KNOW YOUR RULES
THE MORE WE KNOW, THE LESS WE ARGUE
DESIGNATED PLAYER(DP/FLEX) FROM RULES SUPPLEMENT
The designated player may be listed in any of the nine batting positions in
the batting order. The player listed tenth in the batting order plays defense
for the DP, but may also play offense for the DP, and is called the FLEX.
A. A designated player (DP) may be used for any defensive player provided
it is made known to the plate umpire prior to the start of the game. The
DP must be indicated on the line-up card as one of the nine hitters in
the batting order.
B. The name of the player for whom the DP is batting, FLEX, must be
placed in the tenth position in the batting order.
C. The DP and any substitutes for the DP must remain in the same position
in the batting order throughout the game. The FLEX and all substitutes
for the FLEX must enter the game in the tenth position in the line-up
D. The DP may be substituted for at any time by a pinch hitter or pinch
runner. The substitute becomes the DP and has all the options of the
DP position. The starting DP and a substitute for the DP may not be
in the game at the same time.
E. The FLEX may be substituted for at any time. The substitute becomes
the FLEX and has all the options of the FLEX position. The starting
FLEX and a substitute for the FLEX may not be in the game at the
F. The starting DP and their substitute may be replaced by the FLEX as a
hitter or as a runner. This reduces the number of players in the game
from ten to nine. The DP and the FLEX may not be on offense at the
G. The FLEX may be replaced on defense by the DP. This reduces the
number of players in the game from ten to nine. The DP and the FLEX
may be on defense at the same time.
H. The starting DP may re-enter the game one time, but only in the original
DP position in the batting order. If the DP re-enters and the FLEX is
batting in the DP position, the FLEX must:
1. Return to the number ten position in the line-up and play defense
only. This is not considered to have left the game. Or,
2. Leave the game.
I. The starting FLEX may re-enter the game one time and must:
1. Return to the original FLEX position, tenth in the line-up card,
2. Take the place of the starting DP in the batting order. If the FLEX
re-enters and the DP is playing defense in the FLEX position, the
DP must continue to bat in the DP position in the batting order,
play offense only or play defense for another player. This is not
considered to have left the game.
J. The DP may play defense for any player and at any position. Should
the DP play defense for a player other than the FLEX, that position
player continues to bat and does not play defense. That player is not
considered to have left the game.
K. The role of the DP / FLEX is never terminated. A team may go from
ten to nine players and back to ten players any number of times during
the game. The game may end with ten or nine players.
L. If the DP replaces the FLEX, or the FLEX replaces the DP, the change
must be reported to the umpire. If not reported, the change is treated
the same as an unreported substitute.
NOTES ON DP/FLEX
Here are some helpful hints to understand the DP/ FLEX:
1. The use of the DP/FLEX is optional.
2. There are still only NINE hitters.
3. FLEX is listed in the tenth (10) position in the batting order and does NOT bat.
4. DP Must always bat in the same position in the batting order.
5. A starter and a sub may NOT be in the game at the same time.
6. DP may be substituted for by:
b) Legal sub
In either case the DP has left the game; there are now 9 players
c) If DP is replaced by a legal sub, the DP position remains in the game
7. Any player may reenter once. (Starting player or substitute)
8. If the DP is replaced by the FLEX, there are now nine players in the game.
The game may end with 9 players. (GAME MAY STILL END WITH EIGHT)
9. If DP re-enters or a substitute as DP, if FLEX was batting, FLEX may:
a) Return to tenth (10) position and play defense.
b) Leave the game if the DP plays defense for the FLEX.
10. DP may play defense, if the DP plays defense for a player OTHER than the FLEX,this player may bat but NOT play defense. She has NOT left the game.
11. If the DP plays defense for the FLEX or the FLEX bats for the DP she must report to the umpire.
A. DP can never be on defense only
B. FLEX can never be on offense only
C. DP and FLEX can never be on offense at the same time.
D. DP and FLEX can play defense at the same time.
DESIGNATED PLAYER - RULE 4 SECTION 3
A. A designated player (DP) may be used for any player provided it is madeknown prior to the start of the game and the player’s name is indicated inthe line-up as one of the nine in the batting order.
B. The name of the player for whom the DP is batting (FLEX) will be placed inthe 10th position in the line-up.
C. The starting player listed as the DP must remain in the same position in thebatting order for the entire game. The DP and the DP’s substitute, or thesubstitute’s replacement, may never play offense at the same time.
