When it comes to the subject of balks everyone is an expert. Well, at least anyone who has ever played high school baseball or watched the movie Bull Durham more than twice is happy to offer a balk opinion at least once a ballgame.
Today I have the good fortune to review Pitching Regulations and Balks by Jim Evans Training Systems. Special thanks to Jim Evans and Jason at the Jim Evans Academy who were kind enough to provide a copy for review. The byline of this DVD states “A ‘must have’ for serious umpires.” After viewing this video I have to agree. Without question every umpire should own this DVD.
The “Balk Video” (as it is commonly referred to) is professionally produced and full of insight. Jim Evans has a degree in education from the University of Texas and that is very evident while viewing this DVD. The do’s and do-not-do’s of pitching are presented in simple and understandable terms with clear explanations and visual examples from Jim and uniformed players. At times the pitching action is slowed down on video to give a clear understanding of the act. Legal and illegal actions include reviewing various pitching positions (with special emphasis on contact with the rubber), motions associated with the delivery, feints and trick plays, and unusual situations. There is also a review of the mechanics of calling a balk.
The run time is about 60 minutes and includes an examination section in which the viewer is asked to apply the information contained in the DVD. Jim presents a pitching action and the viewer is asked to determine whether it is a “balk” or a “legal action.” The DVD is organized into sections for easy access of the various moves and pitching actions (i.e. “Feinting a Throw” or “Initiating the Delivery”) so the owner can review Jim’s illustrations and explanations.
I highly recommend this DVD. Pitching Regulations and Balks by Jim Evans sells for $39.95 from Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring.