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Discussion: Positioning of screen protecting pitcher

Posted Discussion
Nov. 26, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
Positioning of screen protecting pitcher
Our league requires the use of a screen but it is used as an additional fielder and doesn't protect the pitcher. I have heard of leagues which require the screen to be placed in front of the pitcher with the pitched
ball thrown over the screen. This is a rec league. I would like to know if anyone has used this arrangement and how it went and what you think of it.
Nov. 27, 2013
curty
Men's 60
102 posts
we have developed a system: screen must be in front of the pitching rubber ( pitcher must be in pitching box @ release) and any batted ball is a foul ball that hits the screen. If it is the third strike ( 1 to waste) it is out. Works for our league. Thrown ball that hits is live.
Nov. 27, 2013
Fred S
Men's 80
80 posts
In our league the screen is suppose to be 4' from the rubber and no more than 6" from either side of the rubber. Pitcher must be totally behind the screen when the ball is hit otherwise it is considered a dead ball hit.

Batted balls hitting the screen are consider no pitch but I think the league is changing that for 2014.

As far as pitching from behind the net that is the way I pitch. That way I don't have to worry about getting behind the net on a batted ball. It took me a few games to get use to it but once I did it really didn't effect my pitching.
Nov. 27, 2013
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
we don't use the screen,but we now use the 52-300 ASA ball(last 2 years) and have no prols with that ball....not sure if i would like the screen,bad enough we use it for BP for safety ..........
Nov. 27, 2013
GaCMan
86 posts
We have been using the screen in league for 3 years. We still use senior bats and 44- 375 baden fire balls. The screen has worked great for us. First time you hit it its a dead ball no strike. From then on its a dead ball strike. The net has to be center of pitching rubber either left or right. We still have a pitcher get hit every once in a while. Some just won't get behind it, Still think they are fast enough to defend themselves. Most pitch from behind the net with no problem. I think it needs to be used in our league because of different ages of players. We have players on all teams from 50 to a few upper 60s. Most all of our league are very good players, but the different ages make it nessasary. We like it.
Nov. 27, 2013
garyheifner
349 posts
Thought you were kidding about pitching over the screen. How can you hit the mat consistantly? Played in a pick-up league game today in Florida, 1st time visitor. The pitchers could place the screen in whatever position they wanted. One guy choose to pitch over the screen. Had no trouble hitting the mat.
Nov. 28, 2013
Omar Khayyam
984 posts
Our league requires use of a screen and has for almost 15 years (since a potentially fatal batted ball struck a pitcher's chest). But positioning the screen is entirely up to the pitcher. Some pitch peeking around the edge; some move it forward; some put it on the pitching rubber; some off to the side. You would think this would cause controversy with hitters, but it hasn't so far.

Occasionally, about once a month (we play about 17 games a month) a pitcher gets hit, never from standing behind the screen and rarely from a ricochet off the side of the screen, but it happens. We still leave it up to the pitcher to decide his ability to defend.

Batted balls that hit the screen are a dead ball (I prefer a foul ball strike, but it's hard to change tradition) and thrown balls that hit the screen are live (happens about 2 or 3 times a year!). Ours is a mixed-age league from 50s through 80s, and most batters restricted to single walls.
Nov. 28, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
Do any hitters have a problem with hitting a ball pitched over the screen? My personal experience is that I never see
the screen since eye is focused on ball.
Nov. 28, 2013
Downs
49 posts

HJ: we here in the Seattle, Puget Sound area, have used a pitcher's safety screen for years. We have managed to address basically every kind of a situation possible on the playing field and modified the league rule accordingly. We have a 22 team league that goes from 55 to our oldest player, 93 this year. Due to the extreme differences between ages, skills, and abilities, we created the rule which allows an option as to whether or not a pitcher elects to use a safety screen. We specify the max. size of the screen, where the screen is to be placed, must cover a least 50% of the pitching rubber when viewed from the catcher/umpire position, cannot be closer to the batter than 3-foot in front of the pitching rubber, and the pitcher must come to a complete stop behind the front edge of the safety screen after releasing the ball. If a pitcher ends up releasing the ball parallel to, or in front of the pitching rubber, the umpire is to warn the pitcher, and the next violation, will force the manager to remove the screen or the pitcher. The safety screen may be moved backward if the pitcher desires to pitch from deeper in the 10-foot pitcher's box. At no time can the safety screen be utilized in any way to benefit a team's defense.

