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Discussion: Pitchers rubber

Posted Discussion
Dec. 13, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1972 posts
Pitchers rubber
This is something I have written about for years and literally forgot to bring up among the myriad of other issues in our game. WHY DO WE NEED TO HAVE A PITCHERS RUBBER IN SLOWPITCH? The only function is to deflect ground balls into pitchers faces. We now draw a box that the pitcher has to have one foot in-that should be good enough.
Dec. 13, 2010
Airbosn
Men's 65
321 posts
Many years ago in a league in a far off land (NW Florida) I removed the rubber and replaced it with two base peg mushrooms 24 inches apart...No more toe hole in front of where the rubber was.
Dec. 14, 2010
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
One of the reasons I like to pitch on artificial turf—the rubber is just a different colored stripe. No bad hop up into the face (or lower!).
Dec. 14, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
How long would a box drawn with chalk on a dry, dusty field last? Two innings?

I am sure it can happen, but I have pitched since 1975 and have never had a ball deflect off the rubber.
Dec. 14, 2010
DCPete
234 posts
Couldn't they just use a rectangular slab of rubber like the 2nd home plate?
Three years ago our pitcher in a league game had a ball hit the rubber and bounce off his forehead requiring plastic surgery to repair all the damage.
Dec. 14, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Isn't that what the pitching rubber has always been? A 'rectangular slab of rubber'. What else has it ever been?
Dec. 14, 2010
tinman
Men's 50
75 posts
He means a flat piece not a slab.I avoid catching a hard hit grounder through the box because of deflection.
Dec. 14, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Perhaps he did mean that, but he wrote 'slab'.

Where I have always played the rubber is recessed into the ground, so while yes an edge can be exposed it is usually flush with the ground. And I make a point each inning of smoothing the ground around it so it is not sticking up above ground level.

As much as you can you have to help yourself.
Dec. 14, 2010
Mr. Manassas
226 posts
I do think that you need to have a rubber on the field for a lot of reasons.(Leaques,etc.) Unfortunately on a lot of fields the rubbers stick out above the field and are dangerous. I too fill in the holes in front that some pitchers tend to dig out for some reason. I have been hit in the face off a deflection that broke my nose and cut me above the eye.
Dec. 14, 2010
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
mr m, i do the same,i hate the holes some pitchers leave.when asked why i'm always grooming the mound,i let them know,its b/c i don't want a bad hop off it.i have been lucky so far as i have avoided a bad hops,as i have been blessed with quick hands,just wish the rest of the body was as quick.LOL...
Dec. 14, 2010
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
Dirty, you're just a youngster. I have been pitching since 1953 and yes, balls have deflected off the rubber, but not as often as one might think.

However, I, like other pitchers above, spend a lot of time grooming the mound in front of the rubber. Umps hate it because of the delay, and even my team dislikes it at times (but no one else volunteers to stand 50 feet away facing a Miken).

Things were worse back in fast pitch days since some pitchers excavated the front of the rubber to make room for their pitching cleats.
Dec. 14, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Omar, if you wouldn't mind would you please tell my kids I am still a youngster? :)
Dec. 14, 2010
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
Happy to, Dirty.

Kids, you may think your dad is an old fossil and completely out of touch with today's world, but actually he is young in mind, in spirit, in physical ability, and in softball.

There, that O.K.?
Dec. 14, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
I will be sure to pass this alone. LOL
Dec. 14, 2010
hitman
Men's 65
301 posts
In my opinion the the rubber mound can go, very dangerous. In Chattagonna last year they had nailed in a temporary rubber in front of the normal rubber which now made it even worse. The team we were playing agreed to remove but then the tournament director heard about it and came and put chalk down.
A lot of parks have several rubbers because of the different age groups and fastpitch using the same fields. A line of chalk lasts very well and is much safer and it the umps pay any attention at all they can tell when it needs to be remarked or enforced.

