Our mission is to provide baseball instruction, skill development and playing opportunities for players in grades 1 through high school in Brookline Massachusetts.
 
 
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MINORS LEAGUE RULES

Revised May 20, 2012

The Minor League is the third level of Brookline Youth Baseball (BYB), a significant step above the AA League.

Eligibility

To be eligible this spring, a player must be in 3rd or 4th grade.

League Format

The Minor League is a competitive league that emphasizes skill development, team play, and sportsmanship. At this level, players are taught the various positions on the field and the responsibilities of those positions, and all players are given a chance to play different positions over the course of the season. 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.

Schedule

During the regular season, each team plays two or three games per week — on weeknights (no earlier than 5:30 p.m.) and Sunday afternoons (starting times vary). The regular season is followed by playoffs, which conclude by the final day of the public school year. The playoff format is determined by the league VP, and all teams qualify.

Normally, at the discretion of the league VP, a Home Run Derby and All-Star Game may be held near the end of the regular season with participants selected or nominated based on their demonstrated skills during the regular season in a process established by the league VP.

Regular season and playoff games are scheduled by the league VP. Practices are scheduled by each team’s head coach according to coach, player, and field availability.

Player Selection/Team Formation

A player is assigned to the Minor League after thorough observation, evaluation, and discussion. Those involved in the decision include: the Minor League, Major B League, and AA League VPs; members of the BYB Board of Directors who have knowledge of the player; the player’s coach during last year’s spring, summer, and/or fall season; the player’s instructor during any recent BYB clinics he/she attended; and coaches who observed the player at this year’s preseason tryout. 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 Minor League VPs, who consult the AA League VP and Minor League coaches. The objective is to construct teams that are comparable in talent so that the competition among them is as balanced as possible.

Umpires

There are no paid umpires in Minor League. Prior to each game, the coaches need to identify who will be the umpire, choosing amongst any parent at the game who can be objective.

Bats and Baseballs

Both aluminum and wooden bats are allowed in this league. Modified safety balls, which are softer and safer than ordinary hard balls, are used in all practices and games.

Questions

Any questions or concerns regarding the Minor League should be directed to the league VPs. Questions or concerns about umpiring should be directed to the VP in charge of umpires. See the BYB website (www.brooklineyouthbaseball.org) for a list of VPs and their email addresses.

Game Rules

The Minor League uses the official Little League Baseball playing rules as a standard guide, amended by 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.

In addition:

  • 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).

Game Format

Minor League games are designed to allow players to apply the skills they’ve learned during practices. These games are competitive, and scores should be kept to identify the game’s winner for the players. However, the scores are not reported to BYB and there will be no standings published by BYB throughout the regular season play. All games are scheduled to last six innings.

Inclement Weather

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 calling the Town of Brookline’s Recreation Information Line (730-2083 or 730-2084) to find out if the fields are closed because of poor conditions; the recorded message on this line is typically updated by 11:00 a.m. on weekdays and 7:00 a.m. on weekends.

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. Once a game has begun, the umpire has the authority to stop the game due to inclement weather or poor field conditions, after consulting both head coaches. (Note: The most important consideration must be the safety of the players.

Postponements

If the two head coaches both agree not to play a game even though the fields are left open by the town, the coaches may postpone the game and agree to attempt to reschedule it at a later agreed upon date.

Rescheduling

A postponed regular season game may be rescheduled only by mutual agreement of the two coaches and only if there is an available field indicated on the Minors schedule on the BYB website at that time. Should no field be available or if the coaches fail to agree to a date when one is available, the game will be considered cancelled. Note that in 2012, the fields are very tightly scheduled so rescheduling games will be difficult. 
 
Playoff games postponed due to rain will be rescheduled by the league VP in counsel with the opposing coaches.

Game Equipment

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 a new modified safety ball to the umpire before the start of the game.

Ground Rules

Before each game, head coaches must meet with the umpire at home plate to review ground rules and other rules that are unique to BYB’s Minor League.

