Click here to download the 2009 MSBL Rules document.
Revised January 2009
This league was created to provide men 18 years and older an alternative to softball and enable us to play the game we all grew up playing. Adult attitudes must always prevail, no matter how competitive any league is. The responsibility that this ethic sustains will remain at the responsibility of the individual league President and his officers and anyone who abuses the league’s code can be suspended or expelled from the league.
1. Uniforms, Helmets, Baseballs and Other Equipment
2. Game Length, Run Rule and Rain-Outs
3. Teams, Players and Line-Ups
4. Player Behavior and Team Responsibility
5. Courtesy Runners
8. Ex-Pro Status and Regulations
9. General League Rules
10. Code of Conduct
1. UNIFORMS, HELMETS, BASEBALLS and OTHER EQUIPMENT
1(a) All teams must have full baseball uniforms consisting of caps, numbered baseball jerseys, baseball pants (no shorts), and belt - each player’s uniform must be of similar design to his teammates uniforms. Teams having sponsorship will be allowed the sponsors name on their uniforms via patch or uniform shirt.
(a)(1) No player out of uniform will be allowed to play without the opposing manager’s consent.
(a)(2) Hats are mandatory in the field.
(a)(3) All teams should have their uniforms by their first game. A grace period should be extended for newly activated players or for new teams to complete their uniforms.
1(b) All batters and runners must wear helmets for both at bats and on base. There is no option to this rule. Full double-ear flap helmets are encouraged for at bats and are encouraged for the bases. Catchers must wear a helmet underneath their mask. All base coaches are required to wear protective head gear while on the field of play. All minors in the dugout (e.g. batboy or batgirl) must wear helmets at all times.
1(c) All teams are required to use MSBL/MABL approved baseballs. Each team should bring a minimum of 3 balls to each single game or 5 balls to each doubleheader. Only balls provided by the league will be permitted.
1(d) Wood, metal and composite bats are allowed. The maximum bat differential established by the National organization is a minus 3 for any type of metal or aluminum bat. No metal bats exceeding 36” in length and/or a 2 5/8” diameter are permitted. If a player uses a bat exceeding this differential and a protest is made, the offending batter will be declared an out.
1(e) Metal cleats are permitted.
1(f) Each team is encouraged to have a first aid kit available at all games.
2. GAME LENGTH, RUN RULE AND RAIN-OUTS
2(a) Games may either be 9 innings with a 2 hour 45 minute time limit or 7 innings with a 2.5-hour time limit. The time limit does not apply to extra inning games. Once an inning starts it must be completed in full, exclusive of time limit. The game will officially begin when the catcher throws the pitcher's last warm-up pitch to second base at the top of the first inning. The plate umpire will announce the official start time for each team to record in the scorebook.
Re: darkness or rain, 5 innings completes game – umpires discretion
All league games must be played to completion either by league standards, being a (7) inning, (9) inning or an extra inning game. The umpire may suspend, cancel or call a game if, in their opinion, the safety of the players is compromised due to rain, darkness, field conditions, or time limits.
2(b) If there is a 10-run discrepancy after 7 innings of a 9-inning game or 5 innings of a 7-inning game, the game will be ruled final at this point.
2(c) Rain out games will be rescheduled by the league with proper notification. In the event a rainout is not rescheduled, each team will receive a ½ win and a ½ lose towards their record.
2(d) When two or more teams end the season with identical regular season winning percentages, the following tie-breakers will be applied:
1. Head-to-head record
2. Record within division
3. Most runs head-to-head
4. Fewest total runs against
5. Coin flip
2(e) Teams listed first on the schedule will be visitors and second will be home. In the case of a double header, the home team during the first game would become the visiting team for the second game.
2(f) If, during the course of the game, an extended delay occurs (e.g., rain delay or injury), the umpire may stop the game clock and resume after the delay. The umpire will have the sole authority of the game (and break) clock.
3. TEAMS, PLAYERS AND LINEUPS
3(a) Each member team will have a team manager to represent their respective team at league meetings and functions.
