Optimist Major League Baseball

Major League Optimist Baseball Rules


This league plays by high school rules with a few modifications as specified below.


The home team will be the official scorer.  The first team listed on the schedule is the home team for the first game.  The second team listed will be the home team in the second game.  The team closest to the scoreboard will be responsible for keeping the score up to date every ½ inning.

Game Result Forms

Both teams will keep a game results form.  These must be kept current throughout the game.  These forms must be turned into the umpires directly following the last game of the evening.  Innings pitched by each pitcher must be filled in.

Regulation Game

All single games will be 7 innings (with no time limit).

All double headers will be 5 innings.

No minimum innings requires for a complete game.  The last completed inning will determine the winner.

All rain make-ups will be a single 5 inning game.

Time Limits

1st & 2nd game of a double-header: A new inning cannot be started after 1 hour and 15 minutes (for both games).

You can't start a new inning after 1 hour and 45 minutes of a single 7 inning game.  Once a new inning starts, that inning must be completed.

A team can only score 6 runs per inning.  If a team is mathematically unable to come back the game will end. 

Run Rules

Run rule for a 5 inning game is 12 runs after 3 innings and 8 runs after 4 innings.  Rune rule for a 7 inning game is 12 runs after 4 and 8 runs  after 5.

Collision Avoidance Rules

If a play is being made at any base, the runner must attempt to avoid a collision with a fielder.  Sliding is not always the best way to avoid a collision.  It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpires to determine if the act was intentional.  Any malicious contact will result in an automatic ejection and the player will be disqualified for the next game.

Pitching Rule

A pitcher can throw 5 innings in a day.  A pitcher can throw 9 innings in a week.  The week is considered Sunday through Saturday.  If a pitcher throws 4 or more innings in a day, a day of rest is required.  Once a pitcher is removed from the game as a pitcher they cannot return to that game as a pitcher.  Any live pitch made in an inning is considered an inning pitched. There is no thirds of an inning.

Batting Order & Playing Time

All players are included in the batting order.  The batting order will remain the same throughout the game.  If a player arrives late to a game, they will be inserted in the last spot of the batting order.  Open substitution is allowed; this does not affect the batting order.  No player will sit consecutive innings defensively.  The pitching and catching positions are exempt from this rule.  Coaches do have the right to waive the playing time requirements if there are discipline issues with a player or the player misses practices(s).

Infield Fly Rule

The rule is used when a fair fly ball can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort in fair territory.  This rule only applies when all bases are occupied or runners are on 1st and 2nd and less than two outs.  Any defensive player positioned in the infield at the time of the pitch shall be considered an infielder for the purpose of this rule.  The ball is live, the batter is out, and the runners may advance at their own risk.  If a declared infield fly becomes foul, it is treated as a foul ball, not an infield fly.

Passed Ball & Base Stealing

Players may advance on any passed ball.  Stealing is allowed in this league.  Players are allowed to lead off.  Players may advance home on a passed ball.

Game Time

We will be on a very tight schedule; teams should be ready at least ten minutes before game time.

Strike Zone

The strike zone for the league will be very liberal.  If a ball is hittable it is quite likely to be called a strike.  We want to encourage our young hitters to be very aggressive at the plate!

Eight Player Rule

Teams will be allowed to play with eight players.  If a team has eight players the ninth spot will not be counted as an out.  If a team does not have at least eight players the game will be considered a forfeit.  However, we want both teams to stick around and scrimmage.  Diamond time is very valuable and we do not want to waste any opportunity for the kids to play.

Rainouts/Inclement Weather

All weather related cancellations will be posted on the Waterloo Leisure Services web site at www.waterlooleisureservices.org.  The Sports Office will declare all rainouts by 3:30pm if at all possible.  If games are not called by this time the decision will be made at the game site by the site supervisor.  If a coach cancels a practice it is his/her responsibility to notify their players.  Coaches should also contact Waterloo Leisure Services Department about canceled practices.

Game Balls

The home team shall supply one new ball and two relatively new balls per game.


All offensive players must wear a helmet when within the playing field.  All shirts must be tucked in.  Any player warming up a pitcher must wear a mask.  All players must wear league issued uniforms, including hat, pants, socks, and jersey.  All jewelry must be removed including earrings, necklace and bracelets.  No metal cleats allowed.

Brother Rules

Brothers will automatically placed on the same team unless the family requests separate teams.

Draft Procedure

All new participants in this league must attend try-outs.  All participants will be drafted onto a team.  If a participant is not able to attend the try-outs they will be placed onto a team after the draft.  To make the leagues balanced, the team that finishes last will pick first.  The team that finishes first will draft last.  This is not a snake draft; you pick in the same spot each round.  Expansions and contractions will be looked at on a year-to-year base.

Skills to Be Taught

By this point participants should have a good idea of how the game is played.  In this league coaches should work on game situations.  Participants should know where the ball is going with two outs and a runner on second.  Coaches should still work on developing players but at a higher level.  The Major League is our highest level of competition, but still coach’s main focus should be getting participants ready for high school ball.  In all Waterloo Leisure Services Sports the number one thing coaches should teach is sportsmanship.

Practice Expectations

Teams should attempt to practice twice a week in the preseason and once a week during the season.