2018 Northwest Bergen Baseball League
LOCAL RULES AND INTERPRETATIONS APPLICABLE TO PONY LEAGUE
PURPOSE: The purpose of this document is to collect in one place an overview of the rules, rule interpretations, ground rules and general guidelines that govern the Northwest Bergen Baseball League. Questions regarding the application of these rules and guidelines should be addressed to the League Director.
1. The primary purpose of recreational baseball is to teach baseball skills and good sportsmanship. Games, as well as practices, are to be used for this purpose. UNDUE PRESSURE TO WIN IS DETRIMENTAL TO THIS OBJECTIVE. Both players and parents are to be monitored in this regard.
2. Coaches are expected to treat all players equally and fairly regardless of age, gender, or ability.
3. Leagues are set up according to the school grade level of the participants:
Pony League 7th and 8th graders. 9th graders who are NOT playing high school, travel and/or Club baseball.
4. The default rules are NFHS High School.
II. SCHEDULES, GAMES, FIELDS, FORFEITURES, ETC.
1. Time of Games:
a) Scheduled games – The starting times of all games will be determined by the League Directors and posted on the official league schedules. Weekday games will not begin before 5:30 PM.
b) Make-up games – Dates and times of make-up games will be determined by the mutual consent of team coaches and the League Directors. Teams are required to schedule make-up games within 48 hours after a game has been postponed, otherwise the League Directors will assign a make-up game date and time to the teams. All games must be made-up no later than the day of the last regularly scheduled league game, unless approved by the League Director. The League Directors must be given at least 24 hours prior notice of a requested make-up game in order to ensure that an umpire can be arranged.
c) Schedule changes – no changes to the League schedule are permitted without the approval of the League Directors.
2. Game Curfews:
a) Weekday & Weekend games – games are not permitted to proceed beyond 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the next scheduled game (including make-up games approved by the League Director). For the purposes of this rule, when the game has reached the starting time of the next scheduled game it will be as if the umpire had called (ended) the game on account of darkness. NFHS rule 4-2-3 will be applied to determine the winner and score of the game. [Here is the language for Leagues not governed by NFHS -- "If the game is called when the teams have not had an equal number of completed turns at bat, the score shall be the same as it was at the end of the last completed inning; except that if the home team in its half of the incomplete inning, scores a run (or runs) which equals or exceeds the opponent's score, the final score shall be as recorded when the game is called".]
b) Weeknight games – the top of a new inning may not start after 8:00 PM from the beginning of the season through May 31st. From June 1st through the end of the season, the top of a new inning may not start after 8:15 PM. For the purposes of this rule, an inning starts at the moment the third out is made completing the preceding inning. In all cases, the umpires will be responsible for establishing the official time. The exception being when fields have lights. In this case, the home team shall announce the curfew restrictions and times prior to the game.
c) Any special restrictions must be announced by the home team to the umpires and visiting team manager during the pre-game conference. If not, the rules and guidelines here-in shall take precedence.
D) No new inning may start after 2 (two) hours.
3. Postponed or Interrupted Games – The primary factor in reaching a decision not to play a game, or to halt a game due to rain, darkness or poor field conditions is PLAYER SAFETY.
a) During periods of inclement weather, coaches can mutually agree to postpone a game prior to the teams’ arrival at the field. However, this decision must be immediately communicated to the League Director for dissemination to other affected parties. Once on the field, the decision not to start a game is the joint responsibility of the coaches in consultation with the umpires.
b) After a game begins, the decision to halt a game is the responsibility of the umpire. If any game is interrupted for any reason (inclement weather, darkness, curfew, etc.) prior to the game being an Official Game, the umpire shall declare the contest “no game”.
c) Darkness Rule: The umpire may declare a “last inning” should darkness begin to set in. If in the opinion of the umpire(s), it has become too dark for the game to continue safely, the game shall be halted. If this should occur during in the middle on an inning, the score will revert to what it was after the last whole inning that was played. Remember that no inning may start after two hours from the beginning of the game.
