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Mussgrass

Batter's Box

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How does one enforce the batter's box rules when there are no lines for the boxes? The league I umpire in does not chalk the lines. Of course, at some point they may be worn away after a lot of activity around the plate even if they were there at the start.

A couple of times this year I have had coaches question if a player was in the box. Most of the time it is someone being as far away from the pitcher as they can get, which forces the catcher back farther.

How do you handle this?

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You have to use your knowledge of how the box looks and it's normal dimensions. Often these are youth games that you run into this problem with. So you have some leeway with instructing the batter to move forward. Then actually drawing the box to the best of your ability with either your foot or the batter bat.

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35 minutes ago, BT_Blue said:

You have to use your knowledge of how the box looks and it's normal dimensions. Often these are youth games that you run into this problem with. So you have some leeway with instructing the batter to move forward. Then actually drawing the box to the best of your ability with either your foot or the batter bat.

At any level, if the batters front or back foot is abeam with the plate, their other  foot will most probably be legal, at least when swinging. If they complain and the foot is not abeam tell the batter to move up a bit. If it goes beyond that use the “Joe  West’ technique. Ask the batter for his bat, put the handle on the midpoint corner of the plate, scribe a mark with the end of the bat toward the catcher, and tell the batter not to put his foot there. You will look like you know what you are doing. Don’t worry if it’s a 32 bat. Joe doesn’t worry if he uses a 34 bat. 

 

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1 hour ago, Mussgrass said:

How does one enforce the batter's box rules when there are no lines for the boxes? The league I umpire in does not chalk the lines. Of course, at some point they may be worn away after a lot of activity around the plate even if they were there at the start.

A couple of times this year I have had coaches question if a player was in the box. Most of the time it is someone being as far away from the pitcher as they can get, which forces the catcher back farther.

How do you handle this?

Nothing easier: "coach, I've got him in the box." How can he argue?

The boxes are on the field and defined in reference to the plate. Sometimes we have "chalk" lines, sometimes we don't: the boxes are still there (just like the running lane, the foul lines beyond the bases on rec fields, etc. etc.).

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It's also a relatively easy matter to learn to step off 3' (+/- an inch or so).  If you think it's being an issue, after you brush off the plate, take that step from the proper corner of the plate and just make sure you are leaving a visible shoe print (or smudge).  No one will notice, but you will have a visual indication for the back of the box. 

 

You can use this to decide how to deal with the coach -- you know the player is in the box, or you can mark the back if asked, or you can be proactive and mark it if a player is too far back.  The "right" answer is goign to depend on the game and your game management techniques.

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