Minor & Major Rules
This document serves to clarify some of the more important rules of baseball and to emphasize the philosophy and goals of our league. In addition to these rules, coaches should always have a copy of the official Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball rules with them. Unless noted in this document, the Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Rules will be followed for all games.
Games & Scoring
- If a team cannot field at least 8 players within 15 minutes after the scheduled start time of the game, the game will count as a forfeit for that team (loss). Forfeits will be scored as 6-0
- Teams in all divisions will have 12 regular season games with two games scheduled per week. Teams are strongly encouraged to play all games.
- Coaches (and coaches only) are allowed to use electronic devices/cell phones during games.
- There are NO protests allowed any level.
- All regular season games will start promptly at their scheduled time, no new inning can be started after 2 hours has elapsed since the official start of the game as determined by the umpire. The umpire should make every effort to notify both teams of the official start time at the commencement of the game. (Example: Monday game - the umpire announces to both managers that it is 6:02 pm according to his watch and no new inning will be started after 8:02 pm)
- The umpire has full authority to call the game earlier than the time limits above due to weather, darkness, or any other mitigating circumstance.
- Both teams will be able to have the playing field for a 10-minute practice before the game begins. Visiting teams should allow for travel time and arrive 30 minutes before game time for their warmups. The home team will warm up first but MUST ALLOW the visiting team to begin their warmup 20 minutes before the start of the game. The last 10 minutes are reserved for the pregame coaches & umpires meeting and for the home team to take the field for warmups. NO PRE-GAME, ON FIELD BATTING PRACTICE IS ALLOWED.
- During the pregame coaches & umpires meeting, the coaches are required to inform the umpire which players are ineligible to pitch due to previous games pitch counts.
- The home team is responsible for paying the umpire(s) and for supplying 2 new game balls. The home team is also responsible for ensuring the field is in safe condition for play (i.e., no holes in the batter’s box or pitching mound, the area around the bases is raked, etc.).
- Each team is responsible for cleaning the trash out of their bench area after each game.
- Each game has a 6-inning limit unless the game is tied, in which case extra innings must be played. All regular season games will play to their natural end (including extra innings) unless the allotted time for the game is reached, or the game is ended because of darkness or weather.
- In Minors, each inning has a limit of 4 runs per team. When the fourth run crosses the plate, that half of the inning ends and the team at bat takes the field. This rule does not apply to the 6th or last inning where both teams can score unlimited runs. The umpire must notify the coaches before the start of the last inning.
- In Major/60, each inning has a limit of 5 runs per team. When the fifth run crosses the plate, that half of the inning ends and the team at bat takes the field. This rule does not apply to the 6th or last inning where both teams can score unlimited runs. The umpire must notify the coaches before the start of the last inning.
- If after 4 innings, 3 1/2 innings if the home team is ahead, one team has a lead of ten (10) runs or more, the victory must be conceded to the winning team. IMPORTANT: The score at the time of concession is what must be reported on the MAC website. No further scorekeeping should be kept after the concession. However:
- The game must continue to be completed to its natural end, but there is now a 2-run limit per inning at all levels of play.
- All pitching stats must continue be recorded and will count against the pitcher’s pitch count restrictions.
- The coach of the winning team MUST POST THE SCORE on the MAC League Website within 24 hours or prior to their next scheduled game whichever comes first.
- Both teams must report the number of pitches thrown by all their players regardless of a win or loss. Enter first name, last initial, uniform number, and total pitches thrown. This information will be used to ensure compliance to our pitching limitations rules and for the safety of the kids.
CALL UP Process
- Teams that cannot field enough players for a game may add “CALL UP” players.
- CALL UP players must come from a younger division (not from within the same division)
- You may only CALL UP enough players to get to a game day roster of 10 players.
- CALL UP players are allowed to pitch but must not neglect their responsibility to their rostered team. Any pitches thrown by a CALL UP are counted against their rostered teams pitch counts.
- CALL UP players should always be placed at the bottom of the lineup.
- CALL UP players should never be given priority over rostered players. Outside of the 6 required defensive outs, a rostered player should not be sitting on the bench with a call up player active in the field.
