How could anyone not love baseball’s balk? It’s fun to say, I don’t fully understand it (I’ve never seen one and said “that’s clearly a balk”), and there have been three in the past two weeks of Phillies games. Sure, Phillies pitchers have committed all of them, but the balk is still my favorite crazy baseball rule.
The most memorable came as Brad Lidge balked in the tying run in the bottom of the ninth in San Diego back on August 27th, but it ushered in some other craziness in the days since. We’ve seen the Phillies suffer their first four game sweep at Citizens Bank Park, a 16-inning game that featured former Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt playing in left field against his old team (so much for not facing him in the series), former Phillies Brett Myers and J Happ returned to beat their old team, the Phillies came within inches of being hitless against Hiroki Kuroda and the Dodgers, and a wild 23-run make up of a snowed out game against the Rockies.
All of this sounds bad, but the Phillies are actually now back in first place in the National League East Division and are the first National League team to reach 80 wins. Not too shabby for a team that balks in runs in the bottom of the ninth sometimes. The next few weeks are going to be a fun ride.