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Discussion: Change in the batters box rule

Posted Discussion
May 13, 2021
Full Count
40 posts
Change in the batters box rule
Conference play has changed their batter box rule.
As long as the back foot is positioned in the proper location the lead foot can land out of the box. For taller players with long strides this really helps.
It would be nice if Senior Softball took up this rule.
May 14, 2021
B.J.
915 posts
FC.. hmmm.. so do they have a mandatory height requirement to be out of the box or can short players step out also?? do the umpires do a pregame height check?

May 14, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3530 posts
That's funny stuff, B.J. ... Actually, that's an accommodation to the "Conference" group of very skilled players who "dig the long ball" ... They have a recurring problem of staying in the batter's box, so to eliminate the resultant arguments when an umpire makes that call, the rule change lets them just ignore it ... The good news for us is that I don't see anywhere close to the the seven votes (of 13) required to implement that rule change in SSUSA ... Maybe someone will write it up and send it to the Nat'l Rules Committee ... Who knows?

May 14, 2021
Turning2
Men's 70
115 posts
DD - first of all, THANKS. as to the box, I like that both SSUSA and USA/ASA measure the front 4 from the first angle of the plate where the base line is in line with this angle and 3 from that point to the back line. USSSA only have 3 from the same measuring point to the front of the box. True or not, I was told that the USSSA when addressing the Conference guys that position themselves forward in the box and yes, some of them would stride out of the box, they were either too stubborn or arrogant to make their box same dimensions as ours because of their believed superiority in their league and rules. There were proponents of our box dimensions but they were out-numbered, at least thats the story I was told. Their 2020 amendment still sounds a bit conflicting to me as I read it.
May 14, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3530 posts
T2 ... I strongly suspect you are correct in the U-trip background thinking ... For us, it's simply the ongoing "battle of wills" between umpires who have the guts to make the out-of-the-box call vs. the players who want to take the unrestricted big stride out front ... That battle may never end! ...

I chuckle when I have to arbitrate the in-game dispute, and it gets hilarious at times when I ask the manager "Why can't your guys stay in the box when the item coming their way is a 16-MPH underhand lobbed ball, but MLB players never stray outside the lines, even when it's a 95 MPH hardball doing all sorts of crazy movement?" ... I would hope our rules committee holds the line on preventing batters creeping forward to further reduce the pitcher's reaction time ... Thanks for your insights ...

May 14, 2021
stick8
1905 posts
Perhaps Im a bit biased but of all the associations One Nation has the best and easiest rule to understand on this. The batters back foot (rignt foot for a righty and left foot for a lefty) cannot go up any further than the front edge of the plate upon contact.
May 14, 2021
Full Count
40 posts
Players over 6' tall don't have to creep up to the front of the box to stride out of the box.
That's what's so great about the new conference rule. Your back foot must stay in the position chosen. You can not creep up or your back foot will not be in the proper position and you will be out. Why cause Anxiety and arguments over a few inches.
May 15, 2021
Mountain Man
Men's 65
28 posts
Who do I have to buy off to make this rule change? A simple stride for me (while standing at center of the plate), will put my front foot out of the box. My back foot rarely moves; but it does sometimes. It's difficult to protect the front of the plate for us "taller" folk without dipping the swing like a golf swing. Taking tiny steps when hitting is akin to taking tiny bites when eating. Doesn't work for me...but I try my best. Let's call it the Sasquatch Rule....one foot in the box - ball is NOT hit toward the pitcher. If the ball goes toward the pitcher, then in the interest of safety, I would call myself out.
May 15, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3530 posts
M ... Talk your organization into sending you to this fall's National Rules Committee sessions at the Convention ... You'll get a shot at the 13 folks on the Committee ... Plus it's an enjoyable opportunity ...
May 16, 2021
cuda65
65 posts
Maintain Man in my view is on point. I am only 5`10 inches tall, plus on occasion I do step into a pitch and have a 32 inch inseam. I have been called out on more than one occasion. Every time I have been called out, I was hitting to right field. It seems to me rules are made and enforced to prevent one team or player from gaining an advantage. I fail to see how by my foot being one inch in front of the batters box front line gains me one single advantage. Talking to one umpire at a tournament after being called out and asking his opinion, He gave me this response. Unless you are hitting the middle, I would not call you out. This conversation was not on the playing field but near the concession stand and that umpire was not involved with my game. In a previous subject on this message board, the infield fly rule was discussed and Umpires judgement was paramount. I`m 81 years old and even if I hit the middle, it would be a routine out for any pitcher. And yet I`ve seen a 60 year old monster stay in the box and hit the middle crushing the pitchers knee cap. Just my opinion.
May 16, 2021
DCPete
401 posts
Agree 100% cuda; the rule is a silly excuse to make a cheap Out call and doesn't provide an advantage to the batter unless he's halfway to the mound (lol). And Pitchers and Base Coaches are never questioned for being outside their respective boxes . . .
May 16, 2021
B.J.
915 posts
guys.. this comes up all the time, and yes I hate making that call but it is a rule...

