MLB The Show 24: Why Are There No Balks In Online Play?

March 22, 2024 by Cory Dell

Diamond Dynasty, Gameplay, MLB The Show 24

MLB The Show has consistently excelled at replicating baseball in video game form. From immaculately recreated stadiums, to bat drop animations all the way down to post-game celebrations. That attention to detail has made realism a major attraction for each MLB The Show release.

Yet, there are some glaring omissions that challenge the realism within The Show. Arguably the most noticeable is the one we’re talking about today.

Why Are There No Balks In Online Play?

What Are Balks?

“A balk occurs when a pitcher makes an illegal motion on the mound that the umpire deems to be deceitful to the runner(s). As a result, any men on base are awarded the next base, and the pitch (if it was thrown in the first place) is waved off for a dead ball.”

This definition from the official Major League Baseball rulebook paints the basic picture of a balk. Essentially, a balk is an illegal motion by the pitcher that is determined to possibly deceive the runner. Why this rule was modified with the newest rules in 2023, balks have long been a part of baseball. Dating all the way back to 1898, balks have been outlawed in baseball to prevent runners from being at a strict disadvantage by the opposing pitcher.

The angle to this rule that most applies to MLB The Show revolves around pitchers properly coming set and pausing.


Balks In The Show

If you’ve ever stepped foot on the virtual diamond online, you’ve no doubt witnessed your opponents “quick pitching.” In other words, players select their pitches quickly and then immediately begin their delivery to the plate. In real life, every single one of these pitches would result in a balk and be disastrous for the pitching team.

In competitive online games, balks are never called as the setting is disabled by default for online play.

So – why are there no balks in online play?

The answer is quite simple. It’s purely for pace of play reasons and to prevent online games from becoming stall-fests. Imagine facing Clayton Kershaw, who already has a drawn out animation from the stretch. If the Kershaw-user had to come completely set after each pitch, online games would take much longer than they already do. Ranked games can already run between 30-45 minutes when played straight up. Introducing this mechanic would make those games even longer, potentially having a catastrophic effect on the player base.

Not only that, but there would certainly be many players that simply don’t understand the concept of a balk and repeat their errors over and over. That would certainly lead to frustration and potentially cause that player to never play online again.

These are all issues that have to be considered and ultimately the decision to disable balks online allows for quicker games.

Should Balks Be Enabled Online?

I’m not sure if there’s truly a happy medium. Adjusting to quick pitching is something that took me some time when I started playing online in MLB The Show 19. With online pitch speeds being drastically different from offline, adjusting to faster pitches with more movement and pitchers rapid firing each pitch was a tough transition.

I’m not sure enabling balks is the correct call, but I’ve often wondered how the game would feel if the pitcher was forced to at least partially come set through their animation. As the pitch is selected, adding in even a one or two second delay before the pitch can be thrown would at least reduce the effects that quick pitching can have.

I don’t think this would affect pace of play negatively and it would give the batter a slight chance to reset before the next 100 MPH Sinker is thrown at them.

Then again, the entire Diamond Dynasty community has adjusted to this quick pitching and it’s simply second nature at this point.

Perhaps that’s ultimately the reason that there are no balks in online play.


About the Guest Author

Cory Dell

Cory is a freelance writer that currently features for Operation Sports and ShowZone and has dabbled in streaming from time to time. Cory has been a diehard Atlanta Braves fan since birth and has tortured neighbors and family alike with avid guitar playing for the last twenty years.

This post was submitted by a guest author. If you would like to be featured as a guest author on ShowZone, reach out to us at with your ideas.

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