Coaches and Spectators

Coaches are allowed to choose two assistant coaches and a scorekeeper to be in the bench area during games. Only head coaches and assistant coaches are allowed on the field during a break in play to instruct players. Only head coaches, assistant coaches, and players are allowed to coach from the first- and third-base coaching boxes (players must wear helmets). Only a head coach is allowed to discuss a play with an umpire.

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 10 players in the field at a time: one on the pitcher’s mound; one at catcher; four at the regular infield positions; and four spread evenly across the outfield. 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.

We have reduced roster sizes in 2012 and increased the number of teams in order to increase field time per player. As such, games may be played with as few as seven players if all players do not show, one of whom would play outfield, and, if desired, supplemented by a non-roster player or adult as a second outfielder, said supplement to play the field only, but not to bat.

Playing Time

During each game, each player must play in the field for at least four innings and must be allowed to play positions in the infield and the outfield, except when:

  • The game is stopped prior to six innings of play because of inclement weather, poor field conditions, or darkness.
  • The coach benches a player for disciplinary reasons such as missing games and/or practices without notifying the coach, insubordination, or disruptive behavior. The coach must notify the opposing coach of the disciplinary action before the start of the game. (Note: Poor play is not a valid reason for benching a player.)
  • Each player must sit on the bench for at least one inning per game, except when:
  • Not enough players are available. Each time 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, except a catcher (see the next bullet), may play two complete games until each player on the team has played one complete game.
  • An injury to or absence of a player leaves no back-up catcher available. In this case, the coach may keep the same player at the catcher position for the entire game. The coach must inform the opposing coach of the injury or absence prior to the game or immediately when the injury occurs. (Note: Only an injury to or absence of all back-up catchers permits one player to catch an entire game, and each team must have at least two catchers to help prevent this situation.)

A pitcher may not pitch more than four innings in a game under any circumstances.

Substitutions and Mound Visits  

As long as playing time requirements are met, players may be freely substituted throughout the game — except at pitcher. All fielding changes, except pitching changes and substitutions due to injury, must be made at the start of an inning. No fielding substitutions may be made in the middle of an inning unless it involves a pitcher switching places with another fielder.

A “mound visit” occurs any time an umpire calls time out to allow a coach to speak with the pitcher, or to speak with a position player who then speaks with the pitcher before the next pitch. Coaches are allowed one free mound visit per inning to speak with each pitcher. A second mound visit to the same pitcher in the same inning requires the coach to replace the pitcher. (Note: If a coach replaces a pitcher during a mound visit and speaks with the new pitcher before leaving the mound, the visit does not count as a mound visit to the new pitcher.) A pitcher who is removed from the mound may not re-enter the game as a pitcher, but may re-enter the game at another position. Other infielders (but not outfielders) may huddle with the coach on the mound during mound visits. However, the umpire may direct the players back to their positions and the coach back to the bench if, in the umpire’s opinion, the game is being delayed unnecessarily.

Bench Area

The on-deck batter may not hold a bat while waiting in the on-deck area. All players who are not at bat or on deck must remain on the bench at all times, unless warming up to pitch. Pitchers must warm up away from the bench area: down the foul line, in foul territory, adjacent to the outfield nearest their bench. 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 player, coach, or spectator may stand behind the backstop during a game.

Pitchers

The following pitching rules are in force during the regular season and the playoffs unless adjusted by the league VPs. There are no exceptions. If the league VPs adjust these rules for the playoffs, they will inform all league coaches before the playoffs begin.

PITCHING DISTANCE

Pitchers are required to pitch from the rubber; if a player cannot throw the ball all the way to home plate from the rubber, (s)he may pitch a foot or two in front of the rubber.

Innings Limit

During the regular season, each pitcher may pitch no more than six innings per week (the pitching week runs from Sunday through Saturday). A pitcher may not pitch more than four innings in a game. If a game is stopped before it has become an official game, the innings pitched still count toward each pitcher’s total innings for the week. All innings limits are subject to the rest requirements listed in the next section.

