We have very good batters boxes they are very hard and we take care of them routinely to keep them in shape. The last 3 games we have had at home the opposing team has dug them out when they got in the box, after the last team visiting we had to fill in 2 holes that were about 6 inches deep and their pitcher destroyed our mound by digging it out. Anyway we have some rubber mats left over from our weight room that are usually in our dugout and I am thinking of burying one of them our RH batters about 4 or 5 inches down to prevent the other teams from digging too deep. My question is, has anyone here ever buried a rubber mat in the batters boxes? If so, did it work? Were there any problems?

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On a related note, our high school does a good job of maintaining the pitcher's mound filling in any ruts with a "special" mix, then tamping down.  I think it is just slightly moistened clay (kept in airtight pail) but never wanted to ask the coach directly.

Also, are there any rules which restrict or prohibit messing up the box or the mound or any restrictions about mid-game "repairs"?  I can't believe an ump would allow a 6 inch rut to be dug out.  We've got a turf box so no such problems.

If you are using the right clay mix (or clay bricks), moisture and tamping, you should be able to create a base that is very difficult to dig too far into.  Frequent re-application is necessary.  

Regarding your idea of rubber mats, there are actually products sold that are, I believe, rubber that are designed for just what you are talking about.  It is not solid, though.  I think it is like a honeycomb grid configuration where dirt fills in the openings throughout.  I couldn't find on a quick search but maybe someone else will chime in.  Also, Turface.com is a great resource.  

One of the locations where we played in a spring break tourney was formerly a D1 college stadium, now run by the city.  The setting and grass conditions were very good and from a distance, everything looked ideal.  But they did not use any clay for mound or plate.  Holes were enormous and it had a significant effect on pitchers and hitters.  

Thanks for the info. From what I have noticed the teams that are digging the holes are the same teams whose fields are in less than great shape, so maybe that's what they are use to doing. Either way to me it's ridiculous, I don't know why they would want to dig and hit out of a hole.

Those mats look like a great product. What we did back in the late 50’s and 60’s was use bricks on both the mounds and batter’s boxes. In fact, we just set up a mound with bricks last year and it’s held up magnificently.

 

One of the biggest mistakes is filling in the holes and then trying to pack it. It will pack, but not very tightly. In order to do get it to pack well, the soil has to be moistened.

Be careful that the mat is deep enough that a player can't catch his cleat in it.  My son's batting coach has always been careful of cleats on mats.  He has seen players catch a cleat when they go to turn their foot and tear something.  As least dirt gives.

At our HS the booster club paid for and installed a circular mat that was about the diameter of the home plate area.  Similar to the Jox Box mats MidAtlanticDad post links for.  The mat is buried about 6" deep.  No problems with any batter digging for China.  

Teach your hitters never to stand in the same place as the previous hitters. Teach you hitters if the right side is below grade to move dirt from the back of the box to fill the hole.

A good smart hitter needs the "Back side" higher than the front. This will prevent a "premature" upper cut. This is one of the 6 Tools and discussions with Eric Davis and Edgar Martinez.

Bob

<www.goodwillseries.org>

 

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