VESTAVIA HILLS YOUTH BASEBALL ASSOCIATION
Updated and Revised February 22,2018
The Vestavia Hills Youth Baseball Association Baseball Rules (hereinafter the Local Rules) shall govern the operations, conduct and play of the Vestavia Hills Youth Baseball Association (hereinafter the Association). When these Local Rules fail to cover a given circumstance, the applicable rules of Metro Sports Baseball, Inc. shall govern. When neither the Local Rules nor Metro rules cover a given circumstance, the Official Rules of Major League Baseball shall govern. In the event none of these rules govern a given circumstance, a majority of the Executive Board shall decide the most appropriate course of action. Further, the Executive Board specifically reserves the right to waive or modify any rule by majority vote for any specific situation. The welfare of the youth players shall be the first priority.
In an effort to promote sportsmanship and fair play, the Executive Board has adopted the following “safety” rules:
- Any malicious contact in the judgment of the umpire, will result in the immediate ejection and an out for any offensive player and immediate ejection for any defensive player.
- Any interference, whether intentional or unintentional, by a runner in an attempt by a fielder to make a double play, will result in both runners being called out.
- Any attempt by a fielder to fake a tag, when the fielder does not possess the ball, will result in an award of the base the runner is running to plus the next base.
- Any obstruction of an offensive player by a defensive player, in the judgment of the umpire, will result in a dead ball and the runners awarded the appropriate bases.
We encourage and expect our umpires, coaches and league directors to be professional at all times and be willing to discuss game situations in a civil exchange. However, once a game has started, the Umpire-in-chief for that game has the final determination on all calls and rule interpretations. After a final determination is made, appeals or further discussions of rule interpretations should be conducted after the game with the appropriate board member and should not occur in front of the players and parents.
Rule 2:ELIGIBILITY TO PARTICIPATE
The appropriate age group in which each child participates will be determined by the age of the child as of April 30.For example, if the child’s age at the time of registration is eight years old, but the child's age as of April 30 of the current season is nine years old, the child will be placed in the 9-year-old league at registration.
A. With approval of the Executive Board, a child will be permitted to play with his or her school grade in the league which is one age group above or below his or her natural age group.If a child chooses to play down with his or her grade, per Metro Rules, that child will not be eligible to participate in All-Stars.
B. With approval of the Executive Board, a child may be permitted to participate in the league for the next older age group for reasons other than to play with grade.
C. With approval of the Executive Board, a child may be allowed to participate in the league for a younger age group, provided the child has a documented physical handicap that would prohibit or substantially impair the child from participating safely at the child's designated age level.
D. The Executive Board reserves the right to review the conduct of any player or coach and supervise, restrict or terminate participation in the youth baseball program consistent with the Vestavia Park Board polices.
E. When a child plays outside his or her designated age bracket, the child's parent must request such in writing and execute an indemnity and hold harmless agreement relieving and protecting the Baseball Association and Executive Board from any liability arising there from, including injury to other players.
F. The League is open to residents of Vestavia Hills, players who are eligible to attend Vestavia Hills City Schools, or players who have been “grandfathered” in as approved by the Executive Board.
G. No child under the age of four (4) as of April 30, will be allowed to participate in the program without approval of the Executive Board.
It is the responsibility of the parents of the players participating in the Vestavia Hills Youth Baseball Leagues to provide, keep and maintain health and accident insurance coverage for their children.
Rule 4:PLAYER EVALUATIONS
Evaluations of player performance may be held at the discretion of the Executive Board, provided that the Executive Board shall have the right to keep and maintain the confidentiality of the evaluations in such manner and by such means as may be deemed appropriate by a majority of the members of the Executive Board.
Rule 5: SELECTION OF TEAMS
In the 5 through 14-year-old leagues, the draft of participating teams will be an open draft, meaning that players may be selected without regard to the team, league or division in which they played during the previous year. It is the goal of the Association is to distribute player talent as equally as is practical.
- A player may be allowed one (1) coaching pass in the selection process, provided the pass is submitted in writing and approved by the Executive Board member responsible for that league prior to rankings.
- Prior to the draft, the coaches will rank players for such rounds of each age group as may be appropriate. The Executive Board member responsible for that league must approve the rankings and the number of rounds ranked prior to the draft. Coaches’ children must be designated to a round prior to the beginning of the draft.
