League Rules

PREAMBLE
This League was created to provide adult men an alternative to softball and enable them 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 as the responsibility of the League President, League Commissioner, and the League Committee. Anyone who abuses the League's code can be suspended or expelled from the League.

GENERAL

The rules in the MSBL National scorebook are for national tournament play only and they do not apply to the DCMSBL League Rules listed below. All other baseball rules and exceptions not indicated in the DCMSBL League Rules will default to the Major League Baseball rules.
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The League President, in consultation with the League Commissioner and the League Committee, shall have the right and authority to decide, in his absolute discretion, all matters regarding the conduct of League, including, but not limited to, the eligibility of teams
and/or managers, players to enter and/or remain in the League, disciplinary matters (including, but not limited to, suspension or forfeiture of the right to participate in the League without return of fees or further recourse), interpretation of these rules and regulations (and amendment of game rules), scheduling and rescheduling of games, and the placement of teams into divisions for competition. Any such decision by the League President shall be final and binding.

The acceptance of the application of the participant, or "player," to participate in the League shall be limited to the immediate schedule of games, or "season," being offered by the League. The League presently has two seasons: Spring/Summer and Fall. Acceptance of the application of the player shall be in the absolute discretion of the League and may be refused for any reason whatsoever notwithstanding prior participation. The acceptance of the application of the player and/ or manager or team shall not entitle the player and/or the manager or the team to participate in any subsequent seasons of the League nor in any division of the League for which participation is generally offered.

In addition, no individual player or group of players, manager or group of managers or "team(s)," shall be entitled to participate in a season other than the season which the League approves.

By tendering the player application to participate in the League, the player agrees to be bound by these rules and regulations and the interpretations thereof by the League President and other persons authorized by the League to do so.

Each team is an association constituted solely by the players separate and apart from the League and is not an entity of the League. The primary organizer or organizers, or "manager" or "managers," are agents of the players, not the League, and act on behalf of the players, not the League.

In addition to the season offered by the League, the League has an affiliation with the Men's Senior Baseball League, Inc., a separate organization, for the purpose of providing access to national and regional baseball tournaments, information, and goods and services offered by third parties, including the Men's Senior Baseball League, Inc.

Participation by players and teams in such tournaments and the provision of such goods and services are not sponsored by, or undertaken by, the League (except as it may otherwise specifically represent from time to time) and shall not be the responsibility of the League.

Any action or proceeding arising out of or relating to the participation of the player in the League shall be instituted in the courts of the State of Virginia; each player waives any objection which the player may now or hereafter have to such venue and consents to the jurisdiction of such courts to any such action or proceeding. If the League (or the entity of which it is a part) prevails in any such action or proceeding, it shall be entitled to receive payment of its attorney's fees and other expenses.

The date for submission of the final team roster for each age division will be decided by the League Commissioner each season. There will be absolutely no changes permitted to the final team roster afterward without the approval of the League Commissioner. If the teams do not have their final roster completed, including fees, signed waivers, copies of driver licenses, etc., by the given date for each age division, those teams will not be included in the postseason league tournament.

UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT

All teams must have full baseball uniforms. A full team uniform means: All hats must have the same logo on the front (home and away hats are acceptable). All shirts must be the same color with a number on the back. All pants worn by the team must be the same color.
No player without a uniform will be allowed to play.  All batters, runners and base coaches must have helmets - there is no option to this rule. Full double ear flap helmets are required for at bats. Catchers must wear a helmet underneath their mask. First and Third Base coaches must wear a baseball helmet (no flap, single flap and/or double flap).

Wood bats, composite wood bats and ONLY -3 metal bats certified approved by the league are allowed.  Metal cleats are permitted. Only baseballs supplied by the league will be permitted. Each team must bring three (3) balls to each game.

MANAGERS RESPONSIBILITIES

It is the managers responsibility to see that each player on the team roster receives, reads and understands the rules and regulations of the League and has signed the online waiver, registered online and paid the player fee BEFORE playing a game before stepping on the field

When a player intentionally disregards the rules it is the managers responsibility to take immediate action to remedy the situation by removing the player from the game. Where a manager disregards any rules the manager may be suspended or removed from the position as manager.

All player fees are due in full two (2) weeks prior to the opening date for that particular age group. All the returning players MUST  register each year online. All players must complete three (3) items in order to be considered registered as a player with the League. 1) Every player must register online. 2) SIGN their waiver form online. 3) Pay the player fees in full before the player's season games begin.

Any player from the previous season does not mean the player is registered with the League in the new season until all three items (see above) area completed.

The League no longer accepts signed paper Waiver forms. All players must sign their Waiver form online as one of the three (3) items completed to be considered a registered player in the League.

It is the responsibility of each manager or a player on the team to check on the field conditions three (3) hours prior to your game for Fairfax County fields . Most if not all Fairfax County fields do NOT have an inclement weather line for field conditions.