One pitch thrown in an inning counts as a full inning. For example: If a player pitches two innings and throws one pitch to start a third inning before being removed, he/she has pitched three of the six innings allowed for that pitching week.

If a player comes on in relief and throws one pitch to end his/her first inning on the mound, then pitches a full inning, then throws one pitch to start a third inning before being removed from the mound, he/she has pitched three of the six innings allowed for that pitching week.

REST REQUIREMENTS

Players may not pitch on consecutive days. A player who pitches three or fewer innings in a game must rest one full calendar day before pitching again. A player who pitches four innings in a game must rest three full calendar days before pitching again. For example: A player who pitches three innings on Sunday may not pitch again until Tuesday. A player who pitches four innings on Sunday may not pitch again until Thursday.

PROHIBITED PITCHES

Any pitch that entails the snapping or turning of the wrist — such as a Curveball or Slider — is prohibited. When done incorrectly or too often, this type of delivery is likely to lead to forearm and elbow injuries. (Note: Head coaches are responsible for ensuring that the umpire is aware of this rule before the game begins.)

If a pitcher snaps or turns the wrist during delivery, the umpire must issue a warning to the pitcher. If the batter swings at and misses the pitch or hits into an out, the pitch is called a ball and the batter continues his/her at-bat; however, if the batter hits the ball and reaches base safely, he/she may remain on base. Upon a second violation of the rule by the same pitcher, the pitcher must be removed from the mound but may remain in the game at another position.

PITCHER PERFORMANCE

A pitcher who hits three batters in an inning or four in a game must be removed from the mound. A pitcher who is removed from the mound may not re-enter the game as a pitcher, but may remain in or re-enter the game at another position. A pitcher who walks 5 batters in-a-row and is not demonstrating that (s)he might start throwing strikes should be removed from the game for another pitcher.

COACHES PITCHING

During the regular season, if a team runs out of pitchers who can throw strikes, then the coach of the opposing team will pitch to his or her own players in order to keep the pace of the game moving and to ensure that the batters have an opportunity to hit the ball.

MISCELLANEOUS

Balks are not called, and intentional walks are not allowed.

Catchers

Each player at 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 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.

If a catcher, when his/her team is batting, reaches base or is on base with two outs in an inning, the coach has the option to temporarily replace the catcher with a pinch runner so that the catcher can begin putting on the catcher’s equipment. This rule is designed to allow the next half inning to begin without delay, and applies only if the catcher will return to the catcher position. The pinch runner must be the player who made the most recent out.

Batters

Each batter must wear a helmet in the on-deck area and throughout the at-bat.

BATTING ORDER

Each team must provide the opposing team’s scorekeeper with a batting order before the game. With the exception of players who become injured or leave the field early, all players must remain in the same spot in the 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 removal must be reported to the opposing scorekeeper and 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 and reported to the opposing scorekeeper immediately.

When a player fails to bat in his/her proper spot in the order:

  • If the mistake is detected and pointed out by either head coach before the at-bat is completed, the improper batter is replaced by the proper batter, who inherits any balls and strikes that had already been called.
  • If the head coach of the fielding team appeals to the umpire after the improper batter has concluded the at-bat but before the first pitch to the next batter, the proper batter (the one who failed to bat in turn) is called out. In this case, the improper batter may not remain on base, any advances by base runners that resulted from a ball hit into play by the improper batter are nullified, and the batting order resumes with the batter who would normally bat after the proper batter, even if it’s the same batter who just batted improperly.
  • If the head coach of the fielding team appeals after the first pitch to the next batter, the improper batter remains on base, no batter is called out, base runner advances are not nullified, and the batting order resumes with the batter who would normally bat after the improper batter.

