Intentional Balk: Baseball’s Thin Line Between Innovation and Cheating

In their new book, Intentional Balk: Baseball’s Thin Line Between Innovation and Cheating, nationally-recognized baseball historians and best-selling authors, Daniel R. Levitt and Mark Armour, have written the definitive history of cheating in baseball, and deliver an engrossing chronicle of America’s pastime and the players, coaches, groundskeepers and management who have sought any advantage to win at all costs.

Meticulously researched, Intentional Balk is a comprehensive look at every form of baseball cheating, its origins, its practitioners, and how cheating has been treated within the game. Some of the stories are humorous, others are serious. Many rule-breakers are in the Hall of Fame, while others are pariahs in the sport.

For 150 years, baseball employees, in uniform and out, have pushed and bent and broken the game’s rules to help their teams win. To reach the pinnacle of their profession, players must be highly competitive, and it has long been accepted that players can and should do whatever they can to win, particularly as it relates to the game on the field, even if such play is technically a rule violation.

Why are some forms of cheating tolerated and even openly joked about while others lead to scandal? Where is the line between deception and cheating, and how has that changed over the decades?

There seems to be much less tolerance for cheating today than ever before—are we becoming more honest, or just more judgmental?

Courtesy of Jane Reilly |Senior Publicist/SMITH PUBLICITY, INC.