4. Home Team – is listed last on the official schedule. The home team shall:
a) Have its choice of dugouts
b) Provide new game balls
c) Maintain the field condition, including laying out bases at the proper distances, removing any portable pitching mounds at the conclusion of the game, cleaning garbage out of both dugouts, and making sure the bases, umpire equipment and other items are properly put away.
5. Pre-game warm-ups – If the field on which a game is about to be played is available, the home team is permitted to use the field for batting practice. HOWEVER, all batting practice activities must cease one-half (1/2) hour prior to the time the game is scheduled to begin. At that time, the home team is permitted to take infield/outfield practice for 10 minutes, followed by the visiting team taking infield/outfield practice for 10 minutes. The home team is not permitted to use its infield/outfield practice time for batting practice.
6. Clean up – Each team shall be responsible to clean up its own dugout area.
7. Results – In all Leagues except the Instructional Leagues, the winning and losing team coaches shall report to the League Director the following on the same day as the game is played, or as soon as practicable thereafter or as otherwise directed in the appendix for a particular division:
a) Final score
b) Names of pitchers used by both teams and the pitch count for each pitcher
c) The names of any “drafted” players used.
8. Forfeitures – No game may be started unless both teams have at least seven (7) players present. The games shall be declared a forfeit if a team does not have seven (7) players fifteen (15) minutes after the scheduled start of the game. However, even if a forfeit is declared, the game should still be played “unofficially” by balancing team rosters and proceeding under game conditions. Our objective is to play – players, participants and spectators all lose when games are not played. Umpires will be instructed by the League to remain under these circumstances.
9. A maximum of six runs will be permitted per inning until the last inning when an unlimited amount of runs may be scored.
10. Mercy Rule: 10 run mercy after 4 ½ innings or 5 innings if Home Team is trailing. You cannot mercy team in top half of inning. Trailing team must get chance to bat.
11. Head first slides are not allowed at all levels in the NJBSL, however, it will be permitted when sliding back to a base.
III. PLAYER PARTICIPATION
1. Batters – the batting order is to include ALL PLAYERS PRESENT for the game. Players arriving after a game begins are to be added at the end of the batting order.
2. Substitutions – Free substitution is permitted, but is subject to the following restrictions:
a) No player may sit out THREE consecutive innings in the field, except for injury, illness, disciplinary reasons, etc.
b) Every player MUST sit out one inning before any player sits out a second inning, unless the coach is disciplining the latter player. (Note: see Appendix 5 for exception pertaining to Pony League).
c) Pitchers, once relieved, may not pitch again in the same game. However, pitchers may be assigned another position in the field.
d) No player may be removed from a game during a half-inning except for illness, injury, etc., except that pitchers may be removed from the game during a half-inning if they are being relieved by pitchers that are entering the game from the bench (warming up in the bullpen).
e) If a player is forced to leave due to illness, injury or some other reason, that player’s spot in the lineup will be skipped over in future innings and will not constitute an out.
3. “Drafting” players – A maximum of three (3) players may be “drafted” from other teams in order to ensure a roster of nine (9) players for a given game. Players must be registered players in the League and may be selected from other teams within the same League. Managers are strongly discouraged from adding “drafted” players simply to improve their team’s competitiveness – the intent should be limited to avoiding forfeits or having the requisite number of players (9) for baseball. Once a player has been added to a lineup as a “drafted” player, he will be deemed under the rules to be a roster player for that ENTIRE game.
