AA LEAGUE RULES
Revised March 11, 2013
The AA League is the second level of Brookline Youth Baseball (BYB), a step above the Instructional League.
Eligible players are those in second grade, as well as third-graders who need an additional season in this league to prepare for the Minor League.
The AA League is a noncompetitive league that emphasizes skill development, team play, and sportsmanship. At this level, players continue to learn the fundamentals of catching, throwing, fielding ground balls and fly balls, batting, running the bases, and sliding, as well as the general rules of the game. They also gain more game-situation experience so that they can apply their skills. Players are allowed to play all positions except pitcher; only coaches/adults are allowed to pitch to batters in this league. The number of teams and number of players on each team are determined by the league vice president (VP), along with members of the BYB Board of Directors, based on registration numbers.
Each team will meet two or three times per week. During the first few weeks of the season, the teams will have scheduled practices and scrimmages. For the remainder of the season, the teams will play each other in non-competitive games. Assuming field availability, teams will have either a Mon-Wed-Sun or a Tues-Thurs-Sun schedule.
Practices, scrimmages, and games are scheduled by the league VP on weeknights (no earlier than 5:30 p.m.) and Sunday afternoons (starting times vary).
Player Selection/Team Formation
All players in second grade are assigned to the AA League. When appropriate, a third-grader is reassigned to AA when, in the opinion of the AA League and Minor League VPs, the player needs an additional season in this league to prepare for the Minor League. BYB’s goal is to place each player at the level where he/she has the best chance for a successful season and a positive baseball experience.
Teams are assembled by the AA League VP, who consults the Instructional League VP and AA League coaches.
The adult who is pitching also serves as the umpire. On close plays, the umpire should favor the team in the field because outs are often hard to come by in this league. The umpire must attempt to avoid obstructing plays being made in the field.
First and third base coaches should refrain from making calls (either audibly or with gestures) unless requested to by the adult who is serving as the umpire.
Bats and Baseballs
Both aluminum and wooden bats are allowed in this league. Safety balls, which are softer and safer than ordinary hard balls, are used in all practices, scrimmages, and games.
Any questions or concerns regarding the AA League should be directed to the league VP. See the BYB website (www.brooklineyouthbaseball.org) for a list of VPs and their email addresses.
The AA League uses the following game rules.
Code of Conduct
BYB’s principal goal is to ensure an atmosphere of sportsmanship and civility. Other objectives, such as winning and personal performance, are secondary. The following Code of Conduct, which is based on these priorities, applies to all BYB games and practices.
All players, coaches, and spectators must:
Treat other players, coaches, spectators, and umpires with respect.
Refrain from: criticizing, insulting, taunting, blaming, or threatening another person; using foul language; and physically abusing another person.
Accept the decisions of umpires without complaint. (A head coach may question the application of a rule, but judgment calls may not be argued.)
Treat all equipment with care.
Players must play by the rules of the game and accept coaches’ decisions without complaint.
Head coaches must monitor the behavior of their players, assistant coaches, and spectators, and must act immediately to put a stop to unsportsmanlike behavior when it occurs.
All coaches must follow the rules, treat each player as an individual, recognize and reward effort as well as talent, and promote sportsmanship.
Spectators are encouraged to cheer and show appreciation for good plays and efforts made by both teams, and may not challenge or criticize a coach’s decision.
Zero Tolerance Policy
In the event that a player, coach, or spectator violates BYB’s Code of Conduct, both the umpire and the league VP are authorized to dismiss the individual from the field, and to stop the game and declare a forfeit if the individual does not comply. In addition, BYB reserves the right to impose further sanctions, including expulsion from the BYB program (without a refund of registration fees to players or their families).
AA League games are designed to allow players to apply the skills they’ve learned during practices. These games are noncompetitive. Scores are not recorded. League standings are not kept. Games last at least three innings and can extend up to six innings if time allows and both coaches agree.
A half inning consists of three outs (including strikeouts) or 10 batters, whichever comes first.
In the event of inclement weather during the day of a game, head coaches are responsible for contacting each other to determine whether the game can be played. Head coaches are also responsible for checking the Town of Brookline Recreation Field Closings website or calling the Recreation Information Line (730-2083 or 730-2084) to find out if the fields are closed because of poor conditions.
Before a game, the head coaches have the authority to decide whether the game can be played (if the fields are open); if the head coaches cannot reach an agreement, the head coach of the home team has final say. (Note: The most important consideration must be the safety of the players.)
The home team is required to provide bases for each game. Both teams must provide their own bats and batting helmets, although each team must share batting helmets if the other team doesn’t have enough. Each team is required to provide safety balls for use during games.
Coaches and Spectators
Coaches are allowed to choose assistant coaches to be in the bench area and on the field during games. Only head coaches and assistant coaches are allowed to coach from the first- and third-base coaching boxes; players may not serve as base coaches.
Spectators who are not coaches must watch the game in the areas designated for spectators, and are not allowed on the field or in the bench area with the team. No spectator may stand behind the backstop during a game.
Fielding a Team
Coaches may use up to 12 players in the field at a time: one on the pitcher’s mound, for fielding only; one at catcher; four at the regular infield positions and one at the second base bag; and five spread evenly across the outfield. Outfielders must remain on the outfield grass to prevent overcrowding and confusion in the infield.