In addition, each team must notify the League Commissioner and the League Scheduler at least three (3) hours before game time , if the field is playable when there has been inclement weather within a 24 hour period prior to your scheduled game.

If neither team notifies the League Commissioner or League Scheduler at least three (3) hours before game time that the field is unplayable and the umpires declare the field unplayable, the League will NOT reschedule the game at a later date.

Either team can enter in the results of the game to the League Website within 24 hours of the conclusion of the game. Failure to do so may result in the game being recorded as a tie.

It is the responsibility of both teams to remove all trash from their dugouts and replace all equipment on the field at the conclusion of their game. BOTH teams share equal responsibility for post-game field care: raking and/or dragging the infield, as well as filling and packing holes at the pitcher's mound, sliding areas and home plate area.

No children are allowed in the dugouts during the game. If a team designates a "bat-boy for the day", they must wear a double flap helmet at all times and must stay in the dugout until the play has finished and time has been called.

PLAYERS

Every DCMSBL player must read and understand the rules and regulations of the league and must sign the online waiver BEFORE playing a league game.

No player may switch teams once the season has started if he has participated in any games. No player can play for 2 teams in the same season/age division. Only the few players who have been grandfathered by the League President are the exceptions.

No player may switch teams without consent of both managers and the League President, unless they have played in the league for three (3) years or more. In the case of a player that is not invited back by the team manager, the player must be given a release.

In the event a team disbands during the season or at season's conclusion, all players in the league will become automatic free agents and will be permitted to play with any desired team.

In the event a player wishes to leave the existing team the player is registered with before the season starts and wants to form a new team, the player may do so whether the player has less than three (3) years in the league or not.

However, no other player can be taken from the existing team without the consent of the existing team's manager. No other players may be taken from any other team without their respective team manager's approval regardless if those players have been in the league three (3) years or more.

The integrity and hard work of the existing team manager in keeping the team intact must be met. If there is any impasse between the existing team manager and the new team manager, the League President will have the final determination in this matter. The League President's decision is not subject to appeal.

Every player/manager must be in good standing (meaning no outstanding player or team fees, suspension or, expulsion) with the league in order to play or manage in any division.

TIME LIMITS AND MERCY RULE

A game will be called by mercy rule if there is a 15 run differential at the completion of the 5th inning or of any later inning. The mercy rule may be called prior to the 5th inning if there is a 15 run differential and:
a. in a 9-inning game, the teams have played for at least 2 hours 15 minutes.
b. in a 7-inning game, the teams have played for at least 2 hours.

Regular season games stopped for weather or time limits after the 5th inning will only be completed if there has been a change in the status of the game during that incomplete inning. The final score will revert to the last official inning ONLY if those two teams do not meet again in the regular season.

For all other regular-season games, that inning and only that inning will be completed just prior to starting the next game between those teams. For all playoff games, the schedule for completing the inning will be a League Commissioner's decision, but will generally be just prior to the start of the next scheduled playoff game involving those teams.

After two (2) hours and fifty (50) minutes from the start of a nine (9) inning game, the teams may not begin a new inning. If there is a seven (7) inning game being played no new inning will begin after two (2) hours and fifteen (15) minutes from the start of the game. The time begins at the scheduled game start time unless both umpires arrive late.

If that happens, both team managers need to speak with both umpires at their home plate conference BEFORE the game to determine when the "no new inning" will go into effect.

This rule does apply to Championship games. If a game is called due to rain or darkness, the umpires' discretion, the game must have played five (5) innings to be a complete game.

OFFENSE, DEFENSE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Teams must have eight (8) players for an official game, and may only borrow a player from the opposing team that they are playing at that time with the opposing manager's consent. If the team's ninth player arrives after the start of the game, the borrowed player reverts back to the player's original team.

Where a team has only eight (8) players, the 9th position in the batting order is NOT an automatic out but is skipped as if the player had to leave early. The 15 minute grace period does not apply when a team has eight (8) players available to play at the regularly scheduled game time.

A game will be declared a forfeit by the umpires if the required number of players (eight (8)) have not arrived within fifteen (15) minutes of the games scheduled starting time or if during the course of the game the team's number of players fall below the required eight (8) (e.g. ejection of a player from the game).

Each manager will have their own prerogative to bat as many players as the manager so desires in the initial lineup, with a minimum of ten (10). If the manager wants to add players at the bottom of the lineup the manager may do so at any time. If a player is pinch hit for, the player may not reenter the game as a hitter, but may stay in the game defensively. Batters cannot be deleted or skipped over, regardless of their batting position or when they were added during the game.

If a player is forced to leave a game due to injury or commitment, or if a player is ejected from a game, a reserve player, not previously entered into the game as a hitter, must hit in the batter's place. If no reserve is present, that spot is skipped and all batters move up accordingly, with no penalty to the affected team.

