Rules of the Philadelphia Kickball League: April 2023
These rules have been modified from those used by DC Kickball. They are discussed and revised at captains meetings and in surveys at the beginning of each season. Newest rules are bolded.
Rules or situations not expressly defined here will default to Major League Baseball rules. Any rule or situation not expressly defined will be adjudicated by field umps. The final call will be made by the field umpire. It is expected of the captains to enforce rules with the umpires.
ONLY captains may dispute any call made by the referee or umpire.
The first and foremost point of Philly Kickball League is to have fun. Absolutely no whining will be tolerated during the course of a game. Any abuse (verbal or otherwise) of the referees or other players will constitute an immediate ejection from the game. Repeated offenders will be banned from the league. No exceptions.
Only a team captain may dispute a call with the referee. The referee has jurisdiction over the play and may penalize a player, including game ejection, for unsportsmanlike conduct. Ejected players may not return to the game, and if necessary, may be asked to leave the premises.
Official time is decided by Android/iPhones. A regulation game shall consist of six innings.
If a team has players that are more than 10 minutes late, they MUST start playing without those team members present. Otherwise, they will forfeit. This rule is non-negotiable. Games must stay on schedule to avoid interfering with completion of other games. Our field time is limited and we need to use it wisely to complete the season. A scrimmage may be played in the allotted 60 minutes, but it will end promptly at the top of the hour.
If an on-going game must be called due to severe weather and less than four complete innings have been played, rescheduling will be attempted. If more than four full innings have been played, the final score will be the score at the end of the last complete full inning.
If a game is running late and has gone beyond four complete innings, a new inning may not be started closer than 10 minutes before the start of the next game (non-negotiable). Innings already in play may complete. Weather cancellation rules apply to games that do not go a complete six innings.
Games must be officiated by at least one umpire. Umpires govern all game play, issue all final rulings, and have final authority on equipment issues. The winner of a pre-game coin flip or paper, rock, scissors determines the choice of at-bat or fielding first.
During the playoffs or if a game is within its allotted time, games will be played to completion. In the 8th inning, both teams will start with bases loaded (last 3 players out).
FIELD, BALL, EQUIPMENT
The kickball diamond is a square with equal sides of 60 feet (about 20 paces) with a base at each corner. The distance from home plate to second base and from first base to third base is 84 feet, 10 1/4 inches (about 28 paces). The distance between any base and home plate shall be measured from the back corner of each. The pitching strip is in the center of the diamond, 42 feet 5 1/8 inches (about 14 paces) from home plate and directly aligned with the 1st-3rd base diagonal.
An 8.5” Mikasa Official Kickball will be used. Teams may bring their own balls and can use it, if both teams agree. No equipment that could offer an advantage may be worn (e.g football 'receiving gloves', pine tar,steel toes, etc). No METAL Cleats! Only plastic cleats are allowed on the field for safety reasons.
A team may not play more than 10 players at a time on the field. Each team is required to have a mix of humans that can be men, women, non-binary, and/or trans. It is required that at most 6 players that identify as male are on the field in each inning. And it is required that at least 4 players identify as non-male. If a team has more than 6 humans that identify as male, then they must take 1 out for the missing 4th non-male player every time through the lineup.
If a team has a full roster of ten players on the field, they must play a catcher. A team can only opt out of playing a catcher if they are playing down players (ie - 8 or 9 players).
If a team cannot field at least 8 players, including 2 non-male identifying humans (and does not have substitutes from other teams), they forfeit by default. If both the captain of the non-forfeit team and the captain of the forfeit team wish to scrimmage against each other, a just "for fun" game may be played. However, this is a non-regulation game, does not count in season standings, and occurs at the discretion of the umpires.
Umpires make the final ruling on forfeits.
Every player present is required to be in the kicking line up. Every player present is required to play at least one (1) inning in the field. If a team does not have the required minimum number of players in the fielding lineup, then the team must forfeit.
