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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Brookline Youth Baseball League Rules
(Minors, Major B, Major A and Seniors)
(revised March 10, 2014)

The purpose of these baseball rules is to define the game of baseball with appropriate modifications for age of players, skills development, and sportsmanship.
Except where noted, BYB follows the Little League Rules. These rules are available as a printed book, and as an iPad app with searchable text.  Except as modified herein, Major A and Major B shall follow the “majors” rules set forth in the Little League Rules and Minors shall follow the “minors” rules set forth in the Little League Rules.  Seniors shall follow the “Seniors” rules set forth in the Little League Rules.
Some rules of particular importance to coaches are highlighted.

Section I – The League

BYB has established the following leagues:
Major A (also known as “the Majors Division” in the Little League Rule Book) – players that are in 5th, 6th or 7th grade and who are 9-12 year olds.  All players that are league age 12 who register on time and attend tryouts are entitled to be in Major A. 
Major B – players that are in 4th, 5th, or 6th grade and who are 9-12 year olds who require more experience to play at the Major A level.
Minors – players that are in 3rd or 4th grade..
Seniors – Players who are league age 13-14 year olds.

Section IV – The Players

The league age of a player is their age as of May 1 of the year in question.

Section VI – Pitchers

(a) Any player, who has played the position of catcher for four or more innings in a game, is not eligible to pitch on that calendar day.
(c) Pitch count limits:

League Age Maximum pitches per day
17-18 105
13-16 95
11-12 85 (60 prior to May 18)
9-10 75 (60 prior to May 18)
7-8 50

A pitcher reaching these limits while facing a batter may continue to pitch until: 1). The batter reaches base; 2). That batter is put out; 3). The third out is made to complete the half-inning.
A pitcher who delivers 41 or more pitches in a game cannot play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day.
(d) Rest requirements for pitchers aged 14 and under:

Number of pitches Calendar days of rest required
66 or more 4
51-65 3
36-50 2
21-35 1
1-20 0

A pitcher who reaches these limits and completes pitching to a batter as described above thus exceeding the threshold reached during the at-bat, need only observe the rest for the pitch threshold reached during the at-bat.

BYB Pitcher Innings Limits

The maximum number of innings for each pitcher in a single game is five and in a single pitching week (defined as Sunday to Saturday) is six.
Any inning in which a pitcher throws at least one pitch to a batter counts as a full inning for that pitcher.
In addition to abiding by the mandatory innings limits, each head coach must record the number of pitches thrown by each pitcher on his/her team during each game, and must report each pitcher’s pitch count and innings to the league VP after the game.

Official Playing Rules

2.00 – Definition of Terms

Strike Zone: that space over the home plate between the armpits and the top of the knees when the batter assumes a natural stance.
BYB Major B – expanded strike zone
The strike zone is from the knees to the top of the shoulders. The strike zone is a little wider than home plate, about a full ball width inside and a full ball width outside. We want to allow the pitchers to throw strikes.
BYB Minors – expanded strike zone
In the spirit of keeping the game moving with a lot of action both batting and fielding, BYB Minors uses an expanded strike zone such that the umpire should call a strike on any pitch between the knees and shoulders and within a fist width beyond either side of the plate.  The idea is to reduce the number of walks and encourage all players to try to hit, while at the same time, not call pitches strikes that cannot reasonably be hit, e.g., over the shoulders.
At the start of every game, the coaches should discuss and agree with the plate umpire on the size of the strike zone that will be called. Part of the conversation with parent/volunteer umpires should be that Minors age kids sometimes throw their pitches in an arc, which makes it hard for the umpire to call the pitch.
For example, a pitch that crosses the plate over the shoulders but arrives at the catcher in the strike zone should be called a ball. The reverse, where the ball crosses the plate in the strike zone but is caught below the batter's knees by the catcher, should be called a strike.

3.00 – Game Preliminaries

3.03 Substitutions and playing time requirements.  BYB permits free substitutions in the field – the requirements set forth in Rule 3.03 do not need to be complied with to substitute players.  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. 
In addition, the following requirements must be complied with:
During each game, each player must play in the field for at least four innings and must be given the opportunity to play 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.)

4.00 – Starting and Ending The Game

4.04 BYB mandates the use of a continuous batting order for all leagues.
4.10(e) Mercy Rule: In the Minors, each inning shall end if the offensive team scores five runs in the inning.  In Major A and Major B, each inning shall end if the offensive team scores ten runs in the inning. 
Fielding a Team
Notwithstanding anything in Rule 4.00 to the contrary, a team must be able to field at least eight players to play a game. If a team cannot field at least eight players when the game is scheduled to begin, the start of the game may be delayed for 10 minutes in order to allow late players to arrive. If, after 10 minutes, the team still cannot field at least eight players, that team must forfeit the game. If an injury or early departure leaves a team unable to field at least eight players at any time after a game has begun, that team must forfeit the game. (Note: A shorthanded team may not borrow players from the opposing team.)

6.00 – The Batter

6.02(a) The batter shall take his/her position in the batter’s box promptly when it is said batter’s time at bat. BYB expects the time between innings will be less than 60 seconds (see rules 8.03 and 8.04).
Reminder to coaches and umpires:
6.02(c) If the batter refuses to take his/her position in the batter’s box during a time at bat, the umpire shall call a strike on the batter without the need for a pitch to be delivered. The ball is dead, and no runner may advance. After the penalty, the batter may take a proper position, and the regular ball and strike count shall continue, but if the batter does not take the proper position before three strikes are called, that batter shall be declared out.
Dropped Third Strike Rule 6.05(b)(2):
BYB Major B and Minors:  Runners may not advance to first base on a dropped third strike. 
BYB Major A:  Prior to May 18, runners may not advance to first base on a dropped third strike. Thereafter, the dropped third strike rule described in Rule 6.05(b)(2) shall be in effect.
Slash Bunting.  Slash bunting is not permitted.  In other words, a batter may not show bunt and then attempt to hit the ball due to the risk this action poses for the fielders.  If a batter shows bunt and takes a full swing, the umpire shall call the ball dead and shall call a strike whether or not contact is made with the ball.

