The Lynnfield (Mass.) Men’s Over-40 Softball League is an organization that provides its participants with a recreational and social outlet to play softball during the spring and summer months in a fraternal environment.
The league is open to current or former male residents of the town — subject to available open roster spots — who will be 40 years of age or older at the start of the 2020 season on May 5.
Teams play one game a week on either Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or occasionally Friday nights (see Schedule section of site). Any rain outs or makeup games that may be required are typically rescheduled primarily on Monday evenings, although some other nights may also be used for makeup games if need be. ASA umpires oversee all league games.
The cost to play in 2020 is the same as the last few years — $140 per player (non-refundable), which consists of the league’s $110 Registration Fee plus a $30 Town of Lynnfield Field Assessment Fee.
The goal of the Lynnfield Men’s Over-40 Softball League is to provide an enjoyable season of competitive – but not cutthroat – softball for men 40 years of age and over. All participants need to fully understand, support, and agree with the league’s core founding principles of safety, sportsmanship, respect for all coaches, players, and umpires, mature behavior, and having a pleasant night out.
Fields & Start Times
All league games will be played at either the turf boys baseball diamond (May and early June), or on the the turf men’s softball area that’s part of the adjacent multipurpose field (mid-June through late-August) located behind Lynnfield High School on Essex Street.
All games on the baseball field (Weeks 1-5) start at 6:30 p.m, and the games on the multipurpose field start at either 7 p.m. (Weeks 6-14) or 8 p.m. (Week 15, plus the post-season Tourney games — see Schedule section of site).
Specific League Rules
The Lynnfield Men’s Over-40 Softball League features the following specific rules that are intended to promote sportsmanship and the safety of its players, to try and prevent injuries, and to avoid misunderstandings or disagreements.
- Everyone Plays and Bats: This one is easy. Everyone who shows up to participate in either regular season or tournament games (if scheduled) gets to play both in the field as well as bat. In other words, teams are NOT permitted to only play their best players — either on the field or in the batting lineup — at the expense of others. Now, with more roster spots than available defensive fielding positions, it’s up to the respective team coaches to alternate their guys fairly in the field (typically this is accomplished by playing personnel on an every-other-inning basis), but everyone bats throughout the entire game regardless.
- Umpire Interaction: Only team coaches and/or their assistants can discuss plays or rules interpretations with the umpire, and that is to be done calmly and respectfully. All other league players are NOT to engage in any kind of disrespectful mouthing off or ongoing “barking” at an ump. That kind of behavior will simply not be tolerated. This is old fart softball; not Game 7 of the World Series. Have some proper perspective, please.
- Wooden Bats Only: All players must only use the wooden bats that are supplied by the league. Neither aluminum bats nor any other wooden bats that may be brought to the field by an individual or a team are allowed to be used in a game — even if said bat has been agreed to be shared by both teams. No exceptions. The league-supplied bats are stored in the equipment box at the field, and must be returned to that location after each game. Bats cannot be taken home as they are shared by all teams.
- No Metal Cleats: Players are not allowed to wear metal cleats. Only rubber and plastic cleats or sneakers can be worn.
- No Bunting: Bunting as a means to either get on base or to sacrifice a runner along is not allowed.
- No Leading or Stealing: Once a player reaches a base, no leading or stealing is permitted. Players must have one foot on the base in question at all times and cannot advance until the batter puts the ball into play.
- No Sliding or Diving into Bases: Sliding or diving into any base or home plate by a base runner at any time for any reason is strictly prohibited. No exceptions; no excuses. As in none. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Any player doing so will be called out by the umpire, no matter if it was an unintentional “instinctive” move or if he simply “forgot.”
- Collision Avoidance: Collisions that result from a base runner instigating contact with any defensive player at any base or home plate – including, but not limited to throwing elbows, dropping a shoulder, trying to “steamroll” the defensive player, or any type of other unsportsman-like intentional contact – will not be tolerated. If this occurs, the base runner will not only be automatically called out, he will also be immediately ejected from the game by the umpire and need to leave the field without delay. If this happens a second time by the same player in another game, the player in question will then be expelled from the league and cannot play for the rest of the season. Consider this as a warning to the entire league.
