nfhs issues memo regarding reflective baseball shoes

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (April 1, 2021) - 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. Below is part of a memo sent to all state associations from Elliot Hopkins, Director of Sports, Sanctioning and Student Services for NFHS:

As we begin playing baseball, we would like to remind you 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. 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.

If you have additional questions, contact Marty Maciaszek, NSGA Team Dealer Director, at mmaciaszek@nsga.org or Elliot Hopkins at NFHS at EHopkins@nfhs.org.