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Death of the Slapper


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6 replies to this topic

#1
SpartanIlliniCub

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The "slapper" is a type of hitter unique to softball.  To be a slapper you have to be fast and you have to bat left-handed—because slapping is all about speed and only the speediest of players can make it work.  Batting lefty is crucial because the extra half step toward first you get from batting lefty can make the difference between success or failure. 

 

The basics of slapping is to line up in the left-handed batters box, and when the ball comes you try to swing down on the ball while simultaneously taking your first step (or two) toward first.  The goal is get the ball to bounce high in the air to buy extra time while the speedy hitter sprints and makes it safely to first.  The slapper can be used effectively both to get fast players on base and as a way to play "small ball" and advance runners on the base paths. 

 

But the NCAA instituted an "anti-slapper rule" this year that severely limiting the effectiveness of slap-hitting. Now hitters are prohibited from having any part of their feet outside of the batter's box when making contact with the ball.  Because slappers need to take a swing and their first step toward first base simultaneously to give maximum chance of success, this makes it much more difficult to execute a successful slap.  

 

Legendary Arizona Head Coach Mike Candrea has said the new rule has “almost taken the slapper completely out of the game."  With this new rule change, at best, the chances of success while slapping are reduced and slap hitters, in general, are less effective and less valuable. 

 

Do you think slapping should remain a part of the game of fastpitch softball?  Are you for the rule change or against it?



#2
KCSoftball

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This is yet another case of stupid people making rules just so they can justify setting on a prestigious NCAA committee! Slappers are an integral part of fastpitch! It is one of the most exciting plays in the game, the kind that fastpitch needs! If you're going to have a rule where stepping on a line is "out of bounds," you must have the same rule where if a hit ball touches a line it is foul! You can't have contradicting rules! Baseball/softball must have "black/white" rules! All those people on the fastpitch rules committee need to step aside and let some "true" fastpitch people take over! 

 

LEAVE FASTPITCH RULES ALONE. The game is perfect just like it is! 



#3
CatOsterFan

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The rule was allegedly supposed to level the playing field for all hitters and not give anyone an advantage over another, but what it does in practice is make it near impossible to pull off a slap hit.  I agree this is disappointing.  Slappers are not particularly common, and it's not like they are overtaking the game or that too many hitters are slap hitters.  It seems like persecution against players with a certain skill set!  It's not fair to the slap hitters in college that have been working on the skill their entire lives and now those skills are worthless!

 

Softball is not and never will be the same game as baseball.  Stop trying to make softball into baseball!



#4
MammaZord

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Is that really the reason the NCAA gave for making the new rule? To level the playing field for hitters? That just makes no sense! If a player has a particular skill-set, they should be able to employ said skills. If teams feel slap hitters are giving their opponent an edge, then they should either find a way to pitch around them, or they should develop their own slap hitter!

 

A slapper is no different than a switch hitter or someone good at laying down bunts—a unique skill to employ in situational hitting. Having a good slapper by no means creates an "uneven playing field."  This new rule really makes no sense, and only serves to eliminate an exciting and unique aspect of fastpitch softball. 



#5
sballer4life

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Slapping is one of the most exciting aspects of softball, and hands-down my favorite aspect of the game.  Along with the rise ball, slap-htting separates softball from baseball.  Getting your lead-off batter, usually a slapper, safely to first base is the foundation of every fastpitch team's game plan. It "sets the table" for more action on the base paths, one of softball's major strengths as a spectator sport.  Don't take away the slappers!



#6
KCSoftball

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Next they will want to move the bases to 65', change the ball to the 11", Oh wait that's what killed Pro Softball in 77? I tell you these people think they "have" to make changes to the rules to keep their jobs on that NCAA Committee! It's a 'status' thing for them! When you have a great product leave it alone. Go out and promote the sport, not change it! 



#7
FaspitchPapa

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Slapping is actually a crucial part of the game.  It may seem like a minor thing that only a few fast hitters attempt, but it's impact is much bigger than you might think. 

 

Softball is a game dominated by defense.  Pitchers control the outcome of the game way more than any hitter.  But the ability to slap hit chips away at the advantages held by the defense.  First, the obvious-- slapping is a way to get speedy players on 1st base.  And speedy players on base are a steal threat and are better at maximizing the value of further hits and making it home.  So slapping increases offense and takes away some of the dominance of the defense.

 

But, perhaps most importantly, it is something the pitcher and the fielders have to plan for.  They need to spend time practicing how to guard against slap hits and they need to be prepared for certain hitters to slap.  All of this extra preparation for the slap takes away time spent preparing for regular pitches and regular hits.  And oitchers too have to think a little extra about placement for a hitter who is a threat to lay down a slap.

 

So the net result of this rule is to make defenses even more dominant.  But the defense doesn't need any more help!  Leave the game alone!






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