— Runners proceeding from first to second, or second to third, can now “peel off” to either the left- or right-side of the bag (opposite the direction of the incoming throw) as they approach that base to avoid contact with the defensive player and still be considered safe – without actually touching the bag – as long as they are in the general vicinity of second or third and beat the throw coming into the base.
— Similarly, runners proceeding from third base to home plate must avoid any intentional or aggressive contact with the catcher, and catchers need to stand off and away from the plate — either towards the mound or first base — in order to give runners unimpeded access to the plate. If a catcher inadvertently is blocking the plate, then the runner can simply “peel off” and run in the general area behind home plate — to the right-side — in order to avoid a collision and be called safe by the umpire (assuming the runner wasn’t tagged first) without actually touching the plate.
- Overrunning of Bases: A runner may overrun first base, second base, and third base with no penalty. If the runner subsequently decides to advance to the next base, he must first re-tag the overrun base in question prior to advancing. Runners who fail to re-tag will be called out.
- No Blocking of Bases: No defensive player may prevent a runner from reaching either a base or home plate by blocking or otherwise obstructing the runner in any manner. If this occurs, the umpire will call the runner safe without his having touched either the base in question or home plate.
- Substitute Runner: Due to injury, fatigue, or as a concession to the aging process, a team may elect to use a substitute runner for one of its players, but only after they reach a base (i.e., not from the batter’s box). This substitute runner also must be the player who made the last out in the lineup.
- No Wild Pitches/Passed Balls: There are neither wild pitches nor passed balls. Any runners on base cannot advance if this happens.
- No Third Strike on Foul Ball: If a batter hits a foul ball after two strikes, he is not out, as is sometimes the case in other leagues.
- Catcher’s Mask: All catchers need to wear a protective mask. If your team doesn’t have one of its own, there will be a league-supplied mask in the equipment box, along with the bats and bases. This mask can be shared by the catchers of both teams.
- Distances: The distance between bases and home plate is 65 feet, and the distance from the pitching rubber to home plate is 50 feet.
- Pitcher’s Mound/Rubber: Pitchers can start their throwing motion from either a few steps behind the designated rubber (and finishing on the rubber), or pitch directly from right on the rubber itself. Under no circumstances can a pitcher finish his motion and/or delivery in front of the rubber. Stated another way, all pitchers need to have contact with the mound/rubber when either starting or finishing their pitch.
- Pitch Arc: The arc of a pitch must be between 6 and 12 feet above the ground. Any pitch outside this range will be declared “illegal” by the ump for all to hear while the pitch is in the air. The batter may still choose to swing at an illegal pitch (a good idea if the pitch arc is low and over the plate). A declared illegal pitch which is subsequently hit into play is then treated as any other hit pitch. A declared illegal pitch counts as a strike if the batter swings and misses or fouls the pitch off. A declared illegal pitch counts as a ball if the batter simply takes the pitch.
- Minimum Number of Players: In order to start a game, a team needs to have a minimum of eight players in the field. Typically, this involves having defensive position players at 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, three outfielders, plus a pitcher, with the shorthanded team “borrowing” a player from the opposing team to be the catcher. However, by the start of the top of the second inning, teams need to have at least nine of their own players in the field, otherwise the team that is shorthanded will forfeit the game and be given a loss in the standings, and the opposing team will be awarded a win. By mutual consent of both team’s coaches and the umpire, the game can then continue to be played if both teams just want to use it as a scrimmage. NOTE: Regardless of the outcome of any subsequent scrimmage or inter-squad game that the two teams decide to play since they are already at the field, the short-handed team has already forfeited the game for that night and gets a loss in the standings and the opposing team will be awarded a win, regardless of who may “win” the ensuing agreed-upon scrimmage.
