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Discussion: Foot placement in batter's box before pitch

Posted Discussion
Dec. 2, 2014
maddogatc
2 posts
Foot placement in batter's box before pitch
Used to be that both feet needed to be completely within the batter's box at the time of the pitch. I now find conflicting interpretations. What is the correct ruling? Thanks.
Dec. 2, 2014
BruceAZ
Men's 60
153 posts
Maddog, as long as you're touching the lines you're ok, here's the rule from the Rule Book;

7.3 • BATTING POSITION
A. The batter must have at least some portion of both feet on or inside the lines
of the batter's box at the start of the pitch.

Dec. 2, 2014
Katzy63
Men's 50
22 posts
Not to confuse the question, but the foot placement before the pitch according to the rules is the same as foot placement at the contact point when striking the ball as well.
As an umpire I was shocked at plate meetings when my partner would discuss the batters box rules and then not enforce them at all. Then as those teams found their way back to our field I would touch on that rule again as I was the plate umpire and actually enforce it. Kind of shocking how some do and some don't, but it's the world we live in I guess.
Dec. 3, 2014
mad dog
Men's 65
4175 posts
bruceaz....what assoc are you looking at....as ASA has it that the batters foot must be completely inside the box before the pitcher ..pitches.......

katzy..not according to ASA...batter must be completely in the box before the pitch...no over hanging like when making contact.....as a pitcher i have called out batters who standing outside the box to the ump...and ump just basically ignores it...
Dec. 3, 2014
B.J.
714 posts
mad dog...this is SSUSA not ASA this rule and 7.3 are both in the SSUSA rule book....RULE 1.5 BATTER'S BOX
The batter's box is the 3-foot by 7-foot area to which the batter is restricted. The
lines are considered as being within the batter's box. At least some portion of
both feet of the batter must be on the line or within the batter’s box.
Dec. 3, 2014
Paul C
Men's 65
5 posts
I disagree with Mad Dog. ASA rules are same as SSUSA. See ASA rule 7.3.A. .. no part of the foot can be completely outside the lines prior to pitch. Same for hitting the pitch as discussed in ASA rule 7.6.D
Dec. 3, 2014
B.J.
714 posts
Paul C....ASA rules are completely different than SSUSA here is Rule 7.3 Section 3. BATTING POSITION.
A. Prior to the pitch, the batter must have both feet completely within the lines
of the batter’s box. The batter may touch the lines, but no part of the foot
may be outside the lines prior to the pitch.
Dec. 3, 2014
Dbax
Men's 60
1880 posts
You guys are saying exactly the same thing. Both feet must be in the box. Standing on the line is in the box.
Dec. 3, 2014
Katzy63
Men's 50
22 posts
SSUSA Rule 1.5: The batter's box is 3-foot by 7-foot area to which the batter is restricted. The lines are considered as being within the batter's box. At least some portion of both feet must be on the line or within the batter's box.
SSUSA Rule 7.3(A): The batter must have at least some portion of both feet on or inside the lines of the batter's box at the start of the pitch.
SSUSA Rule 7.5(C): Batter is out when an entire foot is touching the ground completely outside the libes of the batter's box when he hits a ball fair or foul.

