Late in the game, after much sliding and batting, the batter's box (and catcher's) lines are completely gone. Can a batter be guilty of stepping out of the box at that point? Does there remain a mythical box that the batter is required to remain in? Thanks.
Erasing the lines does NOT mean there is no batter's box any more than erasing all the foul lines means all hits are fair.
So the answers to your two questions are
It's located and sized by rule. An umpire will often redraw part of it with his foot or a borrowed bat.
Are you related to Larry1953 and/or typikon?
I sure know it gets tougher in the later innings, but I always have a good sense of the box from years of standing back there. I will say it doesn't get abused much in my opinion!
Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it!
If the Batters Box gets eroded through normal play (sliding and catchers and umpires movement) I will redraw the lines with a bat. If a batter starts to erase them as he is in the box, I will stop him. The batters box is always a constant in the game. TM
As others have said, Yes... but I would be hard pressed to call an out for illegal contact with no box lines for anyone to see what he had stepped out of.
He'd have to be WAAAYYY out of that imaginary box for me to call and out.
1) The box isn't imaginary. It's more like Harvey.
2) You should have a really strong feel for where it is by now.
I do thank you very much...
3) Redraw it as others have suggested.
Yes, I can see how an umpire or coach would still have a good idea where it is or should be, but not so much for kids. Some of them get a little spooked after being beaned a few times, and they are back in the box and crowding the catcher even with the lines there. Also might matter for a catcher on an intentional walk, but that's a bit more academic.
There IS a box. However, any umpire who "redraws" the box should have his head examined (although he'd be in the waiting room with a bunch of rats). If you want to bring those big wooden baox markers in after each half-inning, have at it. A batter has to be WAY out of the box to have it called late in a game, and even then, it's probably the umpires fault for letting the batter set up close enough to be considered "out of the box".
Listen to rats all you want, but any umpire worth his salt will NEVER have to make that call.
Consider the case when you league is too chintzy to buy lime for the lines and the box, or you are doing a game after a rainstorm.
Most of the time, the batters will stand correctly, and you don't need to nudge anybody.
However, in the younger game, you will see kids square to bunt, and their foot will be either right on top of home plate or right behind it. This is an easy call for an IBB. But I quickly point out, you better be 100% sure. You can surely make your case that the foot was out of the box then.
But hardly any other time! So don't go looking for trouble!
In one case, I noticed that the batter was way back in the box, and sometimes he stepped BACK to swing. The umpire borrowed his bat and drew about a 3" line at what he felt was the back of the box. He was more interested in the safety of the catcher rather than leaping on an IBB. For youth ball, this is probably useful and proper.
I think most of the posts here are correct- if the lines have been obscured during the course of the game, then by all means the PU can (& should) re-draw the lines, most importantly the front & rear lines. The safety of the catcher on the rear line and common sense on the front because some batters who will edge forward when they think an off speed pitch is coming. All the umpires I have worked with would have no problem re-drawing the lines, if they think there is a developing issue or abuse of the lines being "gone" due to play/rain etc.
In practice, most fields, no matter how well cared for, have "spots" in the box where the majority of batters stand.