The balk rule is one of baseball’s laws that’s rarely enforced and often misunderstood. Even some major league umpires have admitted to not fully understanding its vague language about “deceiving” the runner.
On Tuesday night, Colorado Rockies pitcher Rex Brothers somehow managed to cross the umpires twice, not just in the same game, but while pitching to the same batter. In the bottom of the eighth, with the Phillies’ Domonic Brown on first base and Michael Young at the plate, Brothers threw a pitch home that ended up being called dead because of a balk, with Brown advancing to second.
A couple pitches later, with Brown still on second, it happened again. For a second time, Brothers went through a full motion and delivered a pitch home, but again it didn’t count and again Brown advanced a base. Brothers eventually struck out Young, but only after having delivered five strikes to the third baseman.
Though, again, the balk rule is confusing and little invoked, Brothers does appear to balk both times by failing to pause when coming set. Then again, both calls are probably close enough that they could have gone either way.
Check out the bizarre sequence in the video below.