|T-BALL |||COACHES PITCH |||MINORS |||MAJORS |||TRAVEL TEAM |||DOUBLE-HEADER WEEKENDS |||NOTE TO COACHES|
The rules for the Majors are essentially those of 'real' Little League baseball, with some small exceptions. The league is competitive, so scores are kept and the rules matter. It is the second occasion with the LBA that the kids experience real baseball but the first time with essentially all of the rules intact.
1. The field will be 60 feet down the base path, and 46 feet to the mound. The area of play shall be considered to be the area comprised by the 'fair' area of the field itself plus the area to each side of the base paths to first and third limited by a line from the edge of the backstop parallel to the base path. Balls hit outside the area of play shall be deemed 'dead' prior to being caught to avoid danger to spectators by fielders running into the spectators to catch the ball. If a ball is caught in live territory and carried into the dead area the out stands and runners may advance at their own risk.
2. The strike zone will be from the "top of the lettering" (i.e. from about the underarm level) to the knees, based on the player's height while in a reasonable knees-bent stance. If a player has a very small crouch stance strikes may be called at shoulder level.
3. A normal regulation game consists of six innings although no inning may start later than twenty-five minutes prior to the end of the scheduled playing session.
4. Four completed innings will constitute a minimum regulation game for which the results will count. If the home team is ahead after three and a half innings and the game is called, the home team shall be declared the winner. Games are scheduled to begin one hour after the scheduled start of the Major league session.
5. Every effort should be made to complete all Major league games with a winner declared, in which case extra innings may be required. If nine innings have been completed and a game is still tied, the game will be considered a "no game" for standing purposes.
6. There will be a maximum of 9 players on the field at any one time. Substitute the fielders to keep only 9 on at any one time but let fielders sitting out continue to bat. A team must have at least seven players at game time (which is one hour after the scheduled start of the Major league session) to make the game official. A team with less than seven players will forfeit the game. If both teams have less than seven they both are assessed a tie. If a team has seven players at the start but the numbers subsequently diminish, that team will be permitted to continue playing without a forfeit being declared. If for any scheduled playing session, more than 1 Major league game is forfeited due to a lack of players, then all games for the league shall be considered "rained-out" and any games played will be considered "friendlies" and not count in the standings.
7. No player in the Major league may pitch more than THREE innings in a game (including any game that involves extra innings). The delivery of a single pitch constitutes pitching an inning. A pitcher who hits three batters must be removed from pitching and cannot continue to pitch again in that game.
Note: no pitchers should be permitted to pitch than a total of FOUR innings in a single weekend. If a pitcher pitches THREE innings in the first game of the week-end, then the player may not pitch again during the same week-end. See rules for double-header week-ends.
8. Each player must play at least THREE full innings in the field , assuming a complete game (except for injury or disciplinary reasons). Players may be substituted during a game at any time the ball is dead. Re-entry is possible for ALL players at any position, even if they have been previously removed from the field.
9. Every team member must be allowed to bat in a batting order established before the game, whether or not they are currently playing in the field. Late arrivals must be added at the end of the established batting order.
10. Major league baseball is played with real hardballs - which are hard and can hurt people - so pay attention to Rule 11.
11. All players on deck, at bat, and on base, as well as all 1st and 3rd base player-coaches, MUST wear a batting or running helmet. Catchers MUST wear a mask, helmet, chest protector, leg protectors, and a cup. Keep all children well back from the plate to avoid injuries. Players may only hold a bat in their hands if they are approaching or leaving home plate or in the designated on-deck circle. No metal cleats are allowed, though rubber ones are fine.
12. Bunting is permitted, and the rule applies that a foul bunt is a called third strike.
13. The infield fly rule does apply in Major Leagues. An Infield Fly is a fair fly ball (not a line drive or a bunt) that can be caught by an infielder when first and second or first, second and third are occupied before two outs. If the hit becomes a foul ball it is treated as any foul.
14. Four balls constitute a walk, three strikes constitute an out. The dropped third strike rule does not apply. The batter is out.
