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Ever Wonder What Actually Constitutes a Balk? Here’s The (Made-Up) Rules

Funny and Happy, Interesting

With runners on first and second in the ninth inning of yesterday’s Orioles/Yankees tilt (the one where the Yankees reliever was reminded how hard it is to play first base), Darren O’Day got called for a fairly costly balk.

Check it out:

The balk was especially costly, because both runners advanced into scoring position (and eventually scored on a single, forcing extra innings, just a batter later), while their manager, Buck Showalter, was tossed from the game. The Orioles wound up winning, but they were just one out away at the time.

Now, that particular balk seems fairly obvious, but I can’t be the only one who’s grasp on the rule is … somewhat murky. In fact, the concrete definition of a “balk,” is and has been so confusing, that the internet has come up with their very own meme to express just how frustrating the calls (and non-calls) can be.


So here are the official as-they-appear-in-the-book “Balk Rules,” according to the internet. 

Enjoy (and don’t take this seriously):

Balk Rules

1) You can’t just be up there and just doin’ a balk like that.

1a. A balk is when you

1b. Okay well listen. A balk is when you balk the

1c. Let me start over

1c-a. The pitcher is not allowed to do a motion to the, uh, batter, that prohibits the batter from doing, you know, just trying to hit the ball. You can’t do that.

1c-b. Once the pitcher is in the stretch, he can’t be over here and say to the runner, like, “I’m gonna get ya! I’m gonna tag you out! You better watch your butt!” and then just be like he didn’t even do that.

1c-b(1). Like, if you’re about to pitch and then don’t pitch, you have to still pitch. You cannot not pitch. Does that make any sense?

1c-b(2). You gotta be, throwing motion of the ball, and then, until you just throw it.

1c-b(2)-a. Okay, well, you can have the ball up here, like this, but then there’s the balk you gotta think about.


1c-b(2)-b. Fairuza Balk hasn’t been in any movies in forever. I hope she wasn’t typecast as that racist lady in American History X.

1c-b(2)-b(i). Oh wait, she was in The Waterboy too! That would be even worse.

1c-b(2)-b(ii). “get in mah bellah” — Adam Water, “The Waterboy.” Haha, classic…

1c-b(3). Okay seriously though. A balk is when the pitcher makes a movement that, as determined by, when you do a move involving the baseball and field of

2) Do not do a balk please.

As far as I can tell, the original source of this hilarious list of balk rules bit originated here, but it’s been passed around the web for so long, that it now belongs to everybody.

Maybe some day, we’ll actually figure it out.



Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami writes about MLB at Baseball Is Fun. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami.