Official Rules of Baseball plus RHWS addendums
Updated July 2023
Roy Hobbs Note I: Roy Hobbs Baseball (RHBB) uses the Official Rules of Baseball as its base, with the following adaptations. The adaptations are for use at the annual Roy Hobbs World Series and any Roy Hobbs-sanctioned event where the promoter chooses to use them. These rules have been distributed to members of the Roy Hobbs Umpires Association.
Note II: These rules adaptations apply directly to Veterans, Masters, Legends & Classics age divisions, with further adaptations for Vintage, Timeless, Forever Young and Family ties divisions, which are listed separately as needed.
Note III: The Roy Hobbs’ rules amplifications, exceptions and adaptations, updated as of August 2020, supersede any other written copy of Roy Hobbs Rules. Updates are shaded.
Note IV: In case of protest, the Official Rules of Baseball, supplemented by Jaska-Roder’s “The Rules of Professional Baseball: A Comprehensive Interpretation”, will be the basis of rules decisions.
1.0 Rule interpretations, addendums
1.01 Strike zone: RHBB encourages umpires to call a “full” strike zone as described in Official Rules of Baseball: “. . . that area over home plate, the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.”
RHBB notes: 1) Over home plate is strictly a judgment call for each umpire. 2) FYI … Batters who duck a pitch do not compress their strike zone.
1.02 Batters box: Batters must keep one foot in the box during their at bat, with the following exceptions:
1.02a. When batter is driven out by a pitch or has swung at a pitch.
1.02b. Defense calls time out or pitcher is off the mound.
1.02c. Defense attempts a play or a wild pitch / passed ball occurs.
1.02d. Catcher leaves his position.
1.02e. Offense (or batter) is granted a time out.
1.02f. Batter fakes a bunt or assumes possible ball 4.
1.02g. When the batter is out of the box, he may not leave the dirt area around home plate except in the case of a substitution, a conference or an equipment problem.
Notes: The intent of this rule is to keep the game flowing. When a player is in violation of this rule, the umpire will ask that the batter return to the batter’s box – one warning per offending player. If the offending player does not return to the batter’s box (or if the violation is repeated), a strike will be called without a pitch being thrown.
1.03 Decoy tags: Decoy tags, inducing a runner to slide unnecessarily, are prohibited. An offending player is subject to potential ejection, with the runner awarded at least one base or as many bases as he would have made without the obstruction. There will be no warnings.
1.04 Intentional walk: Hitter may be waived to first base upon the direction of the defensive team manager, pitcher or catcher.
1.05 Hit Batters: Any pitcher who hits four (4) batters with pitches during a game must be removed from the pitching position (upon hitting his fourth batter). He may continue to play offense and defense.
1.05a. Umpires are instructed to not grant first base to a hitter who makes no attempt to get out of the way of a pitch or leans into a pitch in an attempt to get hit. The umpire’s decision is based on his judgment, and a ball (or strike) will be called.
2.0 Safety on the bases
2.01 Runners should avoid collisions with defensive players fielding a batted ball (fielders are entitled to the ball, which includes a step-and-reach beyond the point of contact with the ball, until such time as the ball passes a fielder with a chance to field it).
2.02 Any player – offensive or defensive – who initiates intentional and/or malicious contact with an opponent shall be called out, if applicable, and be subject to ejection.
2.03 Illegal slides will result in the sliding player being called out and being subject to ejection.
2.03a A legal slide is directly to the base (defined as player being within an arm’s length of the bag) on a straight line from the previous base. A slide may go past the base as long as it is not in the direction of (or makes contact with) a defensive player handling the baseball; any runner who deliberately slides into a defensive player away from a base is out and subject to both an interference call and ejection if contact is deemed malicious.
2.03b An illegal slide is described as:
2.03b.2 body blocking
2.03b.3 sliding with such momentum that it takes the sliding player into a fielder beyond the base.
2.03b.4 sliding out of the baseline and making contact with defensive player.
2.03b.5 pop-up slides where runner initiates contact with defensive player.
2.03b.6 sliding with spikes above the fielder’s knee. (Offensive players may not hurdle a defensive player attempting to make a play or to avoid a tag.)
2.04 A defensive player may not deny an offensive player any access to a base (or plate) without possession of the ball. Obstruction is the ruling: The runner is safe and a delayed dead ball shall be called to allow play to finish.
2.04a Catchers may not block home plate without possession of the ball. (Straddling home plate is considered ‘blocking’ the plate. Note: RHBB follows the 2014-established MLB guidelines and addendums on plays at the plate and strongly suggests catchers position themselves in front of the plate while awaiting a throw on a play at the plate and slide into blocking position once in possession of the baseball.)