The Hitmanm
Dec. 14, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
hitman, I understand your concern. But a chalk line does not last long at all. Just look at how batter's boxes never last, and particularly not on a dry, dusty field.
Dec. 14, 2010
Rod Sweet
Men's 70
53 posts
Gentlemen, you are talking about pitcher safety a subject that is discussed a lot, however little has been done about it. (that is at this level) Some of the fields I've played on use a fixed in ground screen with the approximate pitching rubber location and the additional 6 feet all encompassed, also some fields will have (3) pitching rubbers located for all levels of play.
Dec. 14, 2010
DCPete
234 posts
Thanx Tinman; thought the reference to the 2nd home plate was sufficient to indicate the slab would be flat but apparently nothing is obvious on this board . . .
Dec. 14, 2010
DCPete
234 posts
BTW, what is a "base peg mushroom" anyway and can they be sauteed in a little olive oil?
Dec. 14, 2010
Airbosn
Men's 65
321 posts
DCPete, When you remove the bases the anchor peg is then covered by the mushroom, which makes the base anchor peg easier to find after dragging the field.
Dec. 14, 2010
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
When I talk about grooming the field as a pitcher, I often have to cover up the first two pitching rubbers in front of me with dirt. I THINK that might slow down a bad hop, but don't know for sure. Maybe it just makes me less jumpy not to see two pitching rubbers in front of me. Another reason I like artificial turf infields—have all the pitching distances you like.
Dec. 15, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Pete, you are the one who wrote 'slab', not me.

Dec. 15, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1972 posts
SSUSA has informed me that it is up to local jurisdictions to make the change. May enough pitchers can talk to their local associations and get a movement going. I have personally seen a pitcher take one in the face from a deflection several times. There are a couple ways to make the area. To me it is just such an easy safety move.
Dec. 15, 2010
hitman
Men's 65
301 posts
Everyone wants to talk SAFETY but here is a chance to actually do something about it. The more support it gets the more actions will take place. Lines get rubbed out but umpires still enforce the box, so let's make it a NEW YEARS RESOLUTION to get rid of the RUBBER!!!!!!!!!

The Hitman
Dec. 15, 2010
Duke
Men's 60
708 posts
Unfortunately, the pitching rubber is part of the game. On some fields there are as many as 3-4 pitching rubbers, where all but one is for girls's fast pitch softball. Prior to many pitching rubbers on the field, there was only one for slow pitch softball, and removable pitching rubbers were placed by coach's of girl's fast pitch teams.

As far as injuries that are caused by pitching rubbers, they are rare and far between. We cannot protect against every injury. It is just part of the game. I will say with the pitching distance varying some 6 feet or more(for those that stretch the distance), slow pitch softball should have removable pitching mounds or none at all.

I was injured severely once, by a ball that skipped off one of front mounds and changed its direction, and hit my arm at the opposite side of my elbow about 4 years ago. It partially tore my tendon, and I could not even lift a bat for some 6 weeks. It took some 4-6 months to build the muscle back up in that arm. The tendon is not where it should be, but my arm works just fine now. The partially torn tendon healed about an inch higher up on my arm, from where it was before this incident. There was no protection that I would have worn to have prevented this from happening.

Like someone previously mentioned, the removal of the mounds would have to be done at each local Parks and Recreation Department. This will probably never happen. Also previously mentioned, I do not see too many volunteers to stand 50-56 feet away with a good ball and Miken bat in the hands of a batter, especially as we get older. I see my infielders playing further away and on the grass, and when they field the ball, some cannot even reach the first baseman. LOL! The Miken or similar bat has moved many infielders back and out of their normal fielding positions. I try to move my infielders in closer, but then after a batter or 2, they are right back where they were before. The Miken and similar bats are affecting our game negatively on the defensive part of the game.

One added note, I am hearing a large movement in the Parks and Recreation for Bentura County, that we may be going to a lesser ball and single wall bats and wooden bats only for all leagues and ages. They already have this in place for many years in the San Fernando Valley, where they use incredibly crappy softballs AND unlimited pitching arc. For all of you bat cheaters, I have heard that we may be going to wooden bats only. Guess we should get those fungo bats out with the lead in the middle. LOL!

Just my 2 cents!

Andy Smith,
Double Edge,
60 Major Plus
Dec. 15, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Much ado about very little
Dec. 15, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1972 posts
Pitching rubbers can be made to be taken out of the ground just like bases. And yes Dirty, it is not a huge concern, but it is such an easy fix to a problem that has rearranged a few faces, and other body parts. Pitchers have enough to think about. Why can't we get a movement going to do this?
Dec. 15, 2010
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
yeah duke your right,very few want to stand that 50-56' away and toss a ball to the hitters with these missile launchers in their hands and the missile they can hit it with.i feel they should bury the rubber down so ya can't dig those holes,its slow pitch why the hell do ya need a hole in front of the mound,do ya really use it to get more speed on the ball,don't think so.
Dec. 15, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Holes often just result from a foot being placed in the same place so many times, not from any intentional act. Just smooth them each inning and they are not a problem.

