New Jersey Amateur Baseball League Rules
I. General Rules
A. Player Eligibility
The league has an open roster policy. Players are allowed to play games if called upon the day of the game. Any player added must be on the roster within 5 days of playing the 1st game.
1. A player must be at least 18 years old at the start of the season to be eligible to play in the NJABL.
a. Any player under 18 must be approved by the league.
2. No player will be eligible to participate in league play upon substantial proof that he owes money to his previous team.
3. Players must provide proof of age to his manager and/or league upon registration. It is the ultimate responsibility of the manager to ensure that a player meets age eligibility requirements.
4. Managers must obtain proof of age in the form of a "photo id" for each player on his roster (Valid driver's license, passport, or another official document) and must present such proof to a league official upon request of an opposing manager(s).
5. Players must fully execute a League Waiver before participating in league play. The execution of the waiver may be accomplished either electronically on the league web site or through a printed form. Waivers must be delivered via electronic submission or to a league officer for a player to be eligible. Every manager is responsible for tracking and verifying all waiver submissions for their respective teams.
a. To be eligible to play in NJABL, a player’s waiver must be submitted to the league at least 48 hours after their first game.
b. After opening day, a player must deliver his waiver to the league at least 48 hours before the initial game played.
-Waivers are available to be filled out online at the league website.
6. Every manager is required to post his entire roster on the league website within 5 days of the 1st game played.
7. Players must acquire 20 PAs or 18 innings pitched in the regular season games (spring) to be eligible to participate in the post-season play (playoffs).
a. Fall and summer, players must acquire 12 PAs or 10 innings pitched in the regular season to be eligible to participate in the post-season play (playoffs).
b. Once a pitcher meets eligibility at a higher level for playoffs, that player may not be able to move to a lower level to pitch.
c. All players who played in a prior season and batted over 400 at a level may not play at a lower level without league approval.
8. Innings played as an infielder, outfielder, or catcher will not be counted toward playoff eligibility.
9. Only the manager will be playoff eligible with 0 requirements for PAs or innings pitched. The manager must be named before the season starting.
An assistant manager will be playoff eligible with 0 requirements for PAs or innings pitched but this player may only play defensively (non-pitching role) on the playoff roster if eligibility is not met by normal requirements
10. Injury Player Eligibility
A player who is injured during the season or in the offseason can be eligible to play with the same team they played with the prior season in playoffs if they meet the following:
a. The player must have had 30 at-bats in the prior season with the team.
b. The player must provide proof of injury from a doctor to the league before playing any games and the league must approve it.
c. The player must play in the current regular season to qualify for playoffs.
d. The player will be granted a pro-rated at-bat ratio based on games left in the season that must be met to reach eligibility. This pro-rated value will be determined before April 3rd. If this is not met in the regular season the player cannot participate in the playoffs.
B. Ineligible Players
1. A player found to be ineligible will be disciplined under the code of conduct according to NJABL bylaws. Any player suspended for the remainder of any season must request reinstatement to the League Council for any subsequent season, and any such reinstatement is subject to review by the league.
2. A team using an ineligible player shall forfeit all games in which that player participated. A manager who knew or should have known that he was using an ineligible player shall be subject to disciplinary proceedings according to the code of conduct found within the NJABL Bylaws. Manager reinstatement for any subsequent season must be made by request to the League Council and is subject to review of the Board.
3. A player/manager who is subject to disciplinary proceedings for actions as a manager shall also be subject to proceedings as a player as well.
a. Any player who aids, abets, or otherwise conspires to facilitate play of an ineligible player shall be subject to disciplinary proceedings according to the code of conduct. Player reinstatement for any subsequent season must be made by request to the League Council and is subject to review of the council.
b. Opposing managers and/or league officials may at any time request proof of a player's eligibility including age. If the question is not resolved at the time of the request, a protest must be filed within 24 hours of completion of the game.
C. Team Rosters
1. Teams must qualify a minimum of Nine (9) players to be eligible for the playoffs.
a. Every manager is required to post his entire roster on the league website.
b. Players must be on roster 5 days after playing in a game. NJABL has an open roster policy and once the season begins. A player may be added to the roster on game day. This can be done via the app on any smartphone.
