2013 League Rules
Managers are responsible for making sure every player understands the rules before
they play in a game.
1. League Organization
- This baseball league consists of teams which have agreed to cooperate in order to participate in a safe, fun, and competitive game of baseball in an atmosphere of good sportsmanship. We are affiliated with the national Mens Senior Baseball League (MSBL). Normal rules of baseball apply, except as noted below. For anything not covered in these rules the next level is Major League Baseball (MLB) rules.
- This baseball league shall be run by a President, who shall be assisted by other officers as deemed necessary by the teams.
- All officers shall be elected for one year terms at the first meeting of each calendar year. Voting for officers is done by team representatives, with 1 vote per team, and is done before any new teams are admitted to the league.
- Once officers are elected then all items which require a vote are decided based on one vote per team. A vote can be taken if there are at least 50% of total votes present, and a majority of the votes present is required to pass a motion.
- A new team may not vote until they have paid the required entry fee. New teams to receive approval from the league president, who will consult with the new and existing teams about the effect the new team will have on existing rosters, as well as field and umpire availability.
- An Advisory Board shall be appointed by the President. It should consist of 5 managers or players, and can include league officers. The President will consult with the Advisory Board during the season to assist in resolving disputes or assessing penalties.
- Any infraction which results in a player being ejected during a game should be reviewed by the Advisory Board, which may take such action as they deem appropriate, including suspension or expulsion of a player, or declaring a forfeit. The Advisory Board should also review situations in which a manager feels that disciplinary action should have been taken during a game but was not, or any other situation that is brought to its attention.
- The league shall determine all required fees for dues, insurance, national organization, etc., at the start of each season, and the schedule of fees shall be distributed to all managers as soon as possible following the first meeting of the calendar year.
- Above the required fees each team may collect from its players whatever dues it finds necessary to meet its expenses, including umpires, baseballs, equipment, field use fees, etc.
- By last Friday in February : new team entry fee.
- By last Friday in February : payment of player dues for the minimum number of players (9), plus the MSBL insurance premium and information about the owner of each playing field, plus payment for baseballs ordered by the league through MSBL.
- By first Saturday in April: roster with at least 9 players, and dues for players above 9. Required information for each player is: first name, last name, address, city, state, zip code, telephone, date of birth. Optional information if available: uniform number, e-mail address. These rosters and dues will be submitted to MSBL immediately, and there will be no refunds or substitutions for these players.
- By the first game of the season: roster with all players, plus player dues for all players above 9.
- By the second game of the season: signed waivers and Player Code of Conduct forms for all players who were included on the opening game roster.
- Immediately after the second game of the season: the league will submit to MSBL the players and dues added since the initial submission, and there will be no refunds or substitutions for these players.
- During the season, roster additions must be reported as they occur, and the player dues, signed waiver, and signed code of conduct must be submitted to the league President immediately after the player is added to the roster.
- Prior to the season schedule being created, each team shall make every effort to determine whether their home field will be unavailable on any dates, by contacting the managing organization of the field, and provide such information to the league President or other designated person.
- Once the schedule is created, based on the information available at that time, the resolution of any conflicts regarding field availability shall be the responsibility of the affected home team, including the risk of forfeit if a suitable arrangement is not provided.
- During the season, teams may swap home dates, or use an alternate field, due to unforeseen circumstances; if this happens please notify the President or other league officer as well as the opposing team.
- In case of postponement, make-up games will be played on July 4 and Labor Day unless other arrangements have been made. Make-up games will be prioritized chronologically, rather than by effect on standings.
5. The game
- All games are scheduled for 9 innings. Should a double-header be scheduled then both games shall be 7 inning games. There is no rule to stop a game automatically based on time or difference in score.
- Starting time shall be 12:00 noon, unless a different time is agreed upon by team managers prior to the game. Each team shall be allowed to use the field for 30 minutes practice prior to a game, home team from 1 hour before game time to 30 minutes before game time, visitors from 30 minutes before until game time.
- Managers should exchange lineups prior to each game, and the manager or scorekeeper should notify the other team during the game whenever a change is made in the batting order.
- Each team shall keep a scorebook of at least their own team's at bats, using last names for all players.
- It is the home team's responsibility to make arrangements for a playing field, at least one umpire, and at least 4 new baseballs.
- In the event of probable inclement weather, the home team must notify the visiting team at least 3 hours before game time of a postponement.
