SFBL Rules

South Florida Baseball League – Official Rules and Regulations – 2020 Edition

Introduction
Non-Discrimination Policy
Uniforms
Equipment
Player Registration and Player Eligibility
Eligible Players Roster
Age Limits
Rosters
Borrowed Players
Starting a Game, Time Outs, 10 Run Rule and Time Limit
Playoffs, Tie-Breakers, Schedule and Forfeits
Courtesy Runners
Catcher Speed-Up Rule
Decoys, Mandatory Sliding & Collisions
Intentional Walks
Offensive Lineup – Player Substitutions
Defensive Lineup – Player Substitutions
Pitchers
Dugout Privileges
Umpires
Protests
Player Behavior
Manager Responsibilities
Free Agency
 

INTRODUCTION

South Florida Baseball League (SFBL) operates under the Major League Baseball Rules and Regulations, with certain exceptions to accommodate amateur baseball league requirements.

The SFBL expects the highest level of sportsmanship from all participants. It is the personal responsibility of each player and manager to, at all times, maintain a professional, mature and pleasant attitude towards the game, competing players and officials. The League will strictly enforce these standards and will take disciplinary action against any player found in violation.

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NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

South Florida Baseball League has a long-standing policy of non-discrimination for any participant, supplier, vendor or any other relevant parties, on the basis of race, color, national origin, handicaps or sex.

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UNIFORMS

  1. All teams must be in baseball uniforms when participating in official SFBL games. This refers specifically to each player wearing a uniform, which matches every other team member. Matching uniform is defined as matching jersey, pants and cap. Players wearing incomplete uniforms may not participate in any official SFBL games.

All managers and coaches must be in uniform while in the dugout or on the field.

Certain uniform exceptions may be temporarily granted by the League for unusual circumstances but such instances must be pre-approved by the League.

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EQUIPMENT

  1. All batters, runners and catchers must wear protective helmets, no exceptions.
  2. All teams are required to use the official South Florida Baseball League-designated Official Minor League baseballs, as provided to each manager at the start of each season. Each team must bring three (3) new balls to each game so that there are six new balls being provided to the chief umpire prior to the start of each official league game.
  3. Baseball spikes may have either metal or rubber cleats.
  4. The SFBL is a WOOD BAT ONLY league. Certain WOOD COMPOSITE BATS are permitted, but only with League approval.

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PLAYER REGISTRATION AND PLAYER ELIGIBILITY

  1. To be eligible for league play, a player must first complete the online registration form, and second, ensure that his name appears on the Eligible Players Roster published on the public page of the SFBL website. The online registration explicitly includes a Liability Waiver. If a player’s name is not on the Eligible Players Roster, he will NOT be able to play in the SFBL. NO EXCEPTIONS.

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ELIGIBLE PLAYERS ROSTER

  1. Only those players appearing on the Eligible Players Roster are permitted to play in League sanctioned events. Any team found to be violating this rule will forfeit the game in which the illegal player played. The second time such a violation occurs, the team will forfeit all of its remaining games, and will not receive any refund of Registration Fees.

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AGE LIMITS

  1. The South Florida Baseball League features three age divisions:

OPEN DIVISION – A player must be 18 years of age or older to play in this division.

SENIOR DIVISION – A player must be 30 years of age or older, or turning 30 in the calendar year, to play in the SENIOR DIVISION, with up to three exceptions. Each team may roster up to three players under the age restriction providing the underage players are at least 27 or older.

MASTERS DIVISION – A player must be 40 years of age or older, or turning 40 in the calendar year, to play in the MASTERS DIVISION, with up to three exceptions. Each team may roster up to three players under the age restriction providing the underage players are at least 37 or older.

Under rare circumstances, the League may “grandfather” certain players not meeting the age requirements.

  1. An opposing manager may at any time question a player’s age and request said player to provide proof of age prior to the start of play. The player must provide said proof in the form of an original photo identification. If the player does not have adequate proof at the time of play, the game will be played under protest until such time as adequate proof is provided.