Pony League rules regarding “drafting players:
a) Pony League “draftees” can be 7th or 8th of 9th graders from any of the participating towns in our Pony Rec program.
b) “Drafted” players must:
i) NEVER pitch, under any circumstances
ii) ALWAYS play the minimum number of innings – true roster players should receive preferential treatment
iii) ALWAYS shall be placed in the batting order behind every roster player present at the time the teams exchange the official lineups.
c) “Drafted” players are NOT permitted in the playoffs. In the case where a team would otherwise not be able to field a team for the playoffs due to injuries or illness, the League Director will review the circumstances and decide whether drafted players will be permitted to play.
d) No player may be “drafted” more than three (3) times for the same team
1. Proper decorum in the stands is as important to the baseball environment as good sportsmanship on the playing field. In this regard:
a) Coaches are responsible for “parent control” and will ensure that the League’s Code of Conduct is distributed to his players’ parents (when available). A team is subject to forfeit if “reasonable effort” is not undertaken by the manager to diffuse volatile behavior his players’ parents.
b) Each coach is responsible for controlling his team on the bench and on the fields. A coach may discipline a player by suspending him for up to one (1) game for various disciplinary problems, such as insubordination, equipment abuse, umpire abuse, failure to attend practice or games, bad language, etc. Longer suspensions may be imposed only with the approved of the League Director.
c) The home plate umpire is responsible for the area behind the backstop. Players and spectators are not to sit or climb on the backstop or fences surrounding the field and are prohibited from standing or sitting behind the backstop except at fields where bleachers are provided. Individuals sitting behind the backstop should not be allowed to distract the players.
2. Coaches and players are expected to shout encouragement to their teammates. Shouting at the other team or the umpire is prohibited. Uses of improper language may result in immediate dismissal from the playing field.
3. Players are not to engage in chants or other organized mayhem DESIGNED TO DISRUPT THE OPPOSING TEAM. Also individual players are not to bait or provoke individual players on an opposing team in an unsportsmanlike manner.
4. Individuals permitted inside the field of play are: the umpires, coaches and individual team members. No one else is to be allowed on the field of play. When the ball is in play the only individuals allowed inside the field of play are the umpires, base coaches and individual team members.
5. All players shall wear their uniform hat with the bills forward and shall keep their shirts tucked in.
6. At the conclusion of a game, both teams and their coaches are expected to line up and shake the hands of the opposing players and coaches.
1. Team rosters will be determined using a balanced player draft. The purpose of the draft is to create competitively balanced teams; construction of team rosters using any other criteria should be discouraged. ONLY APPLIES TO TOWNS WITH MULTIPLE TEAMS IN THIS DIVISION.
2. No player may be dropped from or added to a roster without the League Director's approval.
3. The League Director will advise all managers of changes on any team roster.
4. Any player who quits a team during the season (for any reason but injury or illness) will be dropped from the League. In such situations:
a) The team manager should counsel with the player and his or her parents regarding the reasons behind the decision.
b) The manager should immediately notify the League Director.
c) The League Director should discuss the situation with the player's parents and explore the reasons behind the decision not to play.
5. All rosters must be submitted to league commissioner prior to the commencement of the season.
1. Home teams are responsible for two (2) umpires to each game. Umpires will be adults who are certified, or will be young men who have been trained as umpires. At all times managers and coaches should treat all umpires with the respect deserving of that position. The umpires have the authority to eject a player, coach or spectator from a game.
2. If an umpire fails to show up for a game or if he does a bad job of umpiring, the coach should report this fact to the League Director.
3. Umpires need the on-field support of coaches, players, and spectators. They are human and are bound to make occasional errors in judgment. It is incumbent on our coaches to put these errors into proper perspective and act as role models for the young people on their teams.
VII. EQUIPMENT AND SAFETY
1. Players, managers and coaches may serve as base coaches. Base coaches are to remain in the coaching box during play and only one coach is permitted in the coaching box at any one time.
2. All batters, on-deck batters, base runners, and player coaches MUST wear a protective helmet. Batters are encouraged to wear face guards. HOWEVER, not all towns in each League require the use of face guards for batters. Coaches are required to check with their League Directors regarding the face guard requirements applicable to their players.
3. All players are to remain in the dugout unless in the field, at bat, on deck, or coaching.
4. The only people allowed in dugouts are the players, coaches, managers, umpires and one (1) official scorekeeper.
5. All equipment not in use must be kept in the dead ball area of the dugout at all times.
6. Only coaches or players are permitted to warm up pitchers either in the bullpen or at home plate. Any players warming up a pitcher must wear a protective cup and a mask.