BUNTS/SACRIFICE FLIES/DROPPED THIRD STRIKES

Bunting is not allowed, either as a sacrifice or for the purpose of getting a hit; the focus at this level 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. A batter may not advance to first base on a wild pitch or passed ball on a third strike.

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. However, in the best interest of sportsmanship and fair play, coaches may not teach their infielders to purposely drop pop-ups in an attempt to force out a lead runner or create a double play or triple play.

If, in the umpire’s opinion, a fielder purposely drops a pop-up:

  • All base runners, including the batter, are allowed to advance one base.
  • The fielding team’s head coach must explain the rule to his/her players.
  • The umpire must report the incident to the league VP.

BYB does not allow hidden ball plays designed to deceive base runners at any level of play.

Base Runners

Each base runner must wear a helmet until he/she returns to the bench.

LEADING AND STEALING

Neither leading nor stealing is allowed in this league, and base runners may not advance on a wild pitch or passed ball. A base runner may not leave a base until the batter hits the ball into play. A base runner that leaves a base early or steals a base must receive a warning on the first offense and be called out on the second offense.

SCORING FROM THIRD BASE

No runner can score from 3rd base unless it is a direct result of a hit ball; as such, advancing to score is not allowed on an overthrow to 3rd by the fielding team attempting to get the runner out who is advancing to 3rd base, is on the base, or has just rounded 3rd on a base hit.

SLIDING/AVOIDING CONTACT

A base runner may not intentionally make contact with a fielder. A base runner who, in the umpire’s opinion, initiates contact with a fielder anywhere on the base paths may be called out.

To prevent collisions, a base runner approaching second base, third base, or home plate must slide feet-first if a throw is made in an attempt to get the base runner out — even if the throw is late or off target. A base runner who does not slide may be called out by the umpire if the base runner makes contact with a fielder. A base runner who slides head-first when advancing to a base may be called out by the umpire. Head first slides are permitted only when a base runner is diving back to a base from which he/she came. (Note: A base runner may not slide when advancing to first base.)

ADVANCING ON OVERTHROWS

If a fielder causes a ball to leave the playing field — beyond the backstop or the side boundaries (usually the team benches) agreed upon before the game — each base runner is awarded the base he/she is going to only. Runners may advance at their own risk on overthrows that remain within the backstop and side boundaries until the ball is returned to the pitcher and the pitcher’s foot is on the rubber. Note the intent of the preceding sentence is that when the fielding team has reasonably returned the ball to the pitcher that runners can no longer advance. For instance, if the pitcher drops or misses a throw of the ball being returned from the field, play should be considered to have ended with further advances by runners prohibited until the ball is next hit by a batter.

PINCH RUNNERS

If a catcher, when his/her team is batting, reaches base or is on base with two outs in an inning, the coach has the option to temporarily replace the catcher with a pinch runner so that the catcher can begin putting on the catcher’s equipment. This rule is designed to allow the next half inning to begin without delay, and applies only if the catcher will return to the catcher position. The pinch runner must be the player who made the most recent out.

Mercy Rule

An inning must end when everyone on the batting team has had an at-bat, or the fielding team makes three outs, whichever occurs first except that, if the team lineups are different in length, then the maximum number of batters in an inning shall be equal to the number of batters in the longest lineup.

Extra Innings

There are no extra innings in regular season games. If the score is tied after six innings, the game is complete and considered a tie.

If the score of a playoff game is tied at the end of six innings, play continues until one team has more total runs than the other after the bottom half of an extra inning. If the score is still tied when darkness, weather, or the scheduled start of another game causes the game to be stopped, the game must be concluded at a later date, time, and location agreed upon by the two head coaches and the league VP.

Darkness

Prior to May 15, an inning may not be started after 7:30 p.m. After that date, an inning may not be started after 7:50 p.m. If, in the umpire’s opinion, after consulting both head coaches, an inning is unlikely to be completed in daylight, the game must be stopped before the start of that inning. Under no circumstances may a game be continued when it’s difficult for any player to see the ball. The umpire is authorized to stop a game because of darkness at any time. If a game is official and is stopped in the middle of an inning, the score reverts to what it was at the end of the last completed inning.