- Protest of a game:
- A game should only be protested because of an illegal player being used, or an umpire applying a rule incorrectly, or an umpire failing to apply a rule which was applicable. A protest will not be upheld due to disagreement with an umpire's judgment call.
- The procedure to protest a game is for the team manager to notify the umpire and the other manager before the next pitch is thrown, and after the game to notify the league President. The league President, after consulting the Advisory Board, will rule on the protest within 7 days after receiving it (this is to allow time for the league President to gather pertinent information).
- The ruling may be appealed up to 72 hours following the ruling being announced. If an appeal is filed then the appeal is decided by an Appeal Board which consists of all the league officers (except the President) plus the Advisory Board. The Appeal Board shall appoint a chairman for each appeal, and that person shall direct its discussions and report back to the President. This group has 10 days to review the situation and issue its decision. A 3/4 majority of the eligible Appeal Board members is needed to overturn the President's ruling.
- If a protest is upheld the ruling announcing that should include the remedy, which is not automatically the same as the remedy sought by the complaining manager. For example, if a manager protests a game and requests that the game result be reversed (i.e., the team which won should now be declared the loser) it is possible to uphold the protest but apply a different remedy, such as replaying the game from a specific point within the game or replaying it entirely.
- Any officer or Advisory Board member who is on a team which played in the game being protested is ineligible to vote, but may present information regarding the game to the others. If the league President is on a team which played in the game being protested then the initial protest ruling should not be made by the league President, but by another officer who is not on either team, following this order: Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer.
- Players may wear metal cleats or spikes.
6. Age of players
- We are considered a 38 and over league for the purpose of affiliation with the MSBL. However our minimum age is 35, and we permit each team to have no more than 4 players age 35-39 on their roster combined with non-roster fill-in players.
- Pitchers must be at least 45 years old, with no limit to number of innings pitched in a game. However, if a player turns 45 on or before the league's last regularly scheduled game, he is eligible to pitch anytime during the season.
- A player becomes eligible to play on their birthday.
- A player must be out of pro ball for 3 complete seasons before becoming eligible to participate in this league.
- The Manager counts as a player on the roster even if he does not play, and must sign the insurance waiver and Player Code of Conduct forms, and pay the same league and MSBL dues as any other player.
- Minimum 9 players, no upper limit.
- Players may be added at any time during the regular season.
- Every player must sign an insurance waiver and Player Code of Conduct before they play for the first time each year. The player's waiver form, Code of Conduct form, and dues must be submitted to the league immediately, to arrive before the team's next game.
- Tryouts / fill-in players. A player may play up to 3 regular season games for any combination of teams without paying dues or being added to any team's roster. However, the player must sign an insurance waiver and Player Code of Conduct before they play. Before the game, the manager must inform the opposing manager of the player's status. If the player then appears in a 4th game he must be added to the roster and the player dues must be submitted to the league immediately. If a team has the maximum 4 players age 35-39 on their roster then they may not use a fill-in player who is age 35-39.
- A player may be dropped from a team roster at any time. There is no refund of League and MSBL dues paid. The player may not play for that team for the rest of that season, including playoffs and championship games. The player may play for another team during that season without having to pay additional League and MSBL dues.
- More than 9 batters can be in the batting order, there is no maximum number of batters in the batting order. No more than 9 fielders.
- There is free substitution of fielders, but a player must be in the batting order in order to play in the field.
Example 8-1: Jim's team has 11 batters, and he bats 3rd for the entire game. Jim plays first base for 3 innings, then sits out 2 innings, then plays left field for the rest of the game.
- 7 or fewer players present: If a team has only 7 or fewer players present, then they forfeit the game. This can apply to both teams, and both can receive a loss by forfeit.
- 8 players present: If a team has 8 players present, then they can play the game; all players must be in the batting lineup. The team may, but does not have to, borrow a player from the other team. A borrowed player plays only for the team which borrowed him as though he were a member of that team all along.
- 9 or 10 players present: If a team has 9 or 10 players present, they must bat all players for the whole game, without using the A/B batting system for any batting position.
- 11 or more players present: If more than 10 players are present, there must be at least 10 batting positions, and a team may:
- bat all players, or
- hold out one or more players to come in as replacement players during the game, and/or
- hold out one or more players to be added to the end of the batting lineup during the game, and/or
- double up on batting positions using the A/B system, explained below (8g).
