February 17, 2013

MLB to nix untricky trick play

Tony La Russa recently stated during the course of his MLB duties (going around Spring Training camps informing teams of rule changes) that pitchers will no longer be able to fake a throw to third base from the pitching rubber.

Pitchers often used this ploy (legal prior to this upcoming season) in an attempt to catch a base runner at first base off guard and possibly pick him off. It rarely works to such ends, but the play is a great deterrent to base runners thinking about swiping second base.

If a pitcher utilizes the aforementioned trick play, which always draws boos from the crowd and bores the daylights out of everyone viewing on TV, a balk will be called.

Can't afford a balk with base runners on first and third, as the base runner on third gets to score and the base runner at first gets to trot into scoring position.

Another potential defensive bonus was that a team could possibly detect if a hitter was going to bunt (suicide squeeze). Batters give themselves away more than you might realize, especially in the majors where the lost art of bunting is more of a stressor causing plenty of big league batters to flinch.

There was no reason given for the rule change.

Comment on this one, but only if you are a knowledgeable in baseball tactics and skills.

photo credit: SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent) via photopin cc