If a kicker or runner is injured, the opposing captain and umpire must be notified. Any player unable to run the bases must be replaced by the most recent kicker not on base at the time. Any player removed from running the bases or from the kicking lineup may not return to the game in any capacity. If a player that was once in the kicking lineup is no longer playing, the opposing captain and umpire must be notified. Again, that player cannot return to the game once they are taken out of the lineup.
Any team that forfeits three or more games will be removed from the remaining schedule and not be allowed to participate in any playoff situations. No refunds will be given and a team dropped by the league and may, at PKL's discretion, not be allowed to rejoin the next season.
Only Captains may dispute a call made by a referee. Excessive debate, harsh language or belligerent behavior towards players/officials as viewed by the referee can result in ejection from the game at the referee's discretion. More than two (2) ejections will result in league ejection.
NEW SPORTSMANSHIP RULE - no heckling, no yelling at opposing players, no swearing or harsh language, no debating rules or calls made by the refs/umps, no belligerent behavior, no excessive screaming or badgering. All offenses will be declared by the ref/ump.
First offense will result in a verbal warning from the referee/umpire.
Second offense will result in an OUT for the offending team.
Third offense will eject player(s) for the duration of the game/day.
1st and 3rd base-running coaches are permitted and encouraged.
All players must be 21 years of age or older. Players may only play on a team on which they are registered. Exception: You may function as a substitute player for another team if they are short a player. This is only valid during the regular season (In 2023 playoffs, we will allow 2 subs max per team, please do not abuse this or the commish will be very upset).
All pitches must be underhand. The pitcher must have their foot planted on the pitching strip as they release the ball. They may take no more than 3 steps leading up to the pitch. No running up to the strip to launch a pitch. The ball must cross the plate within a foot on either side. The ball may not be more than 1 foot off the ground as it crosses the plate. Orange “disc cones” will be placed 1 foot on either side of the plate. If the pitcher throws 4 balls outside of this zone, the kicker will be given the option to walk. NOTE: Official Balls are rarely called; only persistent and flagrant violations are enforced.
The pitcher (and all infielders) must stay behind the pitching strip until the ball is kicked. Failure to do so results in a "ball." <strong>All infielders must stay behind the imaginary line stretching from first to third base until the ball is kicked, with exception of the third baseman who may play up to the 42’ mark, as indicated on the fence along the third baseline. Failure to do so results in a "ball."
The catcher must field behind home plate before the ball is kicked. The catcher shall not interfere with the kicker in any way. Failure to abide by this rule results in a "ball."
Once the pitcher has the ball in control and is within 10 feet of the pitching strip, the play ends, with no runners advancing beyond current base. If runner is in motion, the play is still live, with runners' maximum advance limited by the immediately intended advance.
All kicks must be made by the foot. Any lower leg contact (beneath the waist) while attempting to kick the ball will be considered a kick regardless of where it strikes the leg or foot.
All kicks should occur at or behind home plate. "Double kicking" beneath the waist is ok. However, a double kick above the waist is an out. (It's a live ball.) No matter what, you cannot make contact with the ball once you have passed home plate. Typically the umpire will call a dead ball if you make initial contact with the ball in front of home plate. If you do it excessively, you may receive an out.
NEW BUNTING RULE - Updated 5/2023 - If one or both teams have just 8 or 9 players, they can agree upon a game with no bunts as a courtesy. Prior to the game, both the team captains and the referees/umpires must agree on whether to allow bunting or not for the duration of the whole game. This decision cannot change mid-game.
Kicks must have forward motion. If a player stops or steps on the ball in an attempt to bunt, this is considered a strike.
A kick and a miss is considered a strike.
Runners must stay within the base line. Fielders must stay out of the base line unless they are attempting to tag a runner out or catch the ball. Fielders trying to make an out on base may have their foot on base, but must lean out of the base line. First base will have separate bases for fielding (Inside the baseline) and running (outside the baseline) separated by 1 foot. Runners unfairly hindered by any fielder within the base line shall be safe at the base to which they were running. Runners intentionally and unfairly hindering any fielder from making a play shall be called out. Runners running into a fielder will be called out, 2nd offense, they'll be ejected from the game, 3rd offense they'll be removed from the league permanently.