All players may be substituted for defensively, at any time, except for pitchers. Pitching replacements will follow MLB rules in that a new pitcher must face at least one batter before he can be removed. A pitcher must be replaced on the second mound visit of an inning.

Teams have the option of using an A/B batter pairing anywhere in the batting order once 10 slots are filled. The "A" batter would hit the 1st time through the order and the"B" batter would hit the 2nd time through, "A" returns for the 3rd time through, "B" for the 4th, etc. The election to use the A/B batters must be made when the game starts and can not be changed during the game.

If either player becomes unavailable during the game (ie, injury, ejection, early departure), the player's position must be filled by another player who has not yet been inserted into the batting order. If no such player exists, the remaining player from the A/B pair may bat each time through the order.

PITCHERS

There is no regulation as to how many innings a pitcher may pitch in a game or a week.

If a pitcher is removed from the mound, the pitcher may only re-enter as a pitcher once in a game and must wait until the start of the next inning before the pitcher  can resume pitching regardless of whether the pitcher stays in the game (i.e. as the right fielder). Pitcher's are allowed to re-enter to any other position defensively.

No pitcher while pitching may wear white or gray sleeves, nor may a pitcher wear a batting glove, elbow pad and/or elbow wrap, bracelet or wrist band while pitching.

There will be 1 (one) intentional walk allowed in a game. No pitches are required. (Amended 4/18). If a pitcher hits 3 batters in any one game, the pitcher must be removed on the third hit batsman and may not return to pitch in that game.

COURTESY (PINCH) RUNNERS

Pitchers and Catches shall be allowed a pinch runner when there are two (2) outs in a inning, before the next batter comes up to bat. The pinch runner shall be the player who made the last batted out. If the pitcher or catcher elects, at any time, not to have a pinch runner, then the player forfeits the right to have a runner for the rest of the game.

Players who will need courtesy runners due to injury factors only, must have their manager notify the opposing manager before game time. If not so notified, the opposing manager may deny the request during the game.

Each team will be allowed the maximum of two (2) courtesy runners per game. The player to make the last batted out must be the courtesy (pinch) runner unless it is in the first inning of the game and no player has made an out, then last player in the lineup, or a player not in the lineup, becomes the courtesy (pinch) runner.

In the event additional players become injured during the game, they may be replaced on the bases by the last batted out but the injured player must leave the game completely at that point.

Pitchers and catchers, if the last batted out, may be skipped as courtesy runners with the previous batted out running.

Any courtesy runner can run only ONCE in an inning as a courtesy runner. Any other player who is not in the game or who is not in the offensive line-up can be the next courtesy runner if the situation occurs in the same inning.

FORFEITS, EJECTION, REMOVAL

Two (2) forfeits by any team could mean expulsion from the League with no money refunded to the team. The League President and the League Commissioner will evaluate circumstances before rendering a decision.

The League President and League Commissioner will evaluate circumstances regarding a team expulsion from the league before rendering a decision.

If an infielder decoys a tag, all runners will be entitled to advance one (1) base. If the same fielder decoys twice in a game, he will be expelled from the game. (Decoying referred to is where a player on base slides unnecessarily due to a decoy tag).

If a pitcher hits three (3) batters in any one game, the pitcher must be removed on the third hit batsman.

All players must avoid an intentional collision with a fielder. In this case the runner will be automatically out and if ruled deliberate, by the umpire, may result in player's expulsion. Players must slide at all bases or give themselves up.

Any player or team's coaching staff ejected by the umpire from a game shall be suspended until the League Committee (which is comprised of the League Commissioner and five (5) League Managers and/or players (current or former) ) has completed their findings.

A decision will be made before the suspended player/coach team's if at all possible before the next official game, provided enough information is available to make a decision. If a decision cannot be made by the next game, a decision will made as soon as possible. Any player or team's coaching staff ejected from the first game of a doubleheader must sit out the 2nd game of the doubleheader.

Any player or team's coaching staff ejected a second time during the season will appear before the League Commissioner and League Committee, via videoconferencing and/or phone conference before the player's/coach's next official game and a decision will be determined at that time. The suspended player will not be eligible to play during the appeal process unless authorized by the League Commissioner.

Fighting, and/or throwing bats and/or helmets will not be tolerated and players who participate in such will be subject to permanent suspension from the league.

RAINOUTS, CURFEWS AND SUSPENDED GAMES

It is the responsibility of each team to check the field conditions three (3) hours prior to your game if the County (mainly Fairfax County) does NOT have an inclement weather line for field conditions.

If neither team notifies the League Commissioner and the League Scheduler at least three (3) hours before game time that the field is unplayable and the umpires show up for the game and declare the field unplayable, the League may choose NOT to re-schedule your game at a later date in the season.

