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Framingham Baseball League

General Rules

Majors/Minors League Playing Rules (updated June 2018)

  
Pre-Season Requirements
 
Each manager must submit to the league commissioner and registrar his/her official roster at the prescribed time/date set by the commissioner. Teams will typically consist of 11-13 players, determined by the BOD.
 
Any assistant coaches, maximum of two per team, will also be named on the roster. All assistants must be approved by the commissioner and the board prior to the season.
 
Each team may name a single bench coach/score person on the roster.  All bench coaches must be approved by the commissioner and the board of directors prior to the season.
 
No person shall represent a team on the field without approval from the Board of Directors.
 
All head coaches, assistants and bench coaches must fill out a CORI form and submit to the league commissioner by established deadlines or they will not be eligible to participate.
 
All head coaches, assistants and bench coaches must read and adhere to the Code of Conduct.
 
All players must be registered and payment must be fully reconciled to be able to take part in any team practices or games.
 
All parents must sign the Code of Conduct and must return that document to the Head Coach – this is the responsibility of the head Coach 

Major’s age requirements/limits: no more than 2 10-year-old players, no more than 7 12-year-old players per team

Minor’s age requirements/limits: no more than 2 8-year-old players (the actual number will be determined by the BOD).

Call ups

Majors

If a head coach is aware that a player will be absent from a game, he/she may bring up a player from minors by contacting major/minor commissioner to obtain a player.
 
If a player will miss more than one game in a row, and the coach is aware of this, the coach MUST call up a player from minors and notify the league commissioner about this circumstance immediately.
Teams must adhere to the age-limit numbers including call-ups.
 
Call ups cannot pitch in any game at any time.
 
Minors

If a head coach is aware that a player will be absent from a game, he/she may bring up an 8 year-old player (only) from A League if needed, by contacting minor/A-League commissioner.

If a player will miss more than one game in a row, and the coach is aware of this, the coach MUST notify the league commissioner about this circumstance immediately to discuss options.

Call ups cannot pitch in any game at any time.

NOTE – Each appropriate league commissioner will have a call-up list to work from. Coaches MUST contact the commissioner to obtain a call-up and NOT pursue this on their own.

Game Preliminaries
 
Coaches and Equipment

 

All coaches must remain in the dugout, behind the fencing (HEAD coach can be on the field in proximity of their DUGOUT ONLY), during their team’s defensive half-inning. During their team’s offensive half-inning each team will be allowed 2 base coaches on the field.
 
No equipment whatsoever should be on the field of play.
 
No exceptions. Failure to abide by these rules will result in a warning, first offense, and ejection of the head coach, second offense.
 
Fielding a Team

 

All coaches and players are expected to appear at fields unless officially notified by the league via the website, phone or text.


Each team must have a minimum of 9 players on the field at time of play for each game. The away team can start with 8 while batting in the top of the first, but if the 9th player is not there for their at bat (if their spot comes up) or to play defensively in the bottom of the 1st inning (if their batting spot does not come up in the top of the inning), that team will forfeit the game. You must start with 9 but can finish with 8.
 
If you start with 9 and then have to go to 8, every time that batter (the one that was your 9th player) would have come up to bat,  an out is recorded in his/her place.
 
Playing Time

Playing Time - General provisions

 

Every player properly dressed for the game must play.

 

A “complete inning” as defined for purposes of playing time is defined as the top and bottom of an inning (with the exception being a player slated to play his/her 4th complete inning in the bottom of the 6th and their team is ahead and thus the bottom of the 6th is not played. In this case the player is considered to have played 4 full innings).

No player will sit for more than two full innings.

Players that have not played the first two innings must enter the game before the first pitch of the third inning, and play the entire 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th innings. For Majors, this applies for defensive substitutions.

For example: Player A is slated to play the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th innings, giving that player the full 4 innings required, but the game is called due to darkness after the 4th inning. That player will have only played 2 innings, but that is not a violation of the innings minimum rule.

