2014 Mustang League Rules
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I. GENERAL POLICY STATEMENT
The objective of our Association is to provide a supervised and organized program for 9/10 year olds (3rd and 4th graders) with equal importance given to the following:
A. Providing each player should have an enjoyable experience, conducting himself/herself with discipline and good sportsmanship.
B. Teaching each player about individual and team baseball skills, the rules of the game and game strategy, and how to participate in an effort to win each game.
C. Teaching self-discipline and good sportsmanship. This includes respecting the game, which includes showing respect for the rules, the coaches and officials, the opponent, and your teammates. This begins with the adults (coaches and parents) participating in the program. The adults must set an example on the field for the players to follow, conducting themselves with maturity and restraint. There is nothing wrong with making every effort to win a game, but not at all or any costs.
II. LEAGUE RULES
A. General. All other rules not addressed herein shall be in accordance with the “Official Baseball Rules” published by the National Baseball Congress.
B. Field Measurements. Baselines will measure 60 feet. The pitcher’s rubber will be 44 feet from home plate (as measured from the front edge of the rubber to the apex of home plate).
C. Duration of Game
1. An official game consists of six (6) innings. However, under the circumstances detailed below, an official game may end up with either more or less than 6 innings played.
2. A two-hour time limit will be placed on each game. No inning may begin two hours after the start of the game. (The two-hour rule is measured from actual starting time and not the scheduled starting time of the game). The determination of the time expiration shall be at the time the last out is made in what would be the final inning. If the two-hour limit is reached during an inning, then the entire inning shall be completed, subject to official game rules below. The time limit is waived for all playoff games.
3. Official game. A game shall be “official” after four full innings have been played, or if the home team has scored more runs in three innings than the visiting team has scored in four innings at the time the game has stopped (e.g. weather, darkness, time limit). If the game is called for any reason before it is official, it shall be considered a suspended game and will be resumed from the point of adjournment. The full team roster is eligible when the game is resumed. (Any new players in attendance when the game is resumed shall bat only after all original players have batted again once the game is resumed. For example, if the last out were the no. 5 hitter, the new players would be inserted in the batting order after the no. 5 batter hits in the resumed game. Further, if adjournment occurs during an inning (i.e., while one team is still batting), then, to the extent possible, upon resumption players should return to the positions they were playing at adjournment).
(In the event that the Championship Game is suspended, it will be resumed later that day or the next day, subject to scheduling restrictions. The Championship Game will not be called even if it is an “official” game based upon the rules below.)
4. When a game is tied at the end of 6 innings, extra innings shall be played until there is a winner or the game is called by the umpire, subject to the two-hour rule. If the game is still tied when the two hour rule is triggered, the game shall be recorded as a tie.
5. 12-Run “Mercy” Rule. If a team is ahead by at least 12 runs after four or more innings (or if the home team is leading by 12 or more runs and the visitors have already batted four innings), then the game will be terminated and the team ahead declared the winner. The losing coach may then elect to continue the game for practice, but only until the two-hour time limit expires or until 6 innings have been played, whichever occurs first.
6. If a game is called (stopped) by an umpire during an inning, but after it is official, the score shall revert back to the end of the previous inning if the away (visiting) team has not completed batting in its half of the inning, or if the home team is losing and it has not completed batting in its half of the inning. Players and coaches shall not, in the umpire’s judgment, delay the game with the aim of influencing a decision to stop play and thereby causing the score to revert back to the end of the previous inning. If the umpire determines that the game has been intentionally delayed, the game shall be suspended from that point and completed on a different date.
D. Playing Rules
1. The penalty for failure to comply with any of these playing rules, or any of the pitching rules in Section E below, will be forfeiture of the game.
2. Each player shall play in the field for at least four innings of each 6-inning game. Further, except for illness or injury, no player shall sit out more than one inning more than any other player on his/her team. This should be true at any point in the game – i.e., no player sits out a second inning until every other player has sat out one.
