New rules in effect for this LLWS
Here is a breakdown of new rules that are in effect for the Little League World Series. They were passed last November by Little League International’s board of directors. A full breakdown of the rule changes can be found at LittleLeague.org/rules.
One Foot in the Batter’s Box
New this year, batters are now required to keep one foot in the batter’s box throughout their at-bat, barring eight exceptions provided in the rule book. If the batter leaves the batter’s box or delays play and none of the exceptions apply, the umpire shall warn the batter. After one warning on a batter, the umpire shall call a strike. Any number strikes can be called on each batter. During the regular season, this rule was provided as an option to be implemented within the local league, however, it is mandated in all tournament games.
For Minor and Major Divisions of Baseball, defensive teams will now be able to elect to intentionally walk a batter by announcing the decision to the plate umpire. After appropriate notification is made by the defensive manager, the ball is ruled dead and no other runners may advance unless forced by the batter’s award of first base. Once the award is granted, four pitches will be added tot the defensive pitcher’s official pitch count.
A team may utilize a player who is not in the batting order as a special pinch-runner for any offensive player twice a game, but not more than one time per inning. A player may only be removed for a special pinch-runner one time during a game. The player for whom the pinch-runner runs is not subject to removal from the lineup. If the pinch-runner remains in the game as a substitute defensive or offensive player, the player may not be used again as a pinch-runner while in the batting order. However, if removed for another substitute that player or any player not in the line-up, is again eligible to be used as a pinch-runner. NOTE: The major change to this rule for 2017 is that there is now a limit on how many times per game a special pinch-runner may be used.
Stealing and Relaying of Pitch Selection and Location
The umpire may rule that the stealing and relaying of signs to alert the batter of pitch selection and/or location is unsportsmanlike behavior. If, in the judgement of the umpire, this behavior is occurring, both the player and the manager may be ejected from the game.
Language Regarding On-Field Altercations
In an effort to assist umpires, language has been created in the 2017 rulebooks to provide umpires with guidance regarding fights and physical altercations. A manager, coach, or player shall not leave their position in the field or bench area during a fight or physical confrontation; a manager or coach who attempts to prevent a fight or restore order, in the umpire’s judgement, is not in violation of this rule. The umpire shall eject the offender(s) from the game immediately. Failure to comply with the ejection may result in the umpire suspending the game and referring it to the Board of Directors for further action.