Games Not Played
- A game should NEVER be cancelled for any reason other than weather. If you have scheduling conflicts, use the CALL UP system to bring players up to ensure the games can be played.
- If a game is canceled, both coaches need to arrange a make-up date for a game to be played within 24 hours of the originally scheduled game or the end of regular season, whichever comes first. Games should be rescheduled as close to the original date as possible. Please work with your league directors to help find a local field, or even asking a neighboring town to borrow their field to get a makeup game in sooner.
- The Home team shall have the opportunity to arrange a home field first. If the Home team cannot schedule a field within 2 days, the Visiting team will try to schedule the game on their field (with the original home team still being the home team).
- Games not played or unreported by the conclusion of the regular season will be ignored and no points or runs will be awarded to either team.
Rain Outs / Incomplete Games / Lightning Policy
- In the event of bad weather, the home team coach is responsible for calling both the umpire and visiting team coach, 2 hours prior to the start of the game.
- No game should be called more than 2 hours before the scheduled game start. Coaches should make every effort to try to get a game in, even during light/moderate rain.
- A game is a regulation game after the fourth inning has been completed or, if the home team is ahead, after the completion of three and a half innings. A game postponed before or in the first inning will be restarted at an agreed upon time. A game postponed after the second inning is started and before the fourth inning is completed will be resumed at the point which it stopped. Even in a cancelled or postponed game, all statistics, including the pitch counts must still be counted (and the batting orders, where possible, should be kept intact).
- After the first pitch is thrown, a game can only be canceled by the umpires.
- If lightning occurs, the game should be immediately stopped, and all players are to seek covered shelter. No game should resume until at least 15 minutes after the last visible showing of lightning. When the game resumes, if one of the teams no longer has enough players to field a team, it will be considered a forfeit.
- Every team member must be in a consistent batting order. The batting order may not change during a game.
- In Minors & Major/60’s, games will be played on a diamond with 60’ base paths.
- In Major/70’s, games will be played on diamond with 70’ base paths.
- All players must use a bat that has been certified by USABat. BBCOR or USSSA bats are not allowed. Coaches are responsible for ensuring their players are using approved bats.
- Any player throwing equipment, with malice, will get a warning the first time it happens. The second time, the player will be automatically ejected from the game. The umpire may eject the player on the first incident if they determine the level of malice warrants an immediate ejection.
- Any player throwing a bat, without malice, will get a warning the first time it happens. The second time, the player will be called out, and must then be removed from the batting lineup for the remainder of the game. The player can and should still play on defense. When that person’s spot in the lineup comes up the next time, the slot should simply be skipped, and no out should be recorded.
- There shall be no slashing. Slashing is defined as: the pitcher is on the pitching rubber and the batter fakes a bunt to draw the infielders in and then the batter swings away. The pitcher does not need to be in his windup, the ball does not need to be struck. This is a safety issue, with the batter showing bunt, the charging third baseman does not stand a chance of protecting himself against a line drive off an aluminum bat. Penalty: Batter is out, and ball is dead. A second offense will result in the batter being ejected.
- There is a no-contact rule in effect. A runner may not interfere with a player making a defensive play. Runners must make every effort to avoid interfering contact by either sliding or running around a defensive player. If a runner does not avoid interfering contact, then he/she is out. If contact is ruled incidental and does not interfere with the play, then the runner may be ruled safe in the event he/she has reached the base before being forced or tagged out.
- Players hit by a pitch will be awarded first base, and the batter must take first base (if a batter is hurt and unable to run, he/she may be replaced by the last person that was called out).
- In Minors, if a player’s bat contacts the ball with any part of their body touching outside of the batter’s box, the coach will be given a single warning for their team. If any further players on that team makes the same infraction within the game, they will be called out.
- In Majors, if a player’s bat contacts the ball with any part of their body touching outside of the batter’s box, they will be called out immediately.
- Bunting is permitted. In Minors, only one fair bunt per team, per inning is allowed. All established baseball rules are in effect (for instance, a foul bunt with two strikes is considered a strikeout).
- Runners must slide feet first into 2nd, 3rd, and home whenever there is a play at the base. If the runner does not slide when there is a play at the base, that runner will be called out without warning. The defensive player cannot block the plate or the baseline without possession of the ball.