7. Only League approved equipment is to be used in games and during practices. Players can use their own equipment as long as it is compatible with League approved equipment.
8. BAT REGULATIONS
· All bats up to 2 5/8” barrel bats are permitted with no greater than a drop of 5. The bat shall not weigh, numerically, more than five ounces less than the length of the bat (e.g., a 33-inch-long bat cannot weigh less than 28 ounces). The bat MUST be USA certified and have the USA Bat Logo printed somewhere on the bat.
· A simple rule of thumb is a bat may not exceed 2 5/8” barrel and no greater than a drop 5, the bat must have the USA Bat Logo printed on it.
· Any drop 3 bats shall meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, and such bats shall be so labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark. The "BBCOR Certified .50" mark somewhere on their barrel or taper. Additional requirements for a bat to become BBCOR Certified include a length to weight ratio that is no greater than -3 and a barrel diameter that does not exceed 2 5/8 inches.
· Any composite should be no greater than a drop 3 and meet BBCOR standards.
· An “at bat” begins when the first pitch is thrown. If an illegal bat has been used, a batter will be permitted to switch bats before the first pitch is thrown without penalty. If after the first pitch is thrown it is noticed the batter is using an illegal bat he will be called out on strikes. If it is discovered that the bat is illegal once the plate appearance is completed but before the bat is returned to the dugout the defense may take the penalty or the result of the play. No penalty will be incurred, however, once the bat is returned to the dugout.
10. Players are permitted to wear any type of baseball glove or footwear.
11. All catchers must wear a mask, catcher's helmet, chest protector, shin guards and a protective cup.
12. All players are encouraged to wear a protective cup and heart guard.
13. All coaches MUST BE CERTIFIED and approved by their town’s requirements to be in the dugout or on the field of play.
14. Coaches shall not smoke, drink or swear on or near the field of play and should never be under the influence of alcohol or any drug when coaching.
VIII. RULES OF PLAY
BATTER’S BOX – A strike will NOT be automatically charged to batters that leave the batter’s box in violation of Rule 7-3-1 (page 46). However, an umpire has the discretion to call a strike if in his judgment the batter is unnecessarily delaying a game.
DEFENSIVE ALIGNMENTS – Unless accomplished as part of a pitching change, defensive positions are NOT to be changed in the middle of an inning.
FIELD DIMENSIONS – listed below are the proper field dimensions in feet. In all cases, the distances are measured from the rear point of home plate (closest to the catcher). The distances for first and third base are measured from home plate to the rear of each base (closest to the outfield) is 90 Feet The distance to second base is measured from home plate to the center of the base is 127 ft. 3 in. The pitching distance is measured from home plate to the front edge of the pitching rubber is 60 ft. 6 in.
1. Maximum pitches – the following restrictions are intended to protect pitchers’ arms. Pitchers will be subject to DAILY and WEEKLY limits on the number of pitches “IN ALL LEAGUES” IN WHICH THEY PARTICIPATE (Pony, travel, club, school leagues, etc.). Players, parents, and coaches are required to communicate accurate information regarding innings pitched to their coaches.
i) Weekly maximum – For the purposes of this rule, the week begins on Sunday morning and ends on Saturday night. Pitches accumulated in a contest declared “no game” WILL count toward a pitcher’s weekly maximum. The maximum number of pitches allowed per week is 125. If a pitcher reaches the 125 pitch maximum in the middle of an at-bat, he may finish pitching that batter and must then be replaced.
ii) Daily maximum –From ALL LEAGUES cumulatively, players may pitch a maximum of 75 pitches in a single day. If a pitcher reaches the 75 pitch maximum in the middle of an at-bat, he may finish pitching to that batter and must then be replaced.
iii) Pitching on Consecutive Days – A Player is NOT permitted to pitch on three (3) consecutive days under any circumstances.
