The following are the rules for FBL Rookie League. We want to stress that the instructional levels (Rookie and Single A) are here to start players off in the learning process of baseball. These are instructional leagues and thus, we want kids to learn and enjoy these levels of play.
You can field 9 or 10 players. If 9, have 4 in the outfield, 4 in the infield and a catcher – or put your 4thoutfielder next to the pitcher – having a player fielding at the pitchers spot will be UP TO EACH INDIVIDUAL COACH. If 10, have 4 in the outfield, 4 in the infield and a catcher and a player fielding at the pitchers spot. You can also field less; if you have fewer players - just use common sense for placement.
Every player dressed for the game must play.
Each player must play (2) full games per season.
No player will sit for more than (1) defensive inning at a time
All players must rotate positions at least every (2) innings (players should spend equal time in the infield and outfield) and each player should be allowed to play each position during the course of the season (with safety superseding this rule; be very cautious of players at catcher and especially 1stbase and pitcher – know your players and their capabilities and discuss this with your parents so there is no confusion). If a player does not want to play a certain position – that is fine.
Coaches will pitch (overhand) from an appropriate distance and with appropriate velocity (again, know your players) and try to release the ball from a player’s eye level to mimic a peer pitching (the league recommends pitching from your knees). WE WILL PITCH ONLY 5 GOOD PITCHES PER BATTER (if you throw a bad pitch, discount it – and use this opportunity to encourage your player to be discriminating and not swing at bad pitches! – and re-throw that pitch number). As each pitch is thrown call out the pitch number “that’s a good pitch Jonny that is number 3….” etc. Have a coach/assistant that can throw strikes! If the ball is not put into play after 5 quality pitches, we will use the Tee. Set the Tee up properly and set your player up properly to use the Tee. Please adhere to this rule to keep the games moving along and to be fair to everyone on both teams. Towards the end of the year, we may modify this and start the process used in A League – the commissioner will see how the season is going and make a decision when it is appropriate.
The coach that is pitching is responsible for calling time out. When the ball is hit out of the infield and then returned to the infield (thrown or carried) and a player has control of the ball in the infield – the play is dead. If the ball is returned to the infield while runners are moving, the play is live until the runner reaches a base or the defense makes a play on the runner (by tagging or running the player back to a base, etc.).
Have a coach near the plate to encourage all the basics of hitting. Help your players with proper stance and bat and hand position. Be an active participant in their batting.
Players must wear a helmet, with a cage/face-shield, while batting, running the bases and while on deck. Have all 4 kids that are due to bat ready with their helmets but away from the field of play. ONLY the batter should be handling a bat and ONLY when in the batter’s box. You may designate an on-deck area, but unless it is clearly defined, you run the risk of a safety issue. Take this seriously – too many kids get hit by others swinging bats – talk to your players and parents about this and have HARD AND FAST bat rules. Talk to me about this if you need suggestions.
No bunting, but all balls put into play are live balls no matter of distance hit.
Teams will bat through the roster in each game, no matter who is fielding – everyone bats – keep track of who was at bat at the end of each inning – unlike last year we will not end the inning when the last batter bats – it will be decided by the 5 run rule or 3 outs. If the defense gets 3 outs the inning is over, if the offense scores 5 runs that inning, the inning is over. We do not keep “total” score – the 5 run rule is simply there to guide in ending the inning and for speeding up play.
Keep good records to give each player a chance to bat in different positions so as to balance the total number of at bats through the season. Plus, everyone loves to be leadoff, so be sure to mix it up.
The catcher must use a catcher’s mitt (waived for left-handed catchers if proper mitt is not available).
If a player does not want to be catcher, that is fine. If you have a low number of players, have a coach be the catcher (use proper eqt, or stand back at the backstop) so as to have more players in the field.
Be sure your catcher is ready to go between innings prior to the inning ending so that things move along. Encourage your catcher to make good throws back to the pitcher to help keep the game moving as well (have the pitcher come towards the plate to receive the throw backs). Have a coach behind the catcher to field passed balls and throw back to the pitcher.
Catchers (male), must wear a cup.
Players may not lead or steal – they must not leave their base until contact is made (PLEASE enforce this!).
No advancement on a passed ball.
Players must slide or attempt to avoid contact with any fielder who has the ball and is in position to make a tag. Otherwise, the runner is called out, no matter what the result of the play. A player that slides head-first is automatically called out. The only exception is when a runner is returning to a previously owned base.
Fielders must stay out of the path of base-runners (especially watch your first-basemen).
If a runner moves a base when sliding, the runner should remain where he/she is until time is called.
A runner is OUT if he/she slides headfirst into any base –except if returning to a previous base.
If a ball is thrown out of play, the play is dead and there is no advancement. If a ball is overthrown to a base the runner may advance if the ball is still in play and not in the infield. Coaches should keep this within reason and not simply run to take advantage of overthrown balls.
No infield fly rule.
Players do not run station-to-station. When there is a ball put into play, the runner may advance as many bases as he/she can until the ball is controlled in the infield and the on-field coach calls time-out. Be sure to have an on-field coach that is vocal and knows this rule and enforces it. Avoid having runners simply run “wild” and keep this under control. If a runner is in the base-path when the ball is controlled in the infield, it is the job of the defense to address that runner (run him/her back to the base, get the runner in a run-down, etc.) and once a base is owned, time out is then called.
We have each field for 2 hours and you should try to focus on teaching the rules of the game and showing players (practically) what to do as the game evolves – especially during the first few weeks. We’d rather see less innings and more learning (within reason – please do not stop play too often or go over-board with on-field instruction). Please also realize that at this age, you may start to loose focus from some players as the time increases. Re-focus them or realize it is time to call it a game. Coaches, be respectful of each other and each other’s teams in these instances.
Have your line-up and positions planned out ahead of time – you will do yourself a huge favor by doing this. You can always adjust it if you have absentee players, but trying to shuffle everyone on the fly will be difficult and it slows the game down.
A half inning ends when you score 5 runs or record 3 outs. We keep score solely for keeping the game moving. No standings will be kept and scores are not reported out.
No more than 6 innings shall be played.
If we start a game and poor weather comes in, it is the coach’s responsibility to determine whether to continue or not.
It is up to each coach to establish make up games if their game is rained out. It is easiest to simply use one of the team’s practice times. This does not have to be done through the league, but one coach should inform the commissioner after the game is scheduled and before it is played. Try to make up all games.
Have every parent on the team sign the Code of Conduct form (under “Documents” on the website) and return to you. You keep these filed for the season.