The Official Rules of the Game.
By Chris Street, 10 October 2001.
0. NOTES ON THE ORGANIZATION OF THESE RULES
1. THE PLAYING FIELD
Newly-defined terms are printed in all CAPITALS.
The playing field is situated much as in baseball, with the following
2. DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Instead of base paths, there are three BASE TRACKS between
Each base track has its own bag at first, second and third base.
However, there is only one home plate.
A SAFE ZONE is indicated by a line through the base tracks 5 feet
before and after each base.
3. BATTING and BASERUNNING
A HALF-INNING is the amount of time in which one team bats and the other
fields. Each half-inning lasts until every player has come to the plate
as a batter. Regardless of the number of outs incurred, all nine players
will come to the plate in order.
An INNING is made of two half-innings. Each game is made up of a number of
innings agreed on beforehand by the team captains. One team is designated
to hit in the first half-inning of each inning, and the other team hits
in the second half-inning in each inning.
A player who is OUT OF PLAY or simply OUT must leave the playing field
and may not bat or run for the remainder of the half-inning.
A BATTER is a player who has come to home plate to hit the ball.
A BASERUNNER, or simply RUNNER, is a player who has reached the safe zone of a base or
a batter who has hit a fair ball.
A batter, while taking his turn at bat, must stand in the batter's box at all times.
STRIKES and BALLS are called as in regular baseball. Four balls are a WALK,
three strikes are a STRIKEOUT.
A walk or HIT BATSMAN, occuring in the first through third batter, entitles
all baserunners and the batsman to advance one base. A baserunner
who ends on home plate scores and is out of play. If the walk or hit batsman
occurs for the fourth through sixth batter, all runners and the batter
advance two bases; runners formerly on third score and advance around to first
base, runners formerly on second base score and are out of play. A walk
or hit batsman, for the seventh, eighth, or ninth batter, results in all
baserunners and the batter advancing around three bases.
A batter who hits the ball fairly must take to one track legally and run. He becomes a baserunner.
Runners must run forward at all times. Runners that run backwards are called out immediately.
No runner within the lines of a safe zone may be tagged out.
A batter or runner is in the safe zone if both of the heels of his
feet are within the safe zone.
Any two runners in the same safe zone may elect to exchange tracks.
Once the exchange is made, runners
must stop at the base and not continue running.
Runners that exchange tracks must do so entirely within the safe zone. If either
steps outside of the safe zone, he is out.
A STATIONARY baserunner is any runner in the safe zone of first, second, or third base who either:
- Is not advancing to the next base - i.e., is standing still in the safe zone.
- Is exchanging tracks with another runner in the safe zone.
A baserunner who is not stationary is ADVANCING.
At no time may an advancing runner leave his track. If he does, he is called
out of play and must leave the playing field.
A track is OCCUPIED between two bases if any of the following are true:
- There is a advancing runner (not in the safe zone) in that track
between the two bases.
- There is a stationary runner in that track, within the safe zone of the more advanced base.
Any runner tagged by the ball who is not within a legally entered safe zone is out.
Any runner advancing towards a base who fails to reach its safe zone before a fielder with
the ball tags any of those bags within the safe zone of that base, is out.
If the ball is hit fair and in play, a runner that enters the home plate
safe zone from third base scores. He then has the option:
- He may touch home plate and then continue running, in any legal track, towards first base.
- If he elects (for some reason) not to continue to first base, he leaves the field of play and is out.
A player that scores on a fairly hit ball in play, and then continues towards first base
without first having touched the home plate, is out of play.
If the ball is hit fair and out of play on the fly, it is a HOME RUN. All baserunners
are entitled to advance legally to home plate. Each scores, and each then
leaves the field out of play.
Tracks can be DOUBLED UP, that is, be occupied between two bases by two players, only if all other
tracks have at least one runner occupying them between the bases already.
Any runner doubling up a track illegally is called out of play.
In no case may a track be occupied between two bases by three players.
If a third runner enters a track, he is called out.
Hence, a runner who cannot advance without "tripling up" must stay stationary.
Upon entering a safe zone, if a runner wishes to advance, but continuing
in the same track would illegally double or triple up the track, the runner
may switch tracks. Such a track switch must occur entirely within the safe
zone, or the runner shall be called out. The base runner may continue advancing
after such a track switch, if in his judgment he is able to advance another base.
However, a runner switching tracks in any safe zone, at any time, when it is
not necessary to do so, is out of play.
In performing a track switch or track exchange, each player involved must first
tag the bag in his former track, and then tag the bag in his new track. Failure to do
so will result in the offender being called out.
If, in performing a track switch or a track exchange, a runner interferes
with the legal actions of another baserunner or any fielder, the interfering
baserunner is called out of play.
A runner scoring at home plate, who cannot advance legally, is out of play.
Runners may, at risk of being put out, advance whenever the ball is alive and in play.
Runners who advance a base without the benefit of the bat have STOLEN A BASE.
Players who intend to advance once the track ahead is clear or a fielder has
made a play must not stand stationary in the safe zone, but be poised to run,
in order that preceding baserunners know their intent. Poised runners are considered
If baserunner A in the safe zone is poised to advance, and a runner B from the
preceding base, seeing this, begins to advance towards A's base in his track, and then A decides
not to advance but remain stationary, the following happens:
- If, by becoming stationary, the track is occupied by three players, A must take a stationary stance before B reaches
the safe zone. If A does not do it, he must advance legally. If he does do it, B may
return to his former base without liability to be put out.
- If, by becoming stationary, the track is occupied by two or fewer players, B cannot
return to his former base. He must continue advancing.
A runner may not pass another runner in the same base track. If he does,
the runner who passed the other is called out.
Runners who jump in a base track are out.
If any part of a runner's body touches the ground outside of his current
base track by a voluntary action, he is out.
Pinch runners are not allowed, unless to replace a runner removed from the field
through no fault of his own (e.g., by injury.)
A designated hitter may bat for any fielder, at the mutual agreement of the