2. A team may add a new player any time during the season.
D. Game Scores and Statistics
1. Managers or their designated representative must enter game scores and player statistics into the official League website after each regular-season game.
a. Scores must be entered no later than 24 hours from the start of the game.
b. Statistics must be entered no later than 5 days following the official game start time listed on the website. For example, if a game is scheduled for Sunday at 9:00 am, stats must be entered no later than Friday at 9:00 am.
2. The league will use these player statistics as an indicator of sufficient play during the season to be eligible for post-season play.
3. Failure to timely enter sufficient statistics will result in players losing game credits for the respective games played, may result in ineligibility for playoffs, and may result in ineligibility for league sponsored awards and/or events.
E. Player Personnel and Managerial Rights
1. A signed player (who signs and dates the league's waiver designating an NJABL team) is obligated to play for that team in the upcoming season.
2. A player is permitted to be on one team roster per season per league.
3. All players are considered free agents after each season provided that they are not indebted to the team that they are leaving, and provided that they declare their free agency to the NJABL or their team manager by March 1st of the calendar year for which the player wishes to change teams. A player who fails to declare free agency by March 1st will not be permitted to change teams for the calendar year.
a. The burden of proof lies with the management of the team regarding indebtedness.
b. The burden of proof lies with the player regarding the declaration of free agency.
c. A player may appeal to the League Council for free agency following the March 1st
deadline. The League Council may grant exceptions in limited circumstances if it is in the best interest of the NJABL to do so.
II. Playing Rules
A. Major League Baseball Rules apply except where modified in the following NJABL rules.
1. All teams must have full baseball uniforms consisting of caps, numbered jerseys, baseball pants, socks, and appropriate footwear.
2. Each player's uniform must be of similar design to his teammates' uniforms. If a team has more than 1 version of their uniform, a player may wear the other version of what the majority of the team is wearing for a period of 30 days in the event his uniform is lost.
3. No player out of uniform will be allowed to play without the opposing manager's consent.
4. A grace period of thirty days shall be allowed for newly activated players to complete their uniforms.
C. Player Equipment
1. All batters and base runners shall wear helmets at all times, either double earflap, or single Earflap, with the flap facing the pitcher.
2. Catchers must wear a facemask, a skull cap (or all-in-one hockey-style mask), a chest protector, shin guards, and a cup.
3. Metal cleats are permitted on dirt fields. Metal Cleats are not permitted on any Turf fields.
D. Team Equipment
1. The only balls permitted for game use are the specific balls designated by the League Council before the season.
E. Length of Game
1. All single games shall be nine innings with a time limit of no inning starting after 2 hours and 45 minutes of the first pitch. All games of doubleheaders will be seven innings with a time limit of no inning starting after 2 hours and 15 minutes of the first pitch.
a. Games that are tied at the time limit mark will be granted 30 extra minutes to complete the game. If the game is still tied, it will end as a tie.
b. There are no time limits on playoff games. All games must be played in its entirety.
2. A game called due to inclement weather or field use restrictions shall be official after five completed innings in a 9 inning game and four completed innings in a 7 inning game.
3. A game called during playoffs due to inclement weather shall be continued from where it was left off. All line ups must remain the same or substitution to the appropriate positions in the lineup. Players cannot re-enter once removed
4. A game called that is not official shall not count in the standings and shall be replayed as a new game. Player and team statistics shall not be counted as official and will not be counted toward playoff eligibility. Umpires will be paid again at the start of the new game.
5. All 9 inning games shall be ruled complete after 7 innings of play if a 10 or more run differential exists in the score. All 7 inning games shall be ruled complete after 5 innings of play if a 10 or more run differential exists in the score. Playoffs all games are 9 innings and shall be ruled complete after 7 innings of play if a 10 or more run differential exists in the score.
6. The home team has the right to bat in the final inning. If the home team is winning, and the outcome of the game will not be changed, the home team will not bat. If the game is called before completing a full inning, when the home team must bat, the score will revert to the previously completed inning. No runs scored in the incomplete inning will count.
7. Tie games shall be counted as ties, provided the length of game rules are adhered to.
A called game that is not official shall be made up. The make-up must be scheduled within 14 days of the original date of the game.
