Here's a recap from ESPN http://sports.espn.go.com/ mlb/recap?gameId=240501125 I have no clue how you can balk with noone on base. I didn't see it but from the boxscore it looks like he didn't allow a baserunner to reach. If it works it might be good for teams playing the Cubs. They can protest that Sosa might be using a corked bat.
I doubt this protest stands. This wouldn't be a balk with no one on base. The only theory I can come up with is that it would be a quick pitch. The side-armer for Oakland Bradford gets called for it sometimes. When that happens, the pitch doesn't count. But, at least John 'C is for Cookie, That's all the Alphabet I Know' Franco got tagged with a loss.
I didn't see the game, or the unusual motion, but a balk is a balk, isn't it? In the case of nobody on base, a ball is called. That's the way I learned it in umpire school.
The Phillies played a game last week under protest, and it really doesn't mean anything. Major League Baseball rarely does anything about the protested games, mostly because of the controversy involved, plus it shows up the umpires who worked the game, since a game played under protest is usually because of something that an umpire does or doesn't do.
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Yes you can balk with no one on base but instead of the runners advancing one base the pitcher has a ball added to the count. But you cant protest a judgment call. And a balk or in this case an illegal pitch is a judgment call by the umpire and you are not allowed to protest that.