No, balk is not just a really fun word to say. In specific baseball terminology, balk refers to the moment when the pitcher tries to intentionally cheat the hitter or the runner. This can be avoided in the case of the pitcher. According to the rulebook, the pitcher needs to keep both feet on the rubber avoiding thus to move towards the home plate. This has the sole exception when trying to start the delivery. A balk is also called if the ball is dropped by the pitcher while delivering the pitch.
The Key Against Deceiving
A good pick-up throw requires deception. There is a limit to this, however. If you are too deceiving, the umpire will call a balk. So how can you avoid this situation? You will have to work together with your teammates to accomplish the situation and you must remember not to drop the ball while you are making an attempt. When you are looking at your pitcher you need to be stationed with both feet on the rubber with your hands apart. This is a crucial moment because after you receive your sign you have to bring your hands together and take a pause for a full second.
After that, you can attempt the delivery. There are also some positions which will force you to make a delivery. For example, if your stride foot is behind the pitching rubber you are required to make a delivery. But your position can also bring in a balk from the umpire. You can only move your head and keep your shoulders straight and your legs in position in order not to activate the bulk. Your position also needs to be accountable for the base you are throwing to. In this sense, you need to take a step in the direction of the bag. This bag needs to be the bag towards which you will throw.
But your position might allow you to fake throw if you step and fake towards the second or third base. This is not however applicable when it comes to the first base. If you want to face a throw towards the first base you need to step off the rubber. A balk will be called if you don`t step off from the rubber. So, in the end, you need to remember not to make a pitching motion if you don`t have the ball and if you have it you need to remember not to drop it.
As you can see your position and gestures play a crucial role in a balk from the umpire. You need to not deceive the opponent and this can be interpreted to the extreme in some cases. For example, you cannot scratch while you are on the rubber. Wiping your sweat or mouth is also not an option as a balk may be called. So many players forget this and they can be called for a balk. In the end, you need to remember to concentrate on the hitter and always step off the rubber first.