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Word Count: 925
Four Letter Word During the play of any baseball game you will hear four-letter words that will arouse both tame and violent responses Some of these words are traditional baseball vocabulary some are obscenities called out from the crowd None however cause as much confusion and anger as the mysterious word Balk When stated this four-letter word that can stop anybody dead in his tracks There is no rule in baseball more widely misunderstood today than the balk So what exactly is a balk A balk is defined in the dictionary as a verb meaning to stop short and refuse to go on Specifically in baseball a balk means to make and illegal motion before pitching allowing base runners to advance one base In order for this rule to make sense an illegal motion must be defined There many illegal motions a pitcher can make to cause a balk One should understand the basic rules for pitching before they can realize what a balk is In order to throw a pitch correctly the pitcher must have his planted foot touching the rubber plate located on top of the mound at all times The pitcher must come to a complete stop or pause in his windup before he delivers the pitch The pitcher is also required to step towards his desired target After understanding the basic rules of pitching one now can fully understand the penalties pitching incorrectly The penalty of throwing an illegal pitch is the balk There are three basic categories of the balk They are deceptive mechanical and penal Basically all balks can fall into one of these three categories The first category of balking is made up of the deceptive reasons a balk is called This occurs when a pitcher is attempting by design and action to illegally deceive or fool the base runner Basically when the defense is attempting to gain an unfair advantage over the offense A balk
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