Junior T-Ball Rules
Junior T-Ball Playing Guidelines
Supplied by the Stanley Park Optimist Club
- Uniforms - consisting of a team shirt and hat, both of which must be properly worn by all players during all games and the photo session. Coaches and sportsmanship managers get shirts.
- Helmets (for those without their own) - includes batting helmets and safety helmets (with mask) for the pitcher and catcher (who must wear them) and some additional for the infielders (for whom use of face protection is also mandatory but each team is being provided with 4 fielders masks for that purpose). Each teamâ€™s equipment bag(s) also include a selection of bats, a batting tee, new & used balls, a basic first-aid kit, a hammer, and a set of bases (including a safety base for use at first).
Supplied by Player
- baseball glove - any regulation baseball glove is suitable.
- pants - long pants recommended but shorts are OK. No dresses or bathing suits.
- shoes - running shoes or shoes with molded rubber cleats may be used (no metal cleats).
- athletic support - recommended for personal protection.
- personal batting helmet (recommended, but a selection is included with the team's equipment). (Note: a helmet with a face-shield is required when assigned to play the pitcher and catcher positions. Each team is provided with several of these for sharing among team members as required. Effective for our 2024 season, each Junior T-ball team is also being provided with 4 fielder's masks, use of which is mandatory by all other infielders unless they prefer to wear a helmet with a face shield as the pitcher and catcher do.
Playing guidelines for the Junior T-Ball program run by The Optimist Club of Stanley Park.
The game is essentially the game of baseball with several rule modifications to accommodate the abilities and interests of younger children without unduly discouraging them.
There are several reasons why we have minimized the use of formal rules in this program. Some of the considerations are:
- The actual baseball rules are quite complex (and T-Ball even more-so)
- This is a beginner's game and kids just want to play and have fun - so teams are small and sometimes may not have enough outfielders - use adults in the field as necessary as blockers!
- Some players can't handle being out - so let them stay on as base runners. You can get them out again at the next base on the next batter's hit - that's good practice!
- The diamond layout is too big - so we ask you to adjust it to suit with shorter base paths.
- Safety is a prime factor - so we use a scoring line and spongy soft-core ball.
- All participants need to try all positions - so we insist on mandatory rotation.
- There may be some players with somewhat limited ability - so we encourage attempted plays by using a one-error-per-play rule, i.e. runners can only advance one base on an error - if any - and then the ball is dead.
- We want you to help the players; e.g. to hit if necessary to avoid a strikeout, to run the bases in the proper order, to pay attention when in field. (We allow coaches and helpers to be on the field for constructive purposes, e.g. focusing attention on the game, etc.).
- Games can end whenever one team wishes - so no one has to play if they don't want to.
- We allow players to come late and/or leave early. Play with those that are there to play.
- We allow teams to play with unequal numbers of players - so decide how many you'll bat.
- We need the experienced coaches to assist those needing assistance - even if they're on the opposing team. We're all on the same side, doing what we can to ensure it's a fun-filled learning experience for everyone.
- No one keeps score for Junior T-Ball games so there are no losers and no standings. Get out and help your players!
- Back in 2015 we began using a safety-base at first. Teach the runners to run to the orange bag and fielders to make their plays on the white portion.
That said, there have to be some rules or the event would be chaotic. Please welcome and accept the help and guidance from our umpiring crew. These youth are mandated (and paid) to be in control and expedite the games to ensure maximum playing time and minimize avoidable delays. They will enforce general procedures such as putting one team on each side of the diamond, ensuring there is a set and rigid batting order, and enforcing safety and sportsmanship guidelines. The umpires are to ensure teams take turns batting equal numbers of players, bases are run in the proper sequence, outs are called on base runners even if theyâ€™re forgiven as agreed, etc. It's all part of the game and the learning experience.
Rules we absolutely expect to be enforced are generally those of a safety issue such as:
- The on-deck batter, batter, all base runners, pitcher and catcher must wear a helmet (we supply some to each team) with chin straps fastened properly when playing. Effective as of our 2015 season, the pitcher and catcher must wear helmets with face protection. Use of face protection by infielders is optional. Each team is supplied with suitable equipment --- damaged/unsafe equipment is to be reported to the league so it can be replaced.
- Only youngsters registered to play in this league (or our Blastball league) are permitted to play. You are allowed, and encouraged, to permit players registered on other Junior (or call-ups from Blastball) teams to play on your team to fill your roster to 11 players --- but only to 11. No one on your team is allowed sit-out to permit a "fill-in" to play.
- Accidental & intentional throwing of the bat has to addressed and dealt with; the batter is automatically OUT and his/her turn at bat is over. (The umpire cannot differentiate between accidental and intentional; this is not a forgivable offence.)
- No displays of unsportsmanlike behaviour can be allowed to pass unchecked. Each team is encouraged to have its own sportsmanship manager to deal with any issues.
- Encourage runners to avoid touching home-plate when scoring.
- Runners are to use the orange bag when advancing to first; fielders have to make all their plays on the white bag at first.
- Fielders should allow runners to pass unobstructed unless making a play on the ball.
- Respect "out of bounds" guidelines, i.e. don't chase the ball when it goes out of the play area.
The umpire will call a meeting before the game with the coaches and captains to go over the ground rules and expedite things to get the home team's fielders in position on the diamond ready to start the game. If a league umpire isn't available at the scheduled game time, proceed with volunteers and get the game started as quickly as possible so the kids can play. Note: the umpire's instructions include:
- Do not let a batter hit until after the plate umpire has yelled, "Play ball". All infielders must be wearing appropriate face protection before a batter is permitted to hit.
- If the ball isn't hit soundly (e.g. might not make the pitcher's mound, call "dead ball" and let the batter have another chance.)
- Keep the games moving after each batter by calling "TIME" when the ball is in possession of the defense and (a) there's no attempt at making a play, (b) an error has already been committed or (c) someone is hurt.
- Ensure everyone knows when it's last batter
- Get changes done quickly after each team bats by ensuring the coaches recruit lots of help and pre-assign positions.
- Ensure sportsmanship issues are dealt with and reported to the convenor.
- Ensure we're in compliance with the City's Behavioural Policy
- Encourage and supervise the shaking of hands and "congratulations" at home plate at the conclusion of the game by all players & members of the coaching staffs.
- Ensure the site is left clean and orderly and all players get away safely.
Enjoy the experience and do what you can to ensure that everyone else does likewise.