The Batters Box
A baseball diamond requires regular repair in areas subject to high levels of foot traffic – most notably, the pitcher’s mound and the batter’s boxes. Not only are these areas involved every time a ball is put in play, but they also take the most abuse from competitors “digging in” with – at most competition levels – metal or plastic spikes. For this reason, mounds are often reinforced with packed clay or solid clay bricks, and batter’s boxes with clay bricks or rubber mats – all of which are installed beneath the playing surface.
Mound bricks are laid mason-style in a 3-by-5-foot plateau flush with and surrounding the pitching rubber. They also comprise a fan shape stretching out 7 feet or so from the front of the 2-footwide rubber to a width of 7 feet near the bottom of the mound’s slope. This shape allows the mound to endure not only the landing of the pitcher’s lead foot in delivery, but also the trailing foot that swings around and is planted to the side. Exceptionally tall pitchers may require an even wider clay landing area to accommodate this trailing foot. Whereas clay bricks are 2 1 / 2 inches thick, the same results can be gained by taking loose clay and packing it with a tamp to a depth of roughly 4 inches. In either scenario, the clay underlayment is then covered with a quarter-inch or so of topdressing material.