A player that arrives late can enter a game upon his/her arrival as long as the player he is replacing has met or will meet (in the case of a player playing the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th innings) the minimum playing requirements, including innings, 6 defensive outs if applicable and at least one at bat. This late arriving player may not have sufficient time to meet the minimums.
 
Note: If a player arrives prior to the 3rd inning being started, then it is required of the coach to play that player the minimum 4 innings. It is not required that a coach play a player that arrives after the 3rd inning has started, but it is expected that a coach will attempt to get the player in and play him/her as many innings as possible.

The minimum innings requirement for players is waived for games that are incomplete or shortened due to weather, darkness or other causes.

If any player is deemed to have not met the playing time criteria for their league (other than due to injury or other notable exceptions noted herein) and this is recognized by the opposing team, then the offending team will forfeit the game. Both coaches must contact the league commissioner within 24 hours to report the incident.

At the coach’s discretion, a player may be “benched” for one game due to behavioral issues; NEVER due to performance and the commissioner must be notified within 24 hours of the game. If this is to be repeated, then the coach must again inform the commissioner prior to further action being taken (i.e.: a player cannot be “benched” for a second game or more unless the commissioner has been informed prior). If a player is to sit out, for any reason, then the coach must inform the opposing coach prior to the start of the game.

Each player must play at least THREE full games (Minors) and TWO full games (Majors, defensively) during the regular season.

Playing Time - Majors (New in 2018)

Majors will use a continuous batting order. ALL players present for the game will be inserted into the lineup and remain in that lineup spot for the duration of the game. A player may be entered and/or re-entered defensively in the game at any time provided he/she meets the requirements of mandatory play (i.e., all players must play a minimum of 4 complete innings defensively).

When a player is injured, becomes ill, or must leave the game site after the start of the game, the team will skip over him/her when his/her time at bat comes up, without penalty. If the injured, ill or absent player returns, he/she is merely inserted into their original spot in the batting order and the game continues. Additionally, if a player arrives late to a game site, he/she would be added to the end of the current lineup.

Playing Time – Minors

Each player MUST play a minimum of four complete innings (including one at bat) each game. Starting players must play a minimum of 6 defensive outs and have at least one at bat prior to being substituted for.

Substitutions

Substitutions - General provisions

A player may not be removed from a game during the progress of an inning except as the result of an injury.

After one pitch, a batter may not be substituted for except due to injury.

There will be no pinch runners except in the case of injury or ejection.

Substitutions for injured or ejected players will not be subject to the standard substitution rules as specified. The home plate umpire will resolve any substitution questions in this case.

Players that are removed from the game due to injury may be reentered into the game at the top of an inning only. The player that was substituted in simply goes back to his/her original status. Example: Player A is in the game and gets hurt, player B is on the bench and goes in for player A. If player A reenters the game for player B in an inning prior to the inning that player B was slated to play, then player B is back on the bench until the inning comes up in which he was originally slated to return. However, if player A comes back to the game after or during the inning that player B was slated to originally play, then player A must replace another player – being sure to follow the aforementioned substitution rules.

Substitutions – Majors (New in 2018)

Majors will observe a free substitution rule on defense, as long as all players meet minimum playing requirements.

If a batter is injured and unable to continue an at bat still in progress, the player who made the immediate previous out replaces the batter and assumes the count. If a runner is injured and unable to continue running but is still on base, the player who made the immediate previous out replaces the runner.

Substitutions - Minors

A player in the starting lineup who has been removed for a substitute may re-enter the game once, in any position in the batting order, provided that proper substitution rules and playing requirements are followed.

A player in the starting line-up who has been removed for a substitute may re-enter the game for another starting player in any position in the batting order; PROVIDED the SUBSTITUTE that entered the game for the starting player now about to re-enter:
·         Has been at bat once, and;
·         Has played in the field a minimum of six (6) defensive outs.
 
