All games will be played in accordance with Ripken League Rules with the following local exceptions:
There is leading (all the time) … which necessitates pitchers holding on runners (from the stretch).
Balks are therefore called (with each pitcher getting 2 warnings per game).
It will be important for all coaches to introduce the following at their first practice(s): how to take a proper lead; how to hold runners on and throw from the stretch (for pitchers).
Heartguards are required for all players.
Standings: ALL games will count in the standings, but ALL teams will make the playoffs. Playoff seeding will be determined by record (winning %). First tie break for seeding is head-to-head then a coin toss.
Player Participation: All players must sit one inning before any player sits a second inning. Missing an inning because of being late does not count as sitting an inning. (Exception – when only one player has a cup and has to catch the whole game and can′t sit out.).
Minimum Number of Players: If a coach anticipates that a team will have less than ten players for a game, in order to avoid a forfeit or playing with only eight, they may "call up" a player or players from their AAA affiliate. Please see the separate affiliate policy. If one or both teams have fewer than 9 players the team with the most players is the home team. Outfielders are provided by the opposing team to field out 9 players on the field. The last opposing batter(s) scheduled for the inning are utilized first.
Game Length: A game will consist of six (6) innings. Time limit - on Saturday games or back to back games the teams must be off the field before the next game is scheduled to start. Do not start any inning after the 1 hour and 45 minute point from your scheduled game start time. First pitch of top half of the inning must be made to the batter by 1 hour and 45 minute point. Once an inning starts it is completed if the home team is behind or tied. Please note that lights will go out at Shunpike at 9:15pm.
Mercy Rule: Due to the time limit on the games there will be no mercy rule, but coaches should use good judgment if the score gets out of hand.
Footwear: Baseball cleats are highly recommended; plastic or rubber only, no metal cleats are allowed.
Protective cups: Mandatory for all male catchers.
A pitcher may pitch no more than 6 innings maximum per week regardless of the number of games that week, and 2 innings maximum per game (they must be consecutive). The week runs from Sunday to Saturday. Coaches need to develop as many pitchers as possible.
Even if a pitcher only throws only 1 pitch in an inning it still counts as a full inning pitched.
Since pitchers will need to hold runners on base, they will be subject to balks. The umpire will give out 2 balk warnings per pitcher before calling a balk. The umpires will be instructed to be lenient and informative.
Coaches may only visit the mound once in an inning to talk to (each) pitcher. A 2nd visit to talk to the same pitcher in an inning will require that the pitcher be removed.
No intentional walks.
If a pitcher hits 3 batters in an appearance you must remove the pitcher.
Any additional pitching rules sent out in Coaches Updates will immediately take effect in this league.
Pitching Distance: The pitching distance will be 50 feet. Coaches must work on developing pitchers at each of their practices so that the pitchers can effectively throw strikes, and properly hold on runners, which will make for a better game.
Breaking Pitches: No breaking pitches or curve balls are allowed. Change-ups are permitted and encouraged.
Strike Zone: Encourage the umpire to call a large, consistent strike zone. Coaches should remind the umpire accordingly. Do not have him call strikes above the shoulders.
Batting Order: All players who appear for the game will be included in the batting order. If a player arrives late, that player will be inserted into the lineup as the last batter when he arrives.
Bats: Bats must conform to current year Ripken bat rules which may be found on the Babe Ruth website.
Fake Bunt and Swing Away: No fake bunt and then swinging at the pitch.
Bat Throwing: Bat throwing is extremely dangerous and must be controlled. A player will receive one warning for throwing a bat and will be called out for a second offense.
Dropped 3rd Strike: A dropped 3rd strike is still a strike-out. This rule is in place to keep the game times to a minimum.
Coaching Batters: Coaches must coach players to be aggressive at bat. We need to have the players swing at all good pitches and attempt to put the ball in play.
Base Running Rules
Must Slide Rule or Avoid Collision: It is the responsibility of the base runner to avoid colliding with a fielder who is making or about to make a play. The runner must slide or avoid a collision by running around the fielder. A runner may not slide head first into a base. Penalty: The runner will be called out. Exception: A runner may return to a base head first after taking a lead or rounding the base and realizing he cannot advance to the next base. A runner must not collide with or run into a fielder in any situation. Coaches should remind the ump before the game to enforce this and the need to avoid collisions. Coaches must also note that defensive players need to stay clear of the base when runners are advancing and the ball is not in the air to that base. Defensive players must stay off the bases and out of the base lines and out of the way of runners. Remind ump accordingly.
Leading from Bases Players can take leads whenever they want. However, for runners leading off 3rd, players are not to lead too far down the line putting themselves in danger. Runners on 3rd base should not take a lead past the grass cutout until the ball crosses the plate (3rd base coaches should remind the players).
Stealing Bases A runner can steal a base whenever he/she wants. In order to reduce the chance of home plate collisions and keep the scores in check, the home and visitors coaches may jointly decide to eliminate stealing home on a passed ball or wild pitch. They will agree to this at the umpire's meeting before the game. IF both coaches agree that stealing is allowed, a runner leading from 3rd base MAY NOT take off (from his original lead off position) as if to steal until the ball has crossed the plate (this is a safety measure). Therefore, the stealing of home plate is permitted, but not until the ball has crossed the plate. Additionally, there are NO SUICIDE SQUEEZES.
Delayed Steals: Runners are allowed to steal at all times (the exception being a delayed steal of home, which cannot be initiated AFTER the pitcher has the ball on the rubber).
Courtesy Runner: A courtesy runner for the catcher is MANDATORY (with 1 or 2 outs) in order to speed up the game.
Infield Fly Rule: The infield fly rule will be called. The batter is out and the runners can advance at their own risk after returning to their base.
Note: Coaches should set the tone at the beginning of the season regarding the importance of players being on time and communicating with coaches when they will not be attending (preferably two days before). Parents should utilize the RSVP functionality of the website. Coaches should use the time before games to practice! Use the batting cages and field. Have a gentleman's agreement that if you know the other coach is working in NYC, you take the field early so he can take it before the game.
Affiliate Call-Up/Down Policy:
All coaches need to emphasize the importance of attending games. Parents must notify coaches of absence or tardiness to games as early as possible and a minimum of 48 hours in advance. All parents should be using the RSVP functionality of the website. There should be 10 players present for every game if possible. Coaches should activate call ups to get to 10 players for every game.
Each team will have an affiliate(s) to call upon in case the team has less than 10 players because of illness or conflicts.
A Majors League team can call up 5th graders in case of shortage from its AAA affiliate. Each AAA coach should provide his Majors affiliate coach with the names and contact information of his top four 5th grade players, preferably in order. As a second alternative, a highly-skilled 4th grader can be called up.
All coaches should talk with their affiliate coach when trying to call up or down so the most appropriate player is identified to substitute. There should not be any mismatches. Please use good judgment and do what is best for the safety and development of all the players.