Plastic Baseball Rules
The playing field is an area located between foul lines extending from the middle of the strike zone to the foul poles in left field and right field, respectively.
Players can cross the outfield boundary and enter “home run territory” only when: a) the fielder (or pitcher) is chasing a ground ball. b) the fielder (or pitcher) legally attempts to catch a fly ball, also known as “robbing a homerun,” this is further explained in 9.03.
The distance from home plate to the the left field and right field corners must be at least 60 feet. From home plate to dead center must be at least 80 feet. Bases are each 42 feet apart, and the stationary backstop containing the strike zone is four feet behind home plate.
There are no “single lines” or “double lines.” The entire field can either be considered one huge infield or one semi-huge outfield.
The pitcher’s mound is marked by a 3 foot x 3 foot square section. It is located 33 feet from home plate.
The batter’s box is not drawn. Batters are invited to stand wherever they please, so long as their body does not interfere with the pitcher’s attempt to successfully throw the ball into the strike zone.
The backstop may be of any size, however, the strike zone portion must be 3 feet tall and 1.5 feet wide. Any ball that lands in the strike zone on the fly is a strike, no questions asked. Sometimes calls are disputable and in these cases, a non-participating (therefore non-biased) player makes the official call. THEN no questions asked.
The Ball — Different balls are permitted, yet the same type of ball must be used throughout the entire game. The “standard” ball is commonly known as the “Swiss Cheese Ball” since it contains circular holes cut uniformly throughout it. These balls are manufactured by companies such as Easton and Cosom. On windy days, a slightly heavier ball, such as the Sandlot Diamond ball may be used. The “official” Wiffle Ball™ is also an option, although it is not the preferred plastic baseball. Players may do whatever they like to the ball at any time, except for: cutting new holes in the ball, misshaping the ball, tearing the ball apart, putting bodily liquids or solids on or in the ball, or setting the ball on fire.
All players play barehanded. If you feel the need to use a glove, you will most likely be teased unmercifully. However, fielding gloves are legal.
All hollow, plastic bats with a barrel diameter of under three inches are permitted. Any bat that does not fit this description must be checked by the head league official present prior to the start of each gameday. Add as much tape and grip as you like, but know that you are at risk of damaging your bat and/or your swing. Bats may be “corked,” meaning items such as glue, newspaper, and tennis balls are permitted inside of bats. Bats may not be restricted to the use of one person or one team, each player has access to all permitted bats.
Balls and strikes are simple calls. If the ball lands in the net on the fly — strike. If it misses — ball. If it bounces into the strike zone after hitting any solid object other than the bat — ball. If a player swings and misses at ANY pitch — strike. If it hits the batter — ball (no base awarded), unless it is ruled by the pitcher that the batter was blocking the strike zone. See also 6.02.
Foul/fair and baserunning calls are made by the designated hitter (when applicable) or the on-deck batter. Usually they’re not paying attention though, so then it’s up to the fielder closest to where the ball lands to decide.
Check swings are calls made by the pitcher, although most batters will admit to going ahead of time to avoid looking stupid.
Official score is whatever is written in the scorebook by whoever is scoring.
If the batter fouls a ball into the strike zone with two strikes, it results in a strikeout.
All games last five innings. Tie scores at the end of regulation will permit extra innings. If either team leads by ten runs or more at the end of any inning the game ends.
Game Delays — the commissioner and team managers declare when a game delay begins and ends.
Regulation Game — If three full innings have been completed, the game is considered official in case it is stopped.
Games may be suspended (or called) on account of darkness.
If a game does not reach three complete innings, it shall be postponed for a later date.
Extra innings — Extra innings are treated the same as in regular baseball.
Protesting games — Players protesting games risk losing any dignity that they have worked so hard to earn throughout the season.
General Game Rules
Playing teams may carry up to four players and one, shared designated hitter. The number is same for both teams. There is one fielder and one pitcher allowed on the field at one time. If there are more than two players to a team, extra players sit on the sideline and keep score and/or jeer the other team. The players shall rotate throughout these roles.
Starting line-up/Pitching order — The leadoff batter pitches the first inning, second batter pitches second inning, etc. Once the last batter has pitched an inning, the leadoff batter must pitch the next inning. The batting order remains the same throughout the game. There are NO pitcher substitutions allowed until each player has pitched to the required number of batters. Pitchers who begin an inning and are taking the mound for the first time in the game must face at least eight batters before they are able to be replaced. Replacement pitchers, or pitchers who have already pitched for one full inning must face at least four batters before they can be pulled.
Fielder positioning — Players may position themselves wherever they desire in fair territory.
Batting out of order — Each time a hitter bats out of order it results in an out for their team along with accompanied ridicule for not knowing their own team’s batting order.
Bunting — If a player successfully bunts a ball the player shall be ruled out, and the put out is recorded as a strikeout. The ball is live until the pitcher returns to the mound with the ball. Baserunners may advance at their own risk.
If less than eight people are able to play, one player may be chosen as the “all-time batter”, otherwise known as the DH. This player must try equally hard for both teams, or else they risk never being used as a DH again.
Count system — Ours is the same as the majors. Four balls for a walk, three strikes for a strikeout. Fouls are strikes unless a batter has two strikes on him. The hands of a batter are considered part of the bat.
The pitcher is allowed as many warm-up pitches as one wants/needs, within reason.
A hit-by-pitch is considered a ball and no base is awarded. Two hit by pitches in the same at bat results in a walk. If a player is hit in the head with a pitch it counts as four balls, unless the player intentionally leans into a pitch, then it shall be ruled batter interference (see rule 6.05).
