Shiny Baseball Shoes a No-No For Pitchers, Says NFHS

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Sometimes style gets in the way of safety — in this case, it is the reflective spikes pitchers are using to look good, but which are potentially distracting and dangerous to batters.

The issue came to the fore recently when the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) was informed by two states about an issue where baseball shoes worn by pitchers with a mirror-like finish on the sole plate cause a glare that is distracting to hitters.

In response, Elliot Hopkins, director of sports, sanctioning and student services for NFHS, sent a memo to all state associations reminding them that “any uniform or player’s equipment that is reflective or has a mirror-like surface can be possibly distracting to both the batter and defensive players alike. We have several rules in place to address these areas.

“Notwithstanding, it has been brought to our attention that certain brands of baseball shoes worn by the pitcher, that have a mirror-like finish on the sole plate, have distracted batters with the light reflecting off the bottom of the shoe,” the memo continues. “We want to caution your schools that if that situation occurs, the umpire-in-chief would ask the pitcher to either replace the shoes or the coach would have to replace the pitcher. You certainly can understand the importance of protecting the vision of the batter while at the plate. Risk minimization is our utmost concern for our players, coaches and fans. Addressing this situation early in the season will assist us in that effort.”