Official BWBL Rules
A. Fun is the name of the game. If you cannot have fun, you can’t be in the Backyard Wiffle Ball League.
B. There are winners and there are teams who don’t win (some may deem them losers) in each game. If you win, win with dignity. If you lose, lose with respect for the victors.
C. As in hockey and Little League, handshakes are expected following each and every game. Although, not required, it is simply good sportsmanship that promotes having fun!
II. Field RequirementsA. The playing field has some essential requirements that follow, but as long as these basics are followed, “quirks” are allowed (and actually encouraged) in order to promote variety.
B. The infield must be a 45 foot square. The outfield will extend to at least 75 feet down the lines from home plate to the fence in both left and right fields, with no maximum. Centerfield will extend to at least 100 feet from home plate, with no maximum. The outfield wall must be at least three (3) feet in height, with the maximum being 15 feet.
C. The outfield fence does not have to be of perfect arc, but the dimensions cannot fall below those listed in Section II,B. Unique field designs are encouraged, and modeling of fields after major or minor league parks is permitted.
D. The pitching rubber must be forty (40) feet from home plate. It shall be placed on level ground with home plate to avoid giving an advantage to the pitcher.
E. All territory in the infield and outfield is considered fair territory; territory outside of the foul lines is considered foul territory.
F. Bases and home plate can be any flat objects for any non-tournament game. In the case of tournament play, please see Section II,G.
G. Standard bases will be used for all tournament games. These will be either break-away bases or stake-in bases that can be purchased at any sporting goods store. They need not be officially licensed, as those tend to cost more, detracting from the fun atmosphere that the Backyard Wiffle Ball League creates.
III. EquipmentA. The official ball of the Backyard Wiffle Ball League is that which is manufactured by The Wiffle Ball Inc.
B. Balls can be scuffed in any way, but no foreign materials may be placed on the ball. If foreign materials become stuck to the ball, the ball will be removed from play.
C. Any ball with a 1/4” or more crack will be declared unplayable and removed from play. This will prevent unorthodox movement of the ball.
D. No player is permitted to wear a glove on the field at any time.
E. The bats that are to be used in the Backyard Wiffle Ball League are the yellow Wiffle ball bat, manufactured by Wiffle, Inc., the Wiffle(R) Pro, manufactured by Adeline Bat Co.; the Ledge Sledge and King's Stick, manufactured by J.T.L. Bat Company; the Loco Bat, produced by Thomas LoCascio in Farmingdale, NY; the Moonshot Bat, produced by Moonshot Bats of Idaho Falls, ID
1. Tape may be used to decorate the bat, but may not add any significant weight to the bat. Any judgment calls will be made by the League Commissioner and/or President.
2. All bats are subject to inspection by the League Commissioner and/or a person designated by the League Commissioner before play begins. If the bat is deemed illegal, it will be removed from play.
IV. UmpiringA. Strikes and Balls
1. The count will consist of four (4) balls and three (3) strikes. Four balls is a walk and three strikes is a strikeout.B. Fair and Foul
2. All balls and strikes will be determined by the backstop, a slab enclosed between PVC pipes. If a pitched ball hits the slab or the pipes (excluding the legs/post) before hitting the ground, it will be called a strike.
3. If a pitched ball hits the edge of the strike zone and goes through, it will be called a strike.
4. If the batter hits a foul ball with two strikes and the ball goes through the strike zone, the batter will be charged with a strikeout.
5. Any pitched ball that does not hit the strike zone is considered a ball unless swung at.
6. If a batter is hit by a pitch, it is not a base on balls, but simply one ball added to the count.
7. Batter interference will be called and a strike recorded if the batter moves into the path of a pitched ball.
8. All check swing calls will be the responsibility of the pitcher.
1. All fair and foul calls will be the responsibility of the batter.C. Official Scoring
2. There is no limit to the number of foul balls with two strikes.
1. The pitcher is responsible for maintaining the count and the number of outs in the inning. It is not required to declare the count and outs after every pitch, but they must be declared upon request.
2. The official score will be kept by the scorekeeper or batting team and is to be declared after every half-inning and upon request.
V. Pitching Regulations
A. If a new pitcher throws one pitch after the commencement of a game, the previous pitcher may not return to pitch in that same game.
B. In the first game of a double header, any pitcher who either starts the game or enters before the completion of the fourth inning is prohibited from pitching at all in the second game.
C. Closing: In a double header, if a pitcher enters the first game at or later than the commencement of the fifth inning, he/she may also enter the second game, but only at or later than the commencement of the fifth inning.
D. Playoffs: In a playoff series these limitations apply based on the previous game. For example, entering the third game of a series, the pitchers’ statuses from game one become obsolete; their statuses from game two determine their limitations for game three.
A. All defensive players must remain behind the pitcher until the pitch is thrown.
B. The mound ball rule is not in effect.
C. Plugging below the neck is permitted.
D. No defensive player may make any gesture that might distract the batter. If such movement is made, the pitch will be nullified.
VII. Length of GamesA. All games will be scheduled for five (5) innings.
B. If the visiting team is ahead after the top of the fifth, the home team will have the opportunity to come back to tie/and or win the game in the bottom of the fifth. If they fail to do so, the game is over and the visitors will be awarded the win.
