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 Requirements
A. 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. Center field 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-five (45) feet from the back corner of the plate. It shall be placed on level ground with home plate to avoid giving an advantage to the pitcher.
E. There is to be a 22 1/2 foot arc extending out from home plate, from foul line to foul line, used in order to determine the required distance a batted ball must travel in order to be considered fair.
F. All territory in the infield and outfield is considered fair territory; territory outside of the foul lines is considered foul territory.
A. 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, unless deemed by the umpire or a present Council member to have affected the integrity of the ball. 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 that is cracked to the middle seam or has 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 other than batting gloves while batting.
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. Other bats may be approved by the League Council.
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 Council.
2. All bats are subject to inspection by the League Council before play begins. If the bat is deemed illegal, it will be removed from play.
3. Any player who damages a bat by throwing, slamming into the ground, or by other means may be held responsible for the cost of replacing the bat and will be subject to the league’s conduct policy.
1. One umpire will be appointed per regular season game and two umpires will be appointed per playoff game.
a. The umpire is responsible for the interpretation of all of the rules, as well as to make any decision on rules not specifically outlined within this rulebook.
b. The umpire is responsible for monitoring the speed limit (please see Section IV-B-8) and being the final word on disputed calls.
2. The umpire's decision is final. Players may be ejected from the game by the umpire and face other action by the League Council. This includes incidents of arguing calls or due to inappropriate conduct.
B. 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.
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 the batter hits a foul ball with two strikes and the ball hits the strike zone, the batter will be charged with a strikeout.
4. Any pitched ball that does not hit the strike zone is considered a ball unless swung at.
5. If a batter is hit by a pitch, it is not a base on balls, but simply one ball added to the count.
6. Batter interference will be called and a strike recorded if the batter moves into the path of a
a. While in the batter’s box, the batter may not stand in a way that a part of his body covers the strike zone and prohibits the pitcher from being able to hit the strike zone with a straight pitch. If the pitcher feels a batter is covering the strike zone, it will be up to the discretion of the umpire to decide if the batter needs to move back in the box.
7. All check swing calls will be the responsibility of the umpire.
8. The speed limit is 70 MPH. No warnings will be issued. If a pitch goes above said limit, it will be the batter’s choice to either count the pitch as a ball, or take the result of the play.
C. Fair and Foul
1. All fair and foul calls will be the responsibility of the umpire.
2. Any ball not completely clearing the arc outlined in Rule II-E at home plate is a foul ball.
3. There is no limit to the number of foul balls with two strikes.
D. Ground Rules
1. Any ball that is fair and then rolls past the imaginary line as if the outfield fence extended forever will be ruled a ground rule double.
2. Any ball that gets stuck on the scoreboard tray will be ruled a ground rule double.
3. Any ball that, on the fly, hits any part of a flag or flag pole on the left field wall is a home run.
4. Out of Play Territory – DCP
a. The area behind both dugouts consisting of the gap between the back of the dugout walls and the chain link fence.
b. On the 3rd base line, the opening between the chain link fence and the front corner of the dugout. If the ball crosses this imaginary line or enters the dugout, the ball is considered out of play.
c. On the 1st base line, the opening between the end of the chain link fence and the corner of the dugout steps. If the ball crosses this imaginary line or enters the dugout, the ball is considered out of play.
d. The area in foul territory that extends past the outfield fence, as if the outfield fence were to continue on forever.
e. For any field other than DCP, out of play territory should be established and understood by captains prior to the start of the game.
f. If a ball is hit into “out of play” territory, it is dead and is considered a foul ball regardless of whether it is caught by a fielder.
g. If a ball is thrown into “out of play” territory by a fielder, the following applies:
1. Any baserunner who at the time the fielder threw the ball was running towards a base (this includes the batter running to first base) will be awarded the base they were attempting to reach PLUS one additional base.
2. Any baserunner who at the time the fielder threw the ball was either stationery or retreating back to their bag will be awarded one base.
E. The umpire 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.
F. The official score will be kept by the scorekeeper or batting team and is to be declared after every half-inning and upon request. For the main field at Diamond City Park, there is a scoreboard on the left-field wall, so declaration is not necessary, but maintenance of the score is the responsibility of the team that has just finished their turn at the plate.
V. Pitching Regulations
A. Any pitcher who enters a game must face at least one batter before being removed.
B. 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.
C. 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.
D. Closing: In a double header, if a pitcher enters the first game at or later than the commencement of the fifth inning, they may also enter the second game, but only at or later than the commencement of the fifth inning.
E. Playoffs: In a playoff series these limitations apply based on the double-header rule. For example, entering the third game of a series, the pitchers’ statuses from games one and two become obsolete.
A. All defensive players must remain behind the pitcher until the pitch is thrown.
1. As a result, a use of a catcher is prohibited.
B. The mound ball rule is not in effect.
C. Plugging below the neck is permitted. This includes both when a player is upright and when the player is sliding.
1. If a player is plugged in the head while ducking or sliding feet-first, it will be recorded as an out, provided they were not on a base.
2. If a player is plugged in the head while sliding head-first, they are to be called safe.
3. If a player is plugged and deemed to be out by the umpire, the ball is then dead and runner’s either return or advance to the base they were closest to at the time of the peg.
4. If during a peg attempt the ball hits the ground before hitting the runner, the runner is still out.
5. If during a peg attempt the ball hits an object in the field of play such as a base, bat, umpire, wall, fence, dugout, or strike zone and then hits the runner, the runner is out.
6. If during a peg attempt the runner had already reached the base prior to being pegged and therefore is safe, the ball is dead and runner’s are to follow rule VI-C-3.