F. Standings and Tie Breakers
1. League standings shall be determined by a point system, as follows:
a. Win, or win by forfeit = 3 points.
b. Tie = 2 points.
c. Loss = 1 point.
d. Loss by forfeit = -2 points.
e. Game not played = 0 points.
2. Ties for playoff eligibility and/or seeding will be broken in the following order (with two teams tied):
a. Head to Head Winner (Wins then Run Differential)
b. Best Division Record
c. Least Runs Against
d. Most Runs Scored
e. Coin Flip
Ties For Multi-Team tiebreaker:
(Adapted by collegiate) All teams are considered a mini division when comparing head to head results.
a. Team with the best record vs other tied clubs gains advantage (if equal schedules existed)
b. Best Division Record (if all in the same division)
c. Least Runs Against
d. Most Runs Against
e. Coin Flip
G. Batting Order
1. A team may bat as many batters as it wishes.
2. Batters may be added to the bottom of the batting order at any time. They become part of the batting order, may not be removed and must be replaced like any other batter.
3. Once a batter is removed from the batting order via substitution (pinch-hitter, pinch-runner, injury, etc.), or been dropped from the order due to injury, or having physically left the game he may not re-enter the batting order. If a player is forced to leave a game due to any reason other than game strategy, a reserve player, not previously entered into the game as a batter, must be inserted into the vacated spot in the batting order. This rule applies to extra hitters, and A/B combinations.
5. The batting order must be exchanged at ground rules using a Lineup card. Any player that arrives after the exchange of line up must be added to the bottom of the order. If a player is added to the lineup and has not arrived at the time of his first
4. If no reserve player is available and a player is forced to leave the game due to any reason other than game strategy, the vacated spot in the batting order is skipped and an out is recorded each time the batter should be up.at-bat, the offending team will be charged with an out and that player will be ineligible to play for the remainder of the game. It is the opposing manager’s responsibility to insist on a lineup card. Managers do not have to start a game until they have received a line-up card with FULL NAMES and numbers.
6. All lineups are allowed to use the A/B rule. This rule consists of assigning two hitters to bat in the same spot in the order. The A hitter will bat first time through the lineup than the B hitter will bat the 2nd time through the lineup. This continues throughout the game.
a. If one or both of the hitters are removed from the lineup, that spot must be filled by a player/players that are not in the lineup already.
H. Defensive Lineups
1. All players may be substituted for defensively at any time without affecting the player's status in the batting order (Free Defensive Substitution).
2. The pitcher, once removed, may re-enter to pitch only one time during the remainder of the game. The pitcher cannot return to the game until his replacement records at least one out.
3. A removed pitcher may play any other position.
I. Number of Players
1. A team must have a minimum of eight players in order to begin a game but nine players to finish it. Each time the missing ninth batter comes up, an automatic out is recorded. The automatic out does not occur until the previous play has ended and the pitcher is on the mound with the ball waiting for the next batter. If the player is not present by the end of the 4th inning the team forfeits the game UNLESS the opponent agrees to allow the team to finish with 8 players. This must be agreed upon at the pre-game conference.
2. If a team starts a game with eight players, and a ninth player arrives, he must be inserted into the lineup immediately. He must be inserted into the batting order at the bottom of the lineup. As long as, he has not violated Rule G: Batting article 5.
3. A lineup must be exchanged and is official at the conclusion of the pregame meeting.
1. Pitchers may not wear white nor gray long sleeves, batting gloves, white, gray, or multicolored fielding mitt, wristbands, watches, jewelry, or other items, which are potentially distracting to a batter.
2. Intentional walks are permitted. Pitchers must throw four balls out of the strike zone in order to issue such a walk.
3. If a pitcher hits four batters in a game, he must be removed upon hitting the fourth batsman.
a. The pitcher is not permitted to re-enter the game as a pitcher if removed under this rule.
5. There are no limits as to the number of innings a pitcher may pitch either in a game or in a week.
6. Balks will be called per Official Major League Baseball Rules.
K. Courtesy Runners
1. You are allowed to have a courtesy runner for ONE injured player as long as you present the injured player's name to the opposing manager and umpire at ground rules before the game. The runner for the injured player would be the last batted out. Pitchers and Catchers can by default have a courtesy runner with 2 outs to help speed up the game. The courtesy runner for the pitcher and catcher would be the last batted out also.