D. The DP may be substituted for at any time, by a pinch-hitter, pinch-runneror the FLEX. If the starting DP is replaced on offense by the FLEX, the DPwill leave the game. If replaced by a substitute the DP position remains inthe line-up. A starting DP may re-enter one time, as long as the DP returnsto the original position in the batting order.
1. If replaced by the FLEX, this reduces the number of players from 10 to
nine. If the DP does not re-enter, the game may legally end with nine
2. If the DP re-enters and the FLEX was batting in the DP’s position, the
FLEX can return to the 10th position and play defense only or leave
E. The DP may play any defensive position. Should the DP play defense for
a player other than the one for whom the DP is batting (FLEX), that player
will continue to bat but not play defense, and is not considered to have left
the game. If the DP plays defense for the FLEX, the FLEX is considered to
have left the game. This reduces the number of players from 10 to nine. The
FLEX can re-enter the game.
F. The person being batted for (FLEX) may be substituted for at any time, by a
legal substitute or the DP for whom the FLEX is playing defense. The FLEX
may re-enter the game one time, in the 10th position or in the DP’s position
in the batting order.
G. If returning to the 10th position, the FLEX will again play defense only but
may play any defensive position.
H. If the FLEX returns to the DP’s position, the FLEX will play offense and
defense; there will be only nine players in the batting order.
I. Placing the defensive only player (FLEX) into one of the first nine positions
for someone other than the original DP is considered an illegal player. The
illegal player shall be disqualified. Rule 4 section 7. The FLEX replacing the
DP is not considered a substitution for the FLEX. The DP, who has left the
game, can re-enter the game.
A. Any player, may be substituted or replaced and re-entered once, providing
players occupy the same batting positions whenever in the line-up.
B. The starting player and their substitute may not be in the line-up at the same
C. If a player re-enters the game a second time or a player re-enters the game
in a position in the batting order other than their original starting or substitute
position, this is considered an illegal re-entry.
EFFECT - Section 5 A-C: Violation of the re-entry rule is considered an illegal
player. The illegal player shall be disqualified. Rule 4, Section 6 G4.
A. Defensive. A defensive charged conference occurs when the defense
requests a suspension of play for any reason, and a representative enters
the playing field to communicate with any defensive player. Should a
defensive player approach the dugout and receive instructions, this is
considered a defensive conference. The umpire should advise a team
representative when a defensive conference has been charged. A TEAM
IS ALLOWED THREE CONFERENCES PER SEVEN INNINGS. They
may use all three conferences in one inning or spread them out over
a seven inning game. Once the three conferences have been used,
the pitcher must be removed for each additional charged conference.
In extra inning games, there will be one charged conference allowed
in each extra inning. On the second conference in an extra inning of a
game, the pitcher must be removed. If the pitcher returns to the pitching
position after being removed and one pitch is thrown, the pitcher is
B. Offensive. An offensive charged conference occurs when the offensive
team requests a suspension of play and is granted time by an umpire
to permit a team representative to confer with a batter, a runner(s), or
another team representative. Only one such conference is allowed per
inning. The umpires should refuse to grant the second conference.
EFFECT: If the offensive team insists on holding a second conference
in an inning after being informed by the umpire that it is not permitted,
the umpire should eject the team representative from the game.
It is not an offensive conference when a team representative confers
with a batter and / or runner(s) during a defensive charged conference
as long as they are ready to play when the defense is ready, or when
the pitcher is putting on a warm-up jacket.
C. Umpires. A conference should not be charged to either team when
time-out is called by the umpire for a legitimate reason. FOR EXAMPLE:
An injured player, blood rule, scorekeeper problems, field maintenance
repairs, etc. A coach may confer with a pitcher, batter, or a runner
during an umpire’s time-out without penalty, as long as they are ready
to continue once the problem is resolved.
Interference is the act of an offensive player or team member that impedes,
hinders or confuses a defensive player attempting to execute a play.
Interference may be in the form of physical contact, verbal distraction, visual
distraction, or any type of distraction that hinders a fielder in the execution
of a play. Defensive players must be given the opportunity to field the ball
anywhere on the playing field or throw the ball without being hindered.