2.04b If an umpire rules obstruction for blocking a base without the ball, the defensive player will be warned; a second warning may result in ejection.
2.04c If, in the case of a defensive player denying access to a base without possession of the ball, and the runner collides maliciously, the runner shall be declared safe on the defensive player-initiated obstruction, but will be subject to ejection from the game. The ball is dead.
2.04d if a runner initiates a collision with a defensive player attempting to make a play, it is offensive interference and the runner is out. If the collision is ruled malicious or intentional, the runner is also subject to ejection. The ball is dead on offensive interference.
2.04e Malicious contact is described as initiating contact with arms and/or elbows up or in front of the body, lowering a shoulder, use of forearm in the contact or an act in the judgment of the umpire that is intended to harm or injure another player. Malicious contact includes all elements of illegal slides.
3.01 Sportsmanship and adult attitudes must prevail regardless of level of competition. Umpires are requested to eject players before, during or after games for any of the following behaviors, considered to be unsportsmanlike:
3.01a Consumption of alcoholic beverages at any time before or during games or while inside any of the complexes is prohibited. (While RHBB and its umpires cannot make judgments on sobriety, managers are requested to prohibit players who appear intoxicated or smell of alcohol from playing. Umpires will eject players who smell of alcohol.) (See Rule 3.02 regarding alcohol.)
3.01b Threats of physical intimidation of umpires, players or spectators, including any threatening physical contact.
3.01c Verbal abuse of umpires, players or spectators, such as profanity, name-calling, belittlement or excessive harassment.
3.01d Excessive profanity, defined as profanity that, in the umpire’s judgment, is audible in the stands, dugouts and area surrounding the field of play, regardless of intent.
3.01e Throwing of equipment (bats, helmets, gloves, etc.).
3.02 Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages are prohibited at the playing sites – before, during and after all World Series games. Playing sites are defined as the playing site itself plus the property owned by the same entity surrounding the playing site. This includes parking lots. Player(s) found in violation of open-container ordinances at playing sites are subject to expulsion from the event. Exception: Within the fenced boundaries of any event facility where alcohol sales is available and permitted by law.
3.03 Tobacco: Smoking is prohibited on the field of play or in the dugouts and their immediate area, before, during or after games. Players who wish to smoke must go to the stands or the parking lot. Player(s) found in violation of tobacco regulations at playing sites are subject to ejection.
4.0 Game guidelines
4.01 Games: All games are scheduled for 9 innings unless noted. Tournament Director has discretion to shorten the length of games due to weather or other logistical conditions that are beyond World Series control. Other exceptions include:
4.01a Mercy rule: 10-run Rule will be in effect after 7 innings (6½ if home team leads). In the case of 7-inning games, a 15-run rule will be in effect at the end of 5 innings of play. (Both teams must have the same number of at-bats, unless the home team is leading.). See 70-75s rules for Mercy Rule differences.
RH Mercy-rule Suggestion: If run differential is 15 or more after 5 (in 7-inning game) or 7 (in 9-inning game), allow the team behind to bat 6 outs – 3 outs, clear bases, 3 outs and done – so that that team gets its at-bats. Those 6 outs will NOT change the winner-loser outcome.
4.01b Time Limit: No new inning will begin after 3:00 of playing time in a scheduled 9-inning game; no new inning will begin after 2:25 of playing time in a scheduled 7-inning game, unless time limits are waived by Roy Hobbs Officials. Special Notes: It is each team manager’s responsibility to monitor time issues. Umpires are requested to notify both benches at least 1 full inning ahead of reaching time limits. Umpires will ‘stop the clock’ on a) weather suspensions, b) injuries where a player requires medical attention on the field, c) to handle protests, and d) any other unavoidable delay.
4.01c 911 issues: All games stop immediately when EMS Units enter complexes.
4.01d Weather issues: All games stop immediately when Lightning Sirens sound. Weather-stopped games are suspended pending the decision of the tournament director, regardless of number of innings played. (Umpires may suspend but not declare game over in weather situations.)
4.02 Extra innings: Games where scores are tied at the completion of 9 innings shall go into extra innings provided time limits allow. If the score is tied when time limit is invoked, the tie will be resolved by RHBB Shootout rules, which are:
4.02a Play 1 inning at a time, with the last 2 legal batters from the previous inning starting the new inning at first and second base. (International shootout rules.)