3. Coaches are encouraged to play players in various positions during a game. Each player must play at least two (2) innings in the infield during a game and one inning in the outfield. Each player must play at least one outfield inning and one infield inning during the first four innings of the game.
4. Coaches are encouraged to give each player the opportunity to pitch. Any player who desires the opportunity to pitch in a game and has demonstrated the ability to throw the ball over the plate must be allowed to face at least 3 batters during the course of the season. Player safety is of utmost importance: a coach has discretion to not allow a player to pitch if they do not feel the player can adequately protect themselves against a batted ball.
5. The batting order must list all members of the team present. All players will bat consecutively around the order . A player who is sitting out an inning for a fielding substitution shall still bat in his/her place in the order.
6. Free substitution will exist for each inning. A defensive player shall not be moved from his/her position in the middle of the inning in the field (except for illness or injury), unless the player is the pitcher or the pitcher’s replacement.
7. The Mustang Commissioner will decide whether nine (9) or ten (10) players will play defensively during each inning in the field. If a tenth player is allowed, he/she will be a fourth outfielder. If a tenth player is allowed, and if one team has less than ten players present for a game, then the opposing team shall still use the tenth fielder.
8. The dropped third strike rule does not apply. A batter will be automatically out on strike three, regardless of whether the catcher catches the pitch. Any baserunner is free to advance at his/her own discretion subject to the base running rules below.
9. Walk Rule. A batter shall be awarded a base on balls after six balls have been called in any circumstance.
10. Bunting (intentionally) is not permitted.
11. Base Running:
(a) There are no leadoffs.
(b) Runners may not steal, or advance on either a passed ball or wild pitch, until there are two outs (i.e. two outs prior to the pitch). Runners may steal only one base at a time and may not leave the base they are occupying until the pitch has passed home plate. If a runner starting on first continues on to third, he/she will be sent back to second. Runners who leave their base before the pitched ball passes home plate shall be called out, and the pitch will be considered as a dead ball. (The umpire will issue one warning per team. Subsequent violations will be called outs.)
(b) A runner may not steal home on a pitched or passed ball or on an overthrow by the catcher after a steal.
(c) If third base is occupied and another runner reaches first base, the runner on first may steal second base. The runner on third may not advance during a play even on an overthrow.
(d) Base runners must slide on any “close play.” A “close play” is a play where the defensive player has the ball before the runner arrives at the base, or where the ball is in play at the base. A runner is out if he/she fails to slide on any play deemed to be a “close play” by the umpire.
(e) A runner is subject to immediate ejection if he/she tries running through or bowling over a defensive player in proper position or with the ball in his/her possession (the defensive player may not “block” the base – the defensive player should use a “straddle and tag” or “catch and sweep” technique”). The umpires shall have absolute discretion in determining whether a “close play” or a running/bowling over of a player, or blocking the base has occurred.
(f) A defensive player shall not interfere with a base runner if he/she does not have possession of the ball or is not playing the ball. This rule also prohibits a defensive player without the ball from positioning himself/herself in the base path of an oncoming runner. If the umpire rules that the defensive player interfered with the base runner, then the base runner shall be called safe and may be awarded an extra base or bases (umpires discretion).
(g) There is no pinch-runner for the catcher (catcher of record), except when there are two outs. In order to speed-up play, coaches should have catchers dressed and ready to go on the field upon the termination of the team’s at-bat. The pinch runner is the player that made the last out. Coaches are encouraged, but not required, to pinch run for the catcher when there are two outs.
(h) Except in situations involving catchers on base with two outs, courtesy runners will only be allowed when a player has been hurt on a play. If a player is going to bat despite an injury, that player must also run for himself/herself and must play in the field. In other words, hurt players are not allowed just to bat without also having to run and play the field.
(i) There is no Infield Fly Rule.
(j) Overthrows on Batted Balls
(i) If the ball goes out of play, runners advance, without risk, to the base they were going, plus one (1) base.
