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Philosophy, Rules, and Regulations
  Revised December 12, 2016

Over Thirty Baseball, Inc. (O.T.B., Inc.) was created to allow baseball players thirty years of age and over an opportunity to play the game they enjoyed playing as a youngster and for those who never had a chance to play the game. The skill level of our players varies from those who have played professionally to those who have never played organized baseball at any level. It is the longstanding tradition of OTB to accept players of all skill levels, work with and develop these players and to improve the ability and skill level of each individual player. This process creates a competitive league and championship-driven teams.

 

1     RULES

1.1    Over Thirty Baseball, Inc. adopts, as its official baseball rules, the Official Major League Baseball Rules. Any exceptions to these rules are listed herein. Members failing to abide by these are subject to suspension, expulsion or game forfeits as decided by the Board of Directors.

1.2    A majority vote of the Board of Directors is needed to add, delete or amend league rules as the need arises. All players will be notified of the changes by their manager. A revised copy of the rules will be available to each league member, each year, at the time of registration.

1.3    Except for extenuating circumstances or special events including rainouts, OTB schedules all games on Sunday mornings exclusive of the following holidays: Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.


 

2     CONDUCT

2.1    There will be no alcoholic beverages permitted before, during or after the game within the confines of the playing field. Also, smoking is prohibited within the playing area or within the vicinity of the playing area. The use of profanity is not allowed within the playing area or the vicinity of the playing area.

2.2    Unsportsmanlike conduct is strictly prohibited. The penalty for a player involved in an altercation deemed by the Board of Directors or designated committee to constitute unsportsmanlike conduct can be any of the following: warning, reprimand, suspension for one or more games, season expulsion or permanent expulsion. Each team is responsible for the conduct of its players and supporters. Should a player or team supporter act contrary to this rule, the responsible team is subject to forfeiture at the discretion of the umpire. Any and all rules regarding player conduct, including a prohibition against making false statements, are not only applicable to on-field activities, but are applicable to all OTB related activities including, but not limited to, OTB website use, OTB meetings, etc. In addition, conduct during OTB/NOTB games could result in suspension or expulsion in OTB/NOTB as determined by the Board of Directors.

Such infractions shall include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Unsportmanlike conduct
  • Abusive language before, during, or after a game, or harassment of players or umpires
  • Violation of Official Baseball rules which warrant suspension or any OTB rule
  • Repetitive minor infractions may warrant suspension or expulsion
  • Flagrant verbal or physical abuse by a player or manager
  • Assault and battery on players, managers, or any member of the umpiring crew before, during, or after a game
  • Failing to leave the playing field or designated area after an ejection by the umpire leading to forfeiture of a game. If found responsible for such an act, the player(s) will be subject to no less than a one (1) game suspension in addition to the automatic suspension provided for in Rule 2.3.
  • Disparaging remarks or statements directed at any individual or racial or ethnic group

2.3    Team Managers are responsible for ensuring that all of the players on their team are treated with fairness and respect. All players are to be given innings in the field pursuant to minimum inning rules and will be inserted into the batting order for each game that such player attends, as is required by league rules. Individual special requests made by any player to play certain positions and/or to be placed in a certain spot in a batting order may be made by a player. However, a team manager is under no obligation to grant any such individual a special request and the team manager is free to decide where each individual player shall bat and play in the field. All players and managers are expected to work together as a team toward improving both individual player skills and overall team performance.

Each individual player is responsible for his own prompt attendance at each game and regularly communicating with his team manager regarding his playing ability. Players are expected to follow the decisions of the team manager, especially in light of each team manager’s position in OTB, commitment to OTB and respect for the team manager position. Any individual player’s refusal to share in a "team first" concept shall not be tolerated. Such individual player actions shall be reported by the team manager to the Board and are subject to review by the Conduct Committee. Examples of an individual’s refusal to adopt a "team first" approach shall include, but are not limited to, a refusal to follow a basic sign such as a bunt or sacrifice, a refusal to coach a base when not batting, a refusal to play a certain position when asked by the team manager, a refusal to assist in field cleanup either following a game or in the event of rain, and a general refusal to follow the general direction of the team manager.

If in its review, the Conduct Committee determines that such individual player’s refusal to follow the "team first" approach was not justified, then the Board shall take appropriate action with respect to that player. Such action may include written warning, suspension and/or expulsion from the league.

