Slappers don’t seem to be getting the advantage they should
Ever since we upgraded our cable package I’ve the opportunity to see a lot more fastpitch softball games on TV. Since most teams have at least a couple if not several slappers, I’ve had the chance to see many of them in action. It has led to an interesting observation.
My understanding of the advantage of slapping is that the hitter starts a couple of steps closer to first and gets a running start toward the bag. Now, the first part is a function of the setup of the field. The left-hand batter’s box is a little closer to first than the right-hand box, so no problem there.
It’s the second part that strikes me as odd. A lot of the slappers I’ve seen sort of walk to the front of the box, take a swing, then start running. As a result, they’re not really getting a running start. In fact, most seems to be pretty much standing in one spot when they make contact. So where’s the advantage. If they’re going to just stand there, why bother with the slapping technique? Might as well just set up in the front of the box and swing away.
Slapping is a difficult technique to pull off well. So if you’re going to go to that effort, might as well get the full advantage out of it. The more you can be at a full (or nearly full) run, the faster you’ll get up the line and the more pressure you’ll put on the defense. So despite what the old song says, run don’t walk when you slap.