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Discussion: Back Foot in Front of the Mat

Posted Discussion
May 22
DBaker1424

4 posts
From a previous thread - Left hander in the box...

March 23
DaveDowell
The purpose of the rule change was three-fold, and we can describe it in about 75 words: ... It was [1] to conform the SSUSA rule to what is common in many/most other adult slow-pitch associations, [2] to simply define a very understandable concept of keeping the back foot down as an anchor against pitcher encroachment, and use the front edge of the plate, a common element in ALL ballfields, as the forward limit ... Batters' boxes ARE different from facility to facility, but the front edge of the plate is in the same place everywhere ... Good luck as you adapt to change ...

March 25
txnighttrain
USSSA went to this rule 3 years ago and the players have adjusted just fine.

March 28
3_SoftballFreak
If the plate is not a strike then this rule works fine, with the plate a strike the back foot limit and front of the plate are too close to each other, impossible to protect and stay behind the front of the plate.

April 24
DaveDowell
I can state that we borrowed this one directly from the USSSA rule:

For the sake of consistency across all venues where SSUSA plays, the committee adopted, generally, the USSSA Rule 1, section 5, as follows: “..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 home plate. NOTE: All other illegally batted ball infractions regarding the side and rear lines of the batter’s box, along with stepping on home plate, remain in effect..”
• PASSED: 12-0-0

April 26
3_SoftballFreak
Looking here at the USSSA Conference rules we see this rule -
In USSSA, a batter's back foot must be no further forward than the front edge of home plate when they take their initial position. If the batter hits the ball with their back foot past the front edge of home plate, they are called out. The batter is also out if their foot lands on home plate or in front of the plate while making contact with the ball.

Of course in regular USSSA the plate is not a strike which creates a buffer between the front of the strike zone and where your feet can be. You guys didn't consider this when you implemented this rule in SSUSA, bad planning.


My comments -

It's sad that this forum is not used for discussion in rule changes / modifications in the Annual Meeting. Being in Oklahoma, it's not feasible to travel to Tucson (in the even years) or the East Coast (in the odd years). Perhaps an email petition might be the answer... I'd add my name to that.

Two suggestions to modify the current rule -

1) Keep the plate bare and put the strike mat at the back point of the plate. The fairly delivered pitched ball hits the plate = not a strike. The fairly delivered pitched ball hits the strike mat = strike. NOW you have the same rule as adopted by USSSA. It is NOT the same rule if you keep things as they are. (And as a USSSA umpire, I'm familiar with this rule.)

2) As we have added the Commitment Line as well as a Scoring Line, you add a Front of Plate Line 17" (the length of the standard, legal home plate) in front of the strike mat. If it's chalk, and it's rubbed out, give the umpire the authority to drag it back in with his foot or with a bat. And this conforms with the USSSA rule and its intent.

As pitchers learn to hit the front of the mat (or even an inch or two or three in front of the mat), you're needing to pull out your sand wedge to hit that pitch if you're going to keep that back foot behind the front of the mat. You're not going to have any kind of chance to barrel it up and everything hit is going to be on the end cap. With this rule as it stands, we're now teaching and encouraging hitting "out of the strike zone." I don't think that's in any way good for the game.
May 22
TimMcElroy

973 posts
You don't have to attend the annual meetings to get a rules item on the agenda for discussion. Just send an email to the office explaining which rule you'd like to see changed. A number of people do this each year.
May 22
k man
Men's 65
330 posts
DBaker, you bring up valid points, as many did in the previous points.
As a lefty or righty for that matter, many of those short pitches (especially with a strike) are now more likely to be drilled up the middle which is the opposite of what the rule is trying to accomplish.

This is the third year we've had that rule in our local senior league and I've noticed most abuse of the rule is the batter going opposite field (they swing their body around and now both feet are beyond the plate) and with 1 umpire, he has enough on his plate (no pun intended) watching everything else going on and also looking down at the batters feet.

Finally, at the Tidewater tourney in April, I warned our team about this very rule from the beginning and the umpire paid no attention to this rule (yes there were some very options violations especially by a member of my own team) It wasn't until a new umpire in our finals game called that very batter out when with bases loaded he was called out on would have been a hit at a crucial point in the game. And yes, his was what the intent of the rule is trying to prevent, so no sour grapes here.
May 22
k man
Men's 65
330 posts
very obvious violations - not options violations
too bad website doesn't have an edit button oh well
May 22
3_SoftballFreak

24 posts
I would like to add that after playing with this rule again this last weekend and trying to hit the ball hard every time, I end up hitting balls at pitchers more now because that short pitch comes in below my knees and it goes back at the pitcher. It seems that this rule which was added to protect pitchers has us hitting more balls at them now.

Same as k man mentioned above.
May 23
Fuzz

23 posts
As David Baker explained very clearly, the problem is that the USSSA rule was created based on the traditional "NON SENIOR" strike zone. It makes sense to get away from "batters box" based rules because of the varying sizes at different venues. As David Baker stated,the current "new" rule needs to be tweaked to take into account the senior strike mat. This is a MAJOR problem and hurts the game if the umpires enforce the "new" rule.
Fuzzy
May 23
LC7
Men's 55
16 posts
It seems ridiculous that a batter in a SSUSA tournament may be called out for hitting the ball while both feet are in the batter's box, but here we are.
I believe this small tweak could make the rule more playable:

"A batter must either have both feet in the batter's box OR have their back foot behind the front of the mat when they hit the ball."