2.4 (A)  Any player or manager ejected by the umpire from a game is automatically suspended for the next scheduled game actually played to completion, a completed game. A player receiving an ejection in a forfeited game is also subjected to the automatic one game suspension. In addition, a forfeited game may count as a game served for player suspensions subject to review if the suspended player’s team is not the cause of the forfeit.

2.4 (B)  A suspended player must immediately leave the playing area and not be in view of any player, umpire, or spectator at the game. Suspended players may not attend any game even as a spectator until their suspension is completed. Any player who fails to leave the playing field as described above after an ejection by the umpire may result in a forfeiture of that game. If found responsible for such an act, the player(s) will be subject to no less than a one (1) game suspension in addition to the automatic suspension provided for in Rule 2.4 (A).

2.4 (C)  To lift a suspension, the ejected player/manager has the burden of providing information to show their ejection was not warranted. The B.O.D. or designated committee will review and resolve such claims within five (5) days. Claims for review must be submitted by the player to the league President within twenty-four (24) hours of ejection. A successful claim will not count as an official ejection.

Multiple ejections within any three (3) year period will result in additional suspended games as follows:

  • One (1) ejection - minimum one (1) game suspension
  • Two (2) ejections - minimum two (2) game suspension
  • Three (3) ejections - seasonal expulsion with return to OTB pending approval of B.O.D.
All ejections must be reported by the Manager to the league President within twenty four (24) hours. The President has the right to extend the appeal process until a decision is made.

2.5    If an infielder decoys a tag, only the runner will be entitled to advance one (1) base. Any preceding runner(s) forced to advance by the award of one (1) base for the penalty of decoying shall advance to the next base without liability. If a fielder decoys a runner by faking a tag, the fielder decoying the tag will be automatically ejected from the game. For the purposes of this rule, "decoying a tag" shall mean and be deemed to have happened when a player on base slides unnecessarily due to a decoyed tag by a fielder who does not have the ball and/or, in the judgment of the umpire, gives the impression to the runner that the fielder is receiving a throw with the intent to make a tag on a runner.

2.6    All base runners shall be afforded a clear path into any base, including home plate. Defensive players are not permitted to intentionally block the base or plate with any part of their body. Any violation of this rule shall be deemed to be an obstruction and shall result in an award of one extra base to all runners on base. Furthermore, any violation of this rule shall be referred to the conduct committee and the conduct committee, with the approval of the Board, may recommend additional action to be taken and such action may include a written warning, suspension, and/or expulsion.

a.    For the purposes of this rule, an example of a defender "intentionally blocking" the base/plate shall include, but is not limited to, an instance where a catcher places his shin guard on the ground and in the base path towards home plate.

2.7    When there is a collision between a runner and a fielder who is clearly in possession of the ball, the umpire shall judge:

1.    Whether the collision by the runner was avoidable (could the runner have reached the base without colliding), or unavoidable (the runner’s path to the base was blocked) or:

2.    Whether the runner actually was attempting to reach the base (plate) or attempting to dislodge the ball from the fielder.

3.    This rule applies to offensive and defensive players as well:

a. If it is judged a defensive player caused the collision, no warning shall be issued to the batter/runner. The defensive player shall receive a warning on the first offense and ejection on subsequent offense. Malicious or egregious conduct resulting in a collision is grounds for immediate ejection.

b. Penalty: If, in the umpire’s judgment, the runner could have avoided the collision and reached the base, or was attempting to dislodge the ball, the runner shall be declared out even if the fielder loses possession of the ball. The ball shall be declared dead and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the interference. If ruled deliberate by the umpire, it may result in the player’s ejection from the game.

2.8    If a pitcher hits three (3) batters in any one game, the pitcher must be removed AS PITCHER on the third hit batsman. Umpire has discretion to eject any pitcher, if in his judgment, pitcher intentionally throws at batter, not withstanding his discretion under Major League rules. If a pitcher is removed from a total of three (3) games due to the hit-batsman rule, either due to count or at umpire discretion, the pitcher will not be allowed to pitch for the remainder of the season, including playoffs.

2.9    The Hidden Ball Play can be executed only when the pitcher is completely off the pitching circle (i.e., both feet on the grass of the infield).

2.10    Individuals not on the team roster present in the teams dugout must be at least 18 years of age until completion of the game.


