(As Approved May 13, 2005)
(Amended March 20, 2006)
(Amended August 4, 2006)
(Amended March 27, 2007)
(Amended August 7, 2008)
(Amended August 6, 2009)
(Amended April 8, 2010)
(Amended August 5, 2010)
(Amended March 31, 2011)
(Amended August 4, 2011)
(Amended April 11, 2012)
(Amended August 1, 2012)
The Potomac Wiffleball League will utilize the same rules used in Major League Baseball with the following exceptions:
1. The Field – The field shall be a level playing surface of grass or dirt to the extent possible. Fair territory shall be the area no less than 15 feet in front of home plate, between lines that could be drawn from the back point of the plate, through the top left and top right corner of the plate extending to the home run fence or area. This will make an angle at home plate of approximately 53 degrees (53.130102354156). First and third base shall be 40 feet from home plate, on their respective foul lines. Second base shall be 65 feet from home plate, on a line drawn directly through the center of the two foul lines. The pitchers rubber shall be placed at 33 feet on the same line as second base. The home run area or fence shall at no point be less than 70 feet from home plate, and the sum of the length from home plate and the height of the fence shall at no point be less than 74 feet. A strike board, which shall be 20 inches wide by 30 inches tall, shall be erected so that it is positioned two feet behind home plate, and shall be 10 inches above the ground level of home plate. A radar speed detector shall be installed as part of the strike board, though not to increase its height or width, and shall be considered part of the board.
Playing Field Dimensions
Home to First & Third – 40’
Home to Second – 65’
Second to First & Third – 34’ 3”
Home to Pitchers Rubber – 33’
Width of Field Between First & Third – 35’ 9”
Width of Field at 85’ Foul Poles – 76’
Width of Field at 90’ Foul Poles – 80’ 6”
2. Umpiring – In the absence of an umpire, teams will umpire their own games. Consensus among players will settle all disputes.
3. Equipment – All bats used in league play must be regulation, yellow WIFFLE bats. They may not be altered in any way, however they may have tape on the handle. Balls must be WIFFLE, baseball size. No metal spikes shall be worn at any time. No player shall wear a glove while playing a defensive position.
4. Pitching – All pitches must be slow to medium speed. There are no balks. The pitcher must have one foot on, and one foot in front of the rubber when the ball is released. Pitchers must not delay the game and any pitcher who throws four consecutive pitches that do not hit the strike board and are not swung at by the batter shall be issued a warning. Any subsequent violations of this rule in the same game, and the pitcher shall be immediately removed from the pitcher’s position. In the event of removal under this rule, should no eligible players be available to pitch for the team, the team shall forfeit the game.
5. At bats – Batters will be charged with a called strike when 1) a legally delivered pitch hits the strike board without first touching any other object, including the ground, the speed of the pitch is recorded by radar, and that speed is no more than 27 MPH, or 2) a batter, intentionally or unintentionally, extends any part of his body outside of the batter’s box and interferes with a pitched ball before it has passed the strike board, or 3) the batter, at their sole discretion, believes a pitch that was not otherwise a called strike was a strike and they should have swung, calls a strike on themselves. There will be no walks. Hit batters will not advance. One-handed batting is not allowed, unless a player only has the use of one hand due to incapacitation or disability.
6. Pitcher’s Hand – In addition to any other method of putting out runners, any force out may be made if the pitcher obtains control of the live, batted or thrown ball before the runner reaches a base, or returns to a base in the event of a caught fly ball. Should there be more than one force out in play, only one force out shall be made on a single play. The lead force shall be the first one affected, but should it not have been in time, subsequent forces will be enforced in continuing lead order.
7. Infield Fly – No infield fly rule will be in effect.
8. Stealing first – Batters may not steal 1st base after the catcher drops strike three.
9. Stealing and leading off – Base runners may not lead off; nor may they steal. Runners may leave their base after the batter makes contact with the ball. If a runner leaves a base before the batter makes contact with a fair ball, and doesn’t return to that base, the runner will be called out if the defensive team appeals to that base before the next play occurs. If a runner leaves a base and contact is not made with a ball, even if the runner returns, on appeal from the defensive team, the umpire will issue a warning to each team, and on the next and subsequent appeal(s) from either team, the runner leaving base without contact being made shall be called out.