7.00 – The Runner

Rule 7.01 A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when that runner touches it before being put out.
Modified Rule 7.01: BYB Scoring From Third Base Rule:
A runner may not score from 3rd as a result of an overthrown ball to 3rd or a dropped ball at 3rd or a fielding error of any kind at 3rd on a play intended to get said runner out on a play at 3rd. The rule shall apply regardless of whether the ball goes out of bounds on the play.
This rule shall not preclude a runner from scoring successfully who (a) has passed 3rd, and (b) is running at top speed from 3rd to home when the ball arrives in the vicinity of 3rd, and therefore, (c) would NOT have been tagged out at 3rd had the fielder at 3rd caught a perfect throw on the play.
BYB Major B and Minors: Runners on third base may NOT steal home, advance to home on a passed ball, or attempt the same on an overthrow to the pitcher from the catcher.  The runner may advance under the regular little league rules under all other circumstances. For example, the runner may advance to home if the catcher throws to first or second base, attempting to put out another runner.
Rule 7.13: Base Stealing:
Minors:  Base stealing shall not be permitted.

8.00 – The Pitcher

8.01 Legal Pitching Delivery. BYB modification to increase strikes for pitchers with difficulty throwing the full distance in Minors only: Pitchers must start pitching in contact with the rubber, but if they are unable to throw a strike, may move closer to the plate with the goal of providing the batter an opportunity to see strikes to swing at. If the velocity of a pitcher disengaged from the plate is unhittable by batters in the league, the pitcher must throw from the rubber.
8.02(d) BYB Prohibition on Curveballs and Sliders.  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. The intent of this rule is not to keep a player from throwing a pitch that changes direction, but to keep him/her from snapping or turning the wrist during the delivery of the pitch. Therefore, a pitch that changes direction but does not entail snapping or turning the wrist, such as a Two-Seam Fastball or a Circle Change-Up, is allowed. (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.
8.05(i) It is a balk if the pitcher, without having the ball, stands on or astride the pitcher’s rubber or while off the rubber feints a pitch;  BYB Note: The BYB code of conduct prohibits hidden ball plays at all levels of competition and scrimmages.
9.00 – The Umpire
9.04(d) BYB will not require a Game Coordinator.

BYB: Other important considerations for coaches

Pace of Play

The following requirements are designed to move the game along and as a result make it more exciting for the players:

  • Game Time - Games must start at the scheduled time. Teams should arrive early enough before game time to warm-up and prepare.
  • Lineups - Coaches should prepare lineups for all six innings before the game and post in the dugout. This will help kids get out to their fielding positions in a timely manner. The head coach must provide the other team with the batting order prior to the start of the game.
  • Inning Changes - No more than 2 minutes should elapse from the last pitch of one half inning to the first pitch of the next.
  • Pitching - Players should work towards delivering the ball within 20 seconds after receiving it from the catcher. (See rules 8.03 and 8.04).
  • The Umpires dictate the pace of play - The coaches might indicate when they are ready, but it is the umpires who should dictate the pace of play. If the coaches and team aren't quite ready to take the field, the umpires will be sure to encourage them to move quickly.  In the case of extreme delay, the umpire may call balls to penalize a delaying pitcher, or strikes to penalize a delaying batter.

Sliding/Avoiding Contact

A base runner may not intentionally make contact with a fielder. This is rule 7.09(j). 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 WILL be called out by the umpire unless the runner is returning to a base. Head-first slides are permitted only when a base runner is diving back to a base to avoid being doubled off on a line drive or to avoid being picked off. (Note: A base runner may not slide when advancing to first base.)  This is rule 7.08(a)(1).
If a base runner is trying to score from third base on a passed ball or wild pitch, the batter must clear out of the batter’s box to avoid interfering with the play. If, in the umpire’s opinion, the batter does not make a legitimate attempt to get out of the way, the umpire may call the base runner out.

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.
The head coach of the winning team (or the home team if the game ends in a tie) is responsible for reporting the following to the league VP within 24 hours after the game:

  • The winner and score of the game (the score of a forfeit is recorded as 6-0).
  • The number of innings played.
  • The numbers of pitches and the innings pitched by each pitcher for both teams.

Each head coach must record the number of pitches thrown by each of his/her team’s pitchers during each game, and must report each pitcher’s pitch count to the league VP after the game.
Each head coach should also report any inappropriate behavior by coaches, players, or spectators.

Fielding a Team at the Minors Level

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.

Bench Area

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 coach or spectator may stand behind the backstop during a game.

Standings and Playoff Seedings

Standings are determined using each team’s Total Points (win = two points; tie = one point). The top two seeds at the end of the regular season receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs. If two teams are tied, the following tie-breakers are applied in the order shown:

  1. Winning Percentage (ties are ignored in calculating winning percentage)
  2. Win/Loss Record: head-to-head
  3. Runs Scored minus Runs Allowed: head-to-head
  4. Win/Loss Record: versus the next-best seed
  5. Runs Scored minus Runs Allowed: versus the next-best seed