the rule will never be changed by
complaining about it on this message board... do as DD has suggested in the past MANYYYY times on any rule that you would like to see changed put in writing and include HOW the rule should be amended... below is the info... get ALL your teammates and other teams to do it also... below is info. DD has posted in the past


You can get an item on the list for possible inclusion on the Official Committee Agenda by sending identifiable written correspondence (email or snail-mail) to the Rules Committee ... Identifiable means not anonymously submitted, and the Committee specifically excludes anything proposed in this Message Board ...

Email is probably the easiest way ... Write up your proposal, and you'll have to make the argument in written format because we're not meeting in person this year, and send it to info@seniorsoftball.com ... Please put "Rules Committee" in the subject line ... All correspondence is forwarded to the Chair of the National Rules Committee, Donna McGuire ... That's all it takes, and your submission will be seen and considered by the committee membership ... If there is enough member interest in the proposal (and we hear this particular one every year) it could make it to the Official Agenda ... Good luck! ...
May 16, 2021
VTuttle
Men's 65
8 posts
If you are going to take this approach, why even have a batters box at all? I can see that this would certainly cut down on the cost of (lime) marking the field and time involved in preparing boxes around home plate. So, just stand where you want, stride where you want and if the ball hits you any where, any time, you are out.
May 16, 2021
grayhitter59
Men's 60
299 posts
This rule should be amended because of the use of the mat and plate which extends the strike zone. When the rule of stepping out of the box where written, the plate was not a strike. Now that the plate is a strike we have to move up to cover that area or reach forward to hit the ball, the area that is the plate in the distance the box should be moved up or amend the rule.

The stepping out comes into play especially in turf fields where the lines are painted (with old dimensions based on old softball rules) and do not take into consideration that the plate is now a strike.(new rules)

SSUSA should address this, and come to the necessary action to eliminate this bad call being made at tournaments that use turf fields.

May 16, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3530 posts
That's an interesting "new take" on things, even though I don't think the home plate, being covered by the strike mat, is defined anywhere as a strike ... But the fields that have turf installed are the easiest calls to make ... It's the chalked batters' boxes that present problems ... After the first batter wipes out the front line, and the second batter erases the plate-side line, then the arguments can commence immediately ... I'm fortunate have one of the 13 votes on the Nat'l Rules Committee and I'll be watching what MLB does for guidance on this issue ... When MLB allow batters to wander anywhere they want out of the box, I'm "all-in" for that change so that we're consistent ...

P.S. - B.J. is exactly correct on how this may find its way to the NRC later this year ...

May 16, 2021
grayhitter59
Men's 60
299 posts
Dave, I understand your point when it come to MLB. But i disagree with you in softball, now that we use the mat. When softball started there was no such thing as the mat (correct) OK. now that the mat is used, correct me if I am wrong (I have been wrong before " ask my wife")the plate is a strike. Prior to the use of the mat the plate was a ball (again correct me if I am wrong) so this means the strike zone moved, again correct me if I am wrong, therefore the box should have moved with the start of using the mat.