- Intentional headfirst sliding into a forward base is not allowed and will result in an out being called on the player. Headfirst sliding returning to a previously occupied base is allowed.
- Outfielders are NOT allowed to play within the infield limits. They should never be standing on the infield dirt.
- In Minors, a base runner may advance only one base on an error. Multiple errors will not result in an extra base. For example, if the pitcher throws the ball over the 2nd baseman’s head, the runner may advance to 3rd, but if another fielder throws it over the 3rd baseman’s head immediately following, the runner will not be awarded another base.
- In Majors, there is no limit to the number of bases a runner may steal or advance to on passed balls/wild pitches.
- In Minors, base stealing will be allowed in a modified format. These rules include:
- An unlimited number of steals is allowed each inning.
- Individual players may steal more than 1 base in an inning, but not more than 1 per play per runner.
- A player may not advance to another base on a catching overthrow (runner leads at their own peril)
- Catchers are encouraged to try to throw out a player stealing. As there are no extra bases allowed on an error/overthrow for throw downs, there is no downside to teaching kids to throw the ball.
- A player is allowed to steal home. This is allowed up to two times per inning per team.
- In Minors & Major/60, when stealing, runners may leave the base only when the ball crosses the plate. Runners may attempt to steal any base (except 1st base) after a pitch has crossed the plate. If a player leaves the base before the ball crosses the plate, then the umpire will instruct the player to return to the base.
- In Minors & Major/60, there are no “delayed steals”. Runners must return to their base when the play has ended when the pitcher has control of the ball and is on the mound (i.e., dirt around the mound or portable mound). Additionally, prior to the ball returning to the pitcher, if the catcher remains in the catcher’s box and the runners have stopped forward momentum, runners must return to their base.
- In Minors & Major/60, there is NO leading allowed.
- In Major/70, runners may leave the base anytime the ball is live. This includes runners taking a lead and attempting to steal any base (except 1st base) before, during or after a pitch.
- In Minors, there is NO infield fly rule in effect.
- In Majors, the infield fly rule is in effect, with the following guidelines:
- An infield fly is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive, nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who stations themselves in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.
- When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire must immediately declare "Infield Fly" for the benefit of the runners. If the ball is near the baselines, the umpire shall declare, "Infield Fly, if Fair." The ball is live, and runners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught, or retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on any fly ball. If the hit becomes a foul ball, it is treated as any foul.
- If a declared Infield Fly is allowed to fall untouched to the ground, and bounces foul before passing first or third base, it is a foul ball. If a declared Infield Fly falls untouched to the ground outside the baseline, and bounces fair before passing first or third base, it is an Infield Fly.
- When an infield fly rule is called, runners may advance at their own risk. If on an infield fly rule, the infielder intentionally drops a fair ball, the ball remains in play despite the provisions of Rule 6.05(1). The infield fly rule takes precedence. If interference is called during an infield fly, the ball remains alive until it is determined whether the ball is fair or foul. If fair, both the runner is out, and the batter returns to bat.
- If the umpire does not immediately call “infield fly”, then the play will run as normal. A play cannot be changed after the play has been completed.
- In Minors, there is NO dropped third strike rule in effect.
- In Majors, the dropped third strike rule is in effect, with the following guidelines:
- A batter may advance to 1st base on a dropped 3rd strike by the catcher if 1st base is unoccupied or if 1st base is occupied and there are 2 outs. The batter is out when he is either forced out at 1st base or tagged out.
- No runners on, 0, 1 or 2 outs – a batter may advance on a dropped 3rd strike. The batter is out when he is either forced out at 1st base or tagged out.
- Runners on 2nd and or 3rd, 0, 1 or 2 outs – a batter may advance on a dropped 3rd strike; other runners may advance at their own peril. The batter is out when he is either forced out at 1st base or tagged out, and the other runners are out when they are tagged.
- Runners on 1st and/or 2nd and/or 3rd, 0 or 1 out – a batter may NOT advance on a dropped 3rd strike. He is automatically out.
- Runners on 1st and/or 2nd and/or 3rd with 2 outs – a batter may advance on a dropped strike and the other runners a forced to advance as well. The batter is out when he is either forced out at 1st base or tagged out. The other runners may be forced out at any base or tagged out.
