As the 2022 calendar year comes to a close, Little League® International has announced the updates and changes to its Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Operating Policies for the 2023 season. These changes were reviewed by the Little League International Board of Directors at its annual meeting on Friday, November 11, 2022, hosted by Major League Baseball at their offices in New York City, and approved by the Rules Committee and Tournament Committee.
“One of the most important factors we look at while evaluating our rules and regulations is the experience we are able to provide to our players, both on and off the field,” said Dan Velte, Little League Senior Operations Executive. “We are proud of the updates that were approved by the Board this past November and are committed to providing our volunteers with continued support, guidance, and education around these rule changes as we head into the 2023 season and beyond to ensure they can provide our players with a unique and memorable Little League experience.”
Below are just some of the key updates that will be seen starting with the 2023 season, which can be found as part of the full breakdown on LittleLeague.org/Rules:
- Continuing to Remove Financial Barriers: Through the continued support from its broadcast partner, ESPN, and the strong support from its official sponsors, Little League International continues to find new ways to remove financial barriers for its families, leagues, and volunteers. Effective with the 2023 season, the Little League Rulebook App will now be free to download. Additionally, Little League International will be reducing the 2023 tournament entry fee for the 8- to 10-Year-Old and 9- to 11-Year-Old Divisions by $50 per team.
- Tournament Mandatory Play/Continuous Batting Order: One of the significant rule changes starting in 2023 is focused on Tournament Rule 9, replacing the previous tournament mandatory play rule with a continuous batting order requirement for all divisions of tournament play except for the Senior League Baseball and Softball. Additionally, based on this change, Tournament Rule 3 (D, Baseball; E, Softball) has been updated to note that the previous tournament special pinch runner rule now applies for the Senior Division only, while providing a courtesy runner option for all other divisions of tournament play. For a full breakdown of the new Continuous Batting Order, please download the FREE Little League Rulebook App or visit LittleLeague.org/Rules. Little League International will continue to provide more information and education about this change, and all others, in the coming months closer to the start of the tournament season.
- Senior League Tournament Eligibility: Another update that will be made starting with the 2023 season was made to provide flexibility to local leagues in the Senior Divisions of tournament play to place a player on a tournament team roster regardless of regular season participation, removing the previous six regular-season game requirement.
In addition to the significant updates above, Little League International will also be requiring all tournament managers and coaches to complete the Little League Diamond Leader Training Program in order to be eligible to participate in the Little League International Tournament. This free program, focused on ensuring children have a positive, well-rounded experience on and off the field must be completed prior to the individual being named a tournament team manager/coach and before participating in any practices or games. Tournament managers/coaches who have completed the program should be prepared to produce the Little League Diamond Leader completion certificate if requested by the District Administrator/Tournament Director. To learn more about the Little League Diamond Leader Program, and to take the course yourself, visit LittleLeague.org/DiamondLeader.
The FREE Little League Rulebook App has been updated with the new rules and regulations for 2023, which also includes those updates that were passed at Congress earlier this year. After discussion with the Little League International Advisory Board, Operations Committee of the Board of Directors, as well as the Rules and Tournament Committees, Little League International believes all of the updates that have been made this year are aimed at making the program easier to administer for all its volunteers to ensure the best possible player experience on and off the field.
To stay up-to-date with all the latest rule and regulation changes, and see a full breakdown of all the significant updates for the 2023 season, visit LittleLeague.org/Rules.