10. Pegging – Fielders may throw the ball at runners. Runners struck will be out. Runners struck with a thrown ball which first hits any player, a base, or the ground first, will be out. If a fielder misses a runner in a pegging attempt, the maximum amount of bases that any runner may advance is the base they were heading to, plus one. The base they are heading to is defined as the base they are physically moving toward at the time the ball leaves the fielder’s hand, and not necessarily the next base in numerical order if they are between bases. Runners must advance at their own risk, and should more than one pegging attempt be made, the rule will be applied at the time the last pegging attempt is made.
11. Game – A complete game will consist of 6 innings, with 2 outs per team, per inning. In the event of weather or other factors as agreed upon by both teams, the completion of 4 innings, or of 3 and a half innings if the home team is leading, shall constitute a complete game.
12. Mercy rule – REGULAR SEASON ONLY – If at the end of three innings a team leads by 10 runs or more, the game will be over. If the home team leads by 10 or more runs at any time during the bottom half of any inning, the game will be over. After 45 minutes of play, if at the end of any inning a team leads by 5 runs or more, the game will be over. After 45 minutes of play, if the home team leads by 5 or more runs at any time during the bottom half of any inning, the game will be over.
13. Outfield Fence – Fair balls that go under or though the outfield fence shall be ground rule doubles. Balls that are fair, but roll past the foul side of the foul pole and fence shall be live and in play and there will be no limit to the amount of bases that the runner may advance.
14. Speed-up Rules – Runners are not required to run out all of the bases on an over the fence home run. The on-deck batter shall have a bat, and be ready to go as soon as the proceeding at-bat has been completed.
15. Foul Tip – A foul tip shall only be balls which are fouled off the bat and then hit the strike board without first touching any other object, including the ground. A foul tip is dead the moment it touches the strike board, and may not be caught or put into play.
16. Pitcher Defensive Substitutions – Once a player has been in the pitchers position, and has been removed from that position, the player may not return as the pitcher in that same game.
17. Ball is Dead / Runners Must Return and Remain in Contact with Bases – Once all active offensive and defensive play is over, and no base runners are actively advancing, and the pitcher has control of the ball in fair territory, the umpire shall call time. Once time is called, the ball is dead, and all runners must return to their base until the ball is put back in play by the batter making contact with the ball.
Rosters: Each team must file an official roster with the commissioner prior to the first game in which the team competes. Each team’s roster shall include a minimum of four players and maximum of nine players. Each team may change its roster up to three times before 11:59 PM the day of which the scheduled completion of the first half of the regular season games for the league occurs, and up to one time during the second half before 11:59 PM the day of which the final scheduled game occurs. The official schedule will indicate the dates of these deadlines. For the purpose of this section, a change is the exchange of one player for another, not the addition of a player to the roster. Guest players will not count as changes. No other roster changes may be made without the approval of a majority of the league’s managers. Trades between teams are not allowed.
Players: No player shall be eligible to play in a league game until that player has paid the registration fee and signed the league’s liability waiver. No guest player shall be eligible to play in a league game until that player has signed the league’s liability waiver,
Schedule: A complete, balanced, schedule shall be determined by the commissioner once the official league teams have been finalized. The schedule shall consist of a regular season, and no less than two rounds of post-season play. The final round of post-season play shall be called the Wiffleball World Series, various copyrights not withstanding, and shall be a best of 3 game series. The next to last round of post-season play shall be called the Division Championship Series’, and shall be no less than a best of 3 game series.
Playoffs (17 or more teams): The Division Champion of each division shall advance to the playoffs as well as additional teams to equal a total of eight, based on their overall record, regardless of their division. Seeding for the first round of the playoffs shall be determined first by record among division winners, for seeds #1 through #5, then by records among wild card teams for seeds #6 through #8. The Division winner with the best record will play the wild card entry with the worst record, outside of its Division (#1 vs. #8, unless same Division), while the Division winner with the next best record will play the wild card entry with the next least worst record (#2 vs #7) outside of its Division until all teams are seeded In the second round of the Division Championship Series, the teams will be reseeded with the team with the best record playing the team with the worst record, regardless of Division, except that the wildcard team(s) shall still be considered the lowest seeds. In the event of a tie record between teams to determine the best record, the regular season record of the teams head-to-head shall determine the better team, and if that is also a tie, the run differential in those games shall determine. The team with the better record will have home field advantage in games 1 and 3 in each series, and shall be entitled to choose which regular season field is used to play their home games on.