4.02b Each hitter comes to the plate with a 2-2 count. If the pitch is a called strike or missed on the swing, the batter is out; if the pitch is fouled off, the count remains 2-2; or the batter hits the ball fair. It takes 2 balls for the hitter to walk.
4.02c Each team gets 3 outs. If the score remains tied after each team has batted, repeat the process until there is a winner.
4.03 Lineup cards: Both managers, prior to or at the home plate meeting at the start of the game, will give the home plate umpire and the opposing manager a copy of their lineup, which MUST include:
4.03a First Initial or first name and last name of all players who potentially could appear in the game.
4.03b All players (including all substitutes and relief pitchers) MUST be listed on the lineup card, even if they are not starting offensively or defensively, to be eligible to play in the game. (If a player is delayed, make sure player is listed so he can play upon arrival.)
4.03c Umpires will be responsible for lineups during the game to handle eligibility questions, scorebook discrepancies, incorrect numbers (correctible error), and batting out of order issues.
4.04 Batting order rules: The number of hitters in the batting order is team option; basic batting order is 9 hitters; there is no maximum. Batting order may not be reduced after the umpire receives the lineup.
4.04a Teams may start a game with 8 players; the ninth batting slot is an “out” each time it comes to the plate; when ninth player shows up, he will be inserted into the ninth spot in the batting order without penalty. Exception to automatic out: See 4.04d.
4.04b If the batting or fielding contingent is fewer than 8 at any time, the game is ended with the deficient team forfeiting.
4.04c If a team begins play with 9-or-more players and all are in the offensive order (therefore, no substitutes available), and a player is forced to leave the game (offensive & defensive lineup) for an injury, no “out” will be declared when that player’s position comes to the plate. However, if the offensive player leaves the lineup for any other reason (i.e., ejection or leaving the playing site), an “out” will be declared for that vacant spot in the batting lineup each time it comes to the plate. Notes: If a player is injured and out of the game, he is removed both offensively and defensively. If an injured player wants to hit in a 9-man scenario, he must also run the bases should he reach safely, unless he is sharing a lineup spot with another player.
4.04d Exception to the automatic out: A game may not end on the automatic out.
4.04e Additional hitters may be added to the end of the batting order provided that …
4.04e.1 players are listed on lineup card;
4.04e.2 players may not have appeared anywhere else in the offensive lineup in a shared position or otherwise;
4.04e.3 offensive lineup may not be reduced at any time; exception being injury (see 4.04c above).
4.04e.4 team adding to its lineup must communicate addition to umpires and to opposing team/scorebook prior to that player hitting.
4.05 Offensive substitution: RHBB uses the Shared Lineup position to enter more than one player in any offensive batting order position. No exceptions.
4.05a Offensive substitution is unlimited, provided said player stays in the same spot in the lineup once he is placed there (i.e., a batter and a runner for that batter may occupy the same position in the offensive lineup; the manager must declare who is batting at that lineup position if there is a change. Neither player may appear in any other offensive lineup slot.) A manager may use an unlimited number of players in any lineup slot, but those players cannot be used elsewhere offensively.
4.05b Any player entering a game as a runner (i.e., player has not played offensively to that point), thereby creating a shared position in the batting order, must bat the next time that batting order position comes to the plate.
405c.1 This rules does NOT require players to alternate once initiated; it requires that the runner get the next at-bat, or be substituted with a pinch-hitter (not the original player in that batting slot).
405c.2 What happens if the runner shares in the late innings and the batting position doesn’t come up again in that game? Whether the runner gets an at-bat is something to be worked out between the player and the manager; at that point, the timing of the shared position decision is dictated by the circumstances in the game.
405c.3 Penalty: Handled as a batting out of order situation (ORB 6.07), and, by rule, it is the responsibility of the defense to bring the fact of the ‘improper’ batter to the attention of the plate umpire. Penalty exception: In this case, if the “improper” batter reaches base and is called out on 6.07, the ‘proper’ batter (who ran as a shared position) will then be the ‘proper’ batter.
4.05d A shared position in the offensive lineup may be initiated any time at manager’s discretion.
4.05e Managers must notify umpires and opposing manager/scorebook when players in shared-lineup positions are being switched the first time in the game. (Penalty for failure to report: Handle same as batting out of order, and to challenge, follow the same rules that apply to batting out of order – ORB 6.07.)
4.05f NO courtesy runners. Use shared lineup position.
