3.00 Game Preliminaries
3.01 – Before the game begins the umpires shall –
(a) require strict observance of all rules governing team personnel, implements of play, and equipment of players;
(b) be sure that all playing lines (heavy lines on Diagrams No. 1 and No. 2) are marked with non-caustic lime, chalk, or other white material easily distinguishable from the ground or grass;
(c) receive from the league a supply of baseballs which meet Little League specifications and standards. The umpire shall be the sole judge of the fitness of the balls to be used in the game;
(d) be assured by the league that additional balls are immediately available for use if required;
(e) have possession of at least two alternate balls and shall require replenishment of such supply of alternate balls as needed throughout the game. Such alternate balls shall be put in play when –
- a ball has been batted out of the playing field or into the spectator area;
- a ball has become discolored or unfit for further use;
- the pitcher requests such alternate ball.
3.02 – No player shall intentionally discolor or damage the ball by rubbing it with soil, rosin, paraffin, licorice, sand-paper, emery-paper, or other foreign substance.
PENALTY: The umpire shall demand the ball and remove the offender from the pitching position. In case the umpire cannot locate the offender, and if the pitcher delivers such discolored or damaged ball to the batter, the pitcher shall be removed from the pitching position at once.
3.03 – A player in the starting line-up who has been removed for a substitute may re-enter the game once, in any position in the batting order, provided:
(a) his or her substitute has completed one time at bat and;
(b) has played defensively for a minimum of six (6) consecutive outs;
(c) pitchers once removed from the mound may not return as pitchers; Intermediate (50-70) Division/ Junior/ Senior: A pitcher remaining in the game, but moving to a different position, can return as a pitcher any time in the remainder of the game, but only once per game.
(d) only a player in the starting line-up may re-enter the game;
(e) a starter, (S1) re-entering the game as a substitute for another starter (S2) must then fulfill all conditions of a substitute (one at bat and six defensive outs) before starter (S2) can re-enter the game;
(f) Defensive substitutions must be made while the team is on defense. Offensive substitutions must be made at the time the offensive player has her/ his turn at bat or is on base.
NOTE 1: A substitute may not be removed from the game prior to completion of his/ her mandatory play requirements.
NOTE 2: When two or more substitute players of the defensive team enter the game at the same time, the manager shall, immediately before they take their positions as fielders, designate to the Umpire-in-Chief such players’ positions in the team’s batting order and the Umpire-in-Chief shall notify the official scorer. The Umpire-in-Chief shall have authority to designate the substitutes’ places in the batting order, if this information is not immediately provided.
NOTE 3: If during a game either team is unable to place nine (9) players on the field due to illness, injury, ejection, or inability to make a legal substitution, the opposing manager shall select a player previously used in the line-up to re-enter the game, but only if use of all eligible players has exhausted the roster. A player ejected from the game is not eligible for re-entry.
3.03 – Big League
(a) Any player in the starting line-up, including the designated hitter, who has been removed for a substitute may re-enter the game once, provided such player occupies the same batting position as he or she did in the starting lineup.
(b) A pitcher, withdrawn for a substitute, may not re-enter the game as a pitcher. (EXCEPTION: A pitcher may re-enter the game as a pitcher, if withdrawn for a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner, and then returned to the game at the beginning of the next half-inning.)
(c) A pitcher remaining in the game, but moving to a different position, can return as a pitcher anytime in the remainder of the game, but only once per game.
(d) Defensive substitutions must be made while the team is on defense. Offensive substitutions must be made at the time the offensive player has her/ his turn at bat or is on base.
Senior/ Big League Designated Hitter Rule:
(a) At the beginning of a game, each manager may list on the lineup card a designated hitter to bat throughout the game for a designated player in the regular lineup.
(b) Only a player not in the regular batting order may be used as a designated hitter.
(c) In the event a manager decides to use the designated hitter as a defensive player, the player must remain in the same position in the batting order, unless otherwise replaced by a substitute. If so, the player for whom the designated hitter was batting must be removed from the game. Such player may re-enter the game once, but only in the batting order position of the former designated hitter, who must be removed.
3.04 – A player whose name is on the team’s batting order may not become a substitute runner for another member of the team. “Courtesy runner” not permitted.
(a) The pitcher named in the batting order handed to the Umpire-in-Chief, as provided in Rules 4.01(a) and 4.01(b) shall pitch to the first batter or any substitute batter until such batter or any substitute batter is retired or reaches first base, unless the pitcher sustains an injury or illness which, in the judgment of the Umpire-in-Chief, incapacitates the pitcher from further play as a pitcher.