Make sense?

Thank You, hope yo and your are well.

MQ
May 16, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3530 posts
Thanks, Manny, all is well here and hopefully the same for you and yours ... At the risk of being guilty of "hair-splitting", I don't believe the plate has "moved" ... The front edge of the strike mat is (and always has been) aligned with the front edge of the underlying home plate since the introduction of the mat ... It's undeniable that the strike zone has expanded as the mat dimensions have increased, but I maintain it hasn't "moved" ... And that may well be nothing more than a "difference without a distinction!" ... Play and be safe! ...
May 16, 2021
B.J.
915 posts
Dave, I have a question... I've been umpiring and playing SSUSA since 2002 and back then I can't remember NOT having a mat butt up against HP ... was there a time when SSUSA called a strike zone and didn't use a mat??
May 16, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3530 posts
B.J. ... I don't know the answer to the exact question you asked, but I've been a Director for SSUSA since 2001 and we have had a strike mat during that entire time ... So for at least the past 20 years, which aligns with your years of service, too ...
May 17, 2021
grayhitter59
Men's 60
299 posts
Dave, I never said or intended to say the plate has moved. I have only been playing senior ball for 13 years. before I played with the young guys, they did not have a mat, it was up to the umpires to determine where the ball landed and if it was a strike.

My statement is, that if a ball hits the plate, it was a ball back then, today in senior ball and a lot of other sanctions the mat and the plate are a strike.

So technically, the so call strike area has moved up, therefore a batter has to move up to cover that area. So by taking a large strive forward the batter can unintentionally step over the box.

I just think who ever came up with the mat system (which I like "stops a lot of arguments") never took into account the added distance and adjusted the box.

MQ

May 17, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3530 posts
I'm sorry Manny, I thought you typed "..so this means the strike zone moved.." ... Regardless, there are a lot of us who believe the balance-of-power is already tilted heavily in favor of the batters as opposed to the pitchers ... There's no disrespect or arrogance of opinion on either side of that equation here! ... I just can't foresee an argument that is going to convince this one lonely voter on the NRC to favor a decrease in the distance that a hitter may employ to hit a ball from a point closer to the pitcher ... Heck, my all time favorite pitch to see is the one that hits the front edge of the mat and bounces straight back toward the pitcher! ... Enjoy your day/week! ...

May 17, 2021
grayhitter59
Men's 60
299 posts
Dave I also like the one that hits the front of the plate, but the one that hits the far corner is my favorite.

stay well.
May 17, 2021
TimMcElroy
779 posts
Batters have made adjustments to their stance and swing for years to prep for varied pitch arch of ASA, NSA, USSSA, and every other "SA" out there. Many of the same guys are still out there taking hundreds of cuts each week via live BP and tee work. For the life of me, I can't understand why batters don't use that practice time to work on staying in the box.

I get that power hitters would prefer that all pitched balls come through the zone at a certain spot. I don't get why they can't train to hit a ball that is anywhere in the senior strike zone (while staying in the box).
May 21, 2021
txnighttrain
105 posts
I umpire in USSSA: Here is the actual rule which applies to all levels. Rule 1 Sec 5: ....The Batter must take an initial position with his back foot no further forward than a line defining the front edge of home plate. The batter will be called out if he hits the ball when the back foot is completely further forward than the line defining the front edge of the plate.

Nowhere does it permit a person to make contact with the ball outside the box. Since many times the boxes aren't marked it is the umpires judgment. We are taught it must be obvious. The rear foot rule was incorporated because it now makes the presumption you are out of the forward lines of the box if the back foot is in front of the plate at the time contact is made. If the box is marked, a player could still be called out if he makes contact with the ball and one or both feet is outside the box. The lines are part of the box and you are in the box if any part of a foot is on the line. This rule applies to ALL LEVELS.
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