- Ranking of Coach’s Child – The following procedures will be used when ranking a coach’s child for the player draft. These procedures may only be modified with the unanimous approval of the President, Vice President for the age group in question and the League Director for the age group in question.
A brief discussion will take place regarding the placement of coach’s children to a round for draft purposes. After the brief discussion, each Head Coach will assign, in writing, each coach’s child to a round. The player should be assigned to the round the individual player would be chosen if he were not a coach’s child. Coaches will not rank their own child. The Age Group Vice President and the League Director for that age group will determine the average rank in the following manner: the highest and lowest ranks will be dropped; the other rankings will be averaged to determine the draft round that player should be chosen. A coach must choose his or her child in the round in which the child is placed during the player ranking meeting.
- Draft order will be determined by a lottery. Draft order will reverse each round. The team having the first selection in round one will have the last selection in round two, and the team having the last selection in round one will have the first selection in round two. In subsequent odd numbered rounds, the teams will draft in the same order as round one. In subsequent even numbered rounds, the teams will draft in the same order as in round two. The draft will continue until all players are drafted. Teams are not required to have the same number of players.
- When there are not sufficient numbers of players to complete the last round, all coaches will draw a number and the coaches drawing the lowest numbers shall select one player each until all players are chosen. Those coaches who conclude the draft with one less player than other coaches will be assigned any players who are permitted to register late in the order of lowest number chosen for the final round. If the number of players on any team falls below the lowest number of players on any team at the conclusion of the draft due to players quitting, or as the result of season-ending injuries, such team will get the next player registering regardless of the order designated above. No child shall be allowed to register late as a player once all teams have an equal number of players.
- No player trades are allowed.
- At the conclusion of the draft, each coach will draw to determine the order in which he or she chooses a team name from a list provided by the Executive Board member responsible for that league.
- Only Head Coaches, the League Director, and the Board Member responsible for that league shall be present at the draft. If the head coach cannot attend, his or her spouse may stand in.
- Any other disputes or questions relating to the draft shall be resolved by the League Directors with the advice of the coaches and is subject to review by the Executive Board.
- There will be a minimum of 10 players on a team. Exceptions to this rule will be made only with the approval of the Executive Board.
Rule 6:GAME ARRANGEMENTS
- A. All games shall start on time with no grace period except for those circumstances which, in the sole discretion of the League Directors, constitute good cause for a delay. Game time is the later of scheduled game time or twenty (20) minutes after the completion of the previous game, unless superseded by item B below. A team may begin a game with eight (8) players. The ninth spot in the batting order shall be an automatic out.
B. Each team is allowed ten (10) minutes of warm-up time before a game, except when games are behind by more than one (1) hour. The League Director has the discretion to shorten the warm-up time.
C. For leagues above T-Ball, the fields used should have two batting cages which may be used by each team. In the event there is only one batting cage available, the team designated as the visiting team must begin use of the cage one (1) hour and ten (10) minutes before scheduled game time and the team designated as the home team must begin the use of the cage forty (40) minutes before scheduled game time.
D. The visiting team is responsible for providing an announcer and scoreboard operator for the games. The announcer and scoreboard operator must each be at least sixteen (16) years of age. No game shall be allowed to start without an announcer and scoreboard operator.
E. The home team must provide the official scorekeeper for the game, who shall be responsible for keeping the official scorebook and who is to remain in the press box for the duration of the game. The coaches are responsible for their respective scorekeepers' knowledge of the official rules of baseball scoring and for making appropriate and accurate entries in the scorebook. The names of all pitchers and the innings pitched by each shall be noted. Each coach is responsible for checking the correctness of the scoring of each game and appropriately signing the official scorebook immediately after a game. No game shall be allowed to start without an official scorekeeper. Not providing an official scorekeeper is grounds for forfeiture at the discretion of the presiding League Director and Subject to review by the Executive Board.
F. The Park Board personnel shall have the authority to declare the fields ready for play and shall have ultimate authority to suspend or halt play. A game shall commence when the League Director authorizes the umpire to begin play. The umpire shall determine whether or not play should be stopped because of inclement weather, giving the safety of the players priority. The Executive Board, or the League Directors in their absence, shall have the right to overrule any umpire decision to continue play and may suspend or halt play. Rescheduling of make-up games shall be the sole responsibility of the League President and/or the Executive Board. Make-up games will be rescheduled as soon as possible and will take priority over practice times. Make-up games will be played in the order they appear on the schedule.
