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Old Sun Jun 04, 2006, 01:25pm
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The batter's box

Hi there softball people,

I am a baseball only umpire, so please forgive my ignorance in this matter.

Watching the NCAA Women's Softball World Series, I notice that the batters are allowed to run completely out of the batter's box and hit the ball. Isn't this illegal, to hit the ball with their foot/feet completely outside the lines of the box, just like baseball? The commentators seem okay with it, as do the umpires, so is this really legal? I have no softball rule books, or I wouldn't have bothered y'all with this.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old Sun Jun 04, 2006, 02:11pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanDiegoSteve
I notice that the batters are allowed to run completely out of the batter's box and hit the ball.
Not true. The batter's box in softball is one foot longer in the front than in baseball. Just like in baseball, if a batter's foot is completely out of the box when they hit it, they are out. The cross-over steps these batters are using put them right at the front of the box, perhaps even with some of their foot out of the box... but not all of it.
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Old Sun Jun 04, 2006, 04:57pm
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To be out the foot must be on the ground when contact with the ball occurs
A fine line and we have to be 110% sure that this is the case .
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2006, 12:49am
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Well, they showed some replays of the one I'm talking about, and she contacted the ball and her front foot was a good 18 inches in front of the front line of the box, on the ground, when the bat and ball met. She was clearly out of the box, yet nobody seemed to think anything of it, so I thought maybe it was okay in softball. Guess not.
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2006, 02:58am
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Slow motion replays are great for commentators because then they get it right and this would be the only time they do .
An ump must make a decision in this case in asplit second when the ball was connected was the foot on the ground and like I said they must be 110% correct .
Imagine the uproar and comments from the commentators if they were wrong .
Plus you would have the comments
'Wow he must have damn good eyesight and obviously wasnt looking at the ball to call that "
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2006, 11:13am
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Most of these slappers / dragbunter have great footwork through practice, and MOST of the time their foot is not actually touching the ground out of the box (it's mid-stride) when contact is made. I did see the ONE instance where it appeared the batter messed up and it wasn't caught - but 99.9% of the time that front foot is NOT in contact with the ground.

BTW - I do baseball as well, and the rules are identical (with the exception in some jurisdictions of making ANY contact with home plate while hitting the ball being an out, where in others it's not). The foot has to be not only completely outside the box, but also in contact with the ground when the ball contacts the bat. Conceivably (in either sport), a batter could rush the pitcher 4-5 steps and if they jumped and could hit the ball, they would be legal. Conceivably.
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2006, 01:41pm
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Sarah Fekete, the lead-off hitter for Tennessee steps in front of the plate every time she slaps. Although TV angles can be deceptive, at times it is very clear her foot is in contact with the ground, outside the box and in front of the plate when she hits the ball. I can't understand how the PU can not see this. It's not like she is stepping out of the front of the box and the lines have been eliminated by other hitters or plays at the plate. She is stepping in front of the plate! The PU has a good clear view of this. It must be one of those rules that the NCAA wants ignored.
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Last edited by NSABlue; Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 02:38pm.
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2006, 01:57pm
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I have had conversations similar to this with other umpires and frankly it seems to me that it is nearly impossible to actually swing without your front foot coming down before making contact with the ball. Now I dont do FP at all so I dont have the "slap" hitters in SP. When I watch any hitting instruction the front foot has to plant in order to clear your hips and swing with any force at all.

I have made this call in SP because it is much more obvious. This year is the first that I have spent watching much FP. To be honest I have not seen any case where the batters foot is in the air when contacting the ball. All of them have the foot down. Now I will grant that the Home Plate umpire just wont be able to know for certain. However, the base umpires should be able to see this without much distraction, especially the 3rd base ump on a LH batter (which seem to slap more than RH from what I have seen).

My suspicion is that it is one of those unwritten rules that you just let it go, because its just "to close to call".

I will agree that it could be called more often and in my mind should be.
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2006, 02:36pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baldgriff
I have had conversations similar to this with other umpires and frankly it seems to me that it is nearly impossible to actually swing without your front foot coming down before making contact with the ball. Now I dont do FP at all so I dont have the "slap" hitters in SP. When I watch any hitting instruction the front foot has to plant in order to clear your hips and swing with any force at all.
I can guarantee you that it is possible to hit the ball with a foot not on the ground. I often see slap hitters in SP. Lefties with speed just put the ball on the ground and beat it out. Most infielders are playing so far back, it's a pretty good play.
Quote:
I have made this call in SP because it is much more obvious. This year is the first that I have spent watching much FP. To be honest I have not seen any case where the batters foot is in the air when contacting the ball. All of them have the foot down. Now I will grant that the Home Plate umpire just wont be able to know for certain. However, the base umpires should be able to see this without much distraction, especially the 3rd base ump on a LH batter (which seem to slap more than RH from what I have seen).
If you are a BU and make that call, your car better be running in the parking lot.
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2006, 02:59pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA

If you are a BU and make that call, your car better be running in the parking lot.
In SP I have made it as PU. 95% of my games are done 1 man. I am not saying it cant be done, just that from what I was seeing on TV recently, it wasnt in those instances.
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2006, 03:22pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NSABlue
It must be one of those rules that the NCAA wants ignored.
No...it isn't.
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2006, 03:30pm
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I'm not saying that NO ONE steps out of the box... but it is definitely true that MOST of the time, what appears to be out of the box is perfectly legal. One poster above posts that someone is stepping in FRONT of the plate. I cannot imagine being able to step in FRONT of the plate and still be heading toward first - seems you'd entirely lose the speed advantage gained by this hitting tactic if you were heading toward shortstop on the first step.

TIVO this and look at it frame by frame. You may find one or two that are actually out. Most aren't. Most of them, the first step is the left foot coming way forward in the box, but easily still in the box - the next step is the right, heading down the line from the planted left foot, but almost never is this foot actually down before contact is made (it's hard to reach a ball that's actually over the plate if you've already taken your 2nd step in the right direction.)

My Dad and I were watching these games and he had the same complaint - so we TIVO'd it and watched it frame by frame. We never found one that was actually out of the box AND touching the ground when the ball was hit.
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2006, 03:46pm
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Question

When a batter hits the ball are we supposed to look down at her feet at that instant?

I am not trying to be funny or a smart aleck but I am trying to figure out how to see this as the PU. I posted a thread on this last week referring to getting help from the BU and everybody poo pooed that idea. But when I am in the slot and I am focused on pitch location and then following the batted ball, removing the mask (with my left hand) and getting into position for a possible call, I don't know when to look at a batter's feet. Please help.
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2006, 04:33pm
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Again my experience is SP. The ones I have called have been so obvious that I could not miss it. In FP from what I have observed and with facemask on... I cant see how you would be able to see it.

I do think this is a call that the BU (expecially 3b in most cases) should be looking for and calling when necessary.
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Old Mon Jun 05, 2006, 04:34pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcblue13
When a batter hits the ball are we supposed to look down at her feet at that instant?

I am not trying to be funny or a smart aleck but I am trying to figure out how to see this as the PU.
In SP, it is easy as the pitch is literally bringing the umpire's eye down with the pitch. In FP, the feet are not the priority. The ball, and zone, are your priority.

In either case, this isn't something you call unless you are damn sure it happened, not that is just seemed like it happened. This call is probably made more often when it is so obvious, it grabs the umpire's attention to the point it cannot be ignored.
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Last edited by IRISHMAFIA; Mon Jun 05, 2006 at 05:54pm.
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