I will be glad to send you a copy of our PSSSA pitcher's safety screen rule as it also covers no penalty to the batter for hitting the screen, live ball situation for a thrown ball hitting the screen, and also if a pitcher elects to pitch without a safety screen, no penalty for hitting the pitcher and no out for a ball hit in the vicinity of a pitcher. The rule was designed for maximum protection of a pitcher and if he elects to not use the screen, then why punish the hitters. The rule also requires a left handed pitcher to pitch from the left side of the screen and a right handed pitcher to pitch from the right hand side of the screen. Like I say, we have used the screen for years and think we now have it all pretty well covered. Send me an email if you'd like a copy of our rule: downsjba@msn.com with your mailing address. You do not need to include your name if you do not wish to do so. Jim
Nov. 28, 2013
BruceAZ
Men's 60
86 posts
HJ, our league in Sun Lakes Az uses a screen, mainly for the reasons you've already heard. Our league has player ages from 55 to 75 and it's usually the older guys that pitch. We use Senior bats and good balls and the screen is at a fixed position in front of the rubber. The pitcher has to pitch over the screen, and hitting the screen with a batted ball is a foul ball strike, if you hit the screen after 2 strikes, you're out. One advantage for the umpire is that our screen is 6 ft high, so there can't be a flat pitch because the ball has to go over the screen. I think it works well in league play but I wouldn't want to see it in tournament ball.

Bruce
Nov. 29, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
Thanks for the input and more welcomed. Jim I will forward my email address. My name and email address is on my profile.

I still would like to hear if any hitters have problems with the ball pitched over the screen.
Nov. 29, 2013
Fred S
Men's 80
80 posts
I haven't hit in that situation but from trying to pitch over a screen it seams to me it would be a lot easier. It takes away some of the pitchers best pitches. You can throw a low pitch as you have to clear the 6/7'screen. In my case it would take away my drop and change up and makes throwing a curve very difficult. So what a pitcher ends up doing throwing a lot of meat balls.
Nov. 30, 2013
Duke
Men's 60
695 posts
Armour up with shin guards and a Rip-It mask, and you will not have to be concerned about a screen. If your defense is not satisfactory, then invest in a chest protector too. With my extra weight, I already have a built-in chest protector. LOL! I would only like a screen, when the sun is in the pitcher's eyes. It would be very helpful, if the pitching rubber was removed, especially the extra pitching rubbers. I play on a field that has 3 pitching rubbers in front of the one that I pitch from. That is not good. Balls hit on those pitching rubbers can take some strange bounces.

Andy Smith
Nov. 30, 2013
TexasTransplant
Men's 70
415 posts
Not sure I understand the need/requirement to pitch over the screen. Seems like this would necessitate placing the screen well out in front of the pitcher. The closer to the plate that the screen is placed, the wider the wedge of the field that taken away from the batter. Surely anyone able to walk onto the field can make his pitch from beside the screen and get behind the it while the ball is in flight.

I like the idea of a batted ball hitting the screen being treated as a foul ball. When we experimented with a screen, the league director (a pitcher) insisted that any batted ball hitting the screen be an out.

As a matter of curiosity, for those of you who use a screen, what is the pitcher allowed/not allowed to do? Can he, at his own risk, come out from behind the screen and become a fielder? Or must he stay behind the screen?
Dec. 1, 2013
Fred S
Men's 80
80 posts
I believe that putting the screen half way between the rubber and home plate to fully protect the pitcher as they are forced to be behind the screen when releasing the ball.

