[Q] Ok, so this came to mind while watching Ichiro on Friday night and I think the ROOT guys talked a bit about it, but I was chasing the 2 yr old around the house and didn’t hear. Anyway….Staying in the batter’s box. I was told (a LONG time ago) that any good umpire and/or batter will “accidentally” make sure the back line of the box is wiped away or at least blurred. That being said, Ichiro looked like his foot was at least on the back line during his batting stance. I assume that a batter’s foot needs to be ALL the way out of the batters box when he hits a ball to be called out? Also….does the ball need to be put in play for him to be out (assuming his foot is out of the box) or is it ANY contact (i.e.-foul tip). Thanks Ed-this is better than talking about our baseball team these days!! (TJinPhoenix)
[A] No umpire I’ve encountered scratches out the back line of the batter’s box. I had a high school kid try it on me once and I chewed his ass out big time. College players do it all the time…I didn’t care one way or another. They thought it would help…it doesn’t.
Any part of the foot touching any part of the line is considered “in the box” for purposes of a batted ball, although the batter must have his entire foot on or inside the chalk or paint when getting ready to see a pitch.
As far as being called out for being out of the box, it doesn’t matter if the batted ball is fair or foul…the batter is called out if his entire foot(or both)is out of the box when the ball is hit. The reason for this is simple…the ball isn’t fair or foul until it is touched by a fielder, passes 1st or 3rd base over foul ground or goes out of play without being touched. The instant a ball is hit with his foot out of the box is the determining factor.
This play almost always occurs when a player is trying to bunt or “tops” the ball and it goes almost straight down and caroms somewhere. Virtually all umps(good)at all levels do call it a foul ball if the batters back foot is still in the box and the ball caroms off the ground and hits the batter.
Hope that answers your question(s)TJ. Stay cool.
Posted in: Ask Ed The Ump