For those who want to change everything they perceive is some safety risk, might I suggest Checkers? Backgammon? Bridge? Online Poker? Please leave this game alone.
Dec. 15, 2010
spoonplugger
Men's 60
58 posts
I know a pitcher who never wore a cup until 5 years ago. He is 58- has been pitching since he was 18. Great defensively, ( one of the best ever) he can snag a ball that is already 4' past him. Anyways, during pre-game warmups the catcher threw the ball back to him ,it was low, it hit the rubber, down he went and he's been wearing a cup ever since.
Dec. 15, 2010
JBTexas
Men's 60
261 posts
been pitching since early 70's, been hit 5 times during that spell. Three off the rubber and two in batting practice when you get lazy pitch after pitch. No reason for the rubber in slow pitch only causes bad results, can anyone give one postive reason for it other then because we always have had it. Alot of the fields we play on have two or three which makes it even worse pitcher,ss and 2nd baseman.
Dec. 15, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1972 posts
C'mon Dirty, I can't believe you haven't played on some fields that have the rubber sticking up in spots. It is needed in fast pitch, yes, but slowpitch.....for what? Smoothing it doesn't help. You still haven't given a good reason why it is needed there. Just because a line might get rubbed out doesn't meant the umpire can't make a good decision on whether the pitcher is making a legal pitch. The lines stayed pretty well in Vegas. It's like an appendix out there and the ONLY thing it accomplishes is to deflect batted or thrown balls.
Dec. 15, 2010
hombre
Men's 60
220 posts
Hitman, how did you get the scar under your chin? For anyone who doesn't know, Hitman is an excellent fielding pitcher.
Dec. 16, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Sure I have Webbie. I have also played on fields with many more rocks/rut/rough spots than rubbers with some piece sticking up.

Again, the game has risks as almost all sports do and not all can be removed. For those with reservations, take up Yazee.
Dec. 16, 2010
Capt Kirk
408 posts
JB, we are looking for another starting pitcher (you can't have enough starting pitchers) with Harry Houdini like skills, just let me know if you want to join us and I will save a spot on the roster for you.
Dec. 16, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1972 posts
Dirty,you have just described every park in Albuquerque, unfortunately. I am working on that. This is one cosmetic change that does not change the game one little bit. Methinks you are trying to stir things up!! Lively chats and brawls forever!!!!!
Dec. 16, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
No, I am really not. I just think this is much ado about really nothing.

And I do see the purpose to the rubber. Without one, and knowing full well any attempt at a chalk line is going to disapperar very quickly, are guys saying they don't care where the pitcher pitches from? Or that we are going to leave it up to the judgement of the umpire while on the other hand we have the ridiculous mat to eliminate umpire judgement? Seems like some are talking out of both sides of their mouths.
Dec. 16, 2010
hitman
Men's 65
301 posts
We'd be better off if some people kept there thoughts to themselves. Maybe they should be assigned to pick up rocks and stuff to keep them off the board.

Hombre,
ASA nationals 2008 against Southland Log Homes, 52 hopper and I'm back pedelling and have to come forward in a hurry, just get to mound and start to reach for ball when it comes up and whacks me good. used butterfly strips and did 4 more games but we came in second. Was told I looked like a turkey gobbler with the blood dripping strips hanging of my chin. You know the guys who were laughing and trying to keep me up.

The Hitman
Dec. 16, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Hitman, so what is your view? We want to give umps more things to judge by having them judge/guess where the rubber would be if there was one, or less and have silly mats that create horizontal one-size-fits-all strike zones that they don't have to use any judgement with?

So what did that 52-hopper hit? The rubber? A hole? A rock? A rut? Any other normal and expected imperfection in the field?
Dec. 16, 2010
hitman
Men's 65
301 posts
Dirty,
It's not that difficult since we already start with an outlined box and it is mostly gone after a few games but the color remains in the area. We are not talking about a few inches like the batters box but SSUSA 6 feet and SPA 8 feet so who cares.
It does help with Safety.
Besides what else does the base ump have to do when the pitch is delivered, you're not allow to run in this area so he just has to watch the set-up. Sure there will be a special few who would try and take advantage but it's still SAFER.

Yes the balls that I've gotten hit with did hit the rubber. I also have a close friend who had to have his entire right side of face rebuilt because of a ball hitting the rubber.