A player may re-enter the game for a substitute, in any place in the batting order provided the substitute:
·         Has been at bat once, and:
·         Has played in the field a combination of (24) offensive and  defensive outs. Fulfills the 4 inning rule.
 
Note: This rule deals with players returning in extra innings.
 
If a pinch runner is needed due to injury or ejection, the coach of the team with the injured or ejected player will select a player who is not currently in the lineup to pinch run.

All players must play at least 2 complete innings in the infield every game. (New in 2018)
 
Batting Order

Each coach must exchange a written batting order and available substitutes list 15 minutes prior to the start of the game.
 
Starting and Ending a Game
 
Game Duration- Majors

For weekday games: the official starting time is 7:45.  If the Minors game prior to the Majors game is finishing an inning, they may go until a hard stop at 8:00. Thus, the Majors game would start right after, but no later than 8:15. Teams are responsible for being warmed up and ready to play at 7:45.
 
No new inning may begin after 9:45PM, unless started late due to Minor s ending late. Then a 2 hour process is used, meaning no new inning started after 2 hours from game start time – if an official length has been reached, game is over, if not, game is finished at later date as detailed below under Official Game.

Game Duration- Minors

 

For weekday games: the official starting time is 5:45.  No new inning may begin after 7:30PM.  The inning in progress must be completed by 8:00PM.(Hard Stop …No exceptions; score reverts back to last complete inning and game is over).
 
An inning starts the moment the preceding inning ends.  The umpire’s clock is official. If no umpires’ clock, then defer to the home team’s coach as the official time-keeper. Check the official time at start of game and as 7:30 approaches so as to avoid problems.
 
 
NOTE: In the spirit of fair play, no member of either team, their coaches or players, should deliberately delay the progress of an inning in order to take unfair advantage of this rule.  The game will be subject to protest by the opposing team.
 
 Official Game

 

A complete game is 6 innings.
 
A game becomes official once 4 innings (or 3 ½ innings if the home team is ahead) have been played.
 
Once a game is started (but it does not meet the official game requirements) and becomes suspended (weather, curfew, darkness) it will be resumed at the point of interruption.  The game will not be replayed in its entirety.  Both teams should mark their books with game status. If the game is official and a winner can be determined, then the game ends, regardless of score or current situation. If a winner cannot be determined then the game is suspended.
 
Example: 1) Team A is the home team and is winning 4 to 3 at the end of the 5th inning and it starts to rain, but the game is continued. In the top of the 6th inning Team B scores 2 runs and now leads 5 to 4, but in the bottom of the 6th Team A has not scored and has 2 outs (or less) and lightning starts and the game is called by the umpire - then the game is stopped and it reverts back to the 5th inning (which is a complete game) and the game is reported as a win 4 to 3 for Team A.
 
Example: 2) Team A is the home team and is losing 4 to 3 at the end of the 5th inning and it starts to rain, but the game is continued. In the top of the 6th inning Team B does not score, but in the bottom of the 6th Team A proceeds to tie the score and has bases loaded with no outs and lightning starts and the game is called by the umpire - then the game is stopped and since both teams had an opportunity to score in the 6th, the game is suspended and DOES NOT revert back to the 5th. The game would be picked up as it was when the suspension was called: tie score, bottom of the inning, bases loaded and no outs.
 
A suspended game picks up exactly where it left off and will be continued at the next available date as determined by the commissioner.  In some cases this will be the next time the teams meet.
 
Mercy Rule – Games with a 15 run differential after 4 complete innings (or 3½ innings if the home team is ahead) will be stopped immediately and recorded as a complete game.

On Field Postponement

 

As the weather or field conditions dictate and prior to the first pitch, the home team manager must make the final decision regarding the ability to start the game.
 
Once a game has been started it is the decision of the umpires’ whether or not a game should be continued.
 
The home team coach is responsible for notifying the commissioner that a game needs to be rescheduled or continued.
 