(b) If the pitcher is replaced, the substitute pitcher shall pitch to the batter then at bat, or any substitute batter, until such batter is retired or reaches first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains an injury or illness, which in the Umpire-in-Chief’s judgment, incapacitates the pitcher from further play as a pitcher.
3.06 – The manager shall immediately notify the Umpire-in-Chief of any substitution and shall state to the Umpire-in-Chief the substitute’s place in the batting order.
3.07 – The Umpire-in-Chief, after having been notified, shall immediately announce, or cause to be announced, each substitution.
(a) If no announcement of a substitution is made, the substitute shall be considered to have entered the game when –
- if a pitcher, the substitute takes a position on the pitcher’s plate and throws one warm-up pitch to the catcher;
- if a batter, the substitute takes a position in the batter’s box;
- if a fielder, the substitute reaches the position usually occupied by the fielder being replaced and play commences;
- if a runner, the substitute takes the place of the runner being replaced.
(b) Any play made by, or on, any of the above mentioned unannounced substitutes shall be legal.
3.09 – Players, managers, and coaches of the participating teams shall not address, or mingle with spectators, nor sit in the stands during a game in which they are engaged. Managers or coaches must not warm up a pitcher at home plate or in the bull pen or elsewhere at any time. They may, however, stand by to observe a pitcher during warm-up in the bullpen.
(a) The managers of both teams shall agree on the fitness of the playing field before the game starts. In the event that the two managers cannot agree, the president or a duly delegated representative shall make the determination.
(b) The Umpire-in-Chief shall be the sole judge as to whether and when play shall be suspended during a game because of unsuitable weather conditions or the unfit condition of the playing field; as to whether and when play shall be resumed after such suspension; and as to whether and when a game shall be terminated after such suspension. Said umpire shall not call the game until at least thirty minutes after play has been suspended. The umpire may continue suspension as long as there is any chance to resume play.
3.11 – Double Headers
Little League (Major) Division: A team may play one (1) doubleheader in a calendar week. No team shall play three games in a day. (Exception under condition of Rule 4.12.)
Tee Ball and Minor League: No team shall be scheduled to play two games in one day. (See Rule 4.12).
Intermediate (50-70) Division/ Junior/ Senior/ Big League: Doubleheaders are permitted.
3.12 – When the umpire suspends play, “Time” shall be called. At the umpire’s call of “Play” the suspension is lifted and play resumes. Between the call of “Time” and the call of “Play” the ball is dead.
3.13 – The local league will establish ground rules to be followed by all teams in the league.
A.R.— Local ground rules should pertain to particular situations or field conditions that are not specifically covered in the rulebook, but at no time should they supersede or change the rulebook.
3.14 – Members of the offensive team shall carry all gloves and other equipment off the field and to the dugout while their team is at bat. No equipment shall be left lying on the field, either in fair or foul territory.
3.15 – No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except uniformed players, managers, and coaches, umpires and news photographers authorized by the league. In case of intentional interference with play by any person authorized to be on the playing field, the ball is dead at the moment of the interference and no runners on base may advance. Should an overthrown ball accidentally touch an authorized person, it will not be considered interference and the ball will remain live.
3.16 – When there is spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball, the ball shall be dead at the moment of interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in the umpire’s opinion will nullify the act of interference.
A.R.— If spectator interference clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball, the umpire shall declare the batter out.
3.17 – Players and substitutes shall sit on their team’s bench or in the dugout unless participating in the game or preparing to enter the game. No one except eligible players in uniform, a manager, and not more than two coaches shall occupy the bench or dugout. When batters or base runners are retired, they must return to the bench or dugout at once. Batboys and/ or batgirls are not permitted. The use of electronic communication equipment during the game is restricted. No team shall use electronic communication equipment, including walkie-talkies, cellular telephones, etc., for any communication with on-field personnel including those in the dugout, bullpen, or field.
Penalty: If, in the umpire’s judgment, any player, manager, or coach uses an electronic communications device during the game, the penalty is ejection from the game.
NOTE: A manager or coach is permitted to use a scorekeeping and/ or pitch-counting application on an electronic device without penalty, provided such device is not used to receive messages of any sort.
3.18 – The local league shall provide proper protection sufficient to preserve order and to prevent spectators from entering the field. Either team may refuse to play until the field is cleared.