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All World Wiffle® Ball Championship events will utilize the same rules used in Major League Baseball, with the following exceptions. For 2020 only, there are further amendments to the Rules in order to reduce the chances of players coming in close contact with each other:
- Sportsmanship: Teams, or any player, engaging in any behavior that the tournament director deems to be “unsportsmanlike conduct” will be removed from the tournament immediately at the director’s discretion. Because of the confined nature of the game and unique umpiring setup (see Rule 2), fans and players watching games must refrain from commenting on calls. Failure to comply will result in the noncomplying fan or team’s removal from the park or facility. Captains are responsible for monitoring fan behavior. If that monitoring becomes difficult, the captain shall seek the assistance of a Commissioner.
- Umpiring (2020 Change): Teams will umpire their own games. Captains will settle all disputes over calls. The home team will be designated by the Championship schedule.
- 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 one layer of tape or cloth-like material on the handle. Balls must be baseball size Wiffle® brand. All shoes will be flat-soled (no cleats, turf shoes, spikes, trail running shoes, etc.).
- Rosters: Teams will have four or five players on their roster. No team may have fewer than four players in the game at any time. (See Rule 5.) No roster changes will be allowed under any circumstances, after the WWBC begins.
- Players in a Game/Optional Designated Hitters: Teams unable to field four rostered players at the beginning, or any time during a game will forfeit that game. At the beginning of a game, teams may choose to include four or five players in their batting lineup. Four and only four players may play in the field at any time. When utilizing five players, if a player is unable to continue playing or is removed from the game for any reason during a game, that player may not re-enter the game (see Rule 7). That player’s at-bat in the order will become an automatic out for the remainder of that game.
- Positions & Switches: Outfielders may position themselves anywhere in fair territory. Catchers must be utilized behind the plate. Position players may switch defensive positions at any time. Designated hitters will not play the field, however they may switch their DH position with any defensive player at any time. Regardless of position switches, batting orders will stay the same for the duration of games.
- Substitutions: Substitutions may be made. However, once a player leaves a game, that player may not return to the same game. Exception: If a player suffers a tournament-ending injury, a player who has previously left the game may re-enter that game as a sub.
- Innings and Slow Play: All games will be six innings (also see Rule 19). There is no time limit. Teams suspected of stalling (purposefully failing to throw or swing at hittable pitches) may be cited by the Commission for “unsportsmanlike conduct” under Rule 1 and removed from the tournament.
- Pitching: All pitches must be slow and have an arc on them. (An arc is defined as: the ball, after release, reaching a high point between the point of the pitcher’s release and the batter.) No sidearm pitching will be allowed. The batter will be the sole judge of all pitches and their proper speed and may demand legal and/or slower pitches. A pitcher who deliberately refuses to throw legal, hittable pitches after a reasonable period of time may be cited for “stalling” by the Commission, which will be treated as a sportsmanship violation. (See enforcement under Rule 1.) Balks are legal. The pitcher must have one foot on, and one foot in front of the rubber when the ball is released. No backpedaling will be allowed until the ball is released.
- At Bats: There are no called balls or strikes. There are no hit-by-pitches. There are no unintentional walks (see Rule 11). Batters may strike out swinging (including fouls before the third strike). Batters may choose not to swing at any pitch. One-handed batting will not be allowed for non-ADA players. Batters must have both feet in the batter’s box through the conclusion of each pitch.
- Intentional Walks: Each team may intentionally walk one batter per game (including any extra innings). The batter will go to first on the command of the pitcher. Intentional walks will be declared before the at-bat begins.
- Pitcher’s Hand: All force plays on the batter going to first base may be made to the pitcher, who may be anywhere in fair or foul territory. The runner may also be put out by force at first base. All other force plays must be made to the bases or to home plate.
- Infield Fly Rule: There is no infield fly rule.
- Dropped Third Strike: There is no dropped third strike. Batters who strike out cannot reach base.
- Stealing and Leading Off (2020 Change): Baserunners may not lead off. Baserunners may not steal. Baserunners cannot leave that base until the ball is contacted. Baserunners caught leaving their base early will be ruled out. Baserunners may not advance without a batted ball.
- Pegging: Fielders may throw the ball at runners. Runners struck with the ball below the neck will be ruled out. Runners hit below the neck with a thrown ball which first hits any player, a base, or the ground, or anything else will be ruled out. The ball remains live if a runner is hit with a ball while on the base.
- Runner/Ball Contact: Base runners in contact with a base that are hit with a batted or thrown ball will be ruled safe. Base runners between bases hit with a batted or thrown ball will be ruled out.
- Home Runs: All batted balls landing over the designated home run fence, fair or foul, will be home runs. (Exception: See Rule 21 for Irregular Fields). If a defensive player catches a fly ball but lands outside the field of play (i.e. over the fence), that is a home run. The batter and all baserunners must touch all bases – in proper order – after a home run.
- Extra Innings: Each team will begin its half of all extra innings with two outs. The batter who made the last out in the previous inning will go to third base and the next batter will bat first. Unlike in the first six innings, baserunners on third base may not lead off or steal. 5-Batter Teams: In the event that a 5-batter team is down a player (see Rule 5) and subject to an automatic out, that missing batter’s at-bat will be an out, immediately ending that team’s half extra inning. Likewise, a removed player scheduled to take third at the beginning of a team’s half extra inning, will force that team to begin the inning with no baserunners and two outs.
- Mercy Rule: If after the third inning, or at the end of any subsequent inning, a team leads by 15 runs or more, the game will be over. If the home team leads by 15 or more runs after the top of the third or any later inning, the game will be over.
- Irregular Fields: Due to the nature of the field setup, irregular fields are a part of wiffleball. Captains are required to reach agreements prior to the game on handling irregular fields/fencing. Captains are not allowed to change ground rules on portions of the field/fencing that are not irregular (i.e. completely eliminating foul ball home runs because one side has irregular fencing). If there is a situation that requires a rule clarification, players must inform the Commission, who will resolve the situation. Violation of this rule will result in both teams getting a loss and a run differential of -10 for that game. If the same team violates this rule more than once, they are subject to disqualification.
- World Wiffle® Ball Commission’s Discretion: The Commission may resolve any and all conflicts regarding the interpretation of the above rules – or any loopholes therein – at their discretion. Commissioners will not rule on judgment calls.
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