Sorry B.J. and Paul, didn't mean to repeat either of you, but placing all 3 rules within the same post might make it easier for those not familiar with SSUSA rules to understand.
The way I interpret the rule is that prior to the pitch, as long as both feet are in contact with the line you're good in my book. I haven't looked at an ASA book in some time, but like USSSA, no part of the foot may be outside the line at the time of pitch. This is where the confusion comes from. In Vegas there were a lot of teams that only play ASA and they kept quoting ASA rules about this or that. Even had one team hand me their copy of the ASA book which I handed back with a copy of the SSUSA book so they could be more informed. The dugout laughed and the pitcher who was whining all day just killed me with his laser eyes.
Dec. 4, 2014
B.J.
714 posts
guys here is the difference between SSUSA and ASA in SSUSA you can just TOE the outside lines of the box with most of your foot OUTSIDE of the box and be legal at the start of the pitch in ASA you must have your whole foot INSIDE THE BOX and the lines are part of the box
Dec. 4, 2014
Dbax
Men's 60
1880 posts
Doesn't make sense B.J.
Dec. 4, 2014
mad dog
Men's 65
4175 posts
DBax....it is been that way for ASA and if i remember right USSSA...i asked about this a few years back as i was seeing guys just standing on the line in SSUSA play..and was told they can do it..and SSUSA doesn't use the ASA rule for that i was told....i did ask a SSUSA staff member who knew the rules....
Dec. 4, 2014
Dbax
Men's 60
1880 posts
Mad Dog, BJ stated that in ASA that the lines are part of the box just as they are in SSUSA and MLB for that matter. Since that is so, any part of both feet touching any part of the line is considered in the box.
Dec. 4, 2014
rrengineer99
15 posts
so according to ssusa rule 7.5(c),see above, when i was called out, on a base hit, at the lv masters, which was the 1st time i can ever remember being called out of the box, my foot was half on the line and half out, in top of first, im 2nd batter ump plainly seen my foot print half in, half out..we argued, even measured batters box as it was to small, but he still called me out! i should of been safe....
Dec. 4, 2014
Dbax
Men's 60
1880 posts
Yep.
Dec. 4, 2014
FOFO
Men's 55
253 posts
I ump NSA and the rule is the same as ASA. You must start with both feet entirely inside the lines but may finish with both feet simply making contact with any part of the lines. Really a tough call to make unless it it early inn the game or playing on turf fields with the box painted on.
Dec. 5, 2014
B.J.
714 posts
with the above posts (ASA, USSSA, NSA) I think that is why there is so much confusion over rule questions EVERYONE should be looking at the SSUSA RULE BOOK 1ST this is a SSUSA WEB SITE every orginization has their little changes in rules....If an answer cannot be found in SSUSA then go to ASA their organization has the most complete rule book and even gives Rules of Supplements and case book incidents
May 18, 2015
Semmy
7 posts
Okay, sorry if this gets misconstrued as being inflammatory, but it has been bugging me since last year and I decided to look into it.

Going off the official rulebook (excerpted below), I'll summarize from a batter's perspective:

A legal pitch of which any part of the ball lands on the mat is considered a strike. The mat is 19*35.5 inches starting at the front of the plate, which is also parallel with the front of the batter's box

The batter is considered out if he hits a ball (fair OR foul) with either of his feet outside of the batter's box.

Then it would be fair to say, that if a pitcher throws a pitch of 6'arc which lands on the very front of the plate, it would be parallel with the front foot of the batter when it lands on the ground.

Unless the batter is using a golf swing, how does he/she hit a ball that's going to hit the ground directly parallel to his front foot?

I can understand having to start your at-bat with both feet inside the box, but trying to hit an outside pitch at the front edge of the mat with both feet still in the box...


1.5 • BATTER'S BOX
The batter's box is the 3-foot by 7-foot area to which the batter is restricted. The
lines are considered as being within the batter's box. At least some portion of
both feet of the batter must be on the line or within the batter’s box. (See §7.3)

7.3 • BATTING POSITION
A. The batter must have at least some portion of both feet on or inside the
lines of the batter's box at the start of the pitch. A batter who steps out of
the batter’s box at any time during the pitch and then hits the ball, fair
or foul, shall be called out. Steps out means touching the ground
completely outside of the lines of the batter’s box. (See §1.5)

PITCHING REGULATIONS
6.1 • STRIKE ZONE MAT
A strike zone mat will be used. Legal pitches striking any portion of the mat will be strikes

1.62 • STRIKE ZONE MAT
A strike zone mat will be used. The rectangular mat will be 19" (48.26 cm) wide
and 34˝” (87.63 cm) in length. The mat shall be made of rubber or other
suitable material. The mat is placed over home plate and be aligned with the
front edge of home plate. DEFENSE: A defensive player making a play at
Home plate will be allowed to complete the play by touching any portion of the
strike mat. If, during the play, the mat is dislodged, the defensive player shall
touch home plate, rather than the strike zone mat.
May 18, 2015
Semmy
7 posts
Sorry, I just realized my error. The front of the batter's box isn't necessarily parallel with the front of the plate.

However, I cannot find a rule that specifies the location of the plate/mat vs the batter's box? Have I overlooked it?
May 18, 2015
BruceAZ
Men's 60
153 posts
Semmy, look on page 94 of the SSUSA rule book, it gives the dimensions and placement of the strike mat and the batter's box. You have 3ft and 3.5in in front of home plate to hit the ball. That's enough room if you're in the front of the box. You could add a little more room since only your heel has to be in contact with the line.

