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Question of the Day
The play is specifically addressed in the Official Baseball Rules under Rule 8.05 (c), which states: “It is possible, with runners on first and third, for the pitcher to step toward third and not throw, merely to bluff the runner back to third; then seeing the runner on first start for second, turn and step toward and throw to first base. This is legal.”
Hence, no balk. Not yet, anyway.
“Major League Baseball and the players decide what the rules of baseball are. We just enforce them,” longtime umpire Jim Joyce said.
New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, chairman of the Playing Rules Committee, points out “it’s evolved over time what’s acceptable on what you can do at different bases.” A bluff to third is legal, for example, but the same fake to first is not.
Fleet San Francisco leadoff man Angel Pagan isn’t too worried about whether the move is made illegal.
“I’ve been dealing with it my whole career,” he said. “They’re always trying to do something to trick you.”
Same first-and-third trap they pulled in Reggie Jackson’s day. The Hall of Famer is known for his slugging, yet he also stole 228 bases.
“I wish they wouldn’t get rid of it. That play’s been part of the game forever,” he said. “But I guess that’s part of change.”
A pickoff move that’s been part of baseball strategy for years might get picked off next season.
By John McAfee
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