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Discussion: Stepping out of the batters box

Posted Discussion
June 27, 2011
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
401 posts
Stepping out of the batters box
Seen a number of players this past weekend, including myself, get called out in Lacey, WA for stepping outside (in front) of the batters box during the act of hitting a pitched ball. I assume the calls were based on rule 1.32 A. and it seems a little broad and needs clarification.

If one has both feet in or on the batters box line and their forward stride on contacting the hit ball caused their front foot to land outside or in front of the batters box, does the rule apply?

1.32 ILLEGALLY BATTED BALL
An illegally batted ball occurs when the batter hits the ball fair or
foul and:
A. The entire foot is completely outside the lines of the batter’s box
and on the ground.
B. Any part of the foot is touching home plate.
C. An illegal or altered bat is used.
June 27, 2011
SSUSA Staff
1271 posts
The incidence of batters called out for violating §1.32 A. of the SSUSA Rule Book (above) seems to rise a bit in tournaments where the batters boxes are permanent and imbedded in the artificial turf. They don't get 'rubbed out' at those facilities. Such fields include, in the west, The Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey, the Golden Eagle Sports Complex in Sparks and the Woodland Sports Park, site of the upcoming Western Nationals. The rule is clear, and in the cases you describe, it was the umpire's judgment that the front/stride foot was down outside the box when bat/ball contact occurred. These type of facilities just make it easier to determine and call. The rule is sufficiently clear as written.

June 27, 2011
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2665 posts
Someone correct me if I'm wrong but when using the mat the strike zone has effectively been moved 17" foward. This is because a pitch that at one time that hit the front of the plate that would have been called a ball is now called a strike.
Why hasn't the batter's box been moved foward 17"?
June 27, 2011
cal50
Men's 50
284 posts
Usually you see the old time ASA umpires call a person out for being out of the box. Seems like in ASA they want to be in total control and be the center of attention rather than let the teams play. Stepping on the plate should be an out, but if there is no clear batters box outlined, should never be called.
June 27, 2011
fielderofdreams
1 posts
I hit a home run but evidentally the tip of my shoe touched the corner margin of the black plate extension and I was called out-I am assuming the extension is considered part of the plate-the other umpires at the field that night weren't sure.
June 28, 2011
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2665 posts
According to the rule in the first post you must touch home plate to be called out. If you step on the mat and part of your foot is on the line of the batter's box you shouldn't be called out. I think the SPA mat is wider than the plate so I can see you stepping on the mat close to the plate in this instance. Some mats don't have an outline of the plate on it so I just think it depends on how wide the mat is.
June 28, 2011
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
401 posts
SSUSA Staff: I think you are correct in that it’s the permanent design of the box on the artificial turf as I have never encountered this before, not even at Golden Eagle. I am thinking the box was designed for a strike zone with a home plate in mind and not a mat.

I also think BruceInGA described the problem pretty well. The placement of the box is different when using a mat as compared to the strike zone. That 17” is significant. Good pitchers will throw a low flat pitch that will catch the front of the mat and if you’re not in front of the plate you can’t hit that pitch so it becomes a strike. If you do hit it, you will likely step forward, out of the box.
June 28, 2011
SSUSA Staff
1271 posts
There has NOT been a 17" forward adjustment to the strike 'zone' resulting from the use (or placement) of the strike mat. In fact, there has been NO forward adjustment at all.

Before the full coverage strike mat was instituted a couple years ago, SSUSA used a "V-cut" mat placed at the back of the plate, and both the plate AND the mat were the strike 'zone'. The larger full-coverage mat is two inches wider (one inch on each side) and two inches deeper (both inches at the back) than the combined dimensions of the former home plate/V-cut mat dimensions. The alignment of the current strike 'zone' mat occurs at the front edge of the home plate, so the strike 'zone' is NO closer to the pitcher's rubber than previously.

The former strike 'zone' was 17" wide by 32.5" deep. The current strike 'zone' is 19" wide by 34.5" deep.
June 28, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
I think what Bruce meant was that, back when we all played softball the way it was meant to be played, the plate was not part of the strike zone. Actually, any pitch landing on it was automatically a ball. Now that the front edge of the plate is an automatic strike guys are often forced to move up in the box, but unfortunately the box has not moved up to reflect this change.
June 28, 2011
Mr. Manassas
230 posts
Bruce is correct...There has not been an adjustment to the batter's box and maybe there should. To be honest with you I do not think that the call for stepping out of the box should be made at all...I don't see the advantage for the batter.
June 28, 2011
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
401 posts
Exactly ...Gary19 and Mr. Manassas
June 28, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Mr. Manassas, if there was no advantage batters wouldn't do it. Must be some reason.
June 28, 2011
GSWP001
Men's 60
74 posts
I play on these fields all the time. When we first started we had problems like this. We finally figured out that the batters boxes we made to small. They are basically the size of little league. We have adapted to them. The tournamet umps are not used to this fact and I'm sure that contributed to the amount of outs being called.
June 28, 2011
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
401 posts
Thanks for a good explanation.
June 28, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
yes the boxes at golden eagle were small.i very rarely will be close to being out,whether before or after a pitch,but there i was standing on the side of the box just for my normal set-up.
bruce is right, tho it may be closer to 12" as he is going from the tip of the plate and not the side(before the roof goes up)where you can get a strike also(no mat ball).

maybe give the boxes 12" more up front.
the advantage for being up there is to be able to hit a ball that is higher up for ya(aka above the waist,etc)and make it easier to hit out.
June 28, 2011
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
401 posts
I should also add that the RAC Complex in Lacey, WA is a terrific softball complex to play in and the tournament was run first class with what looked like very even and competitive teams in all divisions.

Got very luck with the weather as well.
July 6, 2011
Mario
Men's 50
381 posts
This discussion is why the plate should not be a strike. IF they are not going to move the batters box forward to compensate for the plate being a strike, then they should let you stand 12" farther towards the pticher. I'm 6'5" tall and I have to stand up in the box to get the pitch that I like.
July 6, 2011
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2665 posts
Mario, many of us agree. Staff, why isn't this considered, or is it being considered?
July 6, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
i could see the reason of moving the batters box up 12" more,but that would be about it....
July 6, 2011
GaCMan
86 posts
The strike zone should be moved forward some if not 12 inches. Also I dont like the outside lines either purpose????? Move the front line forward 6 to 12 inches remove the outside lines and lets play ball. Who cares how far you stand from the plate as long as you don't step on the plate????? Some of us are bigger than others with longer armes!!!
July 7, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Big guys with long arms have played the game for years with the current box, and somehow managed to survive.
July 7, 2011
Garocket
Men's 55
157 posts
Guys the current batter box should be 3 ft wide starting 6 inches from the plate
It should be 7 ft in length from the middle of the plate, should extend 3 ft behind the plate, and extend 4 ft in front of the plate.
That means if you are on the line with your foot that is almost 5 ft in front of the plate.
If you are futher that, in front of the plate you are taking advantage of the rule.
If that is not taking advantage then why should the pitcher have to stand at a certain distance. Let him pitch from 60 ft or even 70 ft. The ball still would have to go 6-12 and land on the plate or mat

The batters box is plenty big enough if you know how to hit and what pitch to hit.
July 7, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
garocket,bada,bing,bada,boom......winner-winner chicken dinner...........yep.
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