It has been a few years now since the City of Côte Saint-Luc unveiled Wiffle Ball Field, a beautiful complex at Singerman Park behind Merton Elementary School. It is a mini version of Camden Yards and Fenway Park and exceptionally maintained.
There is a league, with games taking place Tuesday evenings and Sunday mornings, Wiffle Ball is a simplified version of the game of baseball that is designed to be a miniature version of the game that is suitable to be played both indoor and outdoors, often in confined spaces.
Robert Shuster and Danny Kucharsky are in charge of reservations and lineups for Sunday and Tuesday games respectively For Sundays, the fee is $8 per game or $90 for the year.
Thanks to Mr. Shuster (yes that is what we still call the former Wagar High School teacher) and Moe Giobbi who enabled me to play my first Wiffle Ball game. Joining us were Jorge Vasconcelos, Alexandre Parkeiv, Lachug Lotame and Brian Blumer. Jorge and Alexandre are true stars and wow Brian Blumer, whose Facebook commentaries have quite the following, had the best on base percentage of the morning.
Let me tell you it may look easy, but hitting that ball even past the infield is not easy. The following day my brother Chuck came by. Like me , he has not swung a bat of any kind in decades. He so badly wanted to hit one out of the park and he came pretty close. Chuck enjoyed the brief experience so much, he might want to start his own league.
One of my goals now is to have Perry Gee of Exposfest visit Wiffle Ball Field and consider bringing some former Expos back the stadium for one of his fundraisers.
Here are the Côte Saint-Luc Wiffle Ball League rules
Teams will have equal size and talent as close as possible. A team which has one fewer player will have a player from the opposing team fielding for them at all times. In the event of obvious imbalance, a trade(s) must be made and the game re-started.
Players on the defending team will rotate position according to the wishes and the talents of the team members. All defenders must play in “fair territory” while the pitcher is pitching. Players will pitch one inning each until all have pitched and the order re-starts then. If a player is unable to pitch, he can be passed over.
There will be a set batting order which must be adhered to. At the end of a half inning, the on deck hitter must announce that he/she will lead off the next inning.
Balls and Strikes
Three outs to a half inning. Two strikes equals a strike out. A strike is ruled if a pitched ball hits the pitching target, if a player swings and misses or if a ball is hit and is ruled a foul ball. If a ball is fouled off it can count as strike one but not strike two. Five balls are needed for a walk. With fewer than seven defenders, an infield foul ball is one that does not cross the diagonal line from first to third bases or crosses outside the base line as it passes the base. A ball which hits the ground as it passes the base in fair territory or hits the base is deemed fair. First and Third bases must be placed in fair territory at all times. An outfield ball is deemed fair if its first bounce is in fair territory or is first touched by a defender and the part of the defender it touches is deemed to be in fair territory.
The pitcher must pitch with one foot on one of the pitching rubbers. His foot can leave the rubber as he/she takes the one step allowed as the ball is released. From the front rubber, the ball must have an arc. From the back rubber (6 feet behind the front rubber) the pitcher can throw without an arc. A pitch from the front rubber that does not have an arc will be deemed a ball. Those who throw particularly hard must start on the border between grass and dirt at the back of the pitching circle.
A pitcher who walks any four batters will be replaced (by a pitcher of choice) for the rest of that inning but may be allowed to pitch in later innings.
The batter must not be standing in a position where he/she is blocking the pitching target. If a ball might be a strike then the batter must make every effort to not let the ball touch his/her body. Both of the batter’s hands must be on the bat when the ball is struck or a foul ball is called. If a ball strikes the batter’s bat while the batter is not attempting to swing at it, it is deemed a ball and not a foul ball. The batter must not take the bat with him/her on the way to first base.
An out is made when a ball (fair or foul) is caught by a defender before it hits the ground. An out is made when a fair ball hits a runner who is not touching a base either hit or thrown (below the neck). An out is made when a ball is in the possession of any fielder in the pitching circle before the batter reaches first base. An out is made when a fielder in possession of the ball touches the base which the runner is approaching unless the batter is not “forced” to take that base. If an “earlier” base is open then the runner must be tagged or touched with the ball below the neck. An out is made at home if the ball hits any part of the pitching target while the runner is approaching home base unless the runner has not crossed the “commit” line.
Fielders are to avoid positioning themselves in the runners’ base lines unless fielding a ball. Runners must make every effort to avoid fielders who are in the process of fielding a batted or thrown ball. When approaching home, the runner must run on a line behind the pitching target to score. Breach of these two rules can be resolved by an out or a free base or a “do over (see below)” pending discussion.
A runner cannot leave his/her base until the ball is struck by the batter or the ball crosses the plate. The pitcher must give the runner time to get back to the base. A runner cannot advance on a fly ball that is caught. Infield Fly Rule: With no umpire, we do not use the rule. Base runners should not stray far from their base.
A fielder may not let the ball drop intentionally. Otherwise both runners are safe.
A runner may not slide into any base. If a team does not have enough players to accommodate the batter, (counting the possible supply fielder) and the base runners, the defending team will determine which runner will be a phantom. The phantom runner will be considered to be running “station to station”.
In the case where there needs to be a “Do Over” the batter re-starts with a zero – zero count
The balls and bats are plastic, so are some of the players (i.e. fragile). They e play on a small field under safe conditions only.
They play two Strikes for a strike out, five balls for a walk. Ground balls which do not cross the first base-third base diagonal are deemed foul unless there are six or more defenders. Some new players get three strikes and outstanding pitchers work with three strikes if they choose to.
Ground ball outs – they throw to the pitcher’s circle (or to first base) to get an out.
Hitting a runner with the ball is an out and the ball is dead, no further advancement of runners (who are not committed) is permitted.
Missed throws at a runner (or the pitching target at home) gives other runners a maximum of one extra base.
No leading off base, no sliding, no tagging up. Base runners must avoid colliding with fielders.
Pitchers can choose the front pitching rubber – softer pitches which must arc or the back rubber. Some pitchers may have to pitch from the grass-dirt border behind the rubber.