Batter options — If a batter gets four balls, the batter can either take the walk or may elect to refuse the walk and instead get a fresh count (0 balls, 0 strikes). Only one walk per plate appearance can be rejected.
Intentional Walks — Once a pitcher decides to announce an intentional walk to a batter, no pitches are necessary, and the runner can automatically go to first base. Intentional walks may not be rejected by a batter.
Batter interference — If the batter blocks the path of the ball on its way to hitting the strike zone, it is an automatic strike. The pitcher makes the official call as to whether it would have been a strike.
Balks — There are no balks.
The batting order is set in stone until the game is over.
The batter can take as long as they’d like to complete the at-bat, although the batter must have the knowledge that stalling and wasting time only makes everyone else upset.
If a batter hits a ball and successfully reaches first base before the ball is received by a fielder standing on the mound, before being tagged out by either the fielder or the pitcher, or before being hit with the ball, the batter has successfully earned a single.
If a player feels possible, the player may attempt to try for a double, triple, or an inside-the-park homerun, where the same rules as 8.00 apply. a) If the baserunner changes their mind, the baserunner must do so before he gets halfway to the next base. If he changes his mind before he’s halfway to the next base, he can safely return to the base (unless the runner is tagged or hit with the ball). This rule does not apply to fly balls. Standard fly rules apply with runners on base. Tagging up is legal, although hardly anyone tries it because it’s near impossible. If a fielder wants to double up a runner on a fly ball, all the fielder has to do is tag the runner, tag the base the runner was trying to return to, hit the runner with the ball, or get the ball to the pitcher (on the mound) before the runner can get back to the base.
Ground rule doubles — These may vary from field to field. One universal ground rule double is when the batter hits a fair ball that bounces once and leaves the playing field.
Home runs — Any ball that lands beyond the outfield wall and within the fair/foul markers on the fly is a home run. Home runs do not earn extra runs the farther they are hit.
Errors are not recorded. Instead, they are ruled as hits.
Fielders — One pitcher, and one fielder are allowed
Fielder roles — Both the fielder and pitcher are fielders once the pitch leaves the pitcher’s hands.
The pitcher’s mound acts as the default base to wherever the lead baserunner is headed. If either the fielder or pitcher have the ball on the mound before the runner has reached the lead base, the runner is out (all other runners are safe). If the lead runner is safe, then the second lead runner is out, and so on.
Robbing homeruns — Fielders are allowed to leave the playing field and catch home runs either by having at least one foot in fair territory when the ball is caught, or leaping from the field itself and catching the ball before landing.
Double plays — If the fielder (not pitcher) fields a ground ball or fly ball, the double play rule is the same as the majors. If the pitcher fields the ball, the pitcher must throw to the fielder, who is covering a non-first base where a runner is running. Then the fielder must return the ball to the pitcher before the batter gets to first to complete the play.
Distraction — Fielders can distract the batter however they want, so long as no physical contact is made and the distraction doesn’t involve grabbing the batter’s bat.
Baserunners must remain on base until the ball is hit.
Stealing bases is not allowed.
All bases are occupied by real baserunners, unless none are available. In this case, ghost runners are used. They advance the same amount of bases as the lead runner. If there is no lead runner, they advance the same amount as the batter and are thought to run just as fast as the lead runner or the batter in case of double play, even though we can’t see them.
In a situation where the bases are loaded, there are two outs, and the count is full, runners are allowed to “trot” when the pitcher releases the ball.
Runners may not advance on a wild pitch.
Season — Each season should begin with a twenty-game regular season and conclude with a best-of-seven championship series.
Teams — Teams can be set at the start of each season through a draft, or can be determined prior to the start of each game using a rotisserie scoring system. When using a rotisserie scoring system, it is suggested that the teams be created fairly based on a player’s position in the standings. For example, players 1, 4, 5, and 8 in the standings would play against players 2, 3, 6, and 7 in the standings.
Rotisserie scoring — Players are ranked on a point system in 5 pitching (Wins, ERA, WHIP, Ks, Saves) and 5 batting categories (AVG, HR, RBI, Runs, Walks). Players with the best statistic in each category earn the most points, players with the second best statistic earn the second most points, and so on, down to the worst statistic in a category earning one point. In the event of a tie, the points are shared. All of the points in all of the categories are added up to give an overall score. The player with the most points would be the first place player.
Making the cut — In rotisserie scoring, the top eight players make the playoffs and play a best-of-seven series: Team 1 vs. Team 2. Team 1 consists of the players that finished the regular season in 1st, 4th, 5th, and 8th place. Team 2 consists of the players that finished 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th in the regular season standings. If a player cannot play for any reason, all players who finished behind that player move up one spot in rank, and the 9th place player moves into the number 8 spot.
Making the cut — Using team standings, the first place team receives a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The second place team plays the third place team in a best-of-three series. The winner takes on the first place team for the championship.
If it is not determined by game time, the team with the top ranked player, or the team with the better record shall be the home team.
Special Playoff Rules
Pitching Order — Each member of a playoff team must be the starting pitcher in at least one game. Once a pitcher is replaced that player may not pitch in that game again.
Players are not allowed to pitch more than five innings in consecutive games. If a game is in extra innings and all pitchers have thrown five innings then that team will follow regular season pitching rules and their leadoff batter will pitch the next inning.
Each player must play at least one full inning per game in a defensive position. Designated hitters are not allowed in the playoffs.
Games are played in a 2-3-2 format. Team 1 is the home team for Games 1 and 2. Team 2 is the home team for Games 3, 4, and 5 (as necessary). Team 1 is the home team for Games 6 and 7 (as necessary).
Any other rule not mentioned will be followed the same way as in Major League Baseball.