In our league once the pitcher gets behind screen he can come our to field a ball. Pitchers with good reflexes can still become good fielders
Dec. 1, 2013
Omar Khayyam
984 posts
I agree with Texas Transplant. I can't imagine any pitcher, even a gimpy one, who could not get behind a screen during the flight of the pitch. This resolves the need to put a screen 25 feet closer to home--leave it close to the pitching rubber. In our league, pitchers are allowed to field as much as they desire. Some back up all the way to second on a potential force out; others shift to the right or left for weaker hitters; some are content to stay near or behind the screen. I am one who does not back up, and as a result I field a lot of pop-ups and dribblers in front of the screen.
Dec. 2, 2013
Fred S
Men's 80
80 posts
Omar: I don't know about your area but here most pitchers try to avoid getting behind the net and if we didn't have the rule forcing them to get behind the net very few of them would including myself.
Dec. 2, 2013
joel 1975
37 posts
we use screen in our senior leauge its about six to ten ft in front of screen,its simple to through strikes over eliminates all worries of pitcher getting hit in face,or anywhere else you can still field line drives to either side of you.its like wearing your cup but some people are stuborn about that too.
Dec. 2, 2013
joel 1975
37 posts
mad dog batting practice is where you have the most likly chance of getting hit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dec. 2, 2013
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
joel i understand that,as basically is the only time i have been drilled(many years back)as we don't think our own teammates will hit it back at us.......what bothers me,is that it makes me lazy for actual play on balls out to the side of me that i think i should be getting....bp is throw the ball go behind the screen to get another ball to throw,and not practicing backing up or setting up to field.. as most want the next pitch to be thrown(fielders)so the next guy can get up to hit.....
Dec. 2, 2013
TexasTransplant
Men's 70
415 posts
For what its worth, if you place a 3ft wide screen at the front edge of the pitcher's box and centered on the box, the angle formed by drawing imaginary lines from each edge of the screen to the back tip of home plate is about 3.6 degrees. If you extend those imaginary lines all the way to the second base area, you can see that the screen has blocked a width of approximately 6 feet. If you allow the pitcher to come out from behind the screen and become a fielder and assume that he can cover his arm span of about 5 feet, the wedge behind that 5 feet becomes about 10 feet in the second base area. Combined, that's a total of about 16 feet of space that would otherwise have to be covered by the infielders.

If you move the screen to 25 feet in front of the pitcher's box, which would be necessary to make the pitcher throw over the screen, the angle from the tip of home plate to the edges of the screen becomes about 7.6 degrees and the expanded wedge in the second base area becomes 12 feet. Add to that the 10 foot area potentially covered by the pitcher and you've taken 22 feet out of the area that the infielders must cover.

Additionally, the middle infielders can now position themselves closer to 1B and 3B closing down the 3-4 hole and the 5-6 hole respectively and taking away more of the infield.

None of this is to say that pitcher protection isn't an issue, or that a screen is a necessarily a bad thing (although I loathe the idea). It is saying that placing a screen, particularly 25 feet in front of the plate, and also allowing the pitcher to be a fielder, is going to change the dynamics of the game, particularly at the lower levels where you see relatively more ground balls.

Now being basically a coward, I wouldn't pitch on a bet, but it seems to me that protective gear for the pitcher is a much better solution than a screen in the middle of the playing field. If we eventually reach the point where a screen is mandated, my thought is that it should be located at the front of the pitching box and the pitcher should not be allowed to become a fielder.
Dec. 2, 2013
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
texas....in reality all we need to do is go to safer equipment...aka the 52 ball..yes here it comes again.....as noted in the reebok vs legit bat thread the worth hot dot was being hit pretty good with the worth legit bat.....but hey you all would rather use a screen,make the pitcher wear a suit of amour,etc.....then swallow a little pride and use a safer ball.....as i have said before the hr hitters will still hit their hrs,as it should be anyways...there won't be any mishit hrs and such,just legit hrs.......
Dec. 3, 2013
neck10
488 posts
until you take one in the chest and your heart stops beating!!!!!!!!!
Dec. 3, 2013
neck10
488 posts
mad dog if you use screen for batting practice you can practice going up middle gives you a good gauge as how far away from pitcher you need to be .then if you do hit one right back at your guy he,s still ready to play at game time.
Dec. 3, 2013
Omar Khayyam
984 posts
Fred S, my point exactly as our situation is similar to yours. Very few of our pitchers want to step behind the screen on every pitch. The difference is that we don't mandate this protection. The screen is there to protect, but a pitcher can choose to field the ball. Just like no one but SSUSA mandates a mask, or shin guards, and even their mandate is rarely enforced.

I like to field as you do and it is good practice for tournament conditions where there usually is no screen (sun blindness excepted), but even in league play there are a couple of free swingers who hit the ball 300 feet and for them I step behind the screen after releasing the ball.