Playoffs (16 or fewer teams): The Division Champion of each division shall advance to the playoffs as well as additional teams to equal a total of six, based on their overall record, regardless of their division. Seeding for the first round of the playoffs shall be determined first by division winner, then by record. The two Division winners with the best records shall receive a first round bye in the Division Championship Series. The Division winner with the third best record will play the wild card entry with the worst record, outside of its Division, while the Division winner with the fourth best record will play the other wild card entry. In the second round of the Division Championship Series, the teams will be reseeded with the team with the best record playing the team with the worst record, regardless of Division, except that the wildcard team(s) shall still be considered the lowest seeds. In the event of a tie record between teams to determine the best record, the regular season record of the teams head-to-head shall determine the better team, and if that is also a tie, the run differential in those games shall determine. The team with the better record will have home field advantage in games 1 and 3 in each series, and shall be entitled to choose which regular season field is used to play their home games on.
Playoffs Tiebreaker: In the event of a tie record between two teams to determine who advances to the playoffs, a one game tie-breaker game shall be held. In the event that more than two teams are tied for two or fewer remaining post-season positions, the teams involved in the tie will play a standard double elimination tournament to determine who shall advance to the playoffs. Teams will need to play three to six games in the tournament, depending on their wins and losses, in order to advance. Teams shall be seeded in the tournament based on their run differential (runs scored minus runs allowed) against the other teams involved in the playoff. Should any teams have the same run differential against the teams in the playoff, those teams shall be seeded based on their total run differential for the season. Should any teams still be tied after both run differentials have been applied, they shall be drawn for seeding out of a hat. The team with the highest seed shall be the home team in each game of the double elimination tournament. If the tournament is to determine one position in post-season, then the winner shall receive that spot, and be seeded with the other three teams in the playoffs according to the established seeding rules for post-season. If the tournament is to determine two positions in post-season, then the winner of the tournament shall receive the top remaining seed, and the runner-up shall receive the lowest seed, regardless of their head-to-head regular season records. (IE – The double elimination tournament results shall be determinative of seeding.)
Managers: One player on the roster shall be designated as the team manager, who shall be authorized to represent the team in all matters for which no rule requires a team vote. If the manager is not present at a particular game, the team’s players present shall designate an acting manager.
Guest Players: Notwithstanding any other rule, a team may add no more than one guest player to its roster during each regular season game, provided that the guest has never played during the same season for another team in the league.
Number of Players: Each team shall have exactly three fielders in the game at all times, a pitcher, a catcher, and a fielder. However, if a team wishes to have up to 3 extra hitters, and have a batting order of 4 through 6 players, the team may do so. For the purposes of defensive substitutions, Extra Hitters shall be treated as a fielding position.
Forfeits: A team that cannot field 3 players within five (5) minutes of the scheduled game start time shall forfeit the game.
Umpires: There shall be one scheduled umpire for each regular season game provided by the League.
Rules Changes: A 2/3 majority vote of teams shall be necessary to change playing or league rules.
Commissioner: The teams shall elect a Commissioner before the Summer Season of each odd numbered year who shall be responsible for the day-to-day management of the league, and shall facilitate any changes to league rules or the settlement of disputes on challenged games. Games shall not be eligible to be challenged based on a judgment call, only the mis-application of the rules. Any decision of the Commissioner can be overturned by a 2/3 vote of the league teams.
- Trees and Other Immovable Objects: Any ball in the air which has not hit the ground and then hits a tree, light pole, wire, or other immovable object is immediately a dead ball and cannot be played or caught. If the ball is in foul territory when it hits the tree or object is it foul. If a ball is in fair territory past the home run fence and hits a tree or object it is a home run.
- Other Playing Field: A fair ball that rolls into the fair territory of the playing field not being used for the game in which the ball is hit, shall be dead and treated as a ground rule double.