This change would continue to prevent batters from getting closer to the pitcher while still allowing batters to use the entire legal batter's box.
May 23
DaveDowell
Men's 70
4368 posts
Last year at the National Rules Committee meetings, I was reluctantly "persuaded" this new rule was the way to go ... I won't make that same mistake again this time around ... I'm now convinced that if it's been good enough for MLB for nearly 150 years, COMPLAINT FREE, it's good enough for us: STAY IN THE BATTER'S BOX, OR YOU'RE OUT ... The long [Nate Freiman (6'-8")] and the short [Eddie Gaedel (3'-7")] of it have proven conclusively it can be done ... Does anyone know when the most recent occurrence of an MLB player being called out for hitting the ball while being out of the batter's box was? ... Nope, me either! ... I'll be introducing, and advocating, an easily understood return to sanity on this issue ... Maybe I can "count to 7" on it ...
__________

MLB Rule 6.06A batter is out for illegal action when-
.
(a) He hits a ball with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the batter's box
....

May 23
B.J.

1118 posts
DD… I hate putting this in writing because now there will be a record of it, but I totally agree with you.. it’s also scary when you use the word sanity…. Lol
May 23
Fuzz

23 posts
Excellent points and well said DD. This ridiculous change was a solution looking for a problem when there wasn't one. I hope you can fix the madness and restore normalcy.
fuzzy :)
May 23
LostIllini
Men's 55
1 posts
I'm honestly shocked at the amount of push back this new rule has caused... IF you want to go back to the old rule then you better standardize the batting box then.. Because, at the turf complexes I've played at over the last few years, where I have been called out 3 times for my left foot being out of the box. The parks I'm talking about are Golden Eagle in Sparks, NV and BLD in Las Vegas... They do NOT have the same size box and the box is permanent... But at parks that are on dirt.. The front line goes away after time and no one gets called out of the box there..

It was total chaos in Worlds at BLD last year... Some umpires would call it others would not.. Both teams managers would during the flip ask the umpire to NOT call it...
May 23
yankeesfan12

37 posts
My god its about time to end this discussion about the batters box, go back to what it was in the past, it worked great for years and years, why try to fix something that's not broke.
May 23
MrB611
Men's 55
14 posts
Last year, ISA felt so strongly about changing their batter's box rule back to the old way that they made a mid-season rule change (after Columbus, IN). I'm glad SSUSA also recognizes this, wish it wouldn't have to wait til this season is over.
May 23
titanhd
Men's 60
642 posts
(NV and BLD) Why not use chalk to make the box the correct size on the turf Complexes? Chalk rinses away with water when we're (SSUSA) finished. No permanent harm to the turf.
May 24
Fuzz

23 posts
Per DD -

MLB Rule 6.06 • A batter is out for illegal action when-
.
(a) He hits a ball with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the batter's box ....

DD --- Hopefully this can be solved IMMEDIATELY and the "new" back foot/front of mat rule rescinded as if it never happened.

PLEASE FIX IT NOW
fuzzy :)
May 24
DBaker1424

4 posts
I am excited that this madness of comparing apples to oranges (what's good for USSSA and USA has to be good for SSUSA) is gaining traction to be rescinded. And I agree with Fuzzy and others to make this immediate. I'm playing in Columbia, MO next week and would love to have it gone for that!

I believe we all agree that the batters' boxes are of different sizes across various parks and venues and understand that this rule was to standardize the interpretation of "out of the box." But a simple line added 17" in front of home plate, like we do for the commit and scoring lines, would answer that concern. And then the rule remains where the BACK foot must be completely in front of that line to be called out! ANY PART OF YOUR FOOT ON the line (even the pinky toe) is okay.

My "druthers" - do away with the box completely and call stepping on the plate (mat) or in front of or behind as out of the box as we have done when the box wasn't there. If he wants to run halfway to the mound to hit it, so be it. It's pretty hard to do if the pitcher is throwing with any kind of arc on it. (I heard there was some discussion of increasing the minimum height to 8'. Although it's pretty much there anyway - the pitch doesn't have to clear the pitcher's head [if he's 5'9" or taller] to get 6' off the ground. Most umps call that flat. But that's for another post...)

And DD, I appreciate your passion in understanding how this has not been the solution the rules committee sought to achieve. And I certainly forgive you for "being persuaded" in that meeting. Until something is fleshed out, it's difficult to see the ramifications of any new rule.

But now that we know ....
May 24
SSUSA Staff

3554 posts
Thanks to everyone who has commented ... To avoid (further?) confusion and/or unintended misunderstanding, here's what the only batter rule change was, and what the rule will be for the remainder of this season until the December Rules Committee sessions, where reconsideration is a possibility:
__________

1. Batters must have BOTH feet in the batter's box at the start of the pitch ... "Lines are in" for determining in/out of the box;
2. Batter must have their rear foot DOWN, on or behind the line that extends across the front edge of the home plate/strike mat, laterally to the outside edges of the batter's boxes;
3. ALL other batter position restrictions (like not stepping on the strike mat while hitting a ball, etc.) remain unchanged ... That's it! ...
__________

Hopefully this helps ... Good luck everyone! ...

** THREAD CLOSED **


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