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ROSTERS

  1. Complete team rosters are due by the deadline set by the League at the beginning of each season. Teams may add players to their team roster at any time throughout the season, even for the last game of a season, providing the players being added have registered online and their names appear on the Eligible Players Roster.
  2. In order to be eligible to compete in the playoffs a player must have played in at least two (2) regular season games with the same team. Score sheets or online stats are required to document player playoff eligibility.
  3. No team may have any Ex-Pros on their roster. Ex-pro is defined as a player that has played Triple A baseball within the last two years, or Major League Baseball within the last three years. Active Single A, Double A and college players may participate without restriction.

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BORROWED PLAYERS

  1. Teams anticipating being short players in advance of any regular season game must make arrangements to borrow players from other teams. Teams may only borrow players whose names appear on the Eligible Players Roster. Teams may only use borrowed players to the extent required to reach nine players to play the game. If a team is using borrowed players it is prohibited from playing any more than nine players under any circumstance. Borrowed players may not pitch but may play any other position. Teams requiring borrowed players for post-season games require advance League and opposing manager approval. Should such approval not be granted, then regular League rules apply – see Rule 15.

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STARTING A GAME, TIME OUTS, 10 RUN RULE AND TIME LIMIT

  1. Managers must identify themselves to the Home Plate umpire prior to the start of the game. Team managers must submit their lineup cards prior to each game to the chief umpire and opposing manager listing the full names and jersey numbers of all players in their lineup, including bench players. However, Eligible Players listed on a team’s roster are always allowed to be added to the team’s lineup during a game, even if they were not listed on the original lineup card submission.
  2. Teams must have a minimum of 8 (eight) batters for an official game, but must borrow a player from the opposing team to field nine players. The opposing manager is obligated to loan a player to said team for defensive purposes only. The borrowed player may only play defensively for the opposing team and may be replaced by another borrowed player when it is his turn at bat.
  3. All games are 9 innings. In the event of darkness, 7 innings constitute a complete game. In the event of rain, 5 innings constitute a complete game.
  4. The game clock will start promptly at the time scheduled, regardless if the teams are ready to play or not. A 15 minute grace period is allowed if the minimum number of players has not arrived by game time. After the 15 minute grace period has expired, the game will be ruled a forfeit, and the team short players will record a loss.
  5. Time Outs: A manager is entitled to one (1) free trip to the mound each inning. If a second trip is made during the same inning the current pitcher must be removed from the mound.
  6. 10 Run Rule: If there is a 10-run margin after 7 innings or any inning thereafter, the game will be ruled final at that point. The 10 Run Rule applies to all regular season and playoff games, including championship games.
  7. Time Limit: With the exception of playoff and championship games, all games shall be subject to a time limit in which no new inning shall be started after 3 hours have elapsed. Ties are permitted for regular season games only. All playoff games must have a result and tie games will continue until there is a winner; however, playoff and championship games have a three-and-a-half-hour time limit and so long as one team is ahead at that time, game over.

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PLAYOFFS, TIE BREAKERS, SCHEDULE AND FORFEITS

  1. Playoffs: Team playoff eligibility and qualifications are determined and published by the League on a season by season basis depending on the number of teams involved. Typically, the League prefers to set the number of playoff teams to equal just under 50% of the teams competing in each division. Team standings in regards to playoffs shall be determined first by total points, then by winning percentage.
  2. Tie Breakers: Tie Breaker 1: head-to-head competition. Tie Breaker 2: if the teams should split games against each other, then net runs scored in the games played against each other shall be used to break the tie, where the team with the higher number of net runs scored advances. Net runs scored will also be used to break a tie in situations where there are three or more teams tied and their head-to-head round robin results yielded identical records. Tie Breaker 3: net runs scored for all games played during the regular season. Net runs scored is measured by adding up all the runs a team has scored and subtracting all runs allowed. The team with the higher number of net runs scored advances. Tie Breaker 4: The final tie breaker is a coin flip.
  3. Schedule: At the beginning of the season the League will request that team managers disclose potential schedule conflicts. The League will take those schedule conflicts into consideration and then, after the second week of the season, publish a full season schedule. Teams are expected to be able to fulfill their schedule obligations without exception so teams are compelled to resolve their issues in a fielding a team each week of the schedule by making arrangements to borrow Eligible Players, etc. or suffer a forfeit. Scheduled games will not be rescheduled unless rained out or postponed for other League reasons. The League has a long-standing policy of making up all rainout games.
  4. Forfeits: Two forfeits by any team during a single season may result in expulsion from the League with no registration fees refunded to the team or its players.