- A/B batting system: If a team has 11 or more players present, then any batting lineup spot may be shared by 2 players, designated as 3A and 3B, 9A and 9B, 10A and 10B, etc. The first time through the order player A bats, next time through the order player B bats. Both players in an A/B spot are eligible to play in the field during the entire game. An A/B batting position may not be added to the bottom of the lineup once the game starts, nor may a full lineup spot be converted to an A/B spot once the game starts, therefore a player who is added to the bottom of the lineup after the game starts must have a full lineup position.
- Late arrivals: A player who arrives late may enter the game by being added to the bottom of the batting order or as a replacement player.
- A team may not alter the batting order once the game starts, except to add a player at the bottom of the order or to use replacement players. If, during a game, a batter cannot bat due to injury or absence, they are out of the batting order from that time, and if no pinch-hitter is available then that batting spot is skipped from that time forward, without penalty.
Note that if a team's batting order is reduced to fewer than 8 players and there are no replacements, the opponent may claim a forfeit win at that point, if they wish to. If the opponent does not claim a forfeit and continues to play, they give up the right to claim a forfeit based on insufficient players.
Example 8-2: Cal is not in the batting lineup at the start of the game, and he is not in the field. In the 5th inning he is a pinch hitter for the #7 batter. From that point on he bats in the #7 position and can play in the field. The original #7 batter may not play in the field once Cal has hit for him.
Example 8-3: Terry is not in the 10-player batting lineup at the start of the game, and he is not in the field. In the 5th inning the team has gone through the lineup twice and adds Terry to the bottom in position #11. From that point on he bats in the #11 position and can play in the field.
Example 8-4: Victor is not in the 10-player batting lineup at the start of the game, and he is not in the field. In the bottom of the 4th inning Victor goes out to play left field. At that time his team must announce where in the batting order he will be hitting, either as a pinch hitter for someone or added to the bottom of the lineup as the #11 batter. If he will be a pinch hitter, then the player who will be replaced may not play in the field once Victor enters the field, even if they are playing different positions.
Example 8-5: (this really happened) Reggie made the last out in an inning, and since he wasn't in the field he left to see how his son was doing in a tournament game nearby. While he was away his team batted around the next inning, skipping his spot in the batting order. When he returned he was out of the game for missing his turn.
9. Player Code of Conduct
- A Player Code of Conduct must be signed by each player before they play for the first time each year.
- Any of the following actions can result in a player being ejected from a game, with possible suspension from additional games.
- Pushing an umpire or intentionally blocking an umpire's movement.
- Sustained arguing of an umpire's decision.
- Using abusive, profane, or obscene language or gestures.
- Throwing a bat, glove, helmet or other equipment in anger.
- Creating a disruptive, threatening or dangerous situation.
- Using unnecessarily rough tactics in the play of the game.
- Physically attacking any player, manager, official, or spectator, before, during, or after a game.
- A player who is ejected from a game must leave the playing field and may not remain in the dugout, but may stay in the immediate area (grandstands, etc.). However, if a player is ejected from a game and fails to leave the playing field and dugout area, or if the player remains in the immediate area (grandstands, etc.) and creates disturbances, then the player's team risks forfeiting the game.
- A player who is suspended by the league may appeal, but they do not gain the right to continue to play pending a hearing on their appeal.
- Bats must be made of wood. Metal bats are not permitted, nor are hybrid metal-wood bats. Composite wood bats are allowed (e.g., Baum Bat)
- c) Bunting is allowed, but once a batter shows intention to bunt, he shall either bunt or draw the bat back and take the pitch. Not allowed is showing an intention to bunt, then taking a full swing at that pitch. A batter who attempts this will be automatically out, and will be ejected from the game if any player is injured as a result of this play. This rule includes showing intention to bunt during the time when the pitcher is looking in for a sign, as well as during the pitcher's windup and delivery.
- If a batter gets a clean hit, through the infield into the outfield, he may not be thrown out at first base by an outfielder. This applies only to the batter, other runners may be thrown out on a force play by an outfielder if possible.
- Strike zone defined: We use the strike zone as defined in Major League rules: the STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.
11. Courtesy runners
- If a player who reaches base should not run due to injury, or is the current pitcher, they may request a courtesy runner, who must be the last player to be out, whether at bat or on the bases, except that the current pitcher and catcher are excused from acting as courtesy runners for other players. If a courtesy runner is needed in the first inning before any outs are recorded, it will be the last player in the batting order.
12. Base running
Note: the intention of these restrictions is to avoid the need for holding runners on, to avoid artificial situations created by runners drawing throws just to create chances to steal a base, and to move the game along.
- All base runners shall wear helmets.