Selection of all managers is to be accomplished through an individual team vote as deemed appropriate by respective team.
At the close of each season, each team may decide whether to retain the manager or to elect, by majority vote, new representatives for the upcoming season. The decisions must be presented to the league directors for board approval no later than 60 days after the league's championship game.
3(b) All players, prior to participating in a game, must have signed waiver forms on file with the league.
3(c) New Players: All new players who have contacted the league in response to advertising or who have been referred to the league by any means will be subject to draft. A player who has not played in any league game in either the current or previous year shall be regarded as a new player. A new player acquired by a team through that team’s own recruiting efforts shall be subject to the control of the team and not the league.
3(d) A team roster must have no less than 14 players. Roster size is unlimited.
3(e) 28+ MSBL teams that entered the 35+ division in 2008 were required to have over 50% of their roster to be 35 years of age or over. If this condition was met, all other rostered players younger than 35 were ‘grandfathered’ on that team only and were allowed to play in the 35+ division. New teams entering the 35+ division in 2009 will be allowed to roster two 34 year old players and new teams in 2010 will be allowed to roster one 34 year old player. New teams starting in 2011 and after will require all players to be 35 and over.
3(f) If a manager uses a player found out to be underage the manager and the player will each receive a suspension and each receive a $50 fine (See 4.g). EVERY PLAYER MUST HAVE PROOF OF AGE AT EVERY GAME. Each player must be able to present proof of age if requested by the opposing manager and/or umpire. If proof of age cannot be presented, the player in question shall be removed from the game until he can provide proof.
3(g) A player is eligible to participate in an official league sanctioned MABL game when he turns 18 years of age. A player entering the 35+ division is eligible during the calendar year of their 35th birthday.
3(h) Team rosters must be submitted to the league prior to opening day, including league and player fees, copy of photo I.D., proof of date of birth and player waiver forms. Rosters may not be changed after 50% of the team's games have been played unless:
- Players are lost to injuries
- A player from their roster voluntarily quits for the remainder of the season
3(i) A team manager may bat as many players as he desires, with a minimum of 10 (subject to the number of players available, if less than 10). Batters cannot be deleted or skipped over, regardless of their batting position or when they were added during the game. If a team has only 9 players and therefore bats only 9, the opposing team will have the option of batting 9 as well.
3(j) A manager may add batters to the bottom of the lineup at any time but if a batter is pinch hit or run for (except under courtesy runners as outlined in section 5), the player may not re-enter the game as a hitter but may remain in the game as a fielder or pitcher. Added players to the bottom of the lineup may be added as individual hitters or as A/B. Each team has a hitting and a defensive lineup that are independent of each other. Players may play in either lineup or both.
3(k) A team MAY declare at the time that lineups are exchanged prior to the start of play that any batting order position will be occupied by two players in each such batting position. That is, 3A/3B, 10, 11A/11B, 12, etc. The first time that position 9 gets an at bat, 9A would hit and the next time this slot hits, 9B would be up. Then 9A hits the third time this spot in the order comes up, and so on, alternating between these two players throughout the game. Once a team declares the use of this A/B system, it must continue using it for the remainder of the game. Hitters in the A/B position may be pinch hit for, just as any other player. A/B hitters may be used at any position in the hitting lineup.
3(l) If a player is forced to leave a game due to injury, emergency or ejection, a reserve player, not previously entered into the game as a hitter, must hit in the replaced hitter’s place. If there are no reserves who can replace the individual, the spot is skipped and all hitters below that position move up. The first time this vacated spot comes up in the batting order, an out will be assessed, after that one time, no out will be recorded for skipping the spot vacated by the displaced player.
3(m) A team must have 8 players for an official game and may borrow a player from an opposing team with the opposing manager’s consent or may borrow a player from another team, also with the opposing manager’s consent. If the team’s 9th player arrives after the start of the game, the borrowed player reverts back to his team.
3(n) All players may be substituted for defensively, at any time, without affecting the players offensive status in the line-up. If the pitcher is removed, he may re-enter to pitch only one time during the course of the game, but not in the same inning. The removed pitcher may play any other position after being removed or no position at all.