G. No coach or League Director shall have authority to postpone, reschedule, or forfeit a game except as provided above. Scheduled games will be forfeited only when a majority of the Executive Board authorizes forfeiture except as provided above.
H. The time permitted for a regulation game will be limited as follows:
1 hour 15 minutes
7 and 8 year olds
1 hour 30 minutes
9-12 year olds
1 hour 45 minutes
Exception For the 9 year old league Game Time on a School Night
Shall be 1 hour 30 minutes
13 and 14 year olds
|1 hour 45 minutes
Once a regulation game has completed its maximum number of innings and the score is tied, regardless of official time remaining, only one (1) extra inning shall be played. If after the one (1) extra inning the game remains tied, the game shall end in a tie.
I. For time purposes, a new inning starts when the third out is made by the home team.
Rule 7:GAME CLOCKS
A. The umpire shall have the authority to stop the game clock temporarily in cases of injury or equipment delay, if, in the sole discretion of the umpire, a temporary suspension of the game clock is in the interest of fairness and sportsmanship. The umpire shall have the authority to suspend the game clock temporarily, if, in the sole judgment of the umpire, a coach or players are unduly delaying a game. In extreme cases, an umpire shall have sole authority to dispense with the game clock altogether and declare that an additional inning will be played, regardless of time remaining. In the event of a tie at the conclusion of such additional inning, refer to Rule 6(H).
B. The official start time, as announced by the plate umpire, will be posted in the scorebook, for example, 7:32 p.m. or 9:12 a.m. The start time shall commence once the plate umpire determines that both teams are or should be ready to play. The official game time will be kept by the plate umpire, who shall have sole authority to monitor and determine official game time, including the determination on whether game time has expired. Scoreboard clocks will only indicate the start time for the game, and will not run during games.
Rule 8:PLAYING FIELD
A. Only coaches, players and umpires will be allowed in the dugouts or on the playing field during a game.
B. The use of any alcoholic beverages or tobacco product is prohibited at all baseball complexes. For violation of this rule the offending person shall be removed from the ballpark. Repeat violators will be reviewed by the Executive Board for suspension from any future coaching positions.
A. Batters, base runners, and player base coaches are required to wear protective head gear at all times as prescribed in League Rules while on the playing field and in the on-deck circle. All player base coaches must be in the 11-year-old league or older. Face Guards on batting helmets are required through age 10 and strongly recommended through age 12.
B. Catchers warming up pitchers within the confines of the playing field must wear protective face mask and throat guard. A safety look-out must be present to protect the battery during play.
C. Play shall immediately cease upon a player being struck by a ball which injures or incapacitates the player.
D. Bats: The Metro Bat rule applies.
E. After one (1) warning per game per player for slinging his or her bat, the batter will be called out for each additional time that the child slings his or her bat. A dead ball will be called and no runners can advance.
A. All coaches shall remain mindful of the fact that youth baseball is an amateur athletic endeavour played by children for enjoyment and exercise. Because of the significant direct contact with players at an impressionable age, the conduct of a coach must display the highest level of maturity, sportsmanship and good citizenry. All coaches shall set a positive example of modesty in victory and graciousness in defeat.
B. Coaching applications must be submitted in writing or online through the VHYB website. The Vestavia Park and Recreation Department will conduct a background check on all Head Coaches annually. Parents and legal guardians of players should be considered first as head coaches or assistant coaches. The Executive Board must approve all head coaches and the Executive Board member responsible for each league must approve assistant coaches, subject to review by the Executive Board, if considered necessary. Any coach, who is not a parent or a guardian, must be specifically approved by the Executive Board. In approving non parent/guardian coaches, the Board will consider the reasons for having a non parent/guardian and is unlikely to approve professional or paid coaches. Coaches shall be selected in accordance with the provisions of Rule 10(H). The provisions of that paragraph are to be strictly followed.
C. Any coach ejected from a game for any reason, will be automatically suspended from coaching the next game and from assisting in the next game if assisting in another league, unless the coach appeals the suspension and such appeal is granted by the Executive Board. Upon ejection, the coach must leave the ballpark. Subsequent ejections may, in the discretion of the Executive Board and after a hearing, be grounds for suspension or termination from participation in youth baseball.