A. Runner interference includes:
1. A runner or batter-runner who interferes with a fielder executing
a play, including the batter-runner touching the white portion of
the double base at first base and colliding with the fielder trying
to catch a thrown ball from a fielder,
a) When a runner interferes with a fielder, the umpire must determine
if the interference occurred before or after the runner
who interfered was put out and then apply the appropriate
b) When a runner is hit by a fair batted ball, it is interference
if it occurred before the ball passed an infielder, excluding
the pitcher, and provided the runner was not in contact with
the base. It is interference if the batted ball deflects off one
defensive player and the runner interferes with any defensive
player who has an opportunity to make an out.
c) A runner could be standing on a base and a defensive player
bumps the runner while watching the flight of the ball. If the
defensive player fails to make a catch on a ball that could
have been caught, it is the umpire’s judgment whether or
not interference should be called. The rule provides that a
runner must vacate any space needed by a fielder to make
a play on a batted ball, unless the runner has contact with
a legally occupied base when the hindrance occurs. In this
case, the runner should not be called out unless the hindrance
d) If interference occurs by the runner on a foul fly ball not caught
but, in the umpire’s judgment, could have been caught with
ordinary effort had interference not occurred, the runner is out
and the batter is also out. If, in the judgment of the umpire,
the foul fly ball could have not be caught with ordinary effort,
a strike is called, the ball is dead, and the batter remains at
bat. (Slow Pitch) If on the third strike, the batter is out.
e) For crash interference, refer to RS #14.
2. A runner or batter-runner who is hit by a fair touched or untouched
batted ball, or
3. Interfering with a thrown ball.
B. Batter interference occurs while the batter is at bat and before the
ball is batted. It occurs in fast pitch when the batter interferes with the
catcher’s throw on an attempted steal or when the batter interferes with
the catcher on a play at the plate. The batter’s box is not a sanctuary
for the batter when a play is being made at the plate. Interference could
also occur when a batter releases the bat in a manner that it hits the
catcher and prevents them from making a play. If the batter merely
drops the bat and the catcher trips over it, there is no interference.
Batter interference is also described in RS #24B.
C. Offensive players in the dugout may be charged with interference if
they interfere with a fielders’ opportunity to make an out on a fly ball.
D. On-deck batters may be charged with interference if they interfere with
a throw, a possible tag on a runner, or a fielder’s opportunity to make
an out on a fly ball.
E. Coach’s interference occurs when a base coach runs toward home
and draws a throw or when they interfere with a fielder attempting to
catch or throw a ball. The coach’s box is not a sanctuary.
F. Spectator interference occurs when a spectator:
1. Enters the field and interferes with a play.
EFFECT: The batter and runner(s) should be placed at the bases
that they would have reached had spectator interference not occurred.
The field belongs to the fielder and the stands belong to
the spectator. Or
2. Reaches onto the field from the stands and prevents a fielder
from catching a fly ball in the field of play.
EFFECT: A dead ball is ruled and the batter is out. All runners
should be placed at the bases they would have reached had
the interference not occurred. It is not interference if the fielder
reaches into the stands.
G. Umpire interference occurs:
1. When an umpire is hit by a fair, untouched batted ball before it
passes an infielder, excluding the pitcher. The batter-runner is
awarded first base. This is an exception to the statement that
someone must be called out on interference.
2. (Fast Pitch & Slow Pitch with Stealing) When an umpire interferes
with a catcher’s attempt to put out a runner stealing, or an attempted
pick-off from the catcher to any base. It is interference only if the
runner is not put out; in which case runners are returned to the
base they occupied at the time of the pitch. Umpire may not be
called in any other case.
When batter, batter-runner, runner, on-deck batter or coach interference
occurs, the ball is dead, someone must be called out, and each
other runner must return to the last base touched at the time of the
H. Offensive team interference occurs when a thrown ball strikes loose
equipment left in live ball territory; but only when play is actually affected
I. Batter-Runner interference occurs when the batter-runner steps back
while running to first base to avoid a tag by a defensive player, or when
running to first base, runs outside the three foot lane over fair or foul
territory and interferes with a thrown ball to first base.
Obstruction is the act of a fielder:
A. Not in possession of the ball, or
B. Not in the act of fielding a batted ball,
which impedes the progress of a batter-runner or runner who is legally
running the bases.
If a defensive player is blocking the base or base path without the ball,
they are impeding the progress of the runner and this is obstruction.
In past years, coaches taught their players to block the base, catch
the ball and make the tag. Now defensive players must catch the ball,
block the base and then make the tag.
Whenever obstruction occurs, whether or not a play is being made on
a runner, the umpire should declare obstruction and signal a delayed
dead ball. The ball remains live. If the obstructed runner is put out
prior to reaching the base they would have reached had obstruction
not occurred, a dead ball is called and the obstructed runner, and all
other runners affected by the obstruction, shall be awarded the base(s)
they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, had obstruction
not occurred. An obstructed runner may be called out between the two
bases the runner was obstructed if the runner is properly appealed for
missing a base or leaving a base before a fly ball is first touched. If the
runner committed an act of interference after the obstruction or passed
another runner, this also would overrule the obstruction.