3(o) No player may switch teams without the consent of both managers and fulfilling his obligations with his current team (paid all fees owed and return uniform). If this does not meet with approval, the player must sit out one calendar year from competition, from the last date of his playing, or re-enter the league’s next draft, making himself available to any team for selection.
3(p) In the event a player wishes to leave his existing team and form a new team, he may do so. He may not take more than 4 players (including himself) from any existing team. No existing or new team may take more than 4 players from a disbanded team in the year immediately following that team’s disbandment.
3(q) Last names must be used in the scorebook to allow for player identification for follow up inquiries that relate to age and/or eligibility.
3(r) Line ups will be exchanged between team representatives at the pre-game meeting with the umpires (or before).
4. PLAYERS BEHAVIOR AND TEAM RESPONSIBILITY
4(a) There will be no beer or alcoholic beverages permitted at the field before, during or after the game. The field refers to the general playing area and ancillary areas.
4(b) The league has the right to suspend or expel any team member who abuses league rules or who does not exhibit a sense of sportsmanship or who plays without regard to the safety of the umpires or other players.
4(c) An umpire has sole discretion to expel any player or manager from the game.
4(d) Fighting among players or aggressive physical contact with an umpire will not be tolerated and players expelled from the game for either violation will be subject to expulsion from the league.
4(e) Players shall not intentionally collide with any other players. In the case of a runner intentionally colliding with a fielder, the runner will be called out and may, at the umpire’s discretion, be expelled from the game. All base runners must either slide or give up their right to a base (avoid a collision by stopping or leaving a base path) if the defensive player (e.g. catcher) has possession of the ball, is in the act of receiving the ball, or is about to immediately receive the ball and will be able to make an apparent play on the base runner. If a defensive player is not in possession of the ball, is not in the act of receiving the ball, or is not about to immediately receive the ball so that he is able to record an out (apparent play. at any base), he cannot block the base (e.g. home plate) or be in the base path so as to impede (obstruct) the base runner’s right to that base. Under such circumstances, the defensive player shall be responsible to avoid collision. If a collision does occur under these circumstances, the runner will always be considered safe and the obstruction rule shall be enforced. The defensive player may be ejected from the game (if the action is intentional, he must be ejected), and will be suspended from league play if the obstruction is judged to be flagrant.
4(f) A play at home plate will require all runners to slide or give themselves up. Specifically, if a catcher is waiting with the ball to make the tag and the runner deliberately throws a block into the catcher, the runner will be called out and ejected from the game. If the catcher, the runner, and the ball arrive simultaneously and a collision occurs, this is incidental contact, with the umpire determining a 'safe' or 'out' call. The umpire will be judge and jury regarding flagrant or incidental contact.
If a defensive player is not in possession of the ball, is not in the act of receiving the ball, or is not about to immediately receive the ball so that he is able to record an out (apparent play at any base), he cannot block the base (e.g., home plate) or be in the base path so as to impede the base runner's right to that base. Under such circumstances, the defensive player shall be responsible to avoid collision. If a collision does not occur under these circumstances, the runner will always be considered safe and the obstruction rule shall be enforced. The defensive player may be ejected from the game, and will be suspended from league play if the obstruction is judged to be flagrant.
4(g) Failure to abide by age regulations - the managers must all recognize their responsibility to the league and the perpetuity of it as to not cross the line where winning is more important than playing. An opposing manager may at anytime have the right to question a player’s age. If a manager wants to lodge a protest, proof of age and residence must be mailed to the manager who lodged his protest by Friday of the following week. If an under age player is detected, penalties whether to the individual or team will be decided by the league president and board of directors. The penalties will be forfeiture of all games in which the under-age player participated in and a minimum two-year suspension. If the manager had prior knowledge, he is subject to similar suspension.
4(h) All players and managers are reminded that pre-game stretching and throwing should be done on the outfield grass, not on the infield or in front of the dugouts. 'Soft toss' against any fence surrounding the field is prohibited.