 

3     ELIGIBILITY COMMITMENT

3.1    All managers/players must not cross the line where winning is more important than playing. An opposing manager may, at any time, have the right to question a player’s age and get their name. During registration, all players must attest to their correct age. A player must be 30 years of age by December 31 of the year in which the season is played. All players must attest to their correct age by providing the Board of Directors approved documentation for verification of their age. If an under-30 player is detected, penalties including, but not limited to long-term suspension to the individual and any member who willfully assisted, had knowledge of the deception, knowingly fails to disclose the existence of any inaccuracies will be decided by the Board of Directors subject to recommendations from a designated committee.

All applicants shall provide a complete and accurate draft application regarding their baseball history. Such information shall include, but is not limited to, listing all levels of playing ability, all positions played, last time playing organized baseball, and any other information relevant to the evaluation of such draft applicant. All draft applications shall be reviewed during the season by the Board and/or such appropriate Committee. If the Board and/or such Committee determine that any drafted individual fails to properly complete his draft card, whether intentional, inadvertent, by mistake or otherwise, such individual shall be suspended for a minimum of one (1) game, regardless of the timing. If the season has ended, then such player suspension shall be carried over until the following season. In addition, the Board and/or Committee may award additional penalties against such player, including a suspension for additional games and/or expulsion from OTB, based on the severity of such misrepresentation and/or failure to supply accurate information.

3.2    Each year, new applicants will be eligible for the draft according to the order of the receipt of applications. The annual draft will be conducted in a manner to allow parity, fairness, and an opportunity for all teams to field all positions, with priority given to returning ballplayers as defined in separate draft rules adopted by OTB. In order to maintain fairness and opportunity, the league will not publish any information about players on a waiting list. If a manager has a need for a player in order to fill a vacant roster spot, the manager will make a request for a player. If no waitlist player is available, that roster spot shall remain vacant until the following year’s draft.

3.3    Dates for submission of final rosters will be decided by the League President. There will be absolutely no changes permitted afterward, without the approval of the League President.

3.4    Any player may submit their name for consideration in the draft. A player may switch teams after completion of the draft with the approval of the board.

3.5    Teams must have nine (9) players to start an official game. To satisfy the 9 player rule all nine (9) players must be on the field or in the dugout and in uniform when the umpire puts the first ball in play. A team cannot complete a game with less than eight (8) players. Please refer to Major League rules for further clarification, including forfeiture of the game. See Rule 5 for definition of a completed game. A forfeit is not considered a completed game for either team involved.

3.6    As authorized by the Board of Directors, any player missing two (2) consecutive games without prior notification is subject to expulsion for the remainder of the season. Any player missing four (4) games, with or without prior notification, is subject to expulsion for the remainder of the season. Furthermore, the player involved is not entitled to any refund. If such an expelled player decides to return to the league the following year, he shall not be treated as a returning player. His application will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

3.7    In order for a player to qualify and participate in his team’s playoffs, a player must be on the team’s official roster no later than July 15th. In addition, a player must play in at least 50% of regular season games actually played and completed regardless of reason for absence including any suspensions said player may be required to serve. Players failing to meet the requirements due to extenuating circumstances or a documented injury may make a written request for reconsideration to the Board of Directors. For purposes of this rule, a forfeiture shall not count as a game actually played and completed for either of the teams involved.


 

4     PLAYING TIME, POSITIONS, AVAILABILITY

4.1    A pitcher may pitch no more than a total of eighteen (18) innings in three (3) consecutive games. Innings pitched is defined as complete innings pitched within a completed game. Consequently a pitcher, for example, may have pitched 8-2/3 innings and has 9-1/3 innings available to pitch within the three (3) consecutive games. Innings of availability will begin anew with the start of the playoff season. Violation of this rule in any game will result in an automatic forfeiture of said game. Pitchers removed from the mound may not return to pitch for the remainder of the game. If a game is forfeited, all statistics will remain. Pitched innings will count towards a pitcher’s tally. The only personal statistic a player will not be credited with will be a win, loss, or save.

If it it determined that any individual has pitched more than the maximum eighteen (18) innings in any consecutive three (3) game span, then such matter shall be brought to the attention of the Board for review and possible action, in the discretion of the Board. Such action may include written warning, forfeiture of game(s) won in which such a violation of the rule is deemed to have occurred, and/or suspension. A formal protest is not required in order to enforce the provisions of this rule.

4.2    Pitchers may not wear apparel which can be deemed as a distraction during the game (i.e. wrist bands, bright pitching sleeve, shining objects).