Bruce
May 18, 2015
SSUSA Staff
2945 posts
Semmy ... Your "geometry is a bit off here, so here's a quick instructional analysis ... All of these dimensions are in addition to the rules sections you cited and can be found in the SSUSA Official Rulebook beginning on page 76 ...

• The strike mat is 19' wide and 34˝" deep ... The home plate is 17" wide, so the "overlap" is an inch on either side ...
• The front edge of the strike mat is alighned with the front edge of home plate, and extends 34˝" back from that edge ...
• The batter's box is 7' deep, of which 3' extends forward, toward the pitching rubber, and 4' back toward the catcher ... The "pivot point" for that 3'/4' relationship is the "elbow" on either side of the plate ... The "elbow" is 8˝" back from the front edge of the plate ... So, applying all of these dimensions, the front edge of the batter's box is 2'-3˝" forward of the front edge of the plate (3' less 8˝") ...

The batter is restricted to the confines of the batter's box at all times during the pitch ... There was a rule modification this past Rules Committee meeting to fine tune that requirement ... Although the 6' arc pitch that hits the front edge of the strike mat (and generally bounces either straight up or back toward the pitcher) is a VERY tough pitch to hit, the batter has that 2'-3˝" zone out front to legally land his forward foot from his stride to/through the ball ... He actually has a bit more distance, roughly the length of his foot, since "lines are in" when determining whether or not he has remained in the box ...

Hope this helps ...

May 18, 2015
garyheifner
604 posts
This was a very good discussion. I saw the rule violated many times this week in Milwaukee and nothing called. This takes me back to my feelings on a batters box. Park district kids/part timers often line the box and it is often quite off. Within most games the box is usually pretty much gone after 4 or so innings. The best batters boxes have been those tournaments were the park uses ply board with astro turf covering and painted lines. One park had rubber mats that they rolled out and had lines printed on them. They were also excellent. These also gave you a flat hitting surface for the whole game and you didn't have to hit out of holes. I think it was Reno a few years back where the box was totally off, many called out and TD wouldn't adjust to an improperly marked box. I would like to see SSUSA encourage parks to look into these options.

To me, the only line needed is the 2'-3 1/2" line in front to keep the batters from closing on the pitcher. It doesn't matter where you stand, you still must defend the mat and that alone limits all batters to a small specific area. The only value I see in a batters box is that the area looks pretty for a few innings.

I also do not like the rule that the catcher has to touch the plate when the mat is moved. It is almost always the batter who kicks the mat coming out of the box. Not the catchers fault. He should be allowed to touch either.





May 18, 2015
Semmy
7 posts
Thanks to all for the clarification. :)
May 29, 2015
garyheifner
604 posts
A question: In the post by the staff, it is noted that a short pitch could hit the front of the mat and bounce straight up.

It that a dead ball strike or could the batter hit that ball that bounces straight up especially when it could be the 3rd strike.
May 30, 2015
Mango
Men's 50
154 posts
I know there was a degree of controversy in Reno with "out of the box" last weekend. I felt sorry for the officials who were encouraged to enforce a rule usually not strictly enforced in other tournaments throughout the year. Like the "carrying the ball over" rule in basketball, the written rule differs from the normal enforcement. Same thing with baseball where the strike zone is the"bottom of the knees" to the top of the shoulders. Can you imagine a major league umpire enforcing that zone? The letter of the law/rule differs from the normal enforcement and is culturally accepted. On a freeway you don't expect to get a ticket for doing 70 in the fast lane even though the law says 65.

I know officials were encouraged to "strictly enforce" the batters box rule in Reno. I'm not sure it was beneficial or added anything to the game. I felt sorry for the umpires and frustrated players who normally extend the box.

Finally on extending the box forward-Since batters box dimensions and placement were designed with baseball and softball in mind where the ball needs to "cross " the plate in order to be a strike, and not "hit" the plate- wouldn't It make sense to adjust the placement of the box forward the front more to compensated? Which players and officials usually do when the lines are removable.
May 30, 2015
B.J.
714 posts
gary....no you can't hit the ball on the bounce..it is a dead ball strike...and if it's the 3rd strike just shake your head and head for the dugout...lol
May 30, 2015
Tim Millette
615 posts
Reno was a disaster when it came to the batters box.