Only first base can be overrun. No lead-off running from bases. No stealing bases. Incidents of either will result in an automatic out. Sliding is allowed, but is a risk assumed by the runner. Try your best to avoid home plate collisions. There is really no point in it.
A runner may only move off his/her base after the ball has been kicked. You can not pass the runner in front of you. These will both be called outs.
Hitting a runner with the ball above shoulder level is not allowed. Any runner hit above the shoulders is safe. The single exceptions to this rule is if the runner intentionally moves his head into the ball, the runner is out.
If a baserunner being put out by being hit with the ball significantly redirects the ball, no other baserunner may advance and all baserunners must return to the last base they occupied prior to the ball being redirected. (Example: I throw the ball at you to get you out, and you "accidentally" punch or knee the ball into the outfield, allowing for your runner on second or third to make a significant play.) This would be a ref judgment call.
If a kicked ball is caught on the fly, runners must tag their originating base (on or after the moment the ball is first touched by a fielder) before running to the next base. Bobbling of the ball by the defense will not impact the runner that has tagged up, because again, the runner must tag on the touch, not the catch.
Only one base on an overthrow is allowed to the runner. The one base is not automatic and the runner must take the risk of being put "out."
FOUL, FAIR and DEAD BALLS
Any FAIR ball whose path is interrupted by the gate, tree, etc. is a "DEAD BALL" and does not count. Fair balls cannot be played off objects for an "out". Repeat: A FAIR ball striking an overhead object is a "DEAD BALL." A dead ball does not count for a strike, foul, or out. By contrast any FOUL ball—regardless of path of interruption, may be played for a pop-out foul.
Any fair ball that rolls into or under the bushes near the BACK FENCES (Lombard or 7th Street) of the field will be ruled a ground rule triple. The umpire will make the final ruling.
Any fair ball that is kicked into the outfield, hits the ground, and then rolls into the bushes along the fences remains in play. It is up to the defense to get the ball back in play.
A FOUL BALL is a kicked ball that settles on foul territory between home and first base, or between home and third base, or that bounds past first or third base on or over foul territory, or that first falls on foul territory beyond first or third base, or that, while on or over foul territory, touches the person of an umpire or player, or any object foreign to the natural ground.
A foul fly shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line, and not as to whether the infielder is on foul or fair territory at the time they touch the ball.
Foul balls that roll or land out of bounds are "strikes." Three (3) strikes equal an "out". Three (3) outs equal end of inning. Pop-up fouls which are caught--regardless of foul obstructions--count as an out.
A kick and a miss is considered a strike, to be counted with fouls towards strikeouts.
A kicked ball that hits the cage, including the mangled overhang is FOUL, not dead, and catchable.
The Batting team may place a running coach behind 1st and/or 3rd base to assist their runners.
Coaches may not interfere with the play of the game, nor obstruct the proper duties of the 1st and/or 3rd base Refs.
Coaches may not call outs, foul, fair, strike, etc. before an official Ref call has been made.
Regular season standings and seeding for playoffs will be determined by win percentage.
In a two-way tie, if teams have the same win percentage, head-to-head results will determine the tiebreaker.
In a two-way tie, if teams did not play in the regular season, the difference between points scored and allowed will determine the tiebreaker.
In a three-way tie, the team with the best win percentage played among the three teams wins the tiebreaker.
In a three-way tie, if none of the teams played each other, the difference between points scored and allowed will determine the tiebreaker.
In most seasons, all teams make the playoffs. However, if the league has 11 or more teams, this format may need to be altered to accommodate scheduling. The commissioner will notify all captains if the playoff format must be condensed. No matter what, the top 8 teams will make the playoffs regardless of how we format it.