4.3    Each manager will bat all players present at the start of the game. The manager will add players who arrive late to the bottom of the lineup as soon as they are ready to play.

4.4    Batters cannot be deleted or skipped over unless physically unable to swing, regardless of their batting position or when they were added during the game. If a player is forced to leave the game for any reason, that spot is skipped, and all batters moved up accordingly with no penalty to the affected team. If a player misses his turn at bat for whatever reason but wishes to continue batting, an out will be charged at the time of the missed turn at bat.

Any player that is injured during a game, or attempts to play a defensive position at any time prior to the start of a game and up through the game but cannot continue to play a defensive position due to injury shall be permitted to continue to play on offense, if able, and may continue to hit, run the bases and do all other things related to the offensive side of baseball.

4.5    All players able to play must play at least four (4) completed innings on the field. Any player not present at the start of the game will have those innings missed deducted from the four (4) inning minimum. A completed inning is defined as the player being on the field for three (3) defensive outs. Therefore, a player must be on the field for a minimum of twelve (12) defensive outs per game, unless the player arrived late or leaves early, and any defensive outs made in his absence shall be deducted from the minimum.

If it is determined that any individual has failed to play at least four (4) defensive innings in any game, as is defined by league rules, then such matter shall be brought to the attention of the Board for review and possible action, in the discretion of the Board. Such action may include written warning, forfeiture of game(s) won in which such a violation of the rule is deemed to have occurred and/or suspension. A formal protest is not required in order to enforce the provisions of this rule.

4.6    A player who needs a courtesy runner, due to injury factors only, must have his 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 at the start of each game. The player to make the last batted out must be the courtesy pinch runner unless it is the first inning of a game and no player has made an out. In this case, the last batter in the order shall be the courtesy runner. In the event a player becomes injured during a game, a manager may add to the number of courtesy runners for each injured player up to a maximum of two (2) additional courtesy runners. (As an additional option to this rule, pitchers and catchers, if the last batted out, may be skipped as courtesy runners with the previous batted out running.)

An in-game runner does not have to run for that player throughout that game. However if an in-game injured player chooses to run after a runner was used previously for his injury he has used one of the two available in-game runners. If that same injured player needs an additional in-game runner he may use one as long as no other in-game runners have been used. This will exhaust all in-game runners options. This does not preclude a runner from attempting to steal bases.

4.7    Pitchers and catchers shall be allowed a pinch runner when there are two (2) outs in an inning. The runner has to be substituted before the next batter comes up to bat. The pinch runner shall be the player who made the last batted out.

4.8    A player may initiate a request to his manager to only hit and not play the field. The manager may name him as a designated hitter (DH). Such player must be designated prior to the game. There may only be one DH per game and he MAY NOT enter the game to play the field once designated. All other players are subject to rule 4.5 who are playing in that game. Notwithstanding the requirements of this rule, if any player is injured during a game and has to leave that game, resulting in a shortage of remaining players for that team, then the player designated as the DH may enter the game for defensive purposes. For the purposes of this rule, a "shortage of remaining players" shall mean fewer than eight (8) players eligible to play, not counting the player designated as the DH.


 

5     COMPLETED GAMES / PROTESTS

5.1    All games are nine (9) innings. It is at the umpire’s discretion to call the game in the event of darkness or inclement weather. A game called due to darkness is complete upon playing seven (7) innings and a game called due to inclement weather is complete upon playing five (5) innings. The previous sentence shall not apply to playoff games. All players are expected to be at their respective games at least thirty (30) minutes before the start. Teams are allowed to take batting practice prior to the start of the game but all batting practice shall end no later than 7:30 am. Teams are expected to cooperate with each other in sharing the field for batting practice.

The home team will take the field twenty five (25) minutes before the start of the game for ten (10) minutes of practice. The visiting team will take the field fifteen (15) minutes before the start of the game for ten (10) minutes of practice, with the ground rules taking place five (5) minutes before the start of the game. If a team cannot field a 9-player roster by fifteen (15) minutes after the scheduled start time, the game will be forfeited. If both teams are required to forfeit because a 9-player roster is not reached by fifteen (15) minutes after the scheduled start time, both teams are awarded a forfeit loss.

5.2    A game will be considered final and completed when the home team has a fifteen (15) run lead after 4-1/2 innings and two (2) completed hours of play. A game will be considered final and completed when the visiting team has a fifteen (15) run lead after five (5) full innings and two (2) completed hours of play. If the two (2) hour time limit has not been reached, the home team must have its last chance at bat in any inning after the 5th and after the two (2) hour time limit. This rule will not pertain to playoff play.

