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Majors Baseball Rules of Play

This document will serve as an effort to document some guidelines on conducting games at the Majors level of play for the 2018 season. As a Double Goal League, we strive to ensure a balance between using the baseball field as an opportunity to develop essential skills and habits in our players and mastering the technical and tactical components of baseball in a way that leads to competitive success. Our guidelines are intended to help Managers navigate these two important goals.

Majors will follow the green book rules set forth by Little League International. The following is provided as clarification or exceptions:


1. Pitching & Catching

 

a) All pitch count and catcher eligibility rules are defined by Little League and can be found in the Official Regulations and Playing Rules book provided to every manager. All managers must be cognizant of these rules and league age of their pitchers.

b) The Home team is the official scorekeeper of the game and will also maintain the official pitch count record for both teams. As a best practice, scorekeepers and pitch counters from both teams should compare information at the end of each inning.

c) Managers shall provide each other information about pitcher eligibility at the pre-game meeting at the plate. Umpires may facilitate the exchange of information, but are not responsible to address eligibility questions.

d) If player plays catcher for more than three innings, that player cannot pitch.

e) If a pitcher pitches 41+ pitches, that player can not play catcher.

f) Violations of pitch count and pitching/catcher eligibility will be charged against the manager of the offending team and will be penalized as follows:

  • First violation - Warning
  • Second violation - One game suspension
  • Third violation - Suspension for the season


As a matter of arm safety, Managers should be cognizant not just of pitches per game but innings pitched per season. Managers should speak directly with parents of players who are also playing baseball for another organization and make safe decisions about that player's pitching availability.

As a matter of development, Managers should seek to provide pitching and catching opportunities to as many players as possible.


2. Hitting

 

a) Who bats: All teams shall bat a straight line-up (continuous batting) regardless of if players are in the field or not. There shall be no substitutions or pinch hitting. If a player is injured and cannot bat, they are scratched from the line-up.

b) Number of at Bats: It should be a goal of all Majors managers to get each player at least two at bats, it is understood that this can be difficult to achieve in a pitching duel type game, or obviously a 4 or 5 inning game.

c) Late arrivals: If a player is late to arrive to a game, they are inserted at the end of the batting lineup regardless of where the team is in the lineup.

d) Throwing of bats: If a player throws the bat following an at bat, that players is given one warning. If a player throws the bat again following the warning, that player is removed from the game for safety precautions. The warning and removal are at the discretion of the Umpire.

e) Dropped Third Strike: We follow Little League rule 6.05 (b)(2) when a third strike is not caught by the catcher.


3. Base Running

 

a) Stealing / leading off: There is stealing but no leading off in Majors. The base runner cannot leave the base until the ball has crossed home plate.

b) Sliding: Head first slides are not allowed. Sliding into home plate is required.


4. Fielding

 

a) Player Rotations: All players MUST have at least two at bats (see above) and Managers will strive to have everyone play 9 outs in the field for a six inning game. Players MUST play at least 6 outs in the field.

b) Substitution: Managers are allowed to substitute freely between innings (they do not need to adhere to the 6 continuous outs rule in the green book). This changes for tournament play (see below).


5. Umpire

 

a) The league will provide a plate umpire during regular season games.

b) In addition to the plate umpire, during playoffs a field umpire will also be provided.

c) If an umpire is not available at game time, the home team will provide an umpire. If this guest umpire does not have protective gear, they will call the game from behind the pitching rubber.

d) The visiting team can provide a second field umpire if requested and approved by the home team Chief Umpire. The Chief Umpire has final say on ALL calls.


6. Other considerations

 

a) Ball we use: we use an Official hard ball.

b) Time limit / Inning limit: our games have a time limit of 2-hours or 6-innings which ever come first. You will have 15 minutes of field time to share between teams before your game begins to warm up your team. For eager team members, have them move to the deep outfield to warm up before your field comes available.

c) Mercy Rule: A 10 run 'mercy rule' will be in effect for all games. If the game has four complete innings in, and one team is ahead by 10 or more runs, the game is officially over and score is final. The managers may choose to play another inning or two of 'exhibition' if both teams are willing.

d) Dugout assignment: For all games in NCLL, the home team will take the 3rd base dugout and the visiting team will take the 1st base dugout.

e) Pre-game warm-ups: Pending field availability, each team will receive 15 minutes to warm up prior to 1st pitch. The visiting team will warm up first, the home team will warm up second - and stay on the field to begin the game. If 30 minutes is not available prior to the scheduled game start time, teams will agree on a mutual number of minutes for warm ups. The field is under the control of the umpire at the scheduled start time, if managers want to warm up after the scheduled start time, a request should be made to the umpire who will have the final decision. A team that is not ready to warm-up at their scheduled time will forfeit their warm-up.


7. Equipment checks

 

a) Bats: Bats must meet Little League specifications per rule 1.10 and littleleague.org/batlist

b) Helmets: Check for cracks or missing pads. There has been some concern in the past regarding lice. If a player has those concerns, they can purchase their own helmet. Again, the manager/coach is the final authority on anything safety related, so any "player owned" equipment must meet your satisfaction.

c) Catchers Gear: Your equipment bags will have a complete set of catchers gear including glove. On the safety side, all catchers' masks must have a "dangler" attached to be used in a LL game. If you are missing one, ask for a replacement or share the helmet with the dangler between teams until yours can be fixed. Catchers will use a catcher's glove during all practices and games.
Interleague Play: Majors teams do play teams from other leagues within District 8. At that time, the two managers will need to agree on the rules of play, and it may be decided to revert to the green book rules for these games. This means that some of the exceptions above (continuous batting and substitution, for example) may not be allowed in Interleague Play.


8. End of Season Tournament

 

At the end of the regular season, every team in the division will play for the Majors Championship. The tournament is a double elimination tournament in which initial seeding is decided by a random draw.

Tournament play will use the same rules as regular season play.


9. Final thoughts

 

While we are a competitive division in Little League, with score keeping, it's inherent to sports that there will be individual and team successes and failures. At all times in the game, we all - parents, Managers, and umpires - should try to find the good or teachable moment in each play.

Further, we can not mandate "fairness" and we believe it is important to allow Managers leeway to make decisions about where, when, and how a player plays based on his/her attendance, commitment, improvement, interest, and skill. And we expect that all Managers and coaches are striving at all times to improve the play of each individual player and the team as a whole; each COACH will have his/her own approach to that end.

Lastly, parents are welcome to cheer for their team on game days at the Majors level but should avoid coaching from the stands or being in the dugout area. Supportive cheering and positive regard for all kids and volunteers is expected from all NCLL fans.

Anyone participating with the players on a regular basis is required to complete a background check and be cleared by NCLL to participate.

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