(ii) If the ball remains in play, runners advance at their own risk.
E. Pitching Rules
1. Players will pitch beginning with the first game of the season.
(a) Walk rule: after 6 balls, a walk is issued in any circumstance.
(b) Hit by pitch: A player HBP will be awarded first base. No exceptions.
(c) The Mustang Commissioners have discretion to alter the pitching rules at any time, even in-season, in consultation with the Mustang coaches.
2. A pitcher who is withdrawn from the mound shall not be permitted to return to the mound as a pitcher in the same game.
3. No pitcher may pitch more than six (6) outs per day, or nine (9) outs in consecutive days. No pitcher may pitch more than eighteen outs per week. No pitcher may pitch three days in a row. In addition to the maximum outs restrictions per game and week, we strongly encourage coaches to limit pitchers to 40 pitches per game.
4. A calendar week is from 12:01 a.m. Monday to 11:59 p.m. the next Sunday (unless modified by the League Commissioner).
5. Any pitcher who hits three (3) batters in an inning or five (5) batters during a game will be relieved of pitching duties for the rest of that game. This rule may be waived by the home plate umpire if a batter could/should have moved to avoid being hit.
6. To avoid undue delay of games, pitchers returning to the mound or replacing but beginning an innning shall be allowed four (4) warm-up pitches from the mound. A pitcher replacing another pitcher during an inning shall get eight (8) warm-up pitches.
7. If pitching in more than one (1) game the same day (suspended game, etc.), a player may pitch any combination of outs in the games provided he/she does not exceed the maximum number of outs per day as set forth above.
8. A coach shall be permitted one trip to the mound per inning. A mound visit is defined as conversation between the pitcher and the coaching staff on the filed of play where a time out is called. A meeting at the baseline that delays play and/or results in a timeout will be considered a visit to the mound. Verbal instruction to a pitcher during the inning does not count a a visit. A visit to address an injury to the pitcher shall not constitute a trip to the mound.
9. A pitcher who is changed during an inning must take the position vacated by the new pitcher, unless that vacated position is catcher. In that event, teams will be allowed one extra position change for the departing pitcher.
10. Intentional walks are not allowed.
F. Equipment Rules
These rules exist for the safety of all players.
1. All helmets will have protective face guards.
2. All metal and alloy bats with a maximum barrel of 2 ¼ inch diameter, a maximum BPF of 1.15, a maximum length of 33 inches and with a maximum differential of – 12 are allowed. Composite barreled bats meeting these requirements will be allowed if they are approved for Little League play as evidenced by a stamp on the bat.
3. Tennis shoes or rubber-cleated shoes are allowed. No metal spikes are permissible.
4. All male players are required to wear protective cups at all games and practices.
5. Batters, baserunners and players coaching the baselines are required to wear protective headgear.
6. Any player warming up a pitcher must wear a catcher’s mask.
A. Game Times. Weeknight games will begin at 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. No inning shall begin after two (2) hours from the beginning of the game. Both coaches should agree upon the starting time at the actual start and confirm it with the umpire. Weekend starting times vary and will be listed on the schedule.
B. Players Only. As a general policy, the only coaches who should be on the field while the ball is in play are the first base and third base coaches. All other coaches should be in or near the dugout. Only players and coaches are allowed in the dugout during a game. This means that no friends, relatives or other “visiting dignitaries” are allowed in the dugout
C. Base Coaches and Batting Helmet Rule. Any individual under the age of 18 coaching the base baths for a GBA team must wear a batting helmet. This mandatory rule applies to all leagues and every age group. All coaches over the age of 18 are strongly encouraged to wear a helmet, but it is not mandatory.
1. One umpire will call the entire game behind the plate. There may be a second umpire in the field.
2. The umpire will encourage coaches and players to hustle on and off the field between innings in an effort to complete as many innings as possible.