5.3    After three (3) hours and thirty (30) minutes from the start of a game, the teams may not begin a new inning. The game will be ruled final and completed at this point. Ties are considered as a final and completed game during the regular season. During the playoffs, games will be played until there is a winner. During playoff games, all games will continue until the home team is leading after 8-1/2 innings have been played or the visiting team is leading after nine (9) innings have been played. If the game is tied after nine (9) completed innings of play, all playoff games will continue until there is a winner in extra innings.

5.4    Rainouts can be played to completion only if the schedule includes makeup dates or if approved by the Board of Directors.

5.5    All protests should be lodged verbally with the League President within twenty four (24) hours. All protests should be submitted in writing to the League President within seventy two (72) hours. All protests shall be decided by the Over Thirty Baseball, Inc. Board of Directors consisting of the League Officers, Directors, and team managers. Any board member whose team is involved with a protest will have no vote in the decision. In case of a deadlock, the President’s vote will be the deciding vote. The B.O.D. will modify this process for specific games during the season as the need arises.

5.6    The definition of a completed game is described in Rule 5. A forfeited game is not a completed game for either team involved.

5.7    In the event that either current field or forecasted weather status make the conditions for playing uncertain, the league will institute a Rain Delay. The league will be notified no later than 6:45 AM. Once invoked, game start times would be shifted to 9:45 AM. During the intervening time, both teams would be responsible to attempt to render the fields playable by both OTB and umpire standards. If by 8:15 AM all parties agree that fields are unplayable, the game shall be rained out. Both teams and the umpire crew should work together to determine field safety and playability. Once the ground rules have been reviewed, the responsibility rests solely with the umpires.

 

6     EQUIPMENT / UNIFORM

6.1   All teams must have full baseball uniforms.

6.1.1    No player without a uniform will be allowed to play without the opposing manager’s consent. A full uniform is defined as hat, pants, shirt and socks. Also no alterations to the uniform without board approval.

6.1.2    It shall be the responsibility of each OTB player, with the assistance of that team manager, along with the purchasing committee and board of directors, to obtain his own uniform. All uniforms must meet the requirements approved by the board of directors and posted on the OTB website.

6.2    All batters and runners must have helmets; there is no exception to this rule. Dual or single-flap helmets are mandatory when batting and helmets are required for the bases. Catchers are also required to wear a helmet beneath their mask. Players warming up a pitcher must wear a mask. At all times, throat guards must be worn with masks.

6.3    Only league-approved baseballs will be permitted for league play. Each team must bring three (3) baseballs to each game.

6.4    Effective with the beginning of the 2017 season (overriding the rule created in 2005), all non-wood bats used during play must meet Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) standard. All non-wood bats must be labeled with BBCOR certification, BESR labeled bats are considered illegal. Any batter using an illegal bat will be ejected from the game. Any board-approved change in structure or differential will be made with the contingency that its implementation will be one (1) year from the date of the board-approved change.

Effective beginning in the 2010 season, OTB will play no more than 3 games of the regular season with baseball bats made of wood or wood-based composite material. The Scheduling Committee will designate the games to be played as "wood bat" games. All games to be played with such bats shall be played prior to the July 4th break. No "wood bat" games shall be played after the July 4th designated date. This rule applies to makeup games due to rainouts or other factors.

6.5    All baseball cleats are permitted in league games.

 

7     ADMINISTRATIVE

7.1   Teams must report results of games and statistics within seventy two (72) hours of the completion of the game.

7.2   The home team of the All-Star game shall alternate between the American League and the National League each year.

7.3   The home team for the Championship Game will be the team with the better regular season record.



Revision history:

Final Revision December 12, 2016
Revised December 18, 2015
Revised December 15, 2014
Revised December 16, 2013
Revised December 17, 2012
Revised December 12, 2011
Revised December 13, 2010
Revised December 17, 2009
Revised December 8, 2008
Revised December 10, 2007
Revised December 7, 2006
Revised December 1, 2005
Revised December 2, 2004
Revised December 4, 2003
Revised December 5, 2002
Revised December 6, 2001
Reviewed with no changes January 25, 2001
Revised January 13, 2000
Revised January 25, 1999
Revised January 15, 1998
Revised February 20, 1997
Reviewed with no changes January 25, 1996
Revised January 16, 1995