- There shall be no leads until the ball is released from the pitcher's hand
- There is no stealing, and no advance on passed balls or wild pitches, or an errant return throw from the catcher to the pitcher, even if the throw from the catcher is not caught by the pitcher.
- On a pickoff attempt, the runner must return to their base first, then advance if possible, for example if the throw gets away from the fielder.
- Because the runner must return to their base, it is considered a force play, and no tag is required to get the runner out.
- On a pickoff throw at any base, any other runners may advance once they have returned and retouched their base.
Example: With 1 out, Bill is on 1st base and Charlie is on 3rd base. The batter takes a pitch and the catcher makes a pickoff throw to 1st base. The first baseman catches the ball and tags the base before Bill gets back. Bill is out. Charlie, who has returned to 3rd base after the pitch, is free to run when the catcher's throw goes to 1st base instead of to the pitcher.
- There shall be no hidden-ball trick attempted by fielders.
- A runner who fails to make a reasonable attempt to avoid a collision with a defensive player shall be called out. Any other runner advancing on the play shall be required to return to the last base visited. In the event that an umpire determines that a collision was flagrant (i.e., attempting to bowl over the catcher when it is clear that he has the ball and is waiting to apply the tag), he has the authority to eject the offending player from the game. Also see rule 14b.
- A runner who is out due to a force play at the base to which they are advancing must not block the line of a throw from the fielder at that base back to the base which the runner occupied. If a runner does block or prevent a throw then interference is called and both the runner and the batter or runner behind him are out.
- A player must be 45 years old in order to pitch. (However, see exception under 6b.) There is no limit to the number of innings pitched. Teams may agree to waive this rule if needed to accommodate an unusual situation. However, if it is waived for one team it must be waived for both.
- There is no windmill pitching, as in softball.
- If a pitcher hits 3 batters within 1 inning, or 4 batters total, they must be removed as pitcher for the remainder of that game
- A player who is replaced as pitcher may pitch again later in the game, but not in the same inning if they were replaced after an inning has started (which for the purpose of this rule is defined as one pitch being thrown).
- A player while pitching may not wear white or gray sleeves, nor a batting glove or wristband.
- A fielder is not allowed to decoy a throw or catch. If a decoy throw or catch is detected, all runners shall be allowed to advance one base beyond the base held after all play stops. If the same fielder decoys twice in the same game, the fielder shall be expelled from the game. Decoying is referred to as a false catch or throw done in an attempt to get the runner to slide unnecessarily.
- A fielder may not intentionally block a base from a runner. Rule 12h requires a runner to make a reasonable attempt to avoid a collision with a defensive player, so if a fielder does block a base intentionally then the runner is entitled to occupy that base or to continue past that base without touching the base. The fielder has the primary responsibility, so if there is a collision the umpire must look first at whether the fielder intentionally blocked the base and second whether the runner made a reasonable attempt to avoid a collision. This is a judgment call for an umpire.
- The home team shall provide at least a home plate umpire. The league encourages the inclusion of a base umpire. All umpires shall be knowledgeable of the game. There shall be no players used as umpires.
- There shall be no contesting of an umpire's ball and strike or judgment call. Any contesting of an umpire's calls shall only be done by the manager. Any player who verbally or physically abuses an umpire shall be ejected from the game.
- Umpires shall call the game according to our league rules. For anything not covered in these rules the next level is MSBL regular season rules, above that it is Major League Baseball (MLB) rules.
For postseason playoffs or tournaments, the League shall reimburse the teams for the cost of the umpires.
- The home team shall provide at least 4 new baseballs, of at least High School quality, at the start of each game.
17. Playoffs and championship
- All teams will be in the playoffs. All preliminary rounds and the championship are single elimination. The playoff format shall be published each year at the same time as the season schedule or at a later time to be determined.
- A player must play in at least 4 regular season games with one team in order to be eligible to play for that team in the playoffs and championship. If an ineligible player is used in any playoff or championship game, their team will forfeit that game and any others it may have played afterwards.
- Teams will be seeded based on final standings from the regular season, using this order to break ties:
- Complete won/loss percentage
- Head to head won/loss percentage
- Won-loss percentage against common opponents
- Coin toss or random drawing supervised by a league official
- In any playoff and championship, the home team is the higher seeded team (#1 is higher than #2, etc.). Teams keep the same original seed position throughout the playoffs and championship; a lower seeded team which wins against a higher seeded team does not gain the home field advantages of the higher seed position.