The Hitman
Dec. 16, 2010
jimjoes-gman
Men's 55
80 posts
I have been lucky I guess ( not ever been hurt ) but, I have seen others get hurt. In younger days,I used to kick dirt on the rubber while the infield was throwing the ball around & pitch from further back. Sometimes a sharp ump would catch me & brush the mound every inning. I think the most important aspect here is that a lot of potential routine outs have been lost due to balls hitting the rubber . Agree . But over the years I have been blessed to have some crafty short stops & 2nd basemen that were always on the move , backing me up , when balls were hit up the middle. Many times balls have hit the rubber & flew up in the air, giving my middle infielders time to get a force at 2nd or an out at 1st. They are beautiful plays when they happen, all because of experience & hustle....I remember when ASA had a 10' circle & you could pitch from anywhere in it...Maybe we could reincarnate that method. But since they have allowed pitchers to pitch further back,if they have the accuracy & want to, the chances of getting injured by a ball hitting the mound have been greatly reduced in my opinion....But the threat is still there.
Dec. 16, 2010
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
jimjoes, there is that bonus. Who doesn't smile when the ball hits the rubber, goes airborne past the pitcher and is caught by the shortstop for a force out!

hitman, you are absolutely right. Even if the chalkmark is smudged after a couple of games, the color remains, particularly if the rubber were always gone from a field and it was chalked day after day for years. Bring on the chalk! Dirty is just being contrary to keep up his purist credentials.
Dec. 17, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Hitman, what base ump? How often do you play with one?

No Omar, not at all, and maybe I have just been lucky. But I have been pitching for 37 years and have NEVER had a ball hit a rubber in front of me.

There are MANY more issues with field conditions (holes, ruts, rocks, grooves, you name it) than the pretty tiny little rubber.

And, by the way, what is wrong with being a purist?
Dec. 17, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1972 posts
Dirty-37 years-you have been lucky-but I guarantee it only takes one to rearrange your face, and if it were to happen to you,(while you are sitting there in the hospital), you would be wishing the 'pretty, tiny little rubber' hadn't been there. I bet hitman wishes it hadn't.
Dec. 17, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Webbie, I understand what you are saying but no I wouldn't wish that. I know the rubber does far more good than harm, and injuries are the chance I take. If not, I would play checkers.

I will just continue to smooth around it as all smart pitchers should, and accept it as a risk just like I do a whole bunch of things that can cause a bad bounce.
Dec. 17, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1972 posts
Dirty-not to belabor a point, but I still don't see the 'good' that it does. In baseball and fast pitch the pitcher uses it to push off. Slowpitch it is not used for that. It marks the distance to the mound. A chalk line or box could do the same, and now a good majority of pitchers throw from well behind the rubber anyway. You already admit to smoothing it out. Why have it there to smooth it out in the first place? I'm sure if you play the field you do as I do when playing the infield. I constantly throw pebbles and rocks off to the side. I smooth out grooves, ruts by the bases, and take as much chance for a bad hop out that I can (realizing it is minimal). Taking the rubber out removes one obstacle that really does not need to be there to start with. Plus, you would save game time (as you always advocate hustling in and out) from your smoothing.
Dec. 17, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Well, perhaps I value the rubber because I don't see the point in letting guys pitch from feet behind the rubber. Again, a rule made to accommodate the rocket launchers. :(

I smooth out a lot of the area in front of me, not just around the rubber. Again, there are many more 'issues' on the field (holes, ruts, rocks, etc.) than just the tiny rubber.

It is there to provide a consistent place to pitch from, just like the bases are there to provide a consistent place to run to. I have seen many more balls hit first and third base than I have seen hit the rubber, shall we replace those with chalk boxes too?

It is all part of the game, again if someone finds the risk too great take up Monopoly.
Dec. 17, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1972 posts
hmmmm-last I knew the bases were considered somewhat necessary, but I guess we COULD put down a chalk area for each base. Then we could rub it out and run in smaller and smaller circles around the pitchers rubber all game. :-)
I used to play a lot of bridge in college-are you up for a 4 some if we ever cross in a tourney, Dirty? Monopoly is too dangerous!
One other thing----thanks for debating the point and not making it personal!!! We can agree to disagree.
Dec. 17, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Webbie, I have enjoyed the conversation.

And yes the bases are necessary, just like the rubber. They mark a place on the field for some purpose. But if one can be replaced by chalk, why not the other?

Actually, I have seen many more injuries over the years from guys running into fences than from balls deflecting off rubbers. How about we just mark the entire field with 'safe' chalk?

Stuff like this can all be taken too far. There is a risk to playing, it has to be accepted or avoided.
Dec. 17, 2010
Bomber #7
Men's 60
62 posts
Well said Webbie.
Dirty, you are a piece of work for certain. For your info, ALL the new turf fields have a painted box, no rubber. Upper divisions play double elimination portion of tournaments with 2 umpires.
Just wondering, do you wear a seatbelt? Do you bitch and badger the DMV about the law? What about child seats? Why should we have to have them? You must live in a cave or more like an ostrich with your head all the way up your azz instead of in the sand.
There are laws and/or rules that don't have a tinkers damn to do with individuals and really don't have any effect on the game, but provide a slight edge of saftey. And, from what I've read on here, there's always one member who is against them all, against any changes whatsoever, always doing his best to pizz off the majority with trying to assert there's a speck of fly shit in the pepper, dirty. What is your point or mission, it's not how to win friends or influence people is it?