- Airplanes: Any ball that hits an airplane shall be dead. If it was in fair territory when it struck the airplane, it shall be a ground rule double. If it was in foul territory, it shall be a foul ball.
There are several differences between the approved practices of the PWL and MLB rules. While technically these probably should be adopted as rules changes, they have not been, but are still observed in the PWL.
- Pegging: Pegging attempts, no matter how poor the throw, shall NOT be scored as an error for the fielder making the throw. If the umpire on the field rules a thrown ball was a peg, then the scorer shall reflect it as such. If the umpire makes no ruling on a peg, (often times not needed), then the official scorer shall use their judgement as to whether a throw was a peg or a ball thrown to another fielder. (MLB Ruling: A ball thrown off target would be an error.)
- Batting Out of Turn: Because we do not have dugouts, use lineup cards, have announcers, or dedicated coaches to help maintain the batting order, official scorers are encouraged to point out and correct an improper batter when it is discovered during their at-bat. However, between the time an improper batter has completed the turn at-bat, and before the first pitch of the next at bat, the scorer shall NOT point out the improper batter. The reason for this is that during the at-bat, there is no penalty, the proper batter just takes their place with the existing count. In between the time when the improper batter has batted and before the first pitch to the next batter has been thrown, the proper batter would be called out. In that situation, the official scorer should wait until after the first pitch is thrown to the next batter to alert the teams to the issue. After the first pitch has been thrown to the subsequent batter, there is no longer an out called for the improper batter. If, however, at any time the official scorer is asked by players from either team during an improper at bat, the scorer must respond with the correct information. (MLB Ruling: The scorer is not permitted to point out an improper batter at any time.)
- Review of Scoring Decisions: Scoring decisions made at the time of the game may be reviewed by the Commissioner’s office within one week of the game taking place upon the request of a registered player in the league. (MLB Ruling: The official scorekeeper must file their final report within 1 day.)
- Fielder Going Over Home Run Fence After Catch: Due to the temporary and short nature of our home run fence, a fly ball caught by a fielder who then goes over the home run fence, even maintaining control of the ball, shall be ruled a home run. Fielders must catch the ball and remain in the field of play to have an out. (MLB Ruling: If legal catch was made before fielder fell over fence, out.)
Previous ground rules used at Ft. Reno Park, no longer in play:
- Fences: At the point where the orange fence starts, the chain link fence behind it shall be considered out of play, and any fair ball hitting it shall be a home run. The orange fence always begins at a break in the chain link fence, so the entire section of fence, including the pole behind the orange fence shall follow this rule.
- Field 1: A ball hitting the foul pole or homerun fence of Field 2 (right field) in the air, shall be a foul ball. The Field 2 fencing is entirely in foul territory from Field 1.
- Field 2: A ball hitting the right field foul pole of Field 1 (left center field on Field 2) above the level of the orange fence shall be a home run. The stage is considered an immovable object.
Umpires are provided for league games by the Northern Virginia Softball Umpires Association.
Based in Fairfax County, for over 40 years they have been training and placing high quality officials in Northern Virginia.
Each championship game (regular season) is officiated by one umpire. Postseason games are called by a two-man crew.
Managers and players are encouraged to provide feedback on umpires using the umpire evaluation form.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE PERMIT
In addition to our playing and league rules, the league is also required to make you aware of some rules that we have agreed to with the National Park Service in exchange for the use of the land which we own…as Americans…but for which they manage on our behalf.
- Members of Congress Not Allowed – No shit, this is a real rule. If you’re a Member and you want to play, you’re out of luck. Plus, you probably would have a high ERA and poor strikeout to home run ratio anyway.
- No Off-leash Dogs or Alcohol – and especially no dogs with alcohol and without leashes. (Alcohol is prohibited in two seperate permit conditions, as well as in the league liability waiver. If you must drink, drink while you drive home, or on your way, but NOT at Gravelly Point.)
- Playing Field Not Improved – We’re required to tell you that “the open park area…is maintained soley as an open grassy field and not a leveled, improved area which is designed for organized athlethic competitions”. Basically, those things we refer to as “character” in the field, they don’t want you suing them over it.
