk.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      Nope, that’s why I used the parentheses, and ‘mostly,’ and said it ‘should be a balk’ because it (meaning the move) was ‘so perfect.’

      Honestly, that move makes me wonder. It’s like Shaquille O’Neal whipping his elbows around: by the letter it makes sense, but does it make sense by the intent of the rule?

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      • Telo says:

        Anyone who says they know exactly what a balk is… is lying. That’s the best part. If you’re not an umpire in the majors, you literally cannot say for certain what a balk is in a borderline situation like that. There is no hard and fast definition. There was a BP article a while back interviewing umpires and the conclusions was seriously:


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        • Greg W says:

          Rule 8.05(c) The pitcher, while touching his plate, fails to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base;

          So, #2 doesn’t even look remotely like a step toward first, does it?

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          • Olafisberserker says:

            If it’s more a step toward first than a step toward home (usually denoted by a step at less than the 45 degree angle) then discretion is usually given to the pitcher in that instance.

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        • umph8er says:

          In umpiring clinics you’re taught that any more that intentionally deceives the runner is a balk… so from that 95% of moves should be called balks.

          and no I can’t cite the 95%

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  4. Dan says:

    I demand a GIF of the Mark Buehrle v. Joe West balk and toss.

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