Under no circumstances may a game be continued when it’s difficult for any player to see the ball. The umpire is authorized to stop a game because of darkness at any time. If a game is official and is stopped in the middle of an inning, the score reverts to what it was at the end of the last completed inning.

Length-of-Game

An inning in the regular season should not start after 1 hour and 50 minutes from the start of the game, assuming it meets the Darkness rules stated above. Finish all innings that started on time and meets the Darkness rules. There is no length-of-game limit on playoff games.

Official Game

A game is considered official after two-and-a-half innings have been played when the home team is leading, or after three full innings otherwise.

Partial Game

If a game must be discontinued because of inclement weather, poor field conditions, or darkness before it becomes an official game, it may be resumed at a later date, time, and location agreed upon by the two head coaches only if there is an available field indicated on the Minors schedule on the BYB website at that time. Should no field be available or if the coaches fail to agree on a date, the game will be considered cancelled. Note that in 2012, the fields are very tightly scheduled so rescheduling games will be difficult.

Resumed Game

A partial game that is resumed must continue from the exact point where it left off: the same half of the same inning, with the same batter, batting orders, base runners, pitchers, and fielders. Partial game players who are unavailable for the resumed game may be replaced by other available players who were not in the field or in the lineup when the partial game was stopped. However, a pitcher who had been removed from the partial game before it was stopped may not pitch in the resumed game.

Game Recording and Reporting

Each team is required to keep score. Coaches/scorekeepers should meet after each half inning to ensure that they agree on the score, and to notify each other of lineup changes and substitutions.

Each head coach should also report any inappropriate behavior by coaches, players, or spectators to the league VP.

Rule Violations, Disputes, and Protests

A coach who notices that the opposing team is about to violate a rule (such as a playing-time rule) must notify the opposing coach immediately. It is not acceptable to wait until the rule has been violated in an attempt to win by forfeit; this is not consistent with the spirit of youth baseball or the objectives of BYB.

If a rule violation has occurred:

  1. The head coach who observes the violation should first bring it to the attention of the opposing head coach and, if possible, resolve the issue without involving the umpire.
  2. If the issue cannot be resolved between the two head coaches, they must then consult the umpire. For certain violations, such as batting out of order or use of an illegal bat, the umpire must be notified immediately after the conclusion of the at-bat in which the violation occurred, before the first pitch to the next batter (see BATTING ORDER for more details).
  3. After the umpire makes a decision to resolve the dispute, the coaches must abide by that decision and must resume play and complete the game. The umpire has final authority while the game is in progress, and his or her decision cannot be reversed during the course of the game without his or her consent.

If a head coach disagrees with the umpire’s decision during a Minor League playoff game at the end of the season, but NOT a game during the regular season, and wants to elevate the issue to the league VP, he or she must:

  1. Formally protest the game before resuming play. To do this, the coach must write the word "protest" in his or her scorebook, record the game details at the time of the protest (inning, score, outs, base runners), and have the umpire sign the score book. Any other form of protest, such as refusing to resume play (except when the safety of the players is compromised), is not allowed and may result in a forfeit against the protesting team and further discipline against that team’s head coach.
  2. Contact the league VP within two hours after the conclusion of the game to complete the protest. The league VP will then take whatever steps are necessary to resolve the dispute fairly, and will make a decision that may include allowing the final score to stand, replaying some or all of the game, or awarding a forfeit to overturn the outcome of the game.

Note: A coach may not protest a game after the conclusion of the game without following the protest process described above. Therefore, any rule violation or dispute that is not brought to the attention of the opposing head coach and the umpire while the game is in progress cannot be used as grounds for a protest after the game has ended.  

Standings and Playoff Seedings

There are no regular season standings and all teams make the playoffs. The league VP will communicate the playoff format and schedule as soon as possible.