It’s official: The fake-to-third, throw-to-first move is now a balk

Wednesday Night Open Thread
On Curtis Granderson and a possible rebound

Via Tyler Kepner: The fake-to-third, throw-to-first move is now officially a balk. That was one of three rule changes — along with coaches being allowed to bring an interpreter to the mound and teams being allowed to have a seventh coach in uniform in the dugout — approved by the owners earlier this month that had to be run by the players’ union. I’m guessing the other two rule changes were given the okay as well, but I haven’t seen any confirmation of that. Minor stuff, but at least the rules will be implemented correctly. The fake-to-third, throw-to-first move was always a balk because it was attempting to deceive, it was just never enforced by umpires.

Wednesday Night Open Thread
On Curtis Granderson and a possible rebound
  • Austin Aunelowitzky

    Thank goodness. That move always pissed me off.

    • Winter

      I like to call it the “Ugh, that move never wo– Holy shit, did that just work?!” move.

      • Austin Aunelowitzky

        For me, just a delay of game move.

      • vicki

        you said it, winter.

    • dalelama

      It is a shame they have removed another element from the game. Obviously the hidden ball trick proves that not all attempts to deceive are a balk as does faking a bunt and then swinging away.

  • deanland

    Jeff Nelson no longer will have a move named in his honor.

    • Slu

      That always bothered me a bit. I am pretty confident I saw that move well before Jeff Nelson was on the Yankees, but I am not sure. That was a long time and many beers ago.

      • Austin Aunelowitzky

        Hopefully they were damn good beers.

      • RetroRob

        Oh, that move has been going on for 100 years or more. I remember it from when I was a kid (no, not 100 years ago), but slipping back 30+ years. I remember Phil Rizzuto commenting on it when he was a broadcaster, so yeah, it’s been around a long time.

        • vicki

          you cite scooter.


    • Robinson Tilapia

      I read “dalelama” for a second and thought “holy shit! something different to say!”

      It will ALWAYS be the Jeff Nelson move. It will just now be the outlawed Jeff Nelson move.

    • vicki


      hardly ever does.

  • trr


  • Jeff Nelson


    Damn you all to hell, damn you!

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Kind of trite, ain’t it?

  • LK

    I feel like a balk is something where no matter how many thousands of baseball games I watch, I still don’t know exactly what it is.

    • vicki

      yes, boy, yes.

  • J2L

    One less CS for Cano!

    • Nash

      Yessss!! My thoughts exactly

    • JLC 776

      Didn’t Gardner get caught by one, too?

  • Nash

    Not sure if I’m happier at the fact that I don’t have to hear Michael Kay call it the Jeff Nelson move anymore or the fact that I don’t have to see Robbie Cano get fooled by the move anymore, that was getting old

    • vicki

      yep. like michael kay will EVER stop talking about the jeff nelson play.

      • vicki

        he won’t.

  • jesse

    I was sick of Michael Kay saying “(Pitcher X) with the ol’ Jeff Nelson move” every friggin’ time someone did it.

  • GS

    Good news for the Yanks…how many times has that move worked against them in recent years?

  • petebest

    no problem seeing mlb do away with that rule but isn’t the point of picking a runner off any base to deceive the runner. that’s kind of the pitchers job

    • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

      Some moves (i.e. most RHP throwing to first) aren’t really all that deceptive, more like a quick try to catch a runner leaning or sleeping. Other moves, like Pettitte’s, could definitely be classified as deceptive.

      Hell, I think Pettitte’s move is a balk every single time. I’m glad they don’t call it, but balks are kind of a nebulous thing; you never really know 100% what constitutes a balk and what doesn’t.

  • Strat

    Michael Kay got an extension just days before this move is banned from the game? Maybe the Mayans were simply off a little bit on the date. Hang on tight boys and girls!

    • vicki

      i know you thought noone would really appreciate your awesomeness but i sort of love you.

      • vicki

        sorry. not you.


  • Bartolo’s Colon

    If this was always an illegal move because it was trying to deceive the baserunners, why isn’t pettitte called for a balk. He is known as having a great move, but isn’t he trying to deceive the runners by making it look like he is going to throw a pitch to the plate? i love pettitte and i love that runners don’t steal on him much, just sort of confused on when deception is ok and when it isn’t.

  • The Oberamtmann

    Maybe umpires will also start enforcing the “must pitch within 15 seconds or it’s a ball” rule? Has that been called even one time?

  • Matt :: Sec110

    Isn’t a pickoff by definition an attempt to deceive? You are trying to make the runner think you are throwing a pitch, but at the last second, you change, and throw to first.

    either way…glad it’s out. I agree with the previous statements about being happy we don’t have to hear Kay make his same comment.