- Consistent with the existing Babe Ruth rule, as soon as a player steps outside of the dirt circle, they will be called out. Until they step onto the grass, they can turn and run to first.
- Two adult base coaches are permitted. They must be rostered coaches or CORI non-rostered adults. Rostered players are also allowed to base coach but there should always be at least 1 adult base coach.
- When there are two outs a courtesy runner for catchers is allowed and should be used whenever possible. A courtesy runner must be the last person who made an out.
- All players must be in the game for 6 defensive outs. This rule applies to regulation 6 inning games. Failure to comply with this rule will result in an automatic forfeit by the team not complying. However, in a shortened game (darkness, weather, etc.) failure to comply will not result in an automatic forfeit.
- Free defensive substitutions are allowed between innings.
- In Minors, teams have the option of playing with either the traditional three outfielders (LF, CF, RF) or four outfielders (Left Field, Left-Center, Right-Center and Right Field). It is recommended at this level that both teams play with four outfielders. If one team does choose to play with three outfielders, it does not require the second team to play with three.
- In Minors, it is strongly recommended that all players be given the opportunity to play an infield position at least one inning per game.
- In Minors & Major/60’s, the distance of the pitching mound to home plate will be 46 feet.
- In Major/70, the distance of the pitching mound to home plate will be 50 feet.
- In order to maintain the health of or our young players arms, the MAC League has adopted the MLB/USA Baseball Pitch Smart Guidelines for the number of pitches and days of rest required between pitching appearances. We will be adopting the following pitching rules for the regular season (see playoff rules for tournament adjustments):
- Players cannot pitch in multiple games on the same day.
- Recommendation – For safety, players should avoid catching and pitching during the same game.
- Once removed from pitching, a player may not return as a pitcher for that game.
- Recommendation – For safety, players pitching for teams other than their MAC league team, should count their pitches and pitching appearances on those teams as if it was the same team.
- No pitcher shall appear as a pitcher for three consecutive days (not games), regardless of pitch count.
- If during a single at bat, the pitcher reaches their daily max for pitches, they may finish the batter before being pulled out.
- A pitcher may not finish a batter if they are about to cross a day’s rest threshold if you want them to have the previous rest threshold amount. This means that if during an at bat, Johnny is at 35 total pitches, he needs to be pulled out during the at bat if you want to keep him to 1 days’ rest. If he finishes the batter and ends up with 36 pitches, he will be required to have 2 days’ rest.
- The following chart shows the number of pitches allowed and the rest required afterwards. An example is that if Johnny pitches 36 pitches on Monday, he is not allowed to pitch on Tuesday or Wednesday and will be allowed to then pitch again on Thursday.
|Age||Daily Max||No Rest||1 Days Rest||2 Days Rest||3 Days Rest||4 Days Rest|
- Pitch counts will be required to be recorded using either a manual pitch counter or an electronic device/app. The pitch counts must be provided to the league within 24 hours of the completion of a game. It is recommended that between innings, and at the conclusion of the game, coaches confer with each other on the number of pitches thrown. If there is a discrepancy, the coach using an electronic device will have their pitch counts be the official numbers.
- If a pitcher hits 4 players total within a game (not necessarily a single inning), then that player must be removed from the pitching position for the remainder of that game.
- Pitching substitution may be done during an inning. Substitutions DO NOT NEED TO BE 1 FOR 1. Example: Johnny is pitching, Billy is playing 1st base and Bobby is playing right field. Johnny is replaced by Billy; Billy is replaced by Bobby and Bobby is replaced by Johnny.
- A new pitcher gets 6 warmup pitches, returning pitchers only get 4 warmup pitches between innings. (This is intended to speed up the game)
- Only coaches, assistants or team members are allowed to warm up the pitcher. Any player warming up the pitcher MUST wear a helmet. Adults are not required to wear a helmet to warm up the pitcher.
- Any visit to the mound by a coach after the first pitch and before the last out will count as an official visit. If it is the second visit of the inning the pitcher must be removed. The umpire, at their sole discretion, may allow for additional visits for a player health check.
- In Minors & Major/60, there are NO balks that will be called.