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COURTESY RUNNERS

  1. Managers may designate up to two (2) courtesy runners each game. Managers must notify both the Home Plate umpire and the opposing manager prior to the first pitch as to the name and number of any player that will be using a courtesy runner during the game. Managers retain the option of designating unused courtesy runners later during the game. Once a player is designated as having a courtesy runner, that player must be replaced by a courtesy runner throughout the game.

The player to made the “last batted out” must act as the courtesy runner. A “batted out” is defined as a player who made an out while at the plate (by way of contrast, a runner forced at second is not a batted out). If there is no previous batted out to act as a courtesy runner (i.e. first inning rally), the manager shall use the last batter in his lineup.

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CATCHER SPEED-UP RULE

  1. There is a mandatory catcher speed-up rule, whereby, no matter how many outs there are, the catcher must be replaced by a courtesy runner.

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DECOYS, MANDATORY SLIDING & COLLISIONS

  1. If an infielder decoys a throw, all runners will be entitled to advance one base. If the same fielder decoys a throw twice in one game, he will be ejected from the game. Decoying refers specifically to a situation where a runner on base slides unnecessarily due to a decoy.
  2. All base runners and fielders must avoid intentional collisions with opposing players. In the event of a non-intentional collision resulting from the fielder’s blocking of the base or plate, the runner will be awarded the base or run, whichever is applicable. In the event a non-intentional collision is caused by the runner, and the fielder did not attempt to block the base or plate, the runner will be ruled out. A mandatory slide rule is in effect for all League games. This rule requires that runners must slide at all bases in the event there is a potential play at said base or plate. Head first slides are permitted. Any player not sliding appropriately when required to do so may be ruled out by the umpire, with the exception of situations in which a runner is clearly out and veers out of the base line to avoid blocking a throw (i.e. double plays). Any runner determined to have caused an intentional collision with a fielder, particularly with reference to “barreling” into a catcher, shall be ejected from the game and, at the sole discretion of the League, be subject to a suspension or expulsion from the League.

Fielders may not block said base or plate with or without the ball and must allow access via:
a. a clear path between the fielder’s legs;
b. a clear path to the left or right of the fielder’s position;
c. a direct path with the fielder positioned behind the base or plate.

In the event a fielder is determined by the umpire to be blocking said base or plate, or is found to be blocking the base path, the runner shall be automatically awarded said base or plate. This rule is particularly directed at catcher’s blocking the plate and will be strictly enforced.

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INTENTIONAL WALKS

  1. Speed up Rule: An intentionally walked batter must not be pitched to.

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OFFENSIVE LINEUP – PLAYER SUBSTITUTIONS

  1. Each team must bat a minimum of 9 (nine) batters in their line-up, but may choose to bat as many players as listed in their official roster as Extra Hitters. However, once the lineup has been expanded, it cannot be reduced without taking an out each time that slot would have appeared in the lineup throughout the remainder of the game. A team may add batters to the end of its lineup at any time throughout the game, providing these players have not yet been part of the batting lineup. Managers may elect to use the A/B alternating batters scheme but only one A/B slot is permitted in the lineup.
  2. If a team if forced to bat eight players for any reason at any time during a game, then it shall suffer an automatic out each time that ninth unoccupied slot in the order comes up. Should an eligible ninth player show up late, then that player shall be inserted into the ninth unoccupied slot in the batting order and the automatic out is removed.
  3. If a player ejection reduces the team to eight (8) players, the team must borrow a defensive player from the opposing team for defensive purposes only. However, an automatic out will be recorded each time the ejected player’s spot comes up in the lineup.

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DEFENSIVE LINEUP – PLAYER SUBSTITUTIONS

  1. Free defensive substitution is permitted. Teams are permitted to rotate any and all players defensively at any time and repeatedly without affecting the batting lineup.