D.A replacement coach shall be selected by the Executive Board if necessary because of the suspension or expulsion of a coach.
E. Coaches shall assist League Directors to ensure that all spectators and visitors to games remain courteous and do not openly criticize the players, umpires or coaches. During a game, only the head coach is allowed to talk to the umpires regarding the game.
F. Coaches are responsible for equipment issued for team use. An inventory will be taken at the time equipment is issued to a coach and upon the equipment being returned to the Association. Coaches will be required to provide such security for the return of the equipment as the Executive Board may reasonably require.
G. Honesty, integrity, and sportsmanship are expected in all coaches, players, visitors, and parents. If, in the judgment of the League Directors and the Executive Board, any coach, head or assistant, shows a lack of these qualities, that individual’s conduct may be reviewed at a hearing before the Executive Board and, in the discretion of the Executive Board, that coach may be immediately relieved of his or her position. Each coach will be required to sign the Code of Ethics Pledge and adhere to the Youth Athletes Bill of Rights and the Association's Mission Statement, copies of which are attached hereto and made a part hereof.
H. In deciding coaching selection issues, the Board will strive to maintain proper decorum and confidentiality. All applications to head coach are to receive fair, full, and serious consideration, in recognition of the tremendous commitment of time and effort involved. However, the Board shall make selection decisions based on the best interests of the children participating in Vestavia Youth Baseball, recognizing that the designation as head or assistant coach is a privilege, not a right. Factors such as demonstrated sportsmanship, baseball or coaching experience, baseball knowledge and teaching skills, all-star coaching experiences, and number of previous years as head coach are important factors for consideration, but are not themselves, taken together or separately, guarantees of an applicant being chosen to coach in a particular year. The procedure for each league’s coaching selection will be as follows:
1. Following receipt of all coaching applications, the Board shall convene, at a date and time designated by the President, for the purpose of selecting coaches in each league. The place for this session will be suitable for confidential deliberation and discussion. Each league will be designated a specific time slot, to be determined in advance by the Board, and published to the League Directors, at least 3 days in advance. Only Board members and the League Director for the league designated at a specific time increment will be permitted to be present. No other League Director or any Assistant League Director, including any Assistant League Director for the league then under discussion, will be permitted to be present during discussions and deliberations.
2. The Board secretary shall distribute to all Board members (not to League Directors) a list of each league’s number of players, and the names of those persons who have applied to serve as head coach. Deliberations will then be commenced, by league, according to a pre-arranged schedule approved by the Board not later than 3 days prior to the date of the selection meeting. Only Board members and the Head League Director for the league designated for discussion at that time will be present.
3.The Board member responsible for the specific league designated at that time, and the Head League Director, will then report on the number of players and coaching positions needed in each league, and will discuss the applicants for head coaching slots. The Board member and League Director will then make recommendations concerning which applicants should, in their opinion, be selected, or not, and provide the board with reasons for the recommendations. The Board will then discuss and deliberate the matter. The Board President, after due deliberation, will then call for a vote. The Board may or may not follow the recommendations of the responsible Board member and League Director. The Board will then vote, by show of hands, on which applicants will be selected. (On motion of any Board member, which is seconded, by another Board member, the vote may be made by written ballot. In such instance, the Secretary shall tabulate the vote and announce the tally.) The Board is not obligated to select any of the applicants, even if a non-selection creates a shortage of head coaches, or if a shortage already existed.
4. If the vote is to select individual applicants, the Board Secretary shall record the number of votes for any particular applicant. If the vote is to accept or decline the recommendation of the responsible Board member for or against the recommended list of applicants, the Board Secretary shall record the number of votes to accept or decline that recommendation. Following this count, the Secretary shall announce and record those coaches selected. The League Director shall then be excused, and the discussion of the next league scheduled will commence, in the format set forth above, with the presence and participation of that league’s Head League Director. The selection process will continue in this manner, by league, until the process is completed or the Board votes, by majority of those present, to adjourn.