Players may not pitch to batters in this league. During games, coaches pitch to their own teams, and the coach on the mound also serves as the umpire. The coach who is pitching may not field balls hit into play, and must attempt to avoid obstructing any plays being made in the field (a player is positioned on or near the pitcher’s mound for fielding purposes). The coach who is pitching is not required to pitch from the rubber, but should pitch overhand whenever possible. Tees are not used during games.
The head coach of the fielding team is responsible for designating an adult (assistant coach or spectator) to stand behind the catcher, against the backstop, to help retrieve wild pitches and passed balls. This adult must make every effort to stay out of the way of plays around home plate.
The fielding team may have one coach positioned in the field to keep the players focused and organized. The coach in the field may instruct the fielders, but may not make plays or touch the ball when in play.
Over the course of the season, coaches should provide players with equal time at all positions. Players should be rotated among the various positions in the infield and the outfield each inning. Each player must sit on the bench for at least one inning and play in both the infield and outfield per game, except when not enough players are available. If a coach doesn’t have enough players available to comply with the must-sit requirement, he/she must allow a different player to play a complete game. No player may play two complete games until each player on the team has played a complete game. Notwithstanding the equal playing time rule, coaches should not require a player to field a position (for example, first base) if player safety is a concern.
As long as playing time requirements are met, players may be freely substituted — from position to position, and from the field to the bench — throughout the game.
To help maintain order, all players who are not at bat must remain seated on the bench or on the ground in the bench area if there is no bench at all times. No player, coach, or spectator may stand behind the backstop during a game. Parents, friends and other spectators are not permitted in the bench area.
Players may not pitch to batters in this league. During games, coaches pitch to their own teams. The coach who is pitching may not field balls hit into play, and must attempt to avoid obstructing any plays being made in the field (a player is positioned on or near the pitcher’s mound for fielding purposes). The coach who is pitching is not required to pitch from the rubber, but should pitch overhand whenever possible. For beginning hitters, coaches should pitch from one knee rather than underhand.
Players are allowed to play the catcher position and make all plays normally associated with the catcher position. Anyone playing this position must wear a complete set of catcher’s equipment: helmet, face mask, throat guard, chest protector, catcher’s mitt, shin guards, and protective cup.
The head coach of the team in the field is responsible for designating an adult (assistant coach or spectator) to stand behind the catcher, against the backstop, to help retrieve wild pitches and passed balls. This adult must make every effort to stay out of the way of plays around home plate.
Each batter must wear a helmet in the on-deck area and throughout the at-bat.
With the exception of players who become injured or leave the field early, all players must remain in the same spot in the batting order throughout the game — even when not playing in the field. If a player must be removed from the order because of injury or early departure, the player’s spot in the order may be skipped for the rest of the game without an out being recorded. Players who arrive after the game has begun must be added to the end of the order.
A strikeout in this league is defined as six strikes during the first three weeks of games, and four strikes thereafter. (Coaches should confirm this rule before each game to ensure that both teams have the same understanding during the game.) A batter may not advance to first base on a wild pitch or passed ball on a third strike.
There are no walks in this league, and a batter may not advance to first base if hit by a pitch.
Bunting is not allowed, either as a sacrifice or for the purpose of getting a hit; the focus should be learning how to swing a bat. Sacrifice fly balls, in which a base runner tags up and advances to the next base after the ball is caught, are allowed.
Infield Fly/Hidden Ball
The Infield Fly Rule is not enforced in this league. If a pop-up is dropped in the infield, base runners may advance and fielders may record a force-out.
BYB does not allow hidden ball plays designed to deceive base runners at any level of play.
Each base runner must wear a helmet until he/she returns to the bench.
A base runner may not leave the base until the batter hits the ball into play. Leading and stealing are not allowed in this league, and base runners may not advance on a wild pitch or passed ball.
A batter or base runner may advance any number of bases on a ball hit into play until called out. However, a batter or base runner may not advance on an error, including on an overthrow or uncaught ball at first base, second base, third base or home plate. In the case of an overthrow or an uncaught ball at a base, the ball is dead and the runners are all safe at their current base, without advancing. Ground ball home runs are not allowed in this league. For example:
·A batter hits a well-hit ball into a gap in the outfield and there are no errors by the fielders. The batter and all base runners may advance until put out.
·A batter hits a ground ball that goes through the legs of the shortstop and into left field. The batter is safe at first base but not advance further.
·With a runner on second base, a batter hits a ground ball in the infield and there is an overthrow at first base while attempted to put the batter out. The batter is safe at first base and the runner who started on second base is entitled to take third base but not advance further.
·A batter hits a well-hit ball into the outfield. There is an overthrow when attempting to put the batter out at second base. The batter is safe at second base and may not advance further.
BYB follows the “slide or avoid” rule at all bases other than first base. A base runner may not intentionally make contact with a fielder. A base runner who initiates contact with a fielder must be warned or called out by the umpire. To prevent collisions, a base runner approaching second base, third base, or home plate (but not first base) should get into the habit of sliding feet-first if a throw is made in an attempt to get the base runner out. Learning this skill will help prepare each player for the higher levels, where sliding is required.
Prior to May 15, an inning may not start after 7:00 p.m. After May 15, an inning may not start after 7:15 p.m. Under no circumstances may a game be continued when it’s difficult for any player to see the ball.