When an obstructed runner is awarded a base that they would have
reached had obstruction not occurred and a preceding runner is on
that base, the obstructed runner shall be awarded that base and the
runner occupying it is entitled to the next base without liability to be
When an obstructed runner safely obtains the base they would have
been awarded, in the umpire’s judgment, had obstruction not occurred
and there is a subsequent play on a different runner, the obstructed
runner is no longer protected between the two bases where they were
obstructed. That runner may now be put out anywhere on the base
It should also be clear that the statement “a runner cannot be called
out between the two bases the runner was obstructed” does not apply
when the runner committed another violation and that violation is being
played upon. EXAMPLE: A runner leaving second base too soon on
a fly ball is returning after the ball is caught and is obstructed between
second base and third base. If the runner would not have made it back
to second base prior to the throw arriving, the runner remains out.
Should the obstructed runner be put out after passing the base they would
have reached had obstruction not occurred, the runner is advancing at
their own risk and, if tagged, should be called out. The ball remains live
and other plays may be made.
When the runner is obstructed during a rundown, a delayed dead ball is
declared and signaled. If the runner is tagged out after being obstructed,
a dead ball is called and the runner is awarded the base they would have
made had obstruction not occurred. Should the ball be overthrown after
the obstruction, the runner may advance. The runner may not be called
out between the two bases where they were obstructed.
Catcher obstruction is a delayed dead ball call. Should catcher obstruction
be called when the batter hits the ball, but the batter-runner reaches first
base safely and all other runners advance at least one base, the obstruction
is canceled. All action as a result of the batted ball stands. Should the batter
not reach first base, or if one of the other runners does not advance at
least one base, the manager of the offensive team has the option of taking
the result of the play or taking the award. The award is, place the batter at
first base and runners are advanced ONLY if forced because of the award
to the batter.
Should catcher obstruction occur when a batter steps out of the batter’s
box on a legitimate attempt to hit the ball, the obstruction takes precedence
and the penalty for catcher obstruction is enforced.
NOTE: The batter must be given the opportunity to hit the ball. Should
the batter delay their swing, and clearly the attempt is no longer to hit the ball
but rather to interfere with the catcher’s throw on a steal attempt, interference
should be called on the batter. (Also see RS #8 - Catcher’s Box)
(Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch with stealing allowed) Should a catcher reach
forward, over or in front of home plate, in an attempt to catch the pitched
ball, catcher’s obstruction may be ruled.
Runners are always awarded two bases on balls that are overthrown or
become blocked as a result of hitting loose equipment that belongs to the
defensive team and should not be on the field (RS #18). Regardless of who
made the throw, two bases are awarded from the last base touched at the
time the thrown ball was released.
The runner’s direction of movement has no effect on the award. When an
overthrow is made on a runner returning to a base, the runner is awarded
two bases from that base.
EXCEPTION: When the runner is returning to first base and the throw is
from the outfield, it leaves the outfielder’s hand while the runner is between
2B and 3B, but the runner is between 1B and 2B when the ball goes out of
play, the runner is awarded home plate.
When two runners are between the same bases at the time of the award,
the award is determined by the position of the front runner. Two runners
between first base and second base will be awarded second base and third
base; however, if two runners are between second base and third base, both
will be awarded home plate. Should the umpire err in the award of bases,
after one pitch, legal or illegal, the umpire may not change the award.
When a fielder loses possession of the ball on an attempted tag and
the ball then enters dead ball territory or becomes blocked, all runners are
awarded one base from the base last touched at the time the ball entered
dead ball territory, or became blocked.
(Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch with Stealing) On pitched balls that go out of
play, runners are awarded one base from the last base touched at the time
of the pitch. Should a batter receive a base on balls and the fourth ball gets
away from the catcher and goes out of play, the award is first base only.
1. Missing a base, forward or backward, or touching the white portion
only of the double base when a play is being made on the
batter-runner at first base.
EXCEPTION: A play from foul territory, or an errant or missed
throw pulling the defensive player into foul territory.
2. Leaving a base on a caught fly ball before the ball is first
3. Attempting to advance to second base after making a turn at first
4. Batting out of order.
B. Live. In all games an appeal may be made during a live ball by any
fielder in possession of the ball touching the base missed or left too
soon on a caught fly ball, or by tagging the runner committing the
violation if they are still on the playing field.