Any games rained out upon notification (see above) or while the game was being played will be rescheduled by the League based upon field availability, but may be made up at any time not conflicting with previously scheduled games.

Final League standings will be determined by total points. Two (2) points for a win, one (1) point for a tie, one point awarded to each team when a "no game" is determined by the League Scheduler and zero (0) point for a loss.

If for any reason re-scheduled games cannot be made up by the end of the season, each team affected will receive one (1) point and the game will be considered a "no play" game. All teams in the Washington, DC Metro League that are eligible for the playoffs must have played at least ninety (90) percent of their regularly scheduled games in order to be considered in the final league standings.

PROTESTS

Failure to abide by minimum age regulations - This is the rule that must be abided above all others. 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 and get their name. If a manager wants to lodge a protest, proof of age and residence it must be protested during the game and noted in the home team's scorebook with the home umpire's signature.

A written explanation of the protest then must be emailed to the League Commissioner and the manager who lodged the protest must do so within 24 hours of the game. If an under age player is involved, penalties whether to the individual or team will be decided by the League Commissioner and the League Committee. A player's age is considered by the year of their birthday.

All protests should be lodged with the League Commissioner via email within twenty-four (24) hours provided the protest was noted and signed by the umpire at the time of the protest during the game.

Game protests shall be decided by the League Commissioner. Judgement calls such as balls and strikes are not subject to protest. Any disciplinary actions and decisions will be made by the League Commissioner and the League Committee.

The League Commissioner and the League Committee decision will be the final decision and not subject to appeal. Any Committee member whose team is involved in a protest will have no vote in the decision. In case of a deadlock, the League President's vote will be the deciding vote.

PLAYOFFS and PLAYER ELIGIBILITY

In order for a team and/or player to qualify and play in the League playoffs, tournaments and postseason events, a player must have paid in full his player fee, and be fully registered, with waiver checked, by the date designated by the League Commissioner.

Any team which has forfeited more than two games in the regular season due to a shortage of players may be barred from playoffs at the discretion of the League President.

Any team which has failed to pay the required full season fee, or any other assessments (fines, etc.) levied by the League, or other outstanding administrative issues may be barred from playoffs at the discretion of the League President. If a team/player fails to meet the requirements due to an injury and/or special circumstances, the team/player must get approval from the League Commissioner.

Any alleged allegations of a player's eligibility MUST BE PROTESTED AT THE POINT OF INFRACTION IN THE PLAYOFF GAME with the umpires and duly noted in both teams scorebook, otherwise, any protest AFTER the game is null and void.

Playoff seeding will be determined based on:
1. Overall team points
2. Head-to-head record
3. Fewest runs allowed over the entire season

CODE OF CONDUCT

PROHIBITIONS

Managers and players shall conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner at all times. No manager or player shall commit the following:

Lay a hand upon, shove or strike, threaten an official. Players and managers guilty of such conduct shall be immediately suspended from further participation in the game and shall remain on suspended until the player's conduct is reviewed by the League President and the League Commissioner and the League Committee.

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.

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 the player's conduct is reviewed by the League President , the League Commissioner and the League Committee. Players guilty of such conduct shall be subject to probation or suspension for the remainder of the season.

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.

Discuss with an official or officials the decision reached by such official or officials, except for the manager or the manager's  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.

Use unnecessarily rough tactics in the play of the game against the body or person of an opposing player. Also, intentionally throwing at a batter will not be tolerated. 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.

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 League President, the League Commissioner and the League Committee. Players guilty of such conduct shall be subject to suspension for the remainder of the season or expulsion from the league for life.

Be guilty of verbal abusive attack on 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 League Commissioner and the League Committee. Players guilty of such conduct shall be subject to suspension for the remainder of the season.

Consume alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs or tobacco products during the game or be upon the field of play at any time in an intoxicated condition. Tobacco products and alcohol are not allowed at any fields used by DCMSBL.

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.

PENALTIES

The League Committee may, by vote of the majority of the committee, suspend any player or manager for such a period and upon such terms as it may propose, for the conduct which in its opinion is prejudicial to the welfare, interest, reputation, or charter of the league.

Except as otherwise provided, the League Commissioner shall determine the appropriate action required for violations of the codes of conduct, and shall report his decision to the player, manager and the League Committee.

Any player found in violation of any provision delineated in the codes of conduct, after being placed on probation for the remainder of the season shall be suspended for the remainder of the season.

Any player found in violation of any provisions delineated in the codes of conduct, after being suspended from further participation in a game shall be suspended for the remainder of the season.

GRIEVANCES, PROTESTS AND APPEALS

Grievances may be filed by an individual player or by the manager of a team provided that a grievance is formally submitted to the League Commissioner via email. The League Commissioner shall adjudicate all such grievances and shall report any action taken to the League Committee. However, all decisions of the League Committee are final and not subject to appeal.
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