2. A courtesy runner may also be designated for a player during the course of the game after an obvious injury. The runner requesting a courtesy runner because of injury must use the courtesy runner throughout the game with no exceptions. The last batted out will be the courtesy runner.
3. In the event that a courtesy runner is needed before an out being recorded in the first inning, the last batter in the batting order must be inserted as the courtesy runner.
4. A Pitcher cannot have an injury runner.
L. Slide or Veer
1. If a defensive player is in possession of the ball, the base runner must slide or veer in order to avoid a collision.
2. Players are required to slide through the bag. Any attempts by a player to slide outside of the base to make contact with a defender in order to disrupt a throw will cause the other runner to be called out. This will be at the discretion of the umpire.
3. If the defensive player does not have possession of the ball, he may not block or obstruct the base runner and must avoid a collision if possible. Any contact or collision deemed by the umpire to be intentional and avoidable shall be cause for ejection from the game of the offending player.
4. Any contact that is deemed flagrant, avoidable, or as an attempt to injure an opposing player shall be cause for ejection, suspension, and review by League Council.
1. Three Strikes Rule
a. 1st Ejection: A player, manager, or coach that is ejected from one game is not permitted to participate in the remainder of that specific game.
b. 2nd Ejection: Any player, manager, or coach who is ejected from a second game shall not be permitted to participate in the remainder of the specific game and must serve a one-game suspension.
i. The suspension shall be served the next game that the team plays. The suspended individual shall be prohibited from participating in the game in any capacity.
ii. In the event of a second ejection during the first game of a doubleheader, the player will be permitted to play in the second game provided that the player is going to appeal the ejection/suspension.
c. 3rd Ejection: Any player, manager or coach ejected from three games will be ineligible to participate in the NJABL for the remainder of the season.
i. In the event of a third ejection during the first game of a doubleheader, the player will not be permitted to play in the second game of the doubleheader regardless of his anticipated appeal of the ejection/suspension.
2. Appeal: The ejection or suspension of an individual may be appealed to the League Council. The Council must be notified of the intention of appealing the suspension within 48 hours of the ejection. A decision regarding the appeal will be rendered pursuant to the process found within the Code of Conduct of the NJABL Bylaws.
1. Protests can only be filed due to a misapplication of the rules or player eligibility issues.
2. Judgment calls by an umpire may not be protested.
3. A manager who wishes to protest must advise the opposing manager and the home-plate umpire of his decision to protest the game before the next pitch is thrown or before a runner is retired.
4. A protest arising from a game-ending play must be lodged with the League Council on the date of the incident.
5. Protests shall be decided according to the process found within the Code of conduct of the NJABL Bylaws. Even if the protest is upheld, no replay of the game shall be ordered unless it is the opinion of the protest committee that the violation adversely affected the outcome of the game.
6. If a replay is ordered, the game shall be replayed as a new game.
1. A forfeit may be declared if a team is unable to field the minimum number of eight players within thirty minutes of the scheduled starting time of the game.
2. A team that forfeits a game is responsible for payment of both umpires. If a team begins a game with 8 or more players then loses a player to fall below 8 will be charged with a loss regardless of the score or inning the game is stopped if teams do not agree to continue.
3. If a team forfeits 2 games during a season, the team will be ineligible for participation in the playoffs. Forfeiting a doubleheader is counted as forfeiting one game.
4. A team that forfeits must meet all financial obligations resulting from the forfeit within 48 hours of the official start time of the game which was forfeited. If financial obligations are not met within 48 hours, the team will automatically forfeit the next scheduled game. All subsequent games will be rendered forfeits if financial obligations are not met within 72 hours of the scheduled game.
5. Players who are on the opposing team receiving a forfeit get credited with 3 at-bats and 3 innings pitched to their stats. The player has only credited the at-bats and innings if they have already played with the team during the season. If it is the first game, everyone listed on the opening day roster will receive the stats.
1. It is the responsibility of the league for payment of the umpire fees, following the current agreement between the League and the umpire association(s).
2. If only one umpire arrives to officiate a game, the game shall proceed to be played and shall be official. Please notify the league if this occurs. This game will be 1.5 times the normal rate of $70.00 or $90.00 depending on the innings of play.