5. Following the meeting, the Secretary will prepare written notification of each applicant’s selection or non-selection. This notification shall advise the applicant that the applicant was or was not selected, and shall be in substantially the following format, although the Board may freely modify any particular notification as appropriate:
“Thank you for your application to be a head coach in the ____ year old league. You have been selected to head coach this year. Please review and sign the Code of Ethics Pledge and return it to your League Director or responsible Board member. Please also review, and be advised of your obligation to adhere to, the Youth Athlete’s Bill of Rights, and the Association’s Mission Statement, all of which are incorporated in and attached to the Local Rules of the Association. Please do not contact any Board member or your League Director to discuss any aspect of the specific selection process, as they are prohibited from discussing such matters. Thanks again for volunteering your time to be a head coach this year, and congratulations.”
Sincerely, Board Secretary
“ Thank you for your application to head coach in the Vestavia Youth Baseball’s ____year old league. Your application was considered and appreciated by the Association’s Board; however, you have not been selected to a head coach, this year. You are encouraged to serve as an assistant coach, if selected by a head coach, or in any other capacity. In addition, the Board encourages you to submit an application next year to be a head coach.
If you would like to discuss the Board’s decision in your particular case with the Board and the head league director, please contact (NAME) at (NUMBER) to arrange a time for meeting with the Board as a whole. Please be advised that your League Director, responsible Board member, and all other Board members are expressly prohibited from discussing any aspect of the deliberations or discussions concerning the selection process with your or any other person, other than at a scheduled meeting convened for that specific purpose.”
Sincerely, Board Secretary
6. Due to the sometimes sensitive and personal nature of the discussions and deliberations, no Board members or league director shall reveal, in any way, or disclose, in whole or in part, any reasons, recommendations, comments, statements or materials made or reviewed during deliberations to any person, including applicants not selected for head coach positions, other than at a subsequent meeting requested by an applicant pursuant to paragraph H(7), below.
7. If an applicant who was not selected desires to discuss the Board’s decision, the applicant shall make this fact known within 3 days of the receipt of the notification, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the notification. Upon being informed of the applicant’s wish to discuss the matter, the Board shall, within a reasonable time, convene for this purpose. No other persons shall be present, other than the Head League Director for the specific league at issue.
a) The purpose of the meeting shall be for the applicant to have the opportunity for a full and frank discussion of the Board’s decision. The applicant will not be permitted to bring witnesses in the applicant’s behalf, although written statements and other material may be presented to the Board.
b) The Board shall not disclose to any person, including the applicant, the contents of any letter, evaluation, correspondence or other material received by the Board concerning the applicant. However, the Board President shall, if requested by the applicant, provide the applicant with a full and complete oral summary of such materials, omitting any information, which in the sole judgment and discretion of the President, might tend to disclose the identity of the person submitting the material.
c) At the conclusion of the meeting with the applicant, the applicant shall be excused. The Board will then determine, by majority vote, if any additional action is needed or appropriate. The League Director shall be permitted to be present during all such discussions unless, by majority vote, the Board votes to go into executive session. If the Board takes any additional action, the applicant shall be notified within 5 days, in writing, of the action taken. If no action is taken, the applicant need not be notified unless the Board feels this to be appropriate under the circumstances.
Rule 11: POOL PLAYERS
For All Ages:
When a team falls below nine players available for a game, a coach may select a poolplayer from another team with the following stipulations:
1. If the absent player was drafted in one of the top three rounds, a coach may select any player who was drafted in the same or lower round. For example, if the absent player was drafted in the second round, a pool player may be selected if he was drafted in rounds 2-12; if the absent player was drafted in the first round, a pool player may be selected from any round.
2. If the absent player was drafted in rounds 4-12, then any player drafted in the 4thround through 12th round may be a pool player.
3. The pool player may not play pitcher or catcher.
4. The pool player must bat last in the lineup.
5. A head coach using a pool player must meet with the opposing head coach before the game, prior to meeting with the umpires, to show him the player who is absent and the pool player who he plans to use to verify he is using a player in accordance to the rules. If the pool player does not meet the requirements of the rules the coach will need to voice his objection at that time to the coach and league director. If it cannot be resolved before the beginning of the game, he will need to protest the game according to Rule 12 of the “General Rules”.
Rule 12: PROTESTS
A. Protests shall be filed in accordance with the Official Rules of Metro Sports Baseball, Inc., which provides that a protest based on the violation or misinterpretation of a rule must be made before the next legal pitch.
