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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Miami Marlins’ Richard Bleier only pitcher since 1900 with 3 balks in same at-bat, gets tossed vs. Mets

Miami Marlins lefty Richard Bleier had himself an inning to forget Tuesday night against the Mets in New York, making major league history as the only player since 1900 to balk three times in the same at-bat, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Bleier, who opened the eighth inning in relief with the Marlins up 6-3, quickly retired his first two batters before allowing Jeff McNeil to reach on an infield single. With Pete Alonso at the plate, Bleier was called for a balk three times, allowing McNeil to come around to score.

“Words cannot describe what happened in that inning on my end,” said Bleier, a seven-year veteran who hadn’t been called for a balk in his first 303 big league appearances. “I don’t know. It was wild.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2022 at 10:54 AM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: richard bleier

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   1. salvomania Posted: September 28, 2022 at 11:39 AM (#6098195)
It's frustrating that nowhere in the accompanying article is there a description of what it was Bleier was doing that triggered the calls---there are many ways to balk.

The video is frustrating, too, in that it begins each "balk" sequence with Bleier going into his windup, so you never get to see him stretching and getting into a set position before delivering the ball, so it's impossible to identify any problem with his approach.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2022 at 11:53 AM (#6098197)
There is no problem with his approach. The first balk shows his entire setup. They're calling him for not pausing. It's really dumb, cause he does pause, just not enough I guess. All three are ridiculous calls, but Bleier should have REALLY exaggerated his pause after the first call, and definitely after the second call. That's a bit on him for not adjusting..
   3. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: September 28, 2022 at 12:02 PM (#6098198)
the umpire should be fired.

and i'm not sure it's not "best interest of the game" territory.
   4. Perry Posted: September 28, 2022 at 12:18 PM (#6098199)
Yeah, he wasn’t stopping his hands. It has to be “clear and discernable.” You can see it pretty clearly in the video here, especially the 3rd one – look at the angle facing the pitcher, which is the view U1 had. (And that was the reason, as the story says.)

https://www.mlb.com/news/marlins-richard-bleier-called-for-three-balks

There’s blame here on both sides, I think. It’s kind of ticky-tack – I mean, we’ve all seen pitchers do worse. I can see calling it the first time, with the runner on first – he’s being put at a disadvantage if the pitcher doesn’t stop. But a runner at third with 2 out? He’s not going anywhere. At that point it was more the umpire feeling like “he’s been called on it twice and he’s still doing it the exact same way – got to call it.”

And that’s where the pitcher is to blame. I mean, dude, you know what you’re doing and he’s already called it on you AND explained it to you. Maybe make an effort to do it differently rather than doing the exact same thing and daring him to call it again?

They tell you as an umpire, “Don’t go looking for trouble, trouble’s going to find you soon enough anyway.” Tumpane maybe went looking for trouble a bit there, especially with the third one. A little surprising, he’s a good veteran ump and gets really high ratings on the Umpire Scorecard (which just evaluates his ball/strike calls, not game management or anything else).
   5. Brian White Posted: September 28, 2022 at 12:19 PM (#6098200)
You can’t just be up there and just doin’ three balks like that.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2022 at 12:23 PM (#6098201)
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: September 28, 2022 at 12:31 PM (#6098203)
I'm with Perry. He clearly balked each time. Whether it needed to be called each time is debatable, but he was not stopping on any of those.

   8. Itchy Row Posted: September 28, 2022 at 12:35 PM (#6098204)
What baseball needs is longer delays between pitches.
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 28, 2022 at 12:53 PM (#6098207)
Not quite on par with the Miami game, but Atlanta won 3 challenges against 1st base umpire Chad Whitson at Nationals Park last night. Maybe more, we left after 8 innings.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: September 28, 2022 at 01:06 PM (#6098209)
To me, he looked like he stopped enough on the 2nd and 3rd one based on what everyone else does. I would love to see some video of other games this guy pitched from the stretch, and I suspect it is exactly the same. Maybe this ump thought he had to be perfectly frozen be stopped.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2022 at 02:29 PM (#6098215)
He didn't make a "football move".
   12. John Reynard Posted: September 28, 2022 at 02:29 PM (#6098216)
I don't see how balks 2 and 3 were supposedly to have an advantage. The ump needs a talking to as well as Bleier.