Pitching
 
Eligibility

All players on the roster are eligible to pitch.

 

Majors Pitch count

Maximum pitches for any pitcher in a game is 85 (may finish a batter started if under 85 at the time that batter was started). 

·         If a player pitches 66 or more pitches in a day, four (4) calendar days of rest

·         If a player pitches 51-65 pitches in a day, three (3) calendar days of rest

·         If a player pitches 36-50 pitches in a day, two (2) calendar days of rest

·         If a player pitches 1-35 pitches in a day, one (1) calendar day of rest

·          

Minors Pitch count

Maximum pitches for any pitcher in a game is 75 (this is new in 2018; previously it was 85). A pitcher may finish a batter started if the pitch count was under 75 at the time that batter was started.

·         If a player pitches 66 or more pitches in a day, four (4) calendar days of rest

·         If a player pitches 51-65 pitches in a day, three (3) calendar days of rest

·         If a player pitches 36-50 pitches in a day, two (2) calendar days of rest

·         If a player pitches 1-35 pitches in a day, one (1) calendar day of rest

 

Coaches need to check pitch count after each ½ inning.  If a discrepancy exists, then we go to the books and if there is still disagreement, the home team’s counter will govern. 
 
TELL BOOK KEEPERS TO TRACK ALL PITCHES INCLUDING FOUL BALLS
 
The pitch count recorder must provide the current pitch count for any pitcher when requested by either manager or any umpire.  However, the manager is responsible for knowing when his/her pitcher must be removed.
The league will purchase counters for each team.

Home coach needs to confirm pitch count with Visiting coach at end of game. The coach of the winning team must post game score and pitch count on the league web site within 24 hours of the completion of the game.

 

Violation of pitching rules

The goal is to play each game to its completion but to do so fairly.
 
Violation of the pitching rules (rest/# of pitches/etc.) can result in the offending team forfeiting the game. The league commissioner will educate the coaches as to the particulars regarding pitch rule violation and has final say as to the interpretation of each situation and the penalty. Any coach who violates these pitch count rules will get a warning on the first offense. The coach will be suspended for a game on the second violation.

Warm-Ups

Pitchers should be warming up on the side and throwing the minimum amount of pitches required to warm up properly. Coaches need to police this.
 
Pitchers that have not pitched in the game will get up to 8 warm-up pitches maximum. Those returning to a game they have already pitched in will get up to 5 warm-up pitches maximum.
 
Be sure catchers are ready with equipment PRIOR to the last out being made whenever possible. Coaches need to police this well so as not to stall the game progress.
 
Pitching: Visits and Substitutes

The manager may make one (1) trip per inning to the mound with a maximum of two (2) trips per game per pitcher.  Exceeding these limits requires the pitcher to be removed from the position (i.e., on the third visit in a game or on the second visit in an inning, the player must be removed and can ONLY be replaced by a player on the field at that time).
 
No players from the bench may be placed in the pitcher position during an inning. Also, if a substitute enters a game for an injured player he/she cannot pitch that inning and can only pitch in the inning he/she would normally have been slated to come back in. If the player would have been on the bench for the rest of the game, he/she would not be able to pitch at all, no matter the inning. (Example: player A played innings 1-4 and is now on the bench, the right fielder is injured and player A goes in during the 5th inning to play right field – player A cannot pitch in that game at all, unless extra innings come into play and then substitution rules for extra innings apply; if that same situation happened in the 3rd inning and player A was on the bench and slated to play innings 1, 2, 5 and 6 and came in for the injured player in the 3rd inning, he/she would not be eligible to pitch until the 5th or 6th inning).
 
A visit is any time a coach crosses the foul lines to visit the mound (whether a player is present or not), except in the case of an injury.
 
A pitcher may NOT return as a pitcher once removed from the game, or removed as a pitcher, even if the player stays in the game.
 