3. If no umpires arrive to officiate a game, a call to the league must be made.
4. Umpire fees are $90 for a 9 inning game and $70 for a 7 inning game. Travel pay is $25.00.
1. For assigned league fields, it is the responsibility of the home team (the team that is home in game 1 of the doubleheader) to check the field 2 hours before the scheduled start of the game.
2. If the home plate umpire show up to the game and finds the field unplayable or is occupied by another team and the game cannot be played, the home team will be required to pay the umpires a travel fee of $25 to each umpire.
a. A team must meet all financial obligations within 48 hours of the official start time of the game which was canceled. If financial obligations are not met within 48 hours, the team will automatically forfeit the next scheduled game. All subsequent games will be rendered forfeits if financial obligations are not met within 72 hours of the scheduled game.
3. For any unassigned field, it is required that the team who acquired the field is responsible to check it 2 hours before the game.
a. Rule 2 under fields applies here.
4. All dugouts must be cleaned before leaving the field by both teams. This includes the surrounding areas of the field near the dugout.
5. No metal spikes on any turf field.
1. Playoffs will follow a 4 team Wild card elimination game with winners advancing to a Double Elimination format, with games being played on Saturday and Sunday on consecutive weekends (weather permitting) until a champion is determined
2. When the winners face off in the finals in a true double-elimination bracket.
3. The playoff field is determined by the number of teams in the league
a. League will provide a field for the finals series.
b. The teams may agree on playing on their fields but the fields must be approved by the league and both managers must agree to a location.
a. 8 Team League: 6 Playoff Teams
b. 10-12 Team League: 6 Playoff Teams
c. 16 Team League: 8 Playoff Teams
1. Playoffs will follow a “Best of 3” format, with series starting Sunday with Games 1&2. Winners advance to next round and follow same best of 3 format, and continues until a champion is crowned.
2. Fall playoff structure is top 4 teams from each region. Regional champions will face off in Finals.
b. The teams may agree on playing on their fields but the fields must be approved by the league.
S. Levels of Play Eligibility
Amateur Wood – To Be Eligible at this Level
1. Pitchers cannot have any collegiate pitching experience (Club baseball is excluded from this) or higher except for the below.
a. A pitcher who pitched in division 2 or 3 college baseball or any college club baseball is eligible 10 years after their last year played at that school.
2. The expectation for pitchers throwing in Amateur wood is not over 75 MPH. Players used throwing over that threshold will be subject to review and removal from Amateur.
3. A team may roster 3 current college players (any level of college, during any period) who is only eligible to hit and field. Pitching is not allowed unless he throws within the guidelines of rule 2.
4. Teams have the right to protest a game if a player is used that is deemed ineligible by the NJABL bylaws.
Intermediate Wood – To Be Eligible at this Level
1. A team may roster collegiate players, but nobody with professional experience unless given approval by the league to participate. Premier former pros who move down must be approved by the league. There is a fine line in talent between Intermediate and Premier, and we want to ensure if a former pro player is used, that their talents depreciated below the Premier level first.
2. There is no limit to the number of collegiate players allowed on any roster.
3. Pitchers throwing in intermediate wood are expected to max out at 88 MPH. Players used throwing over that threshold may be removed from this level of play.
4. An intermediate team is only allowed to have 2 Premier call ups in a game.
5. Premier pitchers at not allowed to throw in intermediate unless approved by the league.
6. Teams have the right to protest a game if a player is used that is deemed ineligible by the NJABL bylaws.
Premier Wood – To Be Eligible at this Level
1. A team may roster collegiate players, but nobody with professional experience unless given approval by the league to participate.
2. There is no limit to the number of collegiate players allowed on any roster.
3. Pitchers throwing in Premier wood are expected to max out at 88 MPH. Players used throwing over that threshold will need league approval.
4. Teams have the right to protest a game if a player is used that is deemed ineligible by the NJABL bylaws.
Once a pitcher meets eligibility for playoffs at a higher skill level, he may not pitch below that level for the remainder of the season.
The League may use discretion monitoring the pool of players at all levels, to ensure the league is promoting fair play at all times.
The league has the right to modify rules at any time during the season.