4.06 Defensive substitution: There will be free and unlimited defensive substitutions without reporting to the umpire, the official scorekeeper (in playoffs) or the opponent’s scorekeeper (although it is a courtesy to do so). Exception: Pitching changes must be reported to the umpires and to both team’s scorekeepers.
4.06a Defensive players are not required to play offense, and offensive players are not required to play on defense.
4.06b All pitchers will follow ORB with regard to re-entry as a pitcher. (One re-entry per inning.)
i. (ORB requires pitchers to stay in the game defensively in order to re-enter as a pitcher.)
a) Exception I: A starting pitcher may re-enter as a pitcher one time without remaining in the defensive lineup as long as 6 outs are recorded before his re-entry. (If he is removed again, he must stay in the defensive lineup for any further re-entry.) Managers must inform plate umpire at the time of the initial removal of any intent to re-enter his starter who is going to the bench after the required time not pitching.
b). Exception II: If any pitcher is removed on second visit by manager in the same inning, he may not return as a pitcher (ORB guideline).
4.06c Visits to the mound. RH will follow ORB rules of 2018, prior to change to limit 6 visits.
4.07 Official Scorebook: The home team scorebook is the official scorebook unless the home team cedes the responsibility to the visiting team and informs umpires. During championship games, designated official scorer’s book is the official scorebook.
4.08 Pre-Game meeting: Managers are required to attend pre-game home plate meeting. (In case of protests and/or ruling clarifications, umpires will discuss issues only with those who attended pre-game plate meeting.)
4.09 Dugout access: Non-uniformed individuals are not allowed in open dugouts during the play. Screened dugouts are exempt. See Roy Hobbs BatBoy/Scorekeeper Guidelines, Appendix A.
4.10 Bat Boys/Scorekeepers: See Roy Hobbs BatBoy/Scorekeeper Guidelines, Appendix A.
4.11 Protests: Protests are allowed on misapplication of game rules. Protests on a judgment call by an umpire will be declined. Retroactive protests will not be accepted. Protests must be made at the point at which a rule has been misapplied. To protest a game, a manager must:
4.11a Stop the game before the next pitch is thrown.
4.11b Notify the umpire and the opposing manager that the game is being played under protest.
4.11c Write in the HOME team’s scorebook the situation and on what grounds the game is being protested. The protesting manager must sign the notations.
4.11d The umpire must sign the HOME team’s scorebook, noting the situation of the game (including the count on the hitter) when the protest was lodged.
4.11e Protesting team must write a check for $50 to RHBB and give it to the plate umpire (who gives it to Field Manager or event official addressing the protest). (If the protest is upheld, the $50 will be returned; if not, the $50 goes to the Roy Hobbs Foundation’s Challenger fund.)
4.11f Umpires and managers will meet with complex Field Manager and/or RHBB representative, who will contact either the Tournament Director or RHBB President (via phone if not on site) and resolve the protest before resuming the game. Decision of RHBB official is final.
4.12 Ejections: Ejected players must leave the field of play and the vicinity of the playing field upon gathering their belongings. Any further contact with the umpires, even after the game finishes, could bring possible disqualification from the remainder of the event. All ejections carry automatic suspension for the player and require a written report from the umpire to be submitted to the Chief of Umpires and Tournament Director immediately upon completion of the game.
4.13 Ejection reinstatement: Ejected players are suspended from further competition until they meet with the World Series Tournament Director or his representative. Failure to do so will result in a team forfeiture and further disqualification. Any player ejected twice during the World Series, regardless of reason, is disqualified from further competition (players ejected in previous World Series competition risk similar consequences). Appeal: Any player ejected twice must file a written appeal for a hearing with the Tournament Director and his Competition Committee. Decision of the committee is final.
5.0 Uniforms, equipment
5.01 Uniform: All participating players, coaches and managers must be in full, numbered, baseball uniform while within the confines of the field of play.
5.01a Uniforms must be buttoned and tucked in.
5.01b Players on composite teams may wear the uniforms of their respective teams, although matching uniforms are encouraged.
5.01c Duplicate numbers are legal. (Teams with duplicate numbers are required to note on the lineup card distinguishing features of the players with duplicate numbers.)
5.01d Players and/or coaches may not switch jerseys once play has begun.
5.01e Cotton T-shirts as uniform jerseys are prohibited. (Contact RHBB on what is permissible.)
5.01f No cutoff sleeves are permitted, either on sleeved jerseys or on T-shirts under vest jerseys.
