What Are The Balks In Baseball And How To Avoid Them

The balks in baseball refer to when the pitcher breaks one of baseball’s rules while delivering the ball to the hitter. In the following article, we will examine how this rule came about, what it means, and why it matters.

What does a balk mean in baseball?

“In baseball, a balk is a pitching move that is illegal in order to hinder a baserunner or make it difficult for the batter to hit the ball. The key element to these violations is intent – an umpire will never call a balk without seeing that the pitcher made an intentional effort to deceive the runner or the batter.”

The word “balk” comes from the term “bail out”, meaning that a pitcher tries to intentionally throw to second base in an effort to catch the runner off guard and make them get out of the runner’s way.

The balk rule was first instituted in 1887 and has been tweaked several times since then. The most recent change to the rule came in 2014 when MLB implemented a new rule that allowed pitchers to “balk off” runners who were stealing bases

The balk rules in baseball
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The balk rules in baseball

Balks can be called for a variety of reasons, but most commonly they are called when the pitcher:

– Takes more than four steps before pitching the ball

– Fails to come to a complete stop before pitching the ball

– Fakes a pitch without actually throwing the ball

– Throws to a base without first coming to a stop

– Makes an illegal pitch (such as a spitball)

– Steps off the rubber before starting his delivery

– Throws to a base without stepping off the rubber first

– The pitcher tries to pick off a runner who is not on first base

– The catcher interferes with a batter

– The pitcher makes an illegal motion while on the mound

– The pitcher throws to an unoccupied base

– Makes an illegal motion while on the rubber

– Fakes a pickoff throw to first base

Above are some common balk examples that we often see in a baseball match. If a balk is called, all runners are awarded one additional base from their current position. For example, if there are runners on first and second base when a balk is called, they would both advance to second and third base.

There are some situations in which a balk can be called even if the pitcher does not break any of the rules listed above. For example, if a pitcher makes an illegal motion while there are runners on base, a balk may be called even if the pitcher does not throw the ball.

MLB balk rules of 2022

In 2014, MLB implemented a new rule that allows pitchers to “balk off” runners who are stealing bases. This change was made in an effort to speed up the game, as previous rules had allowed for lengthy delays while Base runners and coaches discussed whether or not a balk had occurred.

The rule states that if a pitcher commits a balk while there is a runner on first base and less than two outs, the runner is allowed to advance to second base. If the pitcher then commits another balk while the runner is on second base, the runner is allowed to advance to third base. If the pitcher then tries to pick off the runner at third base and commits a balk, the runner is allowed to score.

This rule only applies to balks that are committed while the pitcher has the ball in his hand and is on the pitching rubber. It does not apply to any other type of balks, such as a pitcher stepping off the rubber without throwing the ball, or a pitcher making an illegal motion while on the mound.

The rule change was controversial when it was first implemented, as some pitchers and coaches felt that it gave an unfair advantage to base runners. However, the rule has been in place for several years and will be in effect until 2022, when it is scheduled to be reviewed again by MLB officials.

How to avoid balks in baseball

There are ways to avoid balks, and pitchers should be aware of them. Here are some tips:

– Make sure you step off the rubber before throwing it to a base. This is probably the most common reason for balks, so just be aware of it and make sure you step off before throwing.

– Don’t make any sudden movements while on the rubber. If you need to adjust your grip on the ball or your footing, do it slowly and deliberately so that it’s not interpreted as an illegal motion by the umpire.

– Be careful with pickoff throws to first base. If you fake a throw too well, the umpire may think you’re actually trying to pick off the runner and call a balk. So only do it if you’re actually going to throw the ball.

To learn more about balks in baseball, you can watch the MLB Ultimate Balks Compilation here:


The balks in baseball are illegal because some pitchers use the balks as ways to intentionally confuse or deceive the batter or runners on base. However, this is generally considered bad sportsmanship and is not looked upon favorably by most players, coaches, and fans. To learn more about other rules in baseball, follow Honesty Apps – A website sharing baseball knowledge and tactics.

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