I agree the videos don't give you enough context to see a balk. But, he didn't look like he was massively out of the norm for a delivery even if any pause was quite subtle. I mean, do we want him taking tons of extra time?
   13. The Duke Posted: September 28, 2022 at 02:40 PM (#6098217)
Measured against an objective rule, I guess I can see the balks. Even then it's a bit subjective. Measured against how this rule is called afainst pitchers league wide, that's not a balk.

The pitcher is Jewish and it was Rosh Hashanah so I'm going with the racism angle since it's 2022.
   14. Cris E Posted: September 28, 2022 at 02:41 PM (#6098218)
On the one hand McNeil already has 7 stolen bases this year, so you got to assume he's going on every pitch. When down by three. On third base... But then again the ump never "one thousand one one thousand two" so what can he do? I guess you split the baby and balk in a run and everyone is happy.
   15. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: September 28, 2022 at 03:08 PM (#6098223)
To me, he looked like he stopped enough on the 2nd and 3rd one based on what everyone else does. I would love to see some video of other games this guy pitched from the stretch, and I suspect it is exactly the same. Maybe this ump thought he had to be perfectly frozen be stopped.


It looked to me like a balk on all three. There's not really a "stopped enough." You have to come to a complete stop, which means perfectly frozen, at least in a noticeable way for a split second.

My guess is that someone alerted the umpire to this (or maybe he became aware of it himself by watching his motion with no one on base) and that led to the first call. Once you make the first call, you have to make it again if the pitcher doesn't correct his motion (and he didn't). I think people are right that this gets let go most of the time, and that's probably fine. I don't think baseball needs more nitpicky balks. But I do think the umpire called each of these correctly, and after he called the first one, Bleier needed to make an adjustment to his stretch to ensure it wouldn't get called again.

What I don't think is right is the notion that this is the umpire putting the spotlight on himself. I think he made a proper, if marginal, call and then was consistent about it afterward. It just seems egregious because it hasn't happened in 120 years.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: September 28, 2022 at 03:47 PM (#6098225)
I'm more entertained by the notion that ... say this was his first batter. Suppose the ump just decides his natural motion is a balk. Two balks and you can't just balk in every runner, hard to change your motion on the fly so ... you have no choice but to throw a fit and get tossed before you do too much damage. I hadn't thought about the 3-batter rule's unintended consequence for intentionally getting tossed from the game -- he should have lost it after the second balk. (He had his 3 batters but it would have given Mattingly time to get somebody warmed up.)
   17. kcgard2 Posted: September 28, 2022 at 04:00 PM (#6098227)
The embedded video doesn't show enough to judge well whether they were balks, but I would say at least the third one reasonably looked like it from this video. The first one is probably the harshest one (again going only by this video). Agree completely with Perry - the umpire is being consistent and Bleier is kind of being an idiot to just keep on doing what the ump is consistently calling a balk for. Come to a set position and hold it for a discernible amount of time, it's not that hard - if you don't it's a balk.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: September 28, 2022 at 04:04 PM (#6098228)
I'm more entertained by the notion that ... say this was his first batter. Suppose the ump just decides his natural motion is a balk. Two balks and you can't just balk in every runner, hard to change your motion on the fly so ... you have no choice but to throw a fit and get tossed before you do too much damage.


I think not allowing anyone else on base would be a better solution.
   19. Baldrick Posted: September 28, 2022 at 05:12 PM (#6098236)
If those are balks, then 99% of pitches thrown with a guy on base are balks.

Obviously the pitcher should have adjusted, but come on.
   20. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: September 28, 2022 at 05:25 PM (#6098237)
bleier was ejected from a game last year because he argued with an umpire after a check swing/HBP.


is there any reason to think this bullshit was a receipt for that incident?
   21. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: September 28, 2022 at 05:58 PM (#6098238)
I'm with Bill James on this issue: baseball could do without a balk rule.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: September 28, 2022 at 06:03 PM (#6098239)
is there any reason to think this bullshit was a receipt for that incident?