As I said on this topic a couple of years ago, I believe that eventually screens will be mandated for tournaments. All it will take, sadly, is one serious injury or death, and the potential or reality of a lawsuit. Associations already admit the dangerous conditions by mandating masks, or anti-middle hit rules, or banning (as Field of Dreams often does) Miken and similar hot bats, so it will be hard to claim that softball is a sport where the risk is solely on the player's part. That might have worked in the past where batted balls were so slowed down that pitchers could throw from 30-some feet without particular danger.
Dec. 3, 2013
miken44
78 posts
our league uses the screen it is set next to the rubber the pitcher is suppose to step behind the screen when he pitches for his safety 52core 275 ball it does protect them but at the same time tournys do not use them i have been hit in the chest and in the rib area more than once i had 3 heart attacks in 2010 and do not pitch very often all being said i think the screen works for our league because some of the guys are older than 60
Dec. 3, 2013
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
neck that is the reason for the 52 ball being used,it doesn't do the damage as the 44's do.....regardless where your hit.....also most times in bp,the pitcher/thrower is trying to get thru bp fast and not worrying about whether he needs to be practicing fielding....most teams/guys just want a pitch to hit,not a pitcher's pitch to swing at..in fact i hear batters whining even then about not getting cookies to hit.....try to make it pitching practice also, will cause a big uproar....i say if it is gonna be a strike in a game,swing at it and get over it........
Dec. 4, 2013
swing for the fences
Men's 50
980 posts
hope you make some money pimping those 52/300 MD... BTW one of those 52/300 broke a players jaw in three places a month ago in a rec league!
Dec. 5, 2013
neck10
488 posts
yes and I saw a pitcher in leauge get carried offf the field on a steacher they we using the 52/300 balls & asa bats.
Dec. 5, 2013
neck10
488 posts
yes and I saw a pitcher in leauge get carried offf the field on a steacher they we using the 52/300 balls & asa bats.
Dec. 5, 2013
joel 1975
37 posts
we have used screen for four years we use the 375/44 ball we have to use asa bats no one has got hurt since we started using screen.before sreen we used mush ball & asa bats pitchers were getting hit every night not by the better hitters either(thay stayed away from middle then) now its nice you can use the whole field anything that hits screen the pitcher should have had anyway,one thing for sure he still has his teeth.some guys complained at first but none were pitchers(dont know what it matters to them)but after a couple shots hit the screen they were glad it was there so they didnt hurt anyone.
Dec. 7, 2013
Wayne 37
192 posts
Use a screen. Buy a pitching machine. Get the pitcher a chair to sit on (or not). Pitcher cannot field balls except for flies, but can go to back up bases, or retrieve errant throws. Thrown ball hits screen, immediate dead ball. Umpires place runners at all bases.

Sports played with fast moving projectiles will always have an element of a possible severe injury.

Sorry. No more Cheetos to go with your whine.



Dec. 9, 2013
neck10
488 posts
I bet wayne doesn't pitch or cant hit ball hard enough to hurt anyone???????????
Dec. 9, 2013
joel 1975
37 posts
neck do you pitch or have you ever hit a pitcher
Dec. 9, 2013
1 posts
neck do you pitch or have you ever hit a pitcher
Dec. 9, 2013
neck10
488 posts
I do pitch but can live with thst part of getting hit,just cant go with hitting & hurting someone again
Dec. 9, 2013
The yooper
28 posts
neck10 and I play in the same league and the net is small only about 3 feet wide at best and perhaps 6 feet high. I pitch around the net and not over it as we are not required to pitch over it or stay behind it in this league. One can catch balls off to the side, but have to be careful if a ball glances off the side post of the net it becomes even more dangerous than a low liner at you. Using the net causes a problem when one goes to tourneys where it is not used, I think ones reaction time is cut down by use of the net. Too easy to get complacent with the net in front of you. I still think if they allowed the pitcher to throw higher pitches instead of "meat balls" it would go a long way in protecting a pitcher or infilder. Unlimited arc is much harder to hit, but it sure is fun to pitch. A good high arc pitcher can actually get several strikeouts a game. High arc will allow a pitcher to be something more than just a target, a pitch can be a huge factor in a game. Six foot arc gives a pitcher little chance of strike outs, but sure improves the odds of a liner up the middle. Lets give the pitcher a chance. Donny C, "The Yooper"
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