3. Prior to each game, the umpire will explain the ground rules to each team head coach.
4. The umpire will enforce the rules to help control players.
(a) No player or coach shall use profanity or make obscene gestures. Up to one warning will be issued per game. The next player or coach of either team who violates the rule will be ejected.
(b) No player shall throw a bat, helmet, glove, or catcher’s mask. Only one warning will be issued per game.The next player on either team who violates the rule will be ejected. This applies to objects intentionally thrown in anger. If a bat is thrown unintentionally, as sometimes occurs when a batter swings at the ball, there should be one warning per game, but all subsequent occurrences shall result in such batter being called “out,” the ball being dead, and all runners returning to their bases.
5. Umpires may use their discretion to ask spectators or players behind the screen to move away. Spectators should not be permitted to “climb” up the backstops or adjacent fences. The umpire is a Baseball Association and Park District contractor and has jurisdiction to enforce all the rules on the field.
6. The umpires will prepare the field, making sure that the bases are aligned and the pitching rubber is secure.
7. There is no appeal from, nor is there to be any discussion about, an umpire’s judgment call. If a head coach (or acting head coach) disagrees with an umpire’s call, he/she should call time-out upon completion of the play and discuss it calmly with the umpire and the opposing team’s head coach. Assistant coaches must communicate with the umpire only through their head coaches. Coaches must not vent their frustration upon the umpire, must not “work” the umpire with grunts, groans, body language, facial expressions, or other “subtle” means, and must not yell “safe” or “out” or “fair” or “foul” or “ball” or “strike.” In no event should any player argue or discuss a call with an umpire.
E. Prompt Start. All games should start promptly. A game must begin not more than ten (10) minutes after its scheduled starting time or the team that is not ready to play will forfeit the game. Coaches have discretion to extend this rule to 15 minutes. A team must have at least seven (7) of their rostered players at the start of the game to avoid a forfeit . If less than seven (7) of a team’s rostered players are present, that team will be deemed to have forfeited the game. If only seven (7) of a team’s rostered players are present, the opposing manager should (if possible) pick an additional player to participate for the team with seven (7) rostered players as follows:
1. From other (non-playing) teams if a League Registered player is available.
2. One additional League Registered player may be added to the team with seven (7) rostered players, so that the team may field eight (8) players.
3. If the additional player leaves for any reason during the game, another additional League Registered player may take his/her place.
4. The additional player may only play the three outfield positions and is not permitted to bat.
5. To start the game, a team must have at least seven (7) rostered players present. If less than seven (7) rostered players are present, a forfeit shall be awarded, and a practice game shall then be played. This is not an option! (For the practice game, the teams can be divided up and other non-playing but League Registered players added if necessary.)
6. In the event of a forfeit, the head coach of the forfeiting team shall contact the Commissioner within 48 hours thereof, or be suspended from his team’s next regularly scheduled game.
7. Any team with just seven (7) of its rostered players present will receive one (1) out automatically for its eighth batting spot each time that spot comes up to bat. A team with only eight (8) of its rostered players present will not receive any outs for missing the player at the ninth batting spot.
F. Home Team. The home team will occupy the third base dugout. The visiting team will occupy the first base dugout. The home team will deliver two (2) new or lightly used baseballs to the umpires before the start of the game for use as game balls.
G. Base Coaches. Either two (2) adults or one (1) adult and one (1) uniformed player (wearing a batting helmet) shall coach base paths during an inning.
H. Weather. A game shall be immediately suspended in the event of thunder or lightning. REFER TO THE GBA WEATHER GUIDELINES FOR REQUIRED ACTIONS.
I. Post-Game Clean Up. Each team is responsible for policing the area near its bench or dugout following the game. All candy wrappers, soft drink cans, and other trash is to be picked up and properly deposited in the trash barrels in the area.
J. No alcohol. No alcohol is allowed anywhere on park district property near the field and no smoking is allowed on the field or in the dugout.