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PITCHERS

  1. Pitcher Re-Entry Rule. If a pitcher is removed from the mound, regardless of whether or not he goes to the dugout or takes another position on the field, he may re-enter the game as a pitcher later in the game, but he may not re-enter the game as a pitcher until at least three outs have been recorded after his departure. An individual pitcher may only re-enter the game under these conditions one time during any game.
  2. No white or gray pitching sleeves, no batting gloves or wrist bands, and no sunglasses will be permitted for pitchers.
  3. If a pitcher hits 4 (four) batters in any one game, the pitcher must be removed upon hitting the fourth batsman. If a pitcher hits twelve (12) batters in one season he is prohibited from pitching for the remainder of the season.
  4. Each pitcher is entitled to a maximum of eight (8) warm up pitches prior to the start of the game, and five (5) warm-up pitches at the start of each inning. The only exceptions to this rule are if the pitcher is new and did not throw at least one pitch during the previous inning, in which he case he is entitled to eight (8), or an injury to the previous pitcher, in which case the new pitcher is granted a reasonable warm up period by the Home Plate umpire.

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DUGOUT PRIVILEGES

  1. NO BEER NO ALCOHOL NO TOBACCO NO WEED on school premises and/or at the baseball field/dugout. Only roster players, managers and scorekeepers are permitted in the dugout area. Violation of these rules may result in forfeit of said game. League insurance does not allow for family members, friends and pets to be present in the dugout area. Please avoid this practice at all times.

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UMPIRES

  1. SFBL uses the services of the South Florida Collegiate Baseball Umpires Association and all games are assigned umpires by this organization. Once a game begins the umpires have complete and total control over the game. Their rulings are final. The League will at all times support the decisions and authority of the umpires.
  2. Umpire compliments and complaints must be filed online via the SFBL website under the link UMPIRE EVALUATION.
  3. Only the manager may dispute a call or discuss a situation with the umpire. Any player doing so will be warned and then ejected.

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PROTESTS

  1. All decisions regarding rules and the interpretation of rules must be made by the field umpires during play. These decisions are deemed to be final. In the event it is determined that an umpire has issued an incorrect ruling or has misinterpreted an existing rule, a protest may be filed with the League. However, the protest will not be considered unless it has a material impact on the outcome of the game.

Notification of a Protest must be filed with the League via text message and with the Chief Umpire at the time of the infraction and will not be accepted after the fact.  After the game, protests must be bona-fide, documented in writing and submitted to the League via email. If necessary, the League will convene a Rules and Protest Committee comprising of three randomly selected active managers in the League, which will investigate and render a ruling in an expeditious fashion.

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PLAYER BEHAVIOR

  1. The SFBL has set a standard of sportsmanship and player misconduct and/or alcohol, tobacco or weed infractions will not be tolerated. Read between the lines. Suspensions or expulsions are likely outcomes.
  2. Any player ejected from an official league game will serve an automatic one game suspension, unless overturned by the League.

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MANAGER RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. In addition to running his team on game day, each manager is responsible for maintaining an accurate roster online and an accurate accounting of team and player fees paid to the League.
  2. Managers must maintain an accurate score sheet of each game played. Managers are required to submit game score online by Sunday 9 pm.
  3. Managers are responsible for reporting any and all player ejections and/or player injuries to the League via text message or phone call within three (3) hours of the game’s completion.
  4. Each manager/team is responsible for the proper maintenance and cleaning of the field and dugouts. This requires that all equipment and litter be removed from the premises following each game. Additionally, teams playing the first and last games of the day are responsible for removing/replacing any tarps and/or batting cages. In the event a manager is unable to fulfill these obligations, he must notify the League prior to the scheduled event so that alternative arrangements can be made. Teams violating or ignoring this policy are subject to disciplinary action by the League.

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FREE AGENCY

  1. Each player’s playing rights belong to the team on which he plays. Players may not switch teams during the season with the exception of bona-fide trades or changes approved by the League.
  2. Any player requesting a release from his present team at the end of the season with the intent of moving to another team may do so by filing for free agency, i.e. notifying his team manager and the League of his intentions within one week after the completion of the final game of the season, including make-up games or post season games. Failure to do so will result in a $120 transfer fee payable to the team losing the player to complete the transfer.

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