B. All other protests, including ineligibility or legality of a player or substitute, must be made before the team leaves the playing field.
C. A protest that involves an umpire's judgment may not be made. The only legal protest is one that involves a violation or misinterpretation of playing rules, or the use of an ineligible or illegal player or substitute.
D. A protest shall be submitted in writing by the protesting coach to the Executive Board member responsible for that league within 24 hours after the completion of the game protested.
E. The Protest Committee shall consist of the members of the Executive Board. Any Executive Board member who is a coach in the league of the protested game is ineligible to participate in the decision
F. The League Director (or assistant) of the league and the head coaches of the teams involved shall present the grounds of the protest to the Executive Board.
G. The Executive Board shall decide the protest within ten (10) days of its presentation in accordance with the preceding paragraph.
Rule 13: WORLD SERIES
A. Each league above 5 year old T-ball shall have a league champion determined by a World Series tournament conducted in accordance with these rules during the week following the conclusion of the regular season schedule.
B. The tournament participants shall be those teams with the best overall records during the regular season and the number of participating teams, pairings and game scheduling shall be determined by the Executive Board member responsible for that league. Each World Series format is subject to Executive Board approval.
C. In the event of a tie of the regular season record of teams, the seeding of the participating teams in the World Series bracket will be determined as follows:
Seeding shall be determined beginning with the #1 seed. No tiebreakers shall be decided regarding any other seed until the #1 seed is in place. The process shall continue seed-by-seed until all teams are seeded. In applying tiebreakers among 3 or more teams, the highest seeded team shall be determined and then ties among the remaining teams shall be broken using the appropriate tiebreaker process.
1.Ties between two teams
- When two teams tie for a position, the team which has the better record in head-to-head competition shall be the higher seed.
- If the two teams have equal winning percentages, the team with the least number of runs allowed in head-to-head competition shall be the higher seed.
- If the number of runs allowed is equal, the team with the least number of runs allowed in games against common opponents shall be the higher seed.
- If the number of runs allowed against common opponents is equal, the team with the higher winning percentage against any higher seeded teams who are common opponents, beginning with comparing against the #1 seed and proceeding with each lower seed until the tie is broken, shall be the higher seed.
- If the winning percentage is equal against all higher seeded teams, the team with the least number of runs allowed in common games against any higher seeded teams, beginning with comparing against the #1 seed and proceeding with each lower seed until the tie is broken, shall be the higher seed.
- If the teams remain tied, the winner of a coin flip to be called by the team whose Major League home stadium is farther geographically east shall be the higher seed.
2.Ties between 3 or more teams
- The team with the best winning percentage in games involving the tied teams shall be the higher seed as long as all teams involved in the tie played against all other teams involved in the tie. If all teams did not play each other, skip to step i.
- If teams are tied for the best winning percentage, the team with the lowest average number of runs allowed in games involving the tied teams shall be the higher seed.
- If all teams did not play all other teams involved in the tie or if the lowest average number of runs allowed in games involving the tied teams is the same, the team with the least number of runs allowed in games involving common opponents shall be the higher seed.
- If the teams remain tied, the team with the highest number of runs scored in games involving common opponents shall be the higher seed.
- If the teams remain tied, the team with the highest winning percentage against any higher seeded teams who are common opponents, beginning with comparing against the #1 seed and proceeding with each lower seed until the tie is broken, shall be the higher seed.
- If the teams remain tied, the team with the lowest average number of runs allowed against any higher seeded teams, beginning with comparing against the #1 seed and proceeding with each lower seed until the tie is broken, shall be the higher seed.
- If the teams remain tied, the team which had the first win of the regular season shall be the higher seed. (For example: Team A recorded their first win March 2 at 3:28 PM, Team B recorded their first win March 5 at 7:50 PM, Team C recorded their first win March 9 at 9:29 AM – Team A would be the higher seed)
- If the teams remain tied, the Board may determine any additional tiebreaker which may be used to break the tie.
E. Local League regulation game rules (including time limits) will apply to all World Series games except for semi-final and final games which will not have a time limit. If any World Series game is stopped due to inclement weather or otherwise, the entire game will be completed, subject to the applicable time limits, as soon as practical resuming from the point where it was stopped.
F. In all World Series games, the highest seed will select whether it is the home or visiting team.