2. Days of Rest –
A player who has pitched will be required to take days of rest as follows:
• Less than 21 pitches no days rest required
• 21-35 pitches 1 days rest required
• 36-50 pitches 2 days rest required
• 51-75 pitchers 3 days rest required
3. Balks – 1 balk warning per pitcher per game.
4. 9th Graders – are not eligible to pitch.
5. Violations: Each violation of this rule will result in the player being prohibited from pitching in two consecutive League games involving his team. During each game, it is the responsibility of the both head coaches to monitor the number of pitches by each pitcher and to discuss, in good sportsmanship, any potential pitching rules violations. If an opposing head coach believes a pitcher is attempting to pitch more than is permitted under League rules, he/she must request that the umpire check with the other head coach PRIOR to that player pitching any further. Only head coaches are allowed to request that umpires suspend the game temporarily to discuss a potential pitching violation. If a pitcher is used in a manner that exceeds what is permitted and then it is discovered afterwards, the umpire will prohibit the pitcher from being used for the remainder of the game, but any result from previous pitching will stand “as is”. IMPORTANT NOTE: In an effort to prioritize safety above all else, it is expected that coaches, parents and players will be vigilant about adhering to pitching rules, inclusive of non-league innings pitched. Any coach, parent or player who violates the rules will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action by the league commissioners.
PLAYER PARTICIPATION – Every player MUST sit out one (1) inning before any player sits out a second inning, unless the coach is disciplining the latter player. HOWEVER, due to the eligibility of pitchers to pitch up to 75 pitches, if a player sits out a second inning before an active STARTING pitcher has sat out at least one inning there is no violation of this rule. However, in the case where any player would be required to sit out more than one (1) inning before a pitcher has sat out one (1) inning the following rules will apply:
1. Once a STARTING pitcher is relieved he must immediately satisfy the “sit out” rule. If he is relieved with less than two (2) outs, sitting the remainder of the inning will satisfy the requirement. If there are two (2) outs when relieved, the pitcher must sit out the next full inning.
2. If a working RELIEF pitcher does not sit out one inning before he starts to pitch, and all of his teammates sit out at least one inning before he stops pitching, the RELIEF pitcher must sit out immediately after he stops pitching. If he stops pitching with less than two (2) outs, sitting the remainder of the inning will satisfy the requirement. If there are two (2) outs when relieved, the pitcher must sit out the next full inning.
3. However, if a working RELIEF pitcher does not sit out one inning before he starts to pitch, and any of his teammates has sat out, or would be required to sit out, a second inning prior to end of the seventh inning of a game, the RELIEF pitcher must sit out the seventh inning of such game. However, if the game is shortened by darkness or inclement weather, the fact that a RELIEF pitcher has not sat out a required inning shall not be deemed a violation of this rule.
Example 1: Player A enters as a RELIEF pitcher in the 3rd inning after playing in the field in innings 1 and 2. While Player A is pitching, all of his teammates are required to sit out at least one inning. If Player A is relieved before the end of the sixth inning, he MUST sit out immediately.
Example 2: Player A enters as a RELIEF pitcher in the 3rd inning after playing in the field in innings 1 & 2. Another player on Player A’s team has sat out more than 1 inning or will sit our more than 1 inning if Player A continues to pitch. If the game reaches the 7th inning, Player A MUST sit out the 7th inning in order to avoid a violation of this rule.
Example 3: Player A enters as a RELIEF pitcher in the 2nd inning after playing in the field in inning 1. Another player on Player A’s team sits out a second inning while Player A is pitching. The game is stopped after 6 innings due to darkness and Player A did not sit out his required innings. This is NOT a violation of this rule because the Player would have had the opportunity to sit out the 7th inning if the game had been completed.
Mercy Rule – a 10 run mercy rule will be in effect following a game becoming an “official” game (i.e 5 innings if visiting team is winning and 4 and . innings if home team is winning).
