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The New Balk Rule
The MLB has recently changed a rule that could have historic significance. As long as baseball has been played, pitchers have faked throws to their third basement and then actually thrown to another base in order to get an out. This season however, this will not be allowed.
The New York Times has reported that any pitcher caught making such a throw will be charged with a balk and the rule change is set to go into effect with the first game of the season. Pitchers have been using this fake-out to throw base runners off their games for years although a good runner is going to be much smarter than that. This trick hardly ever works anyway and with the new balk rule in place, pitchers will have to stop doing it completely or pay the penalty for a balk.
Jeff Nelson, a former relief pitcher, thinks that the new rule will help to speed the games up a bit. He agrees that many pitchers have done this in the past and that most runners do not fall for it anyway. He claims that for every 100 times he tried this trick, he may have gotten two runners out. Even though it rarely works, pitchers still do it or at least they did.
Most players and managers were on board with the new rule change. Many have been trying to get the play eliminated for years so most in the MLB world were not particularly surprised with the announcement. Some pitchers feel that it is about time for consistency. Many claim that they could pull this trick a few times and get called for a balk and other times they would not.
MLB tried last year to change the rule but many players, well, balked at the idea. Some players simply would rather the play not be completely eliminated from the game. It does offer a slight advantage even though it rarely works. The point is that it does sometimes work and some players feel that taking it out of the game takes a bit of the baseball tradition with it.