- Car Pool, Suckers – We are “required to direct participants to car pool or use other means of transportation insofar as possible”. Don’t worry, this isn’t for some environmental reason or bullshit like that. It’s because when planes crash on take off from DCA they want fewer things on the ground to separate out from the wreckage.
NOTE: The 2010 permit mentions conducting two high school Rugby matches. We believe this is optional, but if required, it will be used to determine home team instead of paper, rock, scissors.
LEAGUE LIABILITY WAIVER
All players must sign this waiver their first week of play and pay the registration fee in order to play. The waiver form is available each week at the headquarters tent at Gravelly Point.
WAIVER OF LIABILITY AND HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT
THE POTOMAC WIFFLEBALL LEAGUE
1. In consideration for receiving permission to participate in the Potomac Wiffleball League games, tournaments, or other activities, I hereby RELEASE, WAIVE, DISCHARGE AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE, the Potomac Wiffleball League, it’s officers, agents, servants, employees, or promotors (hereinafter referred to as RELEASEES) from any and all liability, claims, demands, actions and causes of action whatsoever arising out of or related to any loss, damage, or injury, including death, that may be sustained by me, or any of the property belonging to me, WHETHER CAUSED BY THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE RELEASEES, or otherwise, while participating in such activity, or while in, on or upon the premises where the activity is being conducted.
2. I am fully aware of the unusual risks involved and hazards connected with this activity, including but not limited to personal injury risks and/or property damage risks. I hereby elect to voluntarily participate in said activity with full knowledge that said activity may be hazardous to me and my property. I VOLUNTARILY ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY RISKS OF LOSS, PROPERTY DAMAGE OR PERSONAL INJURY, INCLUDING DEATH, that my be sustained by me, or any loss or damage of property owned by me, as a result of being engaged in such activity, WHETHER CAUSED BY THE NEGLIGENCE OF RELEASEES OR OTHERWISE.
3. I further hereby AGREE TO INDEMNIFY AND HOLD HARMLESS the RELEASEES from any loss, liability, damage or costs, including court costs and attorney fees, that they may incur due to my participation in said activity, WHETHER CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE OF RELEASEES or otherwise.
4. I understand that the Potomac Wiffleball League does not maintain any insurance policy covering any circumstance arising from my participation in this event or any activity associated with or facilitating that participation. As such, I am aware that I should review my personal insurance portfolio.
5. It is my express intent that this Waiver of Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement shall bind the members of my family and spouse, if I am alive, and my heirs, assigns and personal representative, if I am deceased, and shall be deemed as a RELEASE, WAIVER, DISCHARGE AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE the above-named RELEASEES. I hereby further agree that this Waiver of Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Maryland, regardless of where this Waiver of Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement is executed.
6. I understand and agree that any dispute arising under this agreement shall be arbitrated, in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association, or a comparable alternative dispute resolution organization chosen by the RELEASEES. I hereby waive any right to a trial, by jury or a court, in any dispute arising under this Waiver of Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement.
7. I grant to the RELEASEES the irrevocable and unrestricted right to use and publish photographs, video, and statistics including my name of me, or in which I may be included, for editorial, trade, advertising, and any other purpose and in any manner and medium; and to alter and composite the same without restriction and without my inspection or approval. I hereby release the RELEASEES and their legal representatives and assigns from all claims and liability relating to said images.
8. I understand that the area used for the Potomac Wiffleball League is maintained solely as an open grassy field and NOT a leveled, improved area which is designed for organized athletic competitions. I also understand that should the National Park Service, its Rangers or Police Officers request that the league alter our field setup or location after more closely reviewing our use, we may be required to alter our plans. I also acknowledge that I have been notified by the Potomac Wiffleball League that alcohol is prohibited at Gravelly Point.
9. IN SIGNING THIS RELEASE, I ACKNOWLEDGE AND REPRESENT THAT I have read the foregoing Waiver of Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement, understand it and sign it voluntarily as my own free act and deed; no oral representations, statements, or inducements, apart from the foregoing written agreement, have been made; I am at least eighteen (18) years of age and fully competent; and I execute this Release for full, adequate and complete consideration fully intending to be bound by same.