C. If the home team is ahead after the top of the fifth, they will forfeit their half of the fifth. The game will be declared over and the home team will be awarded the victory.
D. If the score is tied after the completion of the fifth inning, extra innings will be played. There is no limit to the number of extra innings played, should the game remain tied after the completion of an extra inning. Refer to Section V,B and Section V,C regarding the completion of an extra-inning contest.
E. The game will be called due to mercy if a team is ahead by fifteen (15) runs or more following the completion of the third inning or ten (10) runs or more following the completion of the fourth inning
G. If the score is tied after the completion of the fifth inning, extra innings will be played until an inning ends with the game no longer tied. There is no limit to the number of extra innings played. The sixth inning plays out as usual, however if the score remains tied after the completion of the seventh inning, innings begin with runners on base in order to increase the likelihood of runs being scored.
1. Beginning with the top of the 7th, each team starts their half of the inning with a runner on first.
2. Beginning with the top of the 8th, each team starts their half of the inning with runners on first and second.
3. From the 9th on, each team starts their half with the bases loaded.
VIII. Suspended and Postponed Games
A. If rain, sleet, snow, or other natural causes make the playing field unplayable, the game will be subject to suspension or postponement.
1. A game will be considered suspended if at least three innings have been completed in their entirety. This means that both teams need to have registered three outs in each of their first three times at-bat. After the required three full innings, any game can be halted at the time of unplayability. In this case, the inning, outs, base runners, and count must be recorded in order to properly continue the game when playing conditions improve.
2. A game will be considered postponed if fewer than three complete innings have been played. All statistics, including score, outs, base runners, and count will be discarded and the game replayed in its entirety when playing conditions improve.
B. If darkness makes the game unplayable, the game will be put under suspension, despite the inning. Games will not start within thirty (30) minutes of expected nightfall, so the innings will be a non-factor. If they do become a factor, it is because of either:
1. Poor play on the part of one or both teams; or
2. Delay of game by one or both teams.
Due to these factors, neither team will be rewarded/punished, resulting in all statistics (i.e. score, outs, base runners, and count) being kept and carried over to the remainder of the suspended game.
IX. General Rules
A. Rosters will consist of at least three (3) players, but no more than twelve (12). At least three (3) players, but no more than five (5) will be on the field.
B. The official batting order must be declared before the start of the game and maintained throughout the game.
1. One designated hitter may be used for any player on the field. At lease the same number of players must bat that play in the field. Therefore, a player cannot play the field and avoid batting unless there is a designated hitter in their place.
2. A team with only three (3) or four (4) players present may use a substitute player to field and run for them, however only the team’s own players may bat and pitch.
3. In order for a batting out-of-order call to be considered, the defensive team must wait for the out of turn batter to complete their turn at bat. This is when batting out of order will be questioned.
4. If the batting order is violated, the out of turn batter will be declared out following the completion of his/her at-bat, regardless of the result of the at-bat. The runners will return to the positions from the start of the at-bat and the batting order will be corrected.
5. If the correct batter realizes that it is his/her turn to bat before the completion of the out of turn batter’s at bat, the count will remain the same and the correct batter will be allowed to finish the at-bat without further penalty.
6. If no appeal is made before the next pitch following the batting out of order, the at-bat will stand and the batter following the previous hitter will be up to bat.
C. Runners are not permitted to advance once the pitcher is in possession of the ball on the mound. "Mound" means not only the pitching rubber, but the dirt surrounding the rubber, as well.
1. All runners are to return to the last base touched when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and steps on the mound.
2. If the runner has made a clear attempt to advance a base before the pitcher steps on the mound, he/she may proceed at their own risk of being tagged or plugged out.
D. Leading and stealing are not permitted in The League.
1. If a runner is caught off base when the batter makes contact with the pitch, he/she must first return to that base before advancing legally. If the runner does make an attempt to advance without first going back to the previous base, the defensive team has two options following the completion of the play.
a. They can choose to take the result of the play.
b. The runner who left early is called out and the previous pitch is nullified.
2. This rule becomes null and void if the batter hits a foul ball that is not caught or an outside the park home run.
E. All balls fouled off directly behind either of the benches are automatically out of play.
1. If a ball that is in play is overthrown behind either of the benches or in an area that appears difficult to retrieve, then all runners must stop after taking one extra base.
X. Protesting Games
A. In all protested games, the decision of the League Commissioner and/or Commissioner is final.
B. No protest of judgment calls will be permitted.
C. In order for a protest of any sort to be filed, the decision to protest must be declared at the time of the alleged infraction. This declaration must be made before the next pitch is thrown.
D. If a protest is called, the official count, number of outs, runners on base, and score will be recorded.
E. In order for the protest to be upheld, the infraction must be declared to have had a significant, negative affect on the outcome of the contest.
F. If a protest is upheld, the game will continue at the point of protest, with the correct implementation of the rule being enforced.
All situations not covered in the aforementioned rules will be judged based upon the official rules of baseball, with judgement by the League Commissioner and/or President being final.
The Backyard WIFFLE Ball League is Sanctioned by The Wiffle Ball, Inc.
"WIFFLE", the Wiffle Certification Mark and the image of the ball are registered trademarks owned by The Wiffle Ball, Inc.