Do you mean, did he get three balks called on him yesterday that were balks because he pitched a fit last year when a clear checked swing was called a check swing by a different umpiring crew?

No. There's no reason to think that.
   23. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: September 28, 2022 at 06:27 PM (#6098241)
did he get three balks called on him yesterday that were balks
if you think all 3 of those pitches were balks, i've got some sideburns for you to shave, mattingly.
because he pitched a fit last year when a clear checked swing was called a check swing by a different umpiring crew?
because you know that coworkers don't ever talk to each other?
   24. Howie Menckel Posted: September 28, 2022 at 06:37 PM (#6098242)
I think the point of the balk rule is to keep a level playing field of runner vs pitcher, so the latter cannot deceive.

a southpaw with his back to an average-speed runner on third base with 2 outs in the 8th inning of a 6-3 ballgame - uh, no.
   25. Addie Joss Posted: September 28, 2022 at 07:01 PM (#6098243)
If the umps want to start calling balks such as those last night, they should announce it before spring training and allow time for pitchers to adjust rather than to take the inequitable step of springing it on a pitcher with a week left in the season in a game with pennant implications - and especially with a runner on 3rd and two outs.
   26. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 28, 2022 at 07:06 PM (#6098244)
I think the point of the balk rule is to keep a level playing field of runner vs pitcher, so the latter cannot deceive.

The argument could be made that since things are being tilted in the runner's favor starting next year, it might be worthwhile to give pitchers something in return.
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: September 28, 2022 at 07:06 PM (#6098245)
if you think all 3 of those pitches were balks, i've got some sideburns for you to shave, mattingly.


He failed to stop on all three of them. That's a balk.

If he realized after the first one the ump was going to call the rule as written and simply waited 1/4 of a second, it would have been a single, garden variety balk and you wouldn't be concocting ridiculous theories to explain it.

because you know that coworkers don't ever talk to each other?


You're right, Alex. I'm sure that this guy and the guys from that game conspired to call three balks on this guy 14 months after he was already tossed out of the game. Happens all the time.

   28. BDC Posted: September 28, 2022 at 07:12 PM (#6098247)
I'm not really arguing the calls technically – I have been watching baseball for 57 years without understanding about 3/4 of the balk calls I've seen, so I would hesitate to do that. But I wonder: the guy pitched in 303 major-league games without ever being called for a balk. What did he suddenly change yesterday?
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: September 28, 2022 at 07:23 PM (#6098249)
But I wonder: the guy pitched in 303 major-league games without ever being called for a balk. What did he suddenly change yesterday?


Probably nothing. There's certainly no uniformity on balk calls among umps.
   30. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: September 28, 2022 at 07:30 PM (#6098250)
He failed to stop on all three of them. That's a balk.
firstly, it's not clear at all that bleier balked three times.

secondly, even if these were picture perfect, textbook examples of balks, this is not how major league umpires handle that situation.
If he realized after the first one the ump was going to call the rule as written and simply waited 1/4 of a second, it would have been a single, garden variety balk and you wouldn't be concocting ridiculous theories to explain it.
i thought i told you to shave those sideburns, mattingly. you're off the team.
You're right, Alex. I'm sure that this guy and the guys from that game conspired to call three balks on this guy 14 months after he was already tossed out of the game. Happens all the time.

holding onto a weird, one-way grudge for years is far from unheard of.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: September 28, 2022 at 07:43 PM (#6098251)

holding onto a weird, one-way grudge for years is far from unheard of.


Someone's projecting again.
   32. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: September 28, 2022 at 07:44 PM (#6098252)
let's take a second to remember that the reason why MLB umpires don't call balks this way is because they have a long and distinguished history of having no idea what is or is not a balk.
Someone's projecting again.

huh?
   33. SoSH U at work Posted: September 28, 2022 at 08:02 PM (#6098253)
let's take a second to remember that the reason why MLB umpires don't call balks this way is because they have a long and distinguished history of having no idea what is or is not a balk.


