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Thread: Article: On Mitch Williams' horrible non-balk explanation

  1. #1
    Owner Big-Leaguer Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    Article: On Mitch Williams' horrible non-balk explanation

    @OverTheBaggy

  2. #2
    Williams said so many dumb things last night I was amazed he has a job as a commentator. He constantly 'predicted' what the next pitch was going to be and/or the location of the pitch and he was wrong probably 90% of the time. He incorrectly predicted when runners would attempt steals. He described defensive shifts incorrectly. On and on it went.

    http://twinsdaily.com/showthread.php...ll=1#post31999


    I think the first base umpire is shaking his head no, because in his judgment Holland's free foot did not cross the back plane of the rubber. That's why there was a non-balk call. Of course Williams botched the explanation.

    BTW, the 45 degree landing spot is a rule of thumb that umpires will sometimes use to help determine if a left-handed pitcher's throw to first was deceptive. Lefties also use it to practice their pick-offs moves. Thus, if a lefty throws to first base but his front foot lands in front of an imaginary line drawn perpendicular to the first base foul line to the pitching mound it is an indicator of an intention to deceive the runner. (The 45% angle is derived from an imaginary line drawn from first base to the pitcher's mound and then drawn from the mound perpendicular to the first base foul line.)
    Last edited by powrwrap; 07-08-2012 at 02:53 PM.

  3. #3
    Owner Big-Leaguer Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    BTW, the 45 degree landing spot is a rule of thumb that umpires will sometimes use to help determine if a left-handed pitcher's throw to first was deceptive. Lefties also use it to practice their pick-offs moves. Thus, if a lefty throws to first base but his front foot lands in front of an imaginary line drawn perpendicular to the first base foul line to the pitching mound it is an indicator of an intention to deceive the runner. (The 45% angle is derived from an imaginary line drawn from first base to the pitcher's mound and then drawn from the mound perpendicular to the first base foul line.)

    Yes, it's a guideline but not a rule at all in MLB (although some amateur umpiring guidelines do reference that as their rule). It is very much like the often misstated check swing strike commentary - that a bat "broke his wrists" or "crossed the plate" and therefore it is a strike. Neither are true as a check swing strike is basically an umpire's interpretation of intent:

    A STRIKE is a legal pitch when so called by the umpire, which—(a) Is struck at by the batter and is missed;


    In terms of breaking the plane, re-watching the video it is extremely close. From the camera's angle, it definitely appears that his knee has broke that plane and the foot cannot be that far behind (I suspect that if we had a view from third, it would confirm that his leg indeed broke that rubber plane). To me, however, the main rule "m
    akes any motion naturally associated with his pitch and fails to make such delivery" supersedes the foot plane argument of the comments. Holland made a motion naturally associated with his pitch and failed to delivery home. Balk.

    I do realize that we have the power of instant replay and slow motion to confirm this, so I am not that critical on the umpire for missing this call (if you want to say it was missed). What the point is, is that Williams' explanation shows a large chuck on ignorance on his part of the rules.



  4. #4
    if ya watch Mitch on MLB network, you get this type of analysis most nites.
    Is he the Rangers color guy on TV/radio???
    I dont mind a guy voicing his opinion, esp if he's against the grain...but when it can disputed by fact or a rulebook, you look bad

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post


    Yes, it's a guideline but not a rule at all in MLB (although some amateur umpiring guidelines do reference that as their rule).


    Yeah, I know it's not a published rule in MLB.

    In terms of breaking the plane, re-watching the video it is extremely close. From the camera's angle, it definitely appears that his knee has broke that plane and the foot cannot be that far behind (I suspect that if we had a view from third, it would confirm that his leg indeed broke that rubber plane).


    Here's a screen grab. I
    t's awfully close, but I don't think his front foot crosses the back of the rubber. If anyone has a good look at it, it's the first base umpire.

    HollandsFoot_lores.jpg



    To me, however, the main rule "m
    akes any motion naturally associated with his pitch and fails to make such delivery" supersedes the foot plane argument of the comments. Holland made a motion naturally associated with his pitch and failed to delivery home. Balk.
    Well, no. This is where the 45 degree argument comes into play (sorta). Since his leg motion was ultimately toward first base and not toward home plate and he threw the ball to first base, no balk.

    I do realize that we have the power of instant replay and slow motion to confirm this, so I am not that critical on the umpire for missing this call (if you want to say it was missed).
    I don't think he missed the call but that's the nature of judgment calls. They're debatable.

    What the point is, is that Williams' explanation shows a large chuck on ignorance on his part of the rules.