- The two teams involved in each playoff game will split the cost of umpires and baseballs and approved field use fees for all playoff and championship games. The league has the option to pay field fees for the cost of the championship games.
- Players should be aware of and obey local rules about smoking at each field, including grandstands, parking lot, etc.
- Alcoholic beverages of any kind are prohibited on a playing field or in a dugout. Players should be aware of and obey local rules about alcoholic beverages at each field location, including grandstands, parking lot, etc.
- Each manager shall report the results of each game to the Secretary, or other designated person, as soon as possible after each game, ideally by 6:00 PM on the day of the game. Win or lose, home or away, each team must report in.
- Managers are responsible for making sure every player understands the rules and has filled out and signed a waiver form and the Player Code of Conduct before they play in a game.
19. Optional Rule for Limited Advance on Passed Ball or Wild Pitch
The following rule may be used in a game upon prior agreement by both managers. The umpires should be given a copy of the rule and it should be discussed at the pre-game meeting.
- Limited advance on passed ball or wild pitch (short version: boundary line is 13' radius circle around home plate, on a ball that goes beyond the boundary line runner is limited to one base advance, no advance by runner on 3rd base, no forceouts on any runner once the ball passes the boundary line, if the catcher doesn't throw back to the pitcher then any runner can advance).
- If a pitch gets away from the catcher beyond a 13-foot radius from the tip of home plate, then any runner on first base or second base may attempt to advance to the next base provided the next base is not occupied by a baserunner who is not entitled to advance. Any such runner is at risk of being put out by a tag play before they reach the next base or if they go beyond the next base. A runner may not advance more than one base on each passed ball or wild pitch unless the player who retrieves the ball throws somewhere other than a return throw to the pitcher. Once a pitch passes the boundary line then there are no forceouts; all attempts to get any runner out before the next pitch require a tag; this is true even if no runners are entitled to try to advance.
- A runner who is on third base may not attempt to advance on a passed ball or wild pitch; they must stay at third base. Therefore if there are runners on second base and third base then neither runner may attempt to advance, similarly if the bases are loaded then no runner may attempt to advance.
- The stated radius of 13 feet may be different if a given field has a clearly marked circle or change of surface from dirt to grass that would make it easy to identify the boundary; the boundary line should be agreed upon by both teams in the pre-game meeting with the umpire(s).
- If a pitch gets away from the catcher but the ball does not go beyond the boundary line, then if a runner attempts to advance to the next base the runner is at risk of being put out at the base they originally occupied with an ordinary pickoff throw by the catcher or pitcher, for which no tag is required, per rules 12d and 12e.
Example 1: Artie is the runner on first base, the pitch gets away from the catcher but doesn't go beyond the boundary line. Artie had taken 3 strides toward second base, but walks back toward first base when the catcher throws to the pitcher. But the pitcher throws to first base before Artie gets there; Artie is out, it is an ordinary pickoff play for which a tag is not required.
Example 2: Bill is the runner on first base, the pitch goes to the backstop and rebounds quickly to the catcher, who throws to second base before Bill gets there. A tag is required to get Bill out, even if he stops and tries to return to first base.
Example 3: Casey is the runner on first base, the pitch goes to the backstop, Casey rounds second base, the catcher throws to second base, the shortstop gets the throw and steps on the base just before Casey slides back into the base. Casey is safe; although he was not entitled to advance beyond second base on the passed ball, he can advance if the catcher's throw doesn't go directly to the pitcher, and there are no forceouts once the pitch is a passed ball or wild pitch; the shortstop needed to tag Casey.
Example 4: Duke is the runner on second base and Elroy is the runner on third base, the pitch goes to the backstop, Duke takes off for third base, then stops when he realizes that Elroy is on third base and Elroy is not entitled to advance on the wild pitch. The catcher can throw to second base and they can try to tag Duke out, but if the catcher makes that throw, then Elroy would be entitled to try to score, because the catcher's throw is not going back to the pitcher.
Example 5: Fabian is the runner on first base and Greg is the runner on third base, the pitch goes to the backstop and Fabian takes off for second base. The catcher retrieves the ball and throws to third base, Greg was a few feet down the line toward the plate, turned and slid back into the base but the third baseman tells the umpire that it is a force play and no tag is required, since Greg would not be allowed to advance on the wild pitch anyway. The umpire points out that after the pitch passed the boundary line there are no forceouts and a tag is required (per rule 19a1), even on a runner who is not entitled to advance; since there was no tag then Greg is safe.