7. If during a peg attempt the ball hits or enters out of play territory, the out of play rules found at IV-D-4-g applies.
D. If during a tag attempt, the fielder loses control of the ball while in the process of tagging the runner, the runner is safe.
E. No defensive player may make any gesture that might distract the batter. If such movement is made, the pitch will be nullified.
F. The Infield Fly Rule is in effect but must be activated by a player on the offense calling out “Infield Fly” when the ball is in the air. Per MLB rule 2.00: “An infield fly is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second, and third bases are occupied, before two are out.”
1. For our purposes, all fielders will be considered infielders.
2. When the Infield Fly Rule is activated, the batter is out and the baserunners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught, or retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on any fly ball.
VII. Length of Games
A. All games will be scheduled for five (5) innings. There will be a one-hour time limit. An inning still in progress at the time limit shall be completed. An inning can only begin after the hour limit if the score is tied.
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.
E. The game will be called due to mercy if a team is ahead by twenty (20) runs or more following the completion of the second inning, 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. If at any point in the bottom half of the inning, the home team has reached the respective mercy level, the game will be called.
F. 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 1st base.
2. Beginning with the top of the 8th, each team starts their half of the inning with a runner on 2nd base.
3. From the 9th on, each team starts their half of the inning with a runner on 3rd base.
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.
*** Please note -- this rule is nearly obsolete at Diamond City Park, due to the addition of field lights in 2013.
A. The number of teams that make the playoffs will be determined by a captains' vote once the number of teams for the season have been established.
1. In the event of eight (8) or four (4) playoff teams, there will be no byes.
2. In the event of six (6) playoff teams, the top two seeds will receive byes.
a. In the opening round, the third-seeded team will play the sixth-seeded team and the fourth-seeded team will play the sixth-seeded team.
b. Re-seeding will occur for the semi-finals, similar to the second round of the NFL playoffs.
3. In the event of five (5) playoff teams, the fourth-seeded team and the fifth-seeded team will play a 1 game series. The winner of this game will immediately advance to play the top seeded team. The second-seeded teams and third-seeded teams will also play that day.
B. Tie-breaker system for determining both playoff teams and playoff seeding:
1. Head-to-head record
2. Record versus playoff teams
3. Run differential
C. For players to be eligible for playoffs, they need to have played in half of their team’s league games.
1. Each team will be given 1 exemption to this rule and will be able to add 1 additional player to their playoff roster assuming they meet the following condition. To be eligible for this exemption, the player must have played no fewer than two games short of half of their team’s games.
X. General Rules
A. Rosters will consist of at least three (3) players, but no more than fifteen (15). At least two (2) players, but no more than five (5) will be on the field. Teams can bat up to nine (9) players in their batting order.
B. Official team lineups must be declared before the start of the game and maintained throughout the game.
1. Lineups are to be declared in the following order:
a. Away Team’s starting pitcher
b. Home Team’s starting pitcher
c. Away Team’s batting order
d. Home Team’s batting order
2. One designated hitter may be used for any player on the field. At least 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.
3. A team with only two (2) or three (3) players present may use a substitute player to field and run for them, however only the team’s own players may bat and pitch.
4. Any player who is declared in the batting order but is not yet at the field will receive an automatic out each time his spot in the order comes up, until the player arrives.
5. Players may not be added to the batting order once it has been declared at the start of the game, unless it is as a substitution for another player.
6. 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.
7. If the batting order is violated, the out of turn batter will be declared out, 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.
8. 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.
9. 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 pitching rubber.
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.
E. 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.
1. They can choose to take the result of the play.
2. The runner who left early is called out and the previous pitch is nullified.
3. This rule becomes null and void if the batter hits a foul ball that is not caught or an outside the park home run.
F. Once a player is substituted out of the game, they may not re-enter that game at any point.
G. If a player is removed from the game, and there is no substitute to take their place, that player’s spot in the batting order will be given an automatic out each time it comes up until either the end of the game, or until a substitute player is entered.
H. Schedule requests on a per team basis will be handled on a year-to-year basis and will be outlined at the annual winter meeting based off the number of teams and flexibility available for the current season.
1. During the season, each team is allowed two re-schedule requests. If a re-schedule is needed, the team captain must post in the Captain’s Chat by 9pm on the Thursday prior to the game and declare the request. The opposing team will get to decide the date and time of the make-up however a Council member must be present for the date/time of the re-schedule. If the re-scheduling team does not accept the new time, they will forfeit the series.
I. Games are to be played only on Sundays with start times ranging from 11am-8pm. Any other days or times must be agreed upon by both captains as well as the Council.
XI. Protesting Games
A. In all protested games, the decision of the League Commissioner, Council, and/or Team Captains 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.
XII. Conduct Policy
A. Fighting – Fighting is not to be tolerated in the BWBL. Any fight that leads to players putting hands on one another, such as pushing or punching, will automatically result in player(s) being suspended for the remainder of that days series. Further discipline will then be at the discretion of the Council once the situation is reviewed. The Council may lengthen the suspension to additional games up to the entire season and playoffs, depending on what they see fit.
B. Throwing of Bats - Players are asked to refrain from throwing bats for both the safety of other players as well as avoiding damage to league property.
1. If a bat is thrown in a fit of anger, a warning is to be issued by the umpire to the team, not the individual player. If a bat is thrown a second in a game, the offending player will be immediately suspended for the remainder of that game PLUS the team’s next game.
2. If a bat is damaged to the point it is cracked or otherwise significantly damaged as a result of being thrown, the offending player may be held responsible for the cost of replacing the bat and will not be eligible to play until paid. Council will review and rule on these situations.
Any disagreements, as well as 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 Council present at the time of the incident 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.
Rules updated as of 06/19/19