Sure, though I have no idea why you think that helps your Infowars-worthy "he made this call because he holds a grudge against a pitcher because of that time the pitcher was thrown out of a game by an entirely different crew 14 months ago" argument.
   34. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: September 28, 2022 at 08:13 PM (#6098256)
Sure, though I have no idea why you think that helps your Infowars-worthy "he made this call because he holds a grudge against a pitcher because of that time the pitcher was thrown out of a game by an entirely different crew 14 months ago" argument.

oh...you were referencing alex jones, not alex trebek. oh.


i was confused because you're mixing your metaphors. alex jones is a right wing psyop; what you're supposed to be referencing is george soros.
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: September 28, 2022 at 08:21 PM (#6098259)
i was confused because you're mixing your metaphors. alex jones is a right wing psyop; what you're supposed to be referencing is george soros.


No I wasn't. George Soros is a boogeyman. Alex Jones is a conspiracy theorist. You more closely resemble the latter, even if you're polar opposites on the political front.
   36. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: September 28, 2022 at 08:30 PM (#6098260)
No I wasn't. George Soros is a boogeyman. Alex Jones is a conspiracy theorist. You more closely resemble the latter, even if you're polar opposites on the political front.

i fail to see any resemblance.
   37. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: September 29, 2022 at 12:48 AM (#6098294)
I think most pitchers do the stretch properly; ie. there's an actual pause in their set before they deliver the pitch. Bleier did not do that on any of the three pitches. Now, why he'd never been called for a balk before is certainly a valid question; perhaps this was something the first base umpire noticed in his motion for the first time. Or perhaps Bleier was simply playing out the string in a lost season and didn't care that he wasn't pausing in his delivery. But those were definitely balks and it's simply not true that other pitchers do the same thing all the time.
   38. I Knew A Guy Who Knew A Guy Who Knew Rey Ordonez Posted: September 29, 2022 at 02:09 PM (#6098346)
If the umps want to start calling balks such as those last night, they should announce it before spring training and allow time for pitchers to adjust rather than to take the inequitable step of springing it on a pitcher with a week left in the season in a game with pennant implications - and especially with a runner on 3rd and two outs.


That's just straight up not true. If MLB wants to make something a point of emphasis, they send a memo to the umpires and all 30 managers letting them know that they want the change. Which is part of what we saw a few weeks ago with the spike in HP collision violations.

Also, Buck managed Bleier in Baltimore for two seasons. If you think he didn't have Wayne Kirby tip off John Tumpane, in the middle of a heated pennant race, I have a bridge to sell you over the Gowanus.
   39. shoelesjoe Posted: September 29, 2022 at 07:32 PM (#6098396)
So Richard Bleier has thrown somewhere around FOUR THOUSAND pitches in his MLB career, and has never had a balk called on him till the 8th inning on Tuesday night. And all of a sudden he balks three times in six pitches? Does that make an iota of sense?

Either Bleier has balked every single time he’s thrown a pitch with men on base over the last seven years and every umpire on the field missed them, or else the umpire on Tuesday had his head up his #$&. I’m pretty sure which one of those is more likely.
   40. Perry Posted: September 30, 2022 at 11:01 AM (#6098451)
If you think he didn't have Wayne Kirby tip off John Tumpane, in the middle of a heated pennant race, I have a bridge to sell you over the Gowanus.


And if you think an umpire, especially a major league umpire, is going to respond to a first base coach saying "hey, watch out for this guy balking" by calling three balks in a row, or even one balk in a row, then you don't know much about umpires.
   41. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: September 30, 2022 at 11:19 AM (#6098455)
And if you think an umpire, especially a major league umpire, is going to respond to a first base coach saying "hey, watch out for this guy balking" by calling three balks in a row, or even one balk in a row, then you don't know much about umpires.


I don't know about that. Umpires are human, and once someone suggests something to look out for, it's hard to fight the urge to look out for that thing. Most umpires can probably ignore it completely, and some probably go the other way and are LESS likely to call the balk because they want to make sure they're not being influenced by outside observers. But some will take that information and will apply it. In this case, Tumpane might have taken a longer look and seen what the coaching staff told him - that Bleier was not fully stopping during his stretch.
   42. Ron J Posted: September 30, 2022 at 12:39 PM (#6098473)
#40 Apparently Harold Reynolds made this point. He said he had similar types of comments many times while active and never got a call.

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