With no runners on base during a Major Division baseball game, the pitcher is standing on the mound, behind the pitcher’s plate taking the signs from the coach in the dugout. The pitcher then steps onto the pitcher’s plate, and immediately delivers a pitch to the batter. After the catcher receives the pitch, the home plate umpire calls “time,” and awards one ball to the batter’s count, citing a “quick pitch.” Before putting the ball back into play, the umpire visits with the pitcher and explains his ruling. The manager approaches the home plate umpire and asks for an explanation as to why a quick pitch was called?
The ruling is correct, because in the home-plate umpire’s judgment, the pitcher delivered a quick return pitch in order to catch the batter off balance. Although, at the Major level and below, a pitcher is not required to come to a stop when pitching from the set position (whether there are runners on base or not), a pitcher may not deliver the pitch until the batter is reasonably set in the batter’s box. In the Major Division and below, the resulting penalty to the defense is a ball to the batter regardless of whether there are runners on base or not.
Note: If there are base runners at the Little League Baseball Intermediate level, or above, a pitcher is required to come to a complete and discernible stop when pitching from the set position. A change of direction is not considered to be a stop. Failing to stop would result in a balk being called.