5.01g While pitching, a pitcher may not wear white undershirt sleeves, batting gloves on the pitching hand, light-colored batting gloves on their glove hand, or wristbands on his pitching arm. Pitcher’s glove must conform to baseball standards and cannot be in color combinations that include white, except in the glove’s lacing. Pitching elbow compression sleeve is permisable as long as it is not white and not in direct contrast to the team’s uniforms.
5.02 Helmets: Batters and runners are required to wear NOCSAE-approved helmets. Batters are required to wear helmets with an earflap toward the pitcher. Cracked helmets are prohibited. No catchers helmets allowed while at bat. No exceptions.
5.03 Skull Caps: Catchers are required to wear a skull cap or hockey-style helmet when catching. No exceptions. Skull caps on base coaches is recommended.
5.04 Wood bats: See Roy Hobbs Bat Guidelines, Appendix B.
5.04a Sanctions for violations on non-approved bats.
5.04a.1 First offense: Reported during the at-bat, warning issued, bat confiscated, get another bat and play on; If discovered after at-bat and before first pitch to next hitter, batter is out, bat confiscated.
5.04a.2 Subsequent violations with same batter: Batter called out, ejected, bat confiscated.
5.04a.3 All confiscated bats delivered to Tournament office; bats returned to owners once last game of division is completed.
5.05 Gloves: Catchers may wear first baseman’s mitts, and first basemen may wear fielder’s mitts. Mitts must conform to ORB size guidelines (i.e., maximum outfielder’s mitt size is 13 inches.)
5.06 Shoes: Metal spiked shoes are allowed; however, only those manufactured for baseball. No track or golf shoes allowed. Metal spikes may not be sharpened.
RHBB Note V: These rules are effective July 2022 and supersede any previous version.
RHWS BatBoy/Scorekeeper Dugout Guidelines
The Roy Hobbs Baseball batboy and scorekeeper policy for the Roy Hobbs World Series and Sunshine Classic events is as follows:
1. Batboys/Scorekeepers must be at least 16-years-old and able to sign the standard Roy Hobbs registration waiver. Batboys under 18-years of age must have a parent’s written permission to be a Batboy, and the parent must sign the standard Roy Hobbs registration waiver.
2. Batboys/Scorekeepers must be on a team’s official roster, and included on team’s insurance forms.
a. Batboys/Scorekeepers are not eligible for team awards; those may be purchased if the situation arises.
b. If Batboy/Scorekeeper puts team roster over the 20-player maximum, there is no extra charge.
3. Batboys must wear helmets at all times during games.
4. Batboys are not permitted outside the dugout while ball is in play.
5. In the dugout, Batboys/Scorekeepers must sit or be stationed where he/she is protected from foul balls, regardless of which team is batting.
6. Batboys must wear, at a minimum, a team jersey while games are in progress. Scorekeepers are not required to wear a jersey.
7. Scorekeepers are not permitted in open dugouts or stadium dugouts with no screening protection.
8. Scorekeepers are not required to wear a helmet in the protected dugouts and are not allowed on the field of play during the game (defined as the start of the pre-game plate meeting through the final out of the game). (Exception: Conference during time out when umpires request to see a scorebook to resolve a lineup discrepancy or scoring issue with managers.
9. Batboys/Scorekeepers in violation of Roy Hobbs game guidelines lose dugout and participation privileges.
— Roy Hobbs Baseball, September 2015
Roy Hobbs World Series Bat Regulations
Bat guidelines completely updated, March 15, 2019
The Roy Hobbs Baseball bat policy for the Roy Hobbs World Series and Sunshine Classic events is as follows:
a. All Bats must be solid wood, single-unit construction and cannot be hollow.
b. Bats with wood barrels and handles of a different composition or design are prohibited. (Laminated wood bats and AX Bats are approved as long as they meet the 100% wood and non-hollow specs above.)
c. There are no requirements that bat companies certify their bats, unless the bat is challenged, and Roy Hobbs officials cannot make a determination of the bat’s construction with data at hand.
d. On Challenged bats during a game, event playing rules take precedence. In absence of written rules, Umpires may either 1) call for a tournament official to make a decision, or 2) confiscate the challenged bat and deliver it to tournament officials at the conclusion of the game. There is no sanction on batter other than confiscation.
e. NOTE: Baum Bats are approved for use. No DeMarini bat may be used without permission of Roy Hobbs Baseball – the bat owner must be able to provide documentation that the bat conforms to the requirements in section a: solid wood, single-unit construction and not hollow.
Please note, while Roy Hobbs Baseball does not mandate local bat policies, Roy Hobbs strongly encourages local leagues and other sanctioned Roy Hobbs events to develop bat policies