Local Rules

“Local Rules” can be the bane of an umpire’s life, particularly for those of us who umpire for multiple local leagues.  Trying to keep track of which league uses which unusual procedure isn’t our idea of fun.

In addition, any modification of the playing rules always brings along with it unintended consequences.  You can see this in the fact that it usually seems to take Little League two or three years to finally figure out all the “nooks and crannies” when they make a rule change.  That’s not intended as criticism – merely an observation that the rules are frequently so tightly interwoven that changing one almost always seems to require changes and adjustments elsewhere, and that a simply-worded new rule almost always requires editing to cover cases that weren’t originally considered.

Thus, if you have any influence in your local league, I strongly recommend that you lobby for playing by “straight Green Book (or Orange Book) rules.”  If nothing else, when it comes to All Star time, your managers, coaches and players won’t be the ones saying “we played it that way all year.”  If your league really feels it needs to tweak the rules, have them follow the proper procedure – write up the proposed modification and submit it to your Regional Office for approval.

That being said, there are a number of places in the rulebook where leagues explicitly have the option of making choices as to how things will be played or operated.  Unfortunately, these are scattered throughout the rulebook.  As a convenience, the  LLUmpires.com 2011 Local Rules Checklist provides a convenient list of the various options that a league can and/or should explicitly review on an annual basis, along with a few recommendations for things that a league should address.