- Tie Game/Extra Inning Procedure: For all games played in the first part of the season on the high school baseball field (no lights), any games that are tied after the regulation seven innings have been played will continue to be played until dusk. Both teams’ coaches and the umpire will meet prior to the start of any extra inning being played to assess the natural lighting situation and determine whether to continue playing the game or not. All three must agree that there is sufficient natural light to play ball for a full inning without any risk to player safety in order for the game to continue. If another full extra inning cannot be safely played, and the score remains tied, the game will end in a tie at that point and both teams will earn one point in the standings. For all games played the second part of the season at the multipurpose field (with lights), games that are tied after seven regulation innings will continue to be played in whatever number of extra innings are needed until a winner emerges.
- Complete Game: In the event of a sudden change in weather or some other conditions once a game has started, a minimum of three-and-a-half innings need to be played if the visiting team is behind in order to count as a complete game; four full innings if either the home team is behind or if the score is tied. If those minimums are not met, the game in question is considered suspended. The suspended game will then be rescheduled and play will resume from the exact point — and score — from where it was stopped.
- Overthrows: Any overthrows of either first or third base that go into foul territory are live balls with the runner (or runners) advancing as many bases as possible at their own risk, EXCEPT if a thrown ball goes either over or under the fence surrounding the playing field, in which case it then becomes a dead ball. For any overthrows or errors made at home plate on the baseball field, if the ball remains within the brown turf circle that surrounds the home plate area it is a live ball. If the ball ends up outside that brown brown turf circle it is considered a dead ball. For all dead ball situations — first base, third base, or home — the runner(s) advance two bases.
- Call of Nature: The softball equipment box will contain a key to the public men’s room located in the high school near the main entrance to the fields complex. Should you need to relieve bodily fluids either prior to the start of a game or during a game itself, please make use of that restroom. Please note that public urination of any type – at the field or in the surrounding woods behind the complex – is NOT allowed, totally unacceptable, and will result in the league losing its permit to use the fields.
Turf Field Regulations
To preserve the quality of the turf and provide a clean and healthy environment, the following are NOT ALLOWED on the synthetic turf playing complex:
- Food and drinks (other than in the concessions area and bleachers), beverages (other than water), sports drinks, gum, seeds, or nuts
- Alcoholic beverages of any type
- Glass bottles or containers
- Tobacco products of any kind, smoking, or any open flame
- Dogs or pets of any kind
- Inappropriate behavior or language
- Canopies, umbrellas, or other items that requiring spiking to hold them in place
- Chairs with four legs
- Golf playing
- Motorized vehicles or bicycles (except official vehicles)
All field users are responsible for properly disposing of their trash and recyclables. Also, please do not pick, pluck, or pull grass fibers or infill materials on the field.
To the furthest extent permitted by law, all participants in the Lynnfield Men’s Over-40 Softball League, hereinafter called the “the player,” hereby agrees and acknowledges this league is not an official program of the Town of Lynnfield, or any agency, officer, or employee thereof. The player further agrees, understands, and acknowledges that watching and participating in these games is inherently dangerous and serious injuries and death can occur. The player hereby further agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Town of Lynnfield and any agency, officer, and employee thereof − as well as any and all Lynnfield Men’s Over-40 Softball League officers, members, agents, employees, or servants − from and against any and all claims or demands, either legal or equitable, on account of or arising out of the player’s participation in this league. The player also agrees to abide by all rules and regulations as may be established from time to time by league officials concerning the participation in league activities, including league events, and the player further agrees to conduct himself as a gentleman at all times.
The information and content on this website are copyrighted © 2010-2019 by the Lynnfield Men’s Over-40 Softball League. All rights reserved. All information contained herein is subject to change without notice.
The Lynnfield Men’s Over-40 Softball League website was designed by Chuck Smith, a digital marketing professional based in Pepperell, Mass. If you need a new website, help in revamping an existing site, or want to talk about how you can promote your business or organization using today’s latest social media tools and strategies, please contact Chuck at 508-269-5124 and tell him you saw his work with the Lynnfield Men’s Over-40 Softball League’s website.
Header image courtesy of flickr user laura padgett, released under a Creative Commons License.
Lynnfield-specific images taken by, and courtesy of, Kim Ricciardone.