Because our league is a private league, proper consideration must be given to the facilities we are using. Destruction of property will not be tolerated. If there is evidence of misuse when arriving at a ballpark, contact the league president.
5. COURTESY RUNNERS
5(a) Each team is allowed two courtesy runners during the course of the game. Each team must declare to the opposing team and umpires at the pre-game meeting which players are to be assigned the courtesy runner privilege or forfeit the privilege, except in the case of injury. If, during the course of the game, the player assigned a courtesy runner does not use the runner; the batter loses the privilege for the remainder of the game. The last batted out is to be used as the runner, unless that player has a courtesy runner declared. In this instance, the batted out prior to the last batted out is to be used as the runner. Should no batted out be available (e.g., no batted out has been recorded and/or they are on base), then the last batter in the batting order, or immediate prior batter in the lineup if the last batter has a designated courtesy runner, shall be used as the courtesy runner. If, due to an injury during the course of the game a player needs a courtesy runner, and the team has not used both of its courtesy runners, then a courtesy runner can be declared for the injured player. If, due to an injury it is necessary to have an additional courtesy runner, more than two, a runner can be at the umpires discretion. The authenticity of any injury is left to the discretion of the umpires. In all cases of additional courtesy runners, the last batted out is to be used as the runner, unless that player has a courtesy runner declared, and then the batted out prior to the last batted out is to be used as the runner (or the bottom of the order, if necessary). The 30-second time limit will begin at the time the umpire calls for time to allow replacement for the runner.
5(b) An additional courtesy runner, as defined in 5(a), may be permitted for the catcher once the 2nd out has been made in an inning, provided that the runner/batter-runner being replaced starts the next half inning in the catchers’ position. This is intended as a speed up rule and disregard for the intention of this rule, as determined by the umpire, will result in forfeiting this opportunity for the rest of the game.
6(a) While pitching, no player may wear white or gray sleeves, nor wear a batting glove or wristband while pitching.
6(b) One intentional walk per game will be allowed. The pitcher must make a minimum of 4 pitches to affect the walk. The catcher is permitted to move from his position in the catcher's box, in accordance with Major League Baseball rules.
6(c) If a pitcher hits 4 batters in any one game, the pitcher must be removed on the 4th hit batsman. The removed pitcher may not reenter as a pitcher during that game.
6(d) There is no regulation as to how many innings a pitcher may pitch in a game or a week.
7(a) Infielders are not allowed to decoy a throw or catch. If a decoy throw or catch is detected, all runners shall be allowed to advance one base beyond the base held after all play stops. If the same fielder decoys twice in the same game, the fielder shall be expelled from the game. Decoying is referred to as a false catch or throw done in an attempt to get the player to slide unnecessarily, where no strategic value is gained.
8. EX-PRO STATUS AND REGULATIONS
8(a) A player must be out of professional ball for 3 complete MSBL seasons before becoming eligible to participate in the league. Professional ball refers to major and minor leagues. Independent leagues are to be considered separately.
9. GENERAL LEAGUE RULES
9(a) Two forfeits by any team could mean immediate expulsion from the league with no money refunded to the team.
9(b) All protests should be lodged to the league protest committee/board within 24 hours after the game for which the protest is made. All protests shall be decided by the league board of directors and/or protest committee. There will be a $25 protest fee, refundable if the protest is upheld.
9(c) In order for a player to qualify and participate in his team’s league playoffs, tournaments and/or post-season events, he must participate in at least 6 of his team’s regular season games and meet all other player responsibilities (e.g., player fee, waiver forms, photo I.D.). If a player fails to meet the 6 game requirement due to injury, a letter should be submitted to the league president explaining non-compliance.
9(d) The annual draft will be conducted in a manner to allow parity in the league by having the prior year’s teams with the lowest winning percentages drafting first and continuing through to the highest winning percentage.
Expansion teams will draft first. A coin flip will be held if there is more than one expansion team.
9(e) New rules or regulations may not be added to these rules and regulations after the season's 3rd game. Rules and regulations may only be added or changed during the season with written petition and presented to the board for vote.
9(f) At minimum, the league's board of directors will consist of the league president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary. Additional members may be added as necessary.