Miscellaneous

The pitcher’s foot must be in contact with the rubber at the start of his/her motion, thus pitching off to the side of the rubber is not allowed.
 
There are NO intentional walks via a declaration to send a batter to first. Pitchers must throw a pitch and catchers must remain in a squat in the catcher’s box until the pitch is released (or a NO PITCH will be called by the umpire).

If a pitcher starts their windup and then stops without delivering to home, an illegal pitch is called by the umpire and a warning is issued. Subsequent violations from the same pitcher will result in a “ball” being called each time.

 

Playing Rules

 

The Batter

 

A helmet with a face protector is required for all batters.

Dropped third strike (for Majors only)

 

The batter may advance to first base if there are less than two outs and first base is unoccupied, or with two outs whether or not first base is occupied. There is no dropped third strike rule in Minors.

Bunting

 

Once a batter squares to bunt, the batter may not reset and take a full swing (i.e., slashing).  The player may take the bat back to take the pitch or may follow through on the bunt but may not take a full swing. The penalty is an immediate dead ball, the batter is out, and all players return to their bases held at time of pitch.
 
The Runner

 

Any runner is out when the runner does not slide or attempt to avoid contact of a fielder who has the ball and is in position, waiting to make the tag.
 
In the case of a double play situation, if the runner into second is called out for not sliding and the lack of slide causes interference in the fielder’s opportunity to attempt to turn the double play, the batter-runner will also be called out.
 
If a fielder is in the base path without the ball, and the runner collides with the fielder, the fielder may be subjected to an obstruction call.
 
If a fielder is in the base path without the ball, the fielder must allow access to the base and cannot block the base at all (including home plate). If, in the opinion of the umpire, the runner did not have clear access to the base, the fielder will be called for obstruction and the runner will be safe at that base.
 
Note: Once an obstruction is indicated by the umpire, the ball is dead. Runners will be awarded the base they were going to. If, in the opinion of the umpire, runners would have attained more than one base, then the umpire can indicate this and award more than the base the runners were going to.
 
Example: A runner is between 1st and 2nd and is obstructed as the ball is still rolling to the fence. The umpire calls the obstruction and may award the runner 3rd; if in the umpire’s opinion the runner would have made it to that base.
 
If a fielder is in the base path with the ball, or if the ball has been determined (umpire’s judgment) to have arrived prior to or at the same time as the runner, there is no obstruction and the runner must, slide or attempt to avoid contact (or return to the previous base).
 
If the base moves when the runner slides and the runner loses contact with the base the runner is considered safe, and should not move until time is called.  If the runner moves to the new position of the base he is still safe if in the opinion of the umpire the player was not attempting to advance.
 
Any runner is out when the runner slides head first into a base.  The only exception to this rule is when the runner is returning to a base previously occupied.
 
Batting Out of Order

 

If a player bats out of order and the opposing team recognizes this and brings it to the attention of the umpire PRIOR to a pitch being thrown to the NEXT batter, then the player that batted out of order is out (if that player reached base) and all runners return to their previous spots (if applicable) prior to that player’s at bat. If the out of order player is still batting at the time, then that player steps out and the correct player steps in and inherits the count of the out of order batter. If the infraction is not noticed in time and a single pitch (or more) has been thrown to a subsequent batter, there is no change – the batter that was out of order remains where he/she is and play continues. There is no recourse for the opposing coach if the infraction is not called out prior to a pitch being thrown to any subsequent batter after the player that batted out of order.

 

 

Stealing of Home (Minors Only) (New in midseason 2018)

 

There is NO stealing of home. Only advancement from third to home is via ball put in play, bases loaded walk, or bases loaded hit by pitch.

 

Scoring (Minors Only) (New in 2018)

 

The inning ends when 3 outs are recorded or 5 runs have been scored, whichever occurs first.