We played with three differnt sets of rules.

One ump said stay in the box

One ump said you can step out away from home plate but not in front of the box

One ump actually said...I will only call you out if you run out of the box, not if your natural stride takes you out of the box....his reason for this was we were playing against a team and a 6'5" players said he could swing in the box because it was to small for him..the ump refered to this player as one of the best in the game.

My view is..enforce the d#mn rule..the players will adjust and an enforced box makes it harder for individuals to drive a ball back up the middle (at the pitcher) and takes away just a little of the hitters advantage.
May 30, 2015
The Screamer5
65 posts
Agree...the box rule is inconsistently enforced just about everywhere I've been. The box is there for a reason. As an umpire (ASA and USSSA) for over 20 years, my opinion is that you should have to stay in the box during the entire stride/swing and the rule enforced, especially if there is an outright blatant offense (which we see all the time).

I always thought it was funny to watch some hitters come up to bat early in a game and wipe out the batter box lines with their feet for whatever reasons. A good umpire will still enforce the box rule when its violated, even if the lines are completely gone.
May 30, 2015
DieselDan
Men's 70
426 posts
I'd suggest that players who occasionally have this issue print the rules for each association and keep it in there bag. If there's a question, pull it out. Make sure your manager is OK with it or have the manager keep them in their pocket/bag.
May 30, 2015
Mango
Men's 50
154 posts
Screame 5
I'm interested in your thoughts as a u trip ump for over 20 years about having the same box for a ball that can hit the front of the plate for a strike (in senior ball) whereas in Utriip that pitch would be a ball? Shouldn't the box be moved slightly forward to compensate?
May 30, 2015
Katzy63
Men's 50
22 posts
Why move the box forward? The rear of the strike mat is almost at the back of the batters box to begin with, and in my opinion moving the back of the box deeper makes more sense than pulling the forward line closer to the pitcher. I always enforce the box rule as it is written, emphasis on the front and inside lines on contact, and tell both managers at the plate meeting that it will be enforced as well. You'd be surprised how many leadoff batters I ring up on it, as well as the power hitters taking a little too much liberty.

As for the batter wiping away the lines prior to getting set in the box, there is a rule pertaining to that as well. Can't remember the numbers on it, but had an umpire warn the same guy multiple times to not do it. Towards the end of the game I told the umpire to just toss him if he's going to continually defy you. Oh I'd never toss for that, I just need those lines so I know where the box is! C'mon Blue! If you're going to continually warn without punishment then why waste your breath?
May 31, 2015
garyheifner
604 posts
Forgive my memory loss, it was at either Ft. Meyers winter nationals or the recent TOC, an ump told us before the game that any player who intentionally wiped out the batters box lines, in his opinion, would be immediately ejected from the game. Still had some lines at the end of the game.

Maybe a rule SSUSA should consider as standard and maybe it would help to eliminate most of this issue.

Another thing/rule, I really don't understand after 50 years of high level softball and maybe some one would enlighten me as to why. If you hit a pitch and step in front of or on the mat/plate you are supposed to be called out. This is rarely called especially when there is only one ump. He is watching the ball. You start out with a stance in the box and happen to step on the plate in your swing, so what if you remain in the general box area ???
June 1, 2015
Benji4
230 posts
Most Pitchers stand 3 to 5 feet behind the pitching rubber so why not move the batters box up a little. Most umpires call a strike when the ball hits a 1/2" in front of home plate anyway. That pitch is pretty much impossible to hit.

Reno was a joke. Those painted batters boxes are not 3 feet wide...

Mango makes a great point about the spirit of the rule compared to the letter of the rule. I hardly believe if a guy steps out of the box with one foot that he gains an advantage. Even if it's in the front of the box.