Reporting Scores and Pitch Counts: Following EACH game, the HOME team reports the score via the website and BOTH coaches enter pitchers used and number of pitches for each pitcher via the website. All scores and pitch counts are expected to be reported on the same day, but no later than 24 hours following the end of the game.
Website address: Game Schedule
To avoid any issues reporting final results, at the end of each half inning teams should confirm runs scored and pitcher(s) used along with the amount of pitches thrown.
Issues Resolution Process:
1. Coaches are strongly encouraged to resolve issues arising before, during and after games with a spirit of sportsmanship consistent with a recreation level league. As stated in the League’s general rules, the primary purpose of recreational baseball is to teach baseball skills and good sportsmanship. Games, as well as practices, are to be used for this purpose. UNDUE PRESSURE TO WIN IS DETRIMENTAL TO THIS OBJECTIVE. Both players and parents are to be monitored in this regard.
2. In that light, coaches ARE EXPECTED TO ALWAYS inform opposing coaches that they are in danger of violating a league rule, especially when the safety of players is at risk (e.g. pitching violations, non-allowed bats), BEFORE the violation occurs so that it can be avoided. If a violation of a league rule is discovered afterwards, both coaches and the umpire will prohibit the violation from being continued or repeated for the remainder of the game, but any results from before the violation was discovered will stand “as is”.
3. Protests – Protests are highly discouraged by the League Directors as it is believed that the players should be “playing the games”, not the coaches and league directors in discussions over rules violations. Coaches should endeavor, in good sportsmanship, to settle all disputes amicably as quickly as possible to allow games to continue in a timely manner and without compromising the above stated primary purpose of recreation baseball or in any other manner violating their town’s Code of Conduct.
4. Protest Process – In the unfortunate event that a Coach feels an issue was not resolved adequately during a game, he/she may submit a protest to the League Directors for consideration. To protest a game, the protesting Coach MUST take each of the following steps for the protest to be considered by the League Directors:
a. Inform the home plate umpire and opposing head coach of the protest and the reasons for the protest PRIOR to the next pitch following the incident triggering the protest.
b. Submit a detailed, written explanation regarding the protest within 24 hours of the end of the game during the regular season and by the end of the same day as the game during the playoffs via email to the League Directors. Only the head coach may submit the protest.
c. Request contact information for the home plate umpire to be included in the report from 4b above and that the home plate umpire also provide a detailed report via email or phone to the League Directors within 24 hours.
The opposing head coach, may at his/her option, submit relevant information in writing regarding the protest via email to the League Directors. That information must be submitted within 24 hours of the end of the game to be considered by the League Directors.
Any other input from coaches, assistant coaches and the umpires will be sought directly by the League Directors at the discretion of League Directors. Players,
Parents and any other spectators should NOT be involved in the protest process and will only be contacted at the discretion of League Directors.
5. Protest Review Process - League Directors will give careful consideration to all protests and will issue any rulings as quickly as possible and those rulings will be FINAL. Coaches are expected to treat League Directors, all of whom are volunteers, with the utmost respect and, at all times, consistent with their town’s Code of Conduct or be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
·Playoffs – Following the end of the regular season, single elimination playoffs will be held. EVERY team will make the playoffs and play at least one game. Seedings will be based on a points system. In an effort to encourage teams to makeup and play as many games as possible, we will implement a 3-2-1 points system to determine standings. Three (3) points will be awarded for a win, two (2) points for a tie and one (1) point for a loss. If one team is making an earnest effort to make up a game but his opponent is not, the commissioners of the 3 towns not involved shall set a reasonable date for the game to be played. If the 2 teams are from the same town, than that towns’ commissioners will set a date for a makeup. If one team refuses to play, a forfeit (3 pts) will be awarded to the other team. If it is determined that neither team is interested in playing, then no points will be awarded to either team. In the event of a tie, Head-to-Head record will be the first tie-breaker. Second tiebreaker would be based on a coin toss conducted by the League Directors.