9(g) At the end of the regular season there will be a post season tournament. Brackets, dates, times, and locations of these games will be determined by the league.
10. CODE OF CONDUCT
Managers and players shall conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner at all times. No manager or player shall commit the following:
1. Lay a hand upon, shove or strike, or threaten an official. Players and managers guilty of such conduct shall be immediately suspended from further participation in the game and shall remain suspended until his conduct is reviewed by the board of directors. Players and managers guilty of such conduct shall be subject to suspension for the remainder of the season or expulsion from the league for life.
2. Refuse to abide by an official’s decision. Players guilty of such conduct shall be immediately suspended from further participation in the game and shall remain suspended until his conduct is reviewed by the board of directors. Players guilty of such conduct shall be subject to probation or suspension for the remainder of the season.
3. Be guilty of objectionable demonstrations of dissent at an official’s decision. Players and managers guilty of such conduct shall be subject to suspension from further participation in the game.
4. Discuss with an official or officials the decision reached by such official or officials, except for the manager or his designee who are authorized to participate in such discussions. Players guilty of such conduct shall be subject to suspension from further participation in the game.
5. Use unnecessarily rough tactics in the play of the game against the body or person of an opposing player. Players guilty of such conduct shall be immediately suspended from further participation in the game and shall be subject to probation or suspension for the remainder of the season.
6. Be guilty of physical attack as an aggressor upon any player, manager, official, or spectator, before, during, or after a game. Players guilty of such conduct shall be immediately suspended from further participation in the game and shall remain suspended until their conduct is reviewed by the board of directors. Players guilty of such conduct shall be subject to suspension for the remainder of the season or expulsion from the league for life.
7. Be guilty of verbal abusive attack upon any player, manager, official, or spectator, before, during, or after a game. Players guilty of such conduct shall be immediately suspended from further participation in the game and shall remain suspended until their conduct is reviewed by the board of directors. Players guilty of such conduct shall be subject to suspension for the remainder of the season.
8. Consume alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs during the game or be upon the field of play at any time in an intoxicated condition. Players guilty of such conduct shall be immediately suspended from further participation in the game and shall be subject to probation or suspension for the remainder of the season.
9. Smoke on the field of play or in the dugout. Players guilty of such conduct shall be immediately suspended from further participation in the game.
1. The board of directors may, by vote of the majority of the directors, suspend any player or manager for such a period and upon such terms as it may propose, for the conduct with in its opinion is prejudicial to the welfare, interest, reputation, or charter of the league.
2. Except as otherwise provided, the board shall determine the appropriate action required for violations of the codes of conduct, and shall report their decision to the player and manager.
3. If any player/manager is ejected from any game the following rules will apply:
a) The player/manager is not eligible for league play for 1 game following the game of ejection.
b) A player/manager's first ejection will result in a fine of $25
c) A player/manager's second ejection, during the same MABL/MSBL season, will result in a $50 fine and a 3 game suspension, beginning immediately after the game of ejection (Rainout/cancelled games do not qualify toward suspension. Suspension includes all playoff and championship games.)
d) A player/manager's third ejection, during the same MABL/MSBL season, will result in a $75 fine and an immediate suspension from the Fort Wayne MABL/MSBL. The player/manager will not be allowed to participate until he appears before the board and is approved by the board to resume play.
4. Any player found in violation of any provisions delineated in the codes of conduct will be suspended from the league for the remainder of the season and will not be allowed to participate again until he appears before the board. This type of ejection may also lead to banishment from the league.
5. Any player or coach who is ejected from a game must leave the park (e.g., parking lot, bleachers)
6. Any team having players ejected from 2 consecutive games, will have the manager suspended 1 game from playing or managing. The manager of that team may not be present at the site of the game.
Grievances, protests, and appeals
1. Grievances may be filed by an individual player or by the manager of a team provided that a grievance is formally submitted to the commissioner or appropriate board. The commissioner shall adjudicate all such grievances and shall report any action taken to the board of directors.
2. All decisions by the board of directors are final and not subject to appeal.