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It is called a "balk."

Most basically, a pitcher is restricted to a certain set of motions and one of two basic pitching positions before and during a pitch; if these are violated, a balk is called.

With a runner on base and the pitcher on or astride (with one leg on each side of) the rubber, it is a balk when the pitcher:

  • switches his pitching position from the windup to the set (or vice versa) without properly disengaging the rubber;
  • while on the rubber, makes a motion associated with his pitch and does not complete the delivery;
  • when going from the stretch to the set position, fails to make a complete stop with his hands together before beginning to pitch;
  • throws from the rubber to a base without stepping toward (gaining distance in the direction of) that base;
  • throws or feints a throw from the rubber to an unoccupied base, unless a play is imminent;
  • steps or feints from the rubber to first base without completing the throw;
  • pitches a quick return, that is, delivers with the intent to catch the batter off-guard or defenseless;
  • pitches or mimics a part of his pitching motion while not in contact with the rubber;
  • drops the ball while on the rubber, even if by accident, if the ball does not subsequently cross a foul line;
  • while intentionally walking a batter, or at any other time, releases a pitch while the catcher is out of his box with one or both feet; this is rarely called, though, especially on an intentional walk;
  • unnecessarily delays the game;
  • pitches while facing away from the batter;
  • after bringing his hands together on the rubber, separates them except in making a pitch or a throw;
  • stands on or astride the rubber without the ball, or mimics a pitch without the ball; or
  • throws to first when the first baseman, because of his distance from the base, is unable to make a play on the runner there.

It should be noted that the pitcher's acts of spitting on the ball, defacing or altering the ball, rubbing the ball on the clothing or body, or applying a foreign substance to the ball, are not balks. If done intentionally, these actions result in immediate ejection for the pitcher, the result of a rule change made prior to the 2008 season.

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14y ago
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13y ago

A team has to predetermine and release it's roster before game day. A pitcher that is not assigned to that particular roster cannot come in the game. Another situation that can make a pitcher ineligible is if he were to come out of the game at any point; once a pitcher is replaced (on the mound, at the plate, or on the bases) he cannot return for the remainder of that game.

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12y ago

There are several ways a pitcher can make an "illegal" pitch:

- step towards a base while throwing to the plate.

- not follow the proper routine in either a "wind up" or a "set" position.

- step on the pitching rubber and then immediately throw.

- apply any substance to the ball, including saliva or sweat.

- throw a ball that's been scratched.

- intentionally throw the ball at a batter, particularly after a warning.

Summing up: illegal pitches include balks, spitballs, and beanballs.

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12y ago

One way is if you use vaseline on the ball or rosin on the ball.Another is by throwing a spitball.

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13y ago

the ball has to leave your hand before your foot leaves the base.

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Q: What is an illegal pitch in softball?
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