June 1, 2015
SSUSA Staff
2945 posts
Benji4 ... This particular message board topic is a popular annual one immediately following any tournament where there are permanent artificial turf batter's boxes present, like at Golden Eagle in Sparks or Big League Dreams in Las Vegas ... For the fifth consecutive year last week, the lead field director at Golden Eagle re-measured the batter's boxes at Golden Eagle to correct the misconceptions of at least one player ... The batter's box lines at Golden Eagle are wider than the standard chalk dispenser for dirt boxes and the interior of the boxes are the same dark brown color as the infield carpet ... The result is the optical illusion that the box interior is small, therefore the box must be too small ... This is an incorrect assumption ... The outside dimensions, including the lines, are to exactly to standard specification and their location relative to the elbow of the actual home plate follow suit ... However, at Golden Eagle, the left side batter's box for right handed batters on Field 14 is slightly out of location ... The carpet has slipped forward toward the pitching rubber by ˝" in the past year ...

June 1, 2015
paul0784
Men's 60
218 posts
B.J.-ASA Rules are not the same as SSUSA. Just take a look at the international tie breaker and ASA says the man starting at second base can be anyone and SSUSA says it has to be the last batter "NO QUESTIONS".
June 1, 2015
paul0784
Men's 60
218 posts
B.J.-Sorry you are correct and Paul C is not.
June 2, 2015
Mario
Men's 50
451 posts
Just an observation, since they made the plate a strike they have in essence moved the strike zone forward the plate length. Why not move the box this much forward to compensate for the plate now being a strike? Being 6'5" tall the extra 3-4 inches would take this out of the equation for me.
June 2, 2015
D-Ballgame
6 posts
My question is, why is it SO heavily enforced on the turf fields and made completely useless and unenforceable on the majority of all the other fields we play on? As a pitcher, I see a large number of players so far off the box that I ask the umpire "is he ready to hit"? Or, "is he in the box"? Even though I can see he is four feet away from the plate the umpire says he is fine go ahead and pitch. To not show-up an umpire, in between innings I ask the umpire if he could lay a bat down perpendicular to home plate as a bat is 34" long and the batters box is 36" wide....that this should give him a pretty good idea of where a box should extend out away from the plate after the lines are usually gone within the first few innings. The answer? Basically: mind your own business as I am the one calling the game. Do you think a player is pulling the ball (if he isn't running up in the box) standing 4 feet off the plate. Well, when it's blasted back up the middle and you hear "sorry pitch".......you think.....well, get back in the box. In Reno, I saw much less where batters were standing excessively away from the plate, due to painted lines......but to make a huge deal over being out an inch or two......to the side, front, etc. I think was pretty petty.....unless they are going to enforce it year round.
June 2, 2015
SSUSA Staff
2945 posts
D-Ballgame ... The principal (and REALLY simple) reason it's "..SO heavily enforced.." (your words) on artificial turf fields is because the first couple of batters are not able to obliterate the lines like they do on dirt/chalk batter's boxes ... That makes the call a very easy one, as opposed to trying to "guesstimate" where the chalk lines used to be as batters start wandering all over the county (and argue most resultant out calls) ...

June 2, 2015
Garocket
Men's 55
258 posts
Staff I have been playing for 40 years and have never seen a batters box extend 4 ft back. All I have ever seen is 4 ft forward from the middle of the plate and 3 ft back. Except in usssa it is 3 up and 2 1/2 back.if it is 3 up the foul lines will not intersect with the batters box correctly
June 2, 2015
Garocket
Men's 55
258 posts
Your diagram in the back of rule book shows 4 up and 3 back. Is it correct?
June 2, 2015
SSUSA Staff
2945 posts
4' forward 3' back from the elbow pivot point is correct ... I got dyslexic in the "specs" post near the top! ... Sorry about that!
June 2, 2015
Mango
Men's 50
154 posts
Mario- that was exactly my point.
June 3, 2015
The Screamer5
65 posts
Good question Mango. Common sense would suggest that the box be moved up slightly in Senior ball to compensate for the plate being called a strike. I can say as a hitter who stands way up in the box, prefers the ball shoulder height and has a very healthy stride...I would love any extra room I can get in the batter's box. I've come very close to being called out several times because of where my front foot landed after striding. (Been warned many times.)

I think the problem is the inconsistent way the rule is enforced. My experience is most players want the rules enforced the same (game, league, tournament wide) right or wrong. The scenario that Tim mentioned in his post about the batter's box rule in Reno is unacceptable. Umpires discuss these types of things in their meetings before tournaments to make sure they are all on the same page. I wasn't there in Reno so I can't speak to that specific situation. I just know it shouldn't happen.
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