15. Base advancement is subject to the following conditions:
- The stealing of home is not permitted.
- A runner occupying third base at the start of play can proceed to home only via a play resulting from a batted ball or a bases loaded force play.
- After the pitch has crossed the plate, runners on first and second can advance at their own risk but with a limit of one base if the ball is either in dead territory or stuck in the backstop. Runners on third may not advance. For the avoidance of doubt, runners who start play at either first or second can advance at their own risk to both second and third (as long as it is not occupied) but may not advance home.
- Any time a thrown ball (either pitched or thrown to another fielder) goes into dead territory, runners may advance one base. If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner was more than halfway to a base at the time the ball entered the dead territory, the runner may be awarded one base in addition to the base to which the runner was advancing.
- Note that because stealing is permitted the normal baseball rules about batter interference apply - batters will be called out for interfering with the catch on a steal and the runner will be returned to the original base.
- Players may not run on a pitch until it crosses the plate. If a player runs on a pitch before it crosses the plate and the ball is not hit, the runner is permitted to continue. If a play is made on the runner and the runner is out, the out stands. If said runner reaches safely that runner must be returned to the base occupied before the pitch was made. If the ball is hit the runner may continue. If the batter is out the runner must return to the original base. If the batter hits safely the runner must occupy the nearest base to which he left. If, after one team warning, any runner caught leading will be ruled out.
- Sliding is permitted at any base and is encouraged on any close play at second, third or home plate. If a runner intentionally and maliciously runs into a defensive player in the area of home plate, he will be called out on the play and ejected from the game. The objective of this is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner for the obvious purpose of crashing the defensive player.
- Play ends and runners may not advance when the ball is in the pitcher's possession and he/she is within 5 feet of the rubber. Runners between bases can advance at their own risk and are eligible to be thrown out regardless on what base they are heading for. If the pitcher attempts to throw a runner out the ball becomes live again.
16. If a team is in position to score at least six runs in their half of an inning, all runs scored as part of the play in which the sixth run is scored will be counted. Thus, the maximum number of runs that can be scored in an inning is nine. Once the ball is dead following the play in which the sixth run is scored, that half of the inning is over and the batting team must take the field. This rule does not apply in the last inning or extra innings.
17. The umpires shall provide two new baseballs for the game. At the end of the game, each team should retrieve one of the game balls and add it to the equipment bag as a practice ball.
18. In the event of the absence or unavailability of an official league umpire, the managers should agree to an acceptable coach/ spectators umpiring arrangement.
19. The home team is responsible for keeping the official score. At the conclusion of the game, the home team should provide a score sheet, signed by each of the managers, to the League Director for use in maintaining league standings. Managers should check scores after each inning to ensure that the final score will be agreed.
20. Standings will follow a traditional baseball format with wins/loses and percentage points determining position. In the event two teams are tied the first tiebreaker will be head to head competition. If three or more teams are tied the tiebreaker will be least amount of total runs allowed. The next tiebreaker will be a coin flip.
21. All teams will be eligible for the play-offs. Seedings for the playoffs will be based upon the final, regular season standings. The higher seeded team will be the home team.
22. The League Director will be the final authority on any dispute.
23. Rosters are set at the beginning of the season. Any child wanting to join a team after the season has started must be referred to the League Director.
THE SAFETY, HEALTH AND COMFORT OF OUR PLAYERS AND UMPIRES ARE THE PRIMARY FACTORS IN DETERMINING WHEN TO CALL A GAME.
(a) Rain-outs before the start of play will be called by consensus of the LBA commissioners and posted on the LBA website.
(b) In the case that fields need to be cleared because of rain either during practice or after the games have begun then:
(1) The commissioners will agree by consensus after a maximum of 15 minutes to either:
• Call an end of play for the day;
• Allow for an additional 15 minutes wait because of possible improving conditions
(c) After a maximum 30 minutes of interrupted play, the games will be called.
(d) In the case of (b)(1)(i) above, if any game has completed 4 innings, that shall be called a completed game. If the home team is ahead, and batting in the bottom of the 4th when a game is called, that is also a completed game.