 

In the final inning (which is the sixth, or as otherwise declared by the umpire due to time constraints), if the visiting team is losing or the game is tied, the visiting team may score unlimited runs up to maximum of 5 or more than the home team’s total. If the visiting team is ahead going into the final inning, the 5 run maximum rule applies. If the home team is losing in the bottom or the last inning, they may score unlimited runs until the game is won or ended with 3 outs.

 

The Mercy rule and Game Duration – Minors rules previously discussed supersede these last inning scoring rules.

Protesting a Game

Protests must be made at the time of the issue at hand, prior to the next pitch. If an issue comes up and the coach does not call attention to it to the umpire prior to a pitch being thrown, then there can be no protest.
 
If attention is called to an issue at the proper time, the coach must then have the umpire sign the game-book of record (the HOME book) noting a protest and then BOTH coaches must also sign. The game continues (or if a commissioner can immediately be reached, then do so to help deal with the issue in real-time).
 
The protesting coach must then submit a detailed description of the protest: date and time of game, coaches and umpire involved, what the protest is and any other pertinent information. The document must be submitted to the protest committee within 24 hours of the games end. The protest committee consists of the league vice president, the league commissioner and the umpire in chief.
 
Post Season
 
All Stars

Each team should select three (3) players to appear in the A All-Star Game and three (3) players to appear in the B All-Star Game.

All teams make the playoffs.
 
Playoff Eligibility (player)

A player is only eligible for post-season playoff play if they played in ½ of their team’s regularly scheduled spring games, with exceptions being made if legitimate injury or illness was the cause of the majority of the missed games. If there is any question, the commissioner and/or the Board will determine eligibility.
No player is eligible to play baseball for Framingham Baseball in the summer if they did not participate in the FBL spring season.

Tie Breakers

In order to seed teams for playoffs and the World Series the following sequence will determine the positioning of teams with identical wins and losses.  These tiebreakers are to be applied in order.
 
TWO WAY TIES:
·         Head to head competition
·         Least runs allowed head to head
·         Most runs scored head-to head
·         Record against other playoff teams
·         Least runs allowed over the entire system
·         Coin flip by the Commissioner
  
THREE or MORE WAY TIES:

As soon as a tie is broken, the remaining teams shall immediately start at the top of the appropriate tiebreaker. If two teams are eliminated on the same tiebreaker, the remaining team is the winner. It is the intent of this rule to eliminate the bottom team, that is, the tie is broken from the loser’s standpoint.
·         Head to head competition
·         Least runs allowed head to head
·         Most runs scored head to head
·         Record against other playoff teams
·         Least runs allowed over the entire schedule
·         Coin flip by the Commissioner
 
Tournament

The home team is always the highest seed.  
 
Fielding a Team

As per regular season.
 
Post Season Pitching Rules

As per regular season
 

Addendum regarding non-approved bats

If a player is caught using an illegal bat during an at bat of a Framingham Baseball League game, that at bat will be deemed to be an illegal at bat and be held to the rules as such, for example:

1.     If the bat is detected during the at bat, the bat is removed from the game and the at bat continues with an approved bat.

2.     If the bat is detected after the at bat and the batter has reached base successfully and no pitch has been thrown to the next batter, the batter will be declared out and all base runners will return to the base they occupied prior to the at bat.

3.     If the bat is detected after the at bat and the batter has reached base successfully and a pitch has been thrown to the next batter, all remain in place but the bat is removed.

4.     If the bat is detected after the at bat and the batter has not reached base successfully, all remains in place. The bat will be removed from the game.

5.     If after the game is over and a bat is detected to be an illegal bat, the coach who found the bat to be illegal must speak with the commissioner of their league to ensure the integrity of the league has not been taken for granted. The commissioner will be responsible for directing the removal of the bat and take disciplinary actions if called for.

6.     If a player or team is caught using an illegal bat more than once, coach and player will be ejected from game and serve a 1 game suspension and be subject to further disciplinary actions if deemed necessary by the FBL BOD

 

 

 

 

 

 

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