Andy Pettitte Used A Tricky Rule To His Advantage

Former New York Yankees and Houston Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to game three of the American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on October 15, 2019 in New York City.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

For years, one of the most controversial rules (and its application in games) in MLB has been the balk.

The MLB official page states there will be a balk “when a pitcher makes an illegal motion on the mound that the umpire deems to be deceitful to the runner(s).”

If called, this will result in any men on base being awarded the next base.

As a comment, MLB also said that “pitchers with high balk totals are also generally adept at picking runners off, this being because their moves to first base are typically so deceptive that they border on being illegal. Any umpire, if he notices an illegal movement by the pitcher, can call a balk.”

Which brings us to Andy Pettitte.

Pettitte, who pitched for the New York Yankees and won five World Series rings, was a master of the pickoff move.

According to Codify Baseball, he picked off a baserunner in eight consecutive games in 1997.

“No other pitcher in MLB history has had a pickoff streak longer than five games,” the account stated.

Pettitte Got Away With Some Balks

Pettitte’s move to first base was extremely deceitful, and he got more than his fair share of outs with it.

It was so good that one has to question its legitimacy.

Codify, in its thread, added a poll to see where people on Twitter stood: 67.4 percent said that move in the video should have been called a balk.

Twitter user Brian Bishop, also in the thread, explained why he thought it was a balk: “Everyone saying it’s a balk is correct, front foot has to go more toward first base than home, essentially a diagonal line off the front corner of the rubber. However, best lefty moves are almost always balk moves, the art is barely cheating inside that imaginary line,” he said.

Pettitte had an excellent career, but he took advantage of a tricky rule more than one time.

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