C. Dead. The dead ball appeal may be made:
1. Once all runners have completed their advancement and time has
been called. Runners must be given ample opportunity, in the
umpire’s judgment, to complete their base running responsibilities.
Any infielder, with or without the ball, may make a verbal
appeal on a runner missing a base or leaving a base too soon
on a caught fly ball. The pitcher and the catcher are considered
infielders for the appeal process. The appropriate umpire should
then make a decision on the play.
2. When a ball goes out of play, runners must be given the opportunity
to complete their base running responsibilities before the dead
ball appeal can be made.
D. May Not Return. A runner may not return to touch a base missed or
one left too soon on a caught fly ball if:
1. They have left the field of play.
2. A following runner has scored.
3. Once a runner advances to and passes the next base
NOTE: A “dead ball” should be called and runners given the
opportunity to complete their base running responsibilities.
Returning to touch a base missed or one left too soon must
occur prior to an award; therefore, on an overthrow the umpire
should hesitate in making the award while watching what the
runner does. If the runner shows no intention of returning
to touch a base missed or re-tag a base left too soon, then
the umpire should make the award. Once the umpire awards
bases, and if a runner reaches the first base of the award,
and then for any reason retreats to a previous base missed
or left too soon, this is an illegal act. The defense may appeal
and the umpire should rule the runner out.
E. When. Appeals must be made:
1. Before the next pitch, legal or illegal.
2. At the end of an inning, before the pitcher and all infielders have
left fair territory on their way to the bench or dugout area.
3. On the last play of the game, an appeal can be made until the
umpires leave the field of play.
F. Advance. Runners may advance during a live ball appeal. If the ball
is not dead in fast pitch, each runner may leave their base when:
1. The pitcher no longer has possession of the ball within the pitcher’s
2. The pitcher makes a play on any runner; a fake throwing motion
is considered a play. If time out is requested for an appeal, the
umpire should grant time in fast pitch or slow pitch and runners
may not advance until the next pitch.
G. More Than One Appeal. More than one appeal play may be made,
but guessing should not be allowed.
EXAMPLE: The runner misses second base by a step, but just touches
the corner of third base. Even though an appeal is made at third base
and the umpire called the runner safe, an appeal may be made at
second base on the same runner.
H. Awards. An appeal should be honored even if the base missed was
before or after an award.
I. Plate and Tag Missed. If a runner misses home plate and the catcher
misses the tag, the umpire should hesitate. If no tag is made, the umpire
should call the runner safe. If an appeal play is made by tagging the
runner or home plate, the umpire should then render a decision.
J. Force Out. When an appeal is the third out and a force out, no runs
shall score. The force is reinstated when a forced runner retreats toward
the base first occupied and they may be put out if the defense tags the
runner or the base to which they are forced. When the batter-runner
is put out prior to reaching first base, all force outs are eliminated. On
an appeal play, the force out is determined when the appeal is made,
not when the infraction occurred.
K. Tag-Ups. When a runner leaves a base too soon on a caught fly ball
and returns in an attempt to retouch, this is considered a time play and
not a force out. When the appeal is the third out, all runs scored in
advance of the appealed runner and prior to the legal appeal count.
L. Missing First Base Before the Throw Arrives. When a runner passes
first base before the throw arrives, they are considered to have touched
the base unless properly appealed. On appeals involving the double
base, when the batter-runner touches the white rather than the colored
portion and a play is made, the same procedure applies. When an
appeal is made in both situations, it must be made prior to the runner
returning to first base while the ball is live.
EXCEPTION: If a play is being made from first base foul territory, or
an errant or missed throw pulls the defensive player into foul territory,
the runner may touch the white or colored portion of the base. This is
not considered missing the base.
M. Fourth-Out Appeal. An appeal may be made after the third out of an
inning as long as it is made properly. The appeal must be made on
a runner who has scored but missed a base or left a base too soon.
EXAMPLE: One out with runners on first and third base. The batter
hits a fly ball that is caught. Both runners leave their base before the
caught ball is touched. An appeal is made at first base for the third out.
The defense then makes an appeal at third base before all infielders
leave the infield. The runner on third base should be called out, and
the run does not count.
N. End of Game. When a situation arises that could lead to an appeal
by the defense on the last play of the game, umpires should wait until
all infielders have crossed the foul line on their way to the dugout
before leaving the infield. If teams line up for “high-fives” there is little
chance for an appeal even if the infielders have not crossed the foul
line. Umpires should leave the field at this time. No appeal can be
made once the umpires leave the field.