    Of this there is no debate!


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    "Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand."

  6. #6
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jimbo92107's Avatar
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    Holland stepped a long way towards home plate. Big time balk.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
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    "Williams said that he "does not believe in the slide step" - the abbreviated leg kick in which a pitcher expedites his throw home in order to keep the runner from stealing a base. His reasoning behind that was that it "leads to injuries"."

    Me being a pitcher, the reason that I don't like the slidestep is that it throws off my mechanics and never lets me be as accurate as I want to be. I am sure my dad would probably very unhappy to learn about how bad Williams was at being a broadcaster, especially since my dad was driven crazy by how bad John Gordon was on our radio broadcasts.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo92107 View Post
    Holland stepped a long way towards home plate. Big time balk.
    Look at the video at about the 14-15-16 second mark. Where did he step towards home?
    "Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand."

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    Senior Member Triple-A
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    "Williams said that he "does not believe in the slide step" - the abbreviated leg kick in which a pitcher expedites his throw home in order to keep the runner from stealing a base. His reasoning behind that was that it "leads to injuries"."

    I heard Williams say this as well. I sort of wish he had expanded on this, a bit. As 3-Dog said it certainly could throw your mechanics off. I could also see where the slide step may put more pressure on your arm, that is, perhaps you might not use your legs as much as with the more normal stretch deliivery.

    Unfortunately, this is mostly speculation with me. So, there may be something to Williams theory,and I wish he would of explained it a bit more throughly.

  10. #10
    Owner Big-Leaguer Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    Well, no. This is where the 45 degree argument comes into play (sorta). Since his leg motion was ultimately toward first base and not toward home plate and he threw the ball to first base, no balk.
    Again, because there is no such thing as a "45 degree" rule, this does not come into play. What overrides this non-existent rule is the actual rule of "makes any motion naturally associated with his pitch and fails to make such delivery."

    In terms of the crossing the rubber, it's not necessary a prerequisite of the overarching rule - "makes a motion naturally associated with his pitch" - but it does appear in the video that at the very least, his knee is crossing. I agree that it's hard to pick up entirely from the angle given in your screenshot and the telltale view would have been that of the first base umpire's or from the first base side to ultimate tell.




    Last edited by Parker Hageman; 07-08-2012 at 05:30 PM.

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    I know its fun to pile on an announcer but please bear this in mind:
    My memory tells me Williams had a great pickoff move. So as bad he might have been on the air (and I didn't here it) in this case he does talk from a position of an expert.

  12. #12
    Owner Big-Leaguer Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    My memory tells me Williams had a great pickoff move. So as bad he might have been on the air (and I didn't here it) in this case he does talk from a position of an expert.
    But not an expert on the balk rule...you can click on the video linked above to hear the entire commentary on the play.

    Although to explore your idea, Williams did have a decent enough pick off move to nab 29 base-runners from 1987 to 1989. Either his move got worse or became easier to read over the rest of his career as teams stole 42 bases in 51 tries and he picked off just 7 more base-runners from 1990 to 1995.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
    But not an expert on the balk rule...you can click on the video linked above to hear the entire commentary on the play.

    Although to explore your idea, Williams did have a decent enough pick off move to nab 29 base-runners from 1987 to 1989. Either his move got worse or became easier to read over the rest of his career as teams stole 42 bases in 51 tries and he picked off just 7 more base-runners from 1990 to 1995.
    Maybe his move started being ruled a balk! Haha.

  14. #14
    Owner Big-Leaguer Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDog View Post
    Maybe his move started being ruled a balk! Haha.
    He balked 12 times from 1987 to 1989 and balked just 7 times from 1990 to 1995.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
    He balked 12 times from 1987 to 1989 and balked just 7 times from 1990 to 1995.
    See! They got him right in the mind!!!!! (Any Slap Shot reference is a good reference. It's a rule.)

  16. #16
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Boom Boom's Avatar
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    He also said he doesn't like the 2-seam fastball.

    Call the guy a clown if you want, I wish he had more time to expand on these subjects. We don't get commentary that opinionated in MN, and I kind of wish we did.

  17. #17
    I was at the game sitting just past first base and I though it was a balk, but I'm not an umpire and I'm biased.

  18. #18
    Member Rookie Sarah's Avatar
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    THANK YOU. I didn't get to watch the whole game but I was wondering who the horrible person was doing the analysis with Dick Bremer. I found it amusing one time when he said something and then Dick Bremer totally changed the subject as if to say, "I'm not going to touch that with a ten foot pole..." Geez, if he is a regular announcer for some team I feel sorry for their fans!

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