- In Major/70, leading is allowed, as a result, balks should be called with the following guidelines:
- During the regular season, the 1st balk for a pitcher will only be called as a warning and any subsequent balks runners will be awarded a base.
- During playoffs, all balk(s) will be called and any runners on base will be awarded the next base.
Equipment and Attire
- All batters and base runners must wear a batting helmet.
- Youth Base Coaches must always wear helmets.
- Players may NOT wear watches, rings, pins, necklaces, jewelry, or other metallic items. Exception: Medically relevant bracelets.
- Pitchers may NOT wear sweatbands on their wrists.
Umpires / Sportsmanship
- When any player, coach or spectator raises their voice/argues at/with an umpire, the umpire will call over both coaches, and have the coaches issue a warning to the offending person. If the behavior continues, the umpire will again call over both coaches, and the coaches will eject that person from the game. That person will then serve a minimum of a one-game suspension that will be enforced at the town level. If after being suspended once, that person is ejected again, it will be recommended to the town that they be suspended for the remainder of the season.
- Umpires will call balls and strikes and all safe/out calls on the bases. Neither coaches, parents or players may dispute any call by an umpire at any time. Failure to adhere to this rule may result in the coach being removed from the league for this and all future seasons. If a coach has a question on a rule interpretation, he/she may raise it with the umpire after the inning – however, an umpire's decision is final and binding. Even if you are not in agreement with the umpire, arguments will not be tolerated. It is extremely important to note that the players will be watching you and your actions, and you will be setting an example.
- A coach on one team, may NEVER yell at a player on another team for any reason. If there is an issue with a player on another team, the coach may speak with the other coach or umpire only. Any coach who yells at another team’s player will be ejected from the game and will serve a one game suspension.
- Coaches are encouraged to raise any issues and/or problems with an umpires’ performance to both the MAC League Board and their local leagues umpire coordinator immediately following the game.
- One of the most important things we are trying to teach the players is good sportsmanship. Coaches should not accept the kids’ throwing helmets, arguing with umpires, heckling the other team or other similar types of behavior. If/when these types of incidents occur, the coach needs to deal with it immediately.
- At the end of the game, players must line up and shake hands with the other team.
- Cal Ripken prohibits taunting of opposing players, coaches, or umpires. The rule states that “No manager, coach, or player, shall at any time, whether from the bench or the playing field or elsewhere use language which will in any manner refer to or reflect upon opposing players, manager, coach, an umpire or spectators.” If your team is on the receiving end of any taunting, you should have the umpire put a stop to it immediately. If the umpire is unable or unwilling to do so, issues of this sort should be brought to the attention of the MAC League board immediately.
- We expect and encourage that the kids chant and get loud cheering their teammates on during their teams at bats. These chants should never be negative towards anyone on the other team, and chanting/cheering is not the same as screaming. The moment a pitcher starts his wind up, all noise must immediately stop.
- An umpire can stop an active play at any time they feel it is warranted. An example of this is, if a player gets hurt during a play, the umpire has the option (not the requirement) to stop the play. The umpire will use their discretion to determine the best course of action for each play. If the umpire does not stop play, the ball is still live and should be played as such.
- Umpires should be paid before the game starts - whenever possible.
- A single umpire will be used for all regular season games, and paid the following:
- Minors - $60
- Major/60’s - $80
- Major/70’s - $90
- During the regular season, the home team is responsible for paying the umpires.
- In Minors, unpatched umpires, ages 12 and up, can and should be used whenever possible.
- Two umpires should be scheduled for any game where unpatched umpires are planned.
- Unpatched umpires may not be used in any playoff games.
- Coaches need to work with the unpatched umpires to help ensure the game is run smoothly.
- Coaches should remind spectators that these are unpatched umpires who might have little to no experience.
- Unpatched umpires will be paid $30 each per game. If there ends up being only a single unpatched umpire, they will be paid $40 for the game.
- Unpatched umpires must do their best to remain unbiased. It is required that they not wear clothing/hats that supports one team over another
- In Majors, patched umpires must be used. Patched umpires are the responsibility of the home team to provide. If the home team is unable to field a patched umpire, the home team will have to forfeit. The game should still be played as a scrimmage using two unpatched umpires instead.
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