K. All-Star Game. At the end of the season, each team will select players from that team to participate in the annual July 3rd All-Star game. The team’s All-Star representatives will be voted on by the team’s players. A player must participate in at least 80% of his/her team’s scheduled regular practices and games to be eligible to be selected to play in the All-Star game. Also, to be eligible to be selected to play in the game, a player must be available to play in the game on tJuly 3rd.
IV. PLAYER COMMITMENT
The GBA expects our volunteer coaches to commit significant time and effort in the planning and execution of practices and games on behalf of the players. It is thus fair and reasonable and respectful to the coaches to expect the players to also commit their time and effort as measured by attendance at practices and games. Additionally, House League teams are rostered based upon the relative abilities of the players and every effort is made to balance the rosters to create fair and equal teams. Lack of consistent attendance by all players may significantly impact this balance and negatively impact other players’ experiences.
In light of the foregoing, Mustang players must attend 80% of all scheduled regular practices and games (events). For example, if there are 20 scheduled events, a Mustang player is expected to attend 16 events. Missed practices can be made up by attendance at scheduled Batting Cage sessions, on a one for one basis. Missed games can not be made up. Please note that practices or games missed as a result of a player’s own religious obligation, illness, family emergency, or injury are not counted in the application of this rule.
Penalties: A player failing to adhere to this rule will be eligible to play in the league’s playoffs, but will not be eligible to play in the All Star Game. Further, the player will not be eligible to play in the New Trier Travel Baseball League, the New Trier Pony Program, or in any other summer baseball program in which the GBA is involved in any way. Lastly, the player’s eligibility for the following year’s Spring House League will be subject to GBA Board review.
Subject to the number of teams in the league, the Commissioner will schedule a season-ending tournament, until two (2) teams are left for a Championship Game. The highest finishing teams (as determined by regular season standings) shall either receive a bye, or play the lowest finishing teams (1 vs 8, 2 vs. 7, etc.). The team with the better record (in the regular season – excluding playoff games) shall be the home team.
1. Rankings for Tournament. In the event of a tie finishing position, positions will be determined as follows:
(a) Head-to-head results
(b) If the teams evenly split previous games, the team with the least total runs allowed in such previous games between the tied teams will be awarded the position.
(c) If both teams allowed the same number of runs, then the total runs allowed for the total season will be determinative. Thereafter, the Mustang Commissioner will conduct a coin-toss to determine the position.
2. Championship Game. The two finalists shall play in the Championship Game. The team which finished higher in the regular season standings shall be the home team.
3. Playoff Pitching Rules. No pitcher may pitch more than six (6) outs in any playoff game. If pitching in more than one (1) game on the same day (suspended playoff game, etc.), a player may pitch any combination of outs in the games provided he/she does not exceed the six (6) outs per day rule.
2012 MUSTANG PLAYOFF INFORMATION (still under review)
1. 5:30 weekday starts unless both coaches agree to earlier start.
2. No time limit – the 2 hour rule is waived.
3. The “Mercy Rule” is in effect for all games, including the Championship Game.
4. Darkness can be called by the umpires. The game will continue the next day at the exact point of termination (outs, base runners, etc.).
5. Highest placed team always has home field.
6. If both coaches agree to change the starting date or time of the playoff game, they must contact the league commissioner who must approve of the change.
7. Any team with only seven players present will receive two outs for their missing players at the 8th and 9th batting spots. Any team with only eight players will receive one out for the missing player at the 9th batting spot. The game is forfeited if a team does not have at least seven of its rostered players available. NO SUBSTITUTE PLAYERS ARE ALLOWED IN THE PLAYOFFS.
8. After each playoff game, the losing and winning coaches must notify the commissioner within 12 hours and tell the commissioner the number of outs pitched by each pitcher from each team.
9. In the event that the Championship Game is suspended, it will be resumed later that day or the next day, subject to scheduling restrictions. The Championship Game will not be called even if it is an “official” game based upon the rules herein (though the “mercy” rule does apply).
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