Just wondering, does anyone actually know this clown? Is dirty just a spoof to insite hate or anger? Is dirty just someones idea of a joke or is he actually seeman gone bad, perhaps the result of a drug and alcohol relationship throughout pregnancy? Will one of his friends please come forward and let us know what's the deal with this clown...............

Dec. 17, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Great Bomber, now tell me the percenteage of fields nationwide that are turf. Less than one percent?

So a very small percentage of games are played with two umps?

The truth is, I would be willing to bet, many more balls deflect off bases than rubbers. So you want a bigger bang for the buck, get rid of bases? Many more guys get hurt by fences then rubbers. So get rid of all fences.

What part of intelligence are you lacking? You want safety that will really mean something, get rid of bases, fences, and rocket launchers for bats. Otherwise you are just running your mouth with no analytical thought behind it.
Dec. 17, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Larry, errrrrrrrr Bomber, I noticed your last five posts are all directed to me. Do I detect some type of latent man-crush here?

Dec. 17, 2010
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
as a player that plays in the INF/pitcher area i am constantly grooming my area i play,aka picking up rocks,smoothing out foot prints/ruts/holes in front of the rubber when pitching,anything to keep from having a bad bounce if possible.for me the rubber ,if needed,should be down enough to prevent bag hop bounces off it,in slowpitch there is no need to use it as a push off spot anyways,it is only to mark the front area your supposed to pitch from.

dipty do you ever cover up the mound/rubber so you can pitch from an area not on the rubber for the assoc that require you to be touching it.
Dec. 17, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
sad pup, rhetorical question? Of course I do. Learned that a looooong time ago.
Dec. 17, 2010
Pitcherman
Men's 50
40 posts
If anyone has been pitching for 37 years and not seen the ball bounce off the rubber, then they don't play much or they have the best groundskeepers in the country. I have been pitching for 25 years and have seen this happen numerous times. The only time I have been hit in the head was due to this happening and I was just able to turn my head quick enough to avoid the ball right in my face. I agree the rubber is necessary though as without it, I know I would be stretching the limits by pitching as far back as I can get away with or from the side. The first thing I do now when I get on the mound is start kicking away the white lines and end up pitching more than 6 feet behind the rubber until the ump gets on me. Without a rubber, it will be even harder for them to tell how far you are outside the box. Just like batters kick away the batter's box, so do the pitchers.
Dec. 17, 2010
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
dipty there has to be a way to mark it tho,without having a 24" wide obstacle in front of you,i like the chalk mark,very rarely does the pitcher try and go forward of the rubber anyways,unless they very brave,(well maybe usssa with their fast pitch attitude).also back mark gets wipe out by the pitcher anyways(very early in the first game) in the back so they can get further back,that is where most of the problems come from IMO.that's why a chalk mark for me up front would be ok.
Dec. 17, 2010
hitman
Men's 65
301 posts
Dirty,
All of our elimination/bracket games have two umps. only seeding games have one and then some still have two, so I would say 75% of games I play have have two umps.
I bet you don't play any video games, too much technology, probably just sit on the porch and talk about playing checkers with yourself, can't stand the competition!!!!!!!
Like Ronnie Reagan said Mr. ASSOCIATION REMOVE THAT MOUND".
The Hitman
Dec. 18, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1972 posts
Pitcherman-I don't care how far back you pitch from-you have to lob the ball 50 plus feet and hit a rectangular mat. We had a guy from Island boys pitching from near second base a year ago in Vegas and we still hit the ball. What about those green things that you bury that stick up like grass? They don't deflect anything and 4 could define the box.
Dec. 18, 2010
RIK56
Men's 50
120 posts
This is very disturbing, pitchers not staying in the box i cant believe they would break that rule,i suppose you also throw flat fast balls and 18 foot pitchs.
Dec. 18, 2010
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
Heard about a tournament this year where the pitcher was successfully pitching from more than 60 feet away (chalked box long gone). When the batting team protested, the ump went to talk to the pitcher, returned and said it was O.K. When asked how that could be so, the ump said "he's the TD and sets the rules!!!"
Dec. 18, 2010
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
webbie you are talking about the base finders,i think.

RIK,as a pitcher i would never think to bend/break the rules....DOH,LOL.......
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