Outside the Box


Sadie Ziegler, Sport Reporter

The rules of baseball and softball are very similar. One rule that stands out for both sports is stepping out of the batter’s box when making contact with the ball, specifically between home plate and the box. 

The batter, right or left handed, will be called out if he or she has one foot out of the white lines and hits the ball. This is especially hard for slappers on the left side because they are in motion when swinging their bat. This rule should be changed for slappers. 

Retired professional softball player Meredith Ramsey states, “The rule was only recently changed in the U.S. softball world but the rest of the world is still remaining under the old rule of any contact with the line is fair. First off, what’s the rule of the line when it comes to foul/in play balls? And contact with the line is fair and in play. Same rule should apply to feet on the batter box line.” 

When the ball is hit and hits the line that is past the bases, the ball is considered “in play” and fair. So why is this not the case when a batter steps on the line? It almost seems unfair for a slapper. He/she is focused on hitting the ball in the right spot while worrying about staying in the box with their steps. This thought does not even cross a right handed batter when they are hitting because they are simply in place when swinging. 

“The rule as it is now, requires the umpire to watch the pitcher, determine a ball or strike, AND watch the batter’s foot. Watching the batter’s foot and where the ball crosses the plate happens at the exact same time. If he is paying attention to the foot, he’s bound to miss some ball and strike calls,” argued Ramsey. “It’s not a reasonable expectation and makes the umpire even more involved in the game.” 

Meredith “Mo” Ramsey played professional softball in Germany . She was named an All-American player playing first base, catcher, and topping it off a strong power slapper. As a slapper for several years, Mo knows the ins and outs of hitting on the left side. 

An umpire can not focus on the ball and the batter’s feet at the same time. Slappers are targeted because of their speed and continuous foot movements. Once a slapper comes up to the plate, the umpire switches gears and focuses more than he would on a right handed batter. 

“I completely agree this rule should be changed,” said senior Kayelyn Rice. “As a slapper we are doing several things at once and stepping on the white line should not have to be a worry. When a ball is hit and touches the white line behind the bases, it is considered to be fair. So why can’t a batter step on the white line when hitting? This rule is not needed.” 

Rice is a four year member of the Carterville varsity softball team, and has been slapping for five years. This rule is clear to be a struggle for the umpire and batter, so there is no reason for it. Some places in the world do not initiate this rule for slappers or right handed batters.