Iowa Baseball League
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the level of competition in the IBL?
How are teams assigned to conferences?
Has the IBL considered dividing divisions into single grades rather than two (e.g., all 3rd grade and all 4th grade)?
How are the pools created for the tournaments?
Why doesn't the IBL have all-star teams like Optimist baseball does?
Should 1st and 2nd grade players be in the IBL?
What are Position Rounds?
How can I get my player on a team?
Are girls allowed in the IBL?
Why doesn't the IBL allow games to be rescheduled if both managers agree?
Why doesn't the IBL certify umpires?
Why does the IBL play Major League Baseball Rules instead of Iowa High School Rules?
Why is leading off not allowed in 3-4 and 5-6?
If a team plays with less than the allowable number of players, is it required to take an out when the missing player(s) would have batted?
What about if a player leaves the game early and misses an at bat? Isn't that an automatic out?
In the pitching rules, what does the term "...in any seven day period" mean?




What is the level of competition in the IBL?

Appropriate at every level. We are more competitive than rec programs but not nearly as much as the cutthroat, win-at-all-costs attitude of tournaments.  We recognize the importance of competition in developing skills and we encourage it but too many players are turned off by the attitude that prevails at tournaments. Young players should be encouraged, not discouraged!

How are teams assigned to conferences?

Teams are not randomly assigned to conferences in the divisions. Rather, in each division they are first divided by grade into 3 groups: all lower grade, all upper, and mixed. The upper grade teams are evenly distributed across the conferences, as are the lower and mixed grades. Then, they are reallocated according to community. That is, we try to spread out the CF teams, the Waterloo teams, and then the other towns equally across the conferences. After the teams are allocated to the conferences, we go back and make some final adjustments. The objective is to have conferences that are approximately the same based on grade and community. So, the short answer is conferences are created based on grade of players and geography.

Has the IBL considered dividing divisions into single grades rather than two (e.g., all 3rd grade and all 4th grade)?

Yes, but it seems unworkable. Many teams, especially from other towns, are by necessity made up of players from both grades in a division. The policy would discriminate against them by forcing them to play generally older teams. Also, we have no assurance the number of teams at each grade level would be equal. That is, we might have four 5th grade teams and twelve 6th grade teams. That certainly doesn't make for balanced or fun competition. Further, playing a younger team allows managers to experiment with different pitchers and players at different positions. Playing an older team can sometimes induce greater effort and motivation from players.

How are the pools created for the tournaments

Usually, there are 2 conferences in a division. We place 4 teams in each pool according to their conference finish and all teams in a pool each other. The gold pool  is the 1st & 2nd place teams in each conference, the silver pool is the 3rd & 4th place teams in each  conference and so on. Sometimes the last pool might have 3, 5 or 6 teams. In that case, there is a slightly different playing format.

Why doesn't the IBL have all-star teams like Optimist baseball does?

One huge problem is how to appropriately select the players. In major league baseball there is fan voting and players are well-known to the public because of media coverage. In any IBL grade division, there can be almost 300 players and there isn't any media present! How could we possibly select all-star teams that are representative and appropriate? Not every team keeps accurate or complete records on the players and selecting a fixed amount from each team creates the real possibility that better players could be excluded in favor of less developed ones, which hardly seems fair or appropriate.

But, that’s NOT the reason we have decided against it. Most importantly, all-star teams are contrary to the philosophy and objectives of the IBL. It is our intention to have as many players as possible have a fun, positive experience. While the IBL encourages all players to do their best, we prefer to recognize team accomplishments rather than individual achievement.

Should 1st and 2nd grade players be in the IBL?

The biggest concern is with the age difference. At a minimum, there will be a 2 year difference between a 2nd grader and a 4th grade team in the League. Given that many parents hold their kids back a year before starting school, that difference could be as much as 3 years. This can be a huge size and maturity difference. While the IBL is not a tournament level league, it is still competitive and the level of play is fairly high. With most teams, the best and biggest kids are pitchers and it is their intention to strike batters out, usually by throwing as hard as they can, sometimes wildly. Further, they also hit the ball pretty hard. All of these things combine to present a safety concern for us and while we have no rule against younger players in the 3-4 grade division, we do strongly discourage it.

What are Position Rounds?

A position round is a set of games where teams play other teams who are similar to them in the standings. We actually have 2 types of position rounds: Inter-conference and Intra-conference. With an Inter-conference round, the first place team in one conference plays the first place team in the other. The second place teams play each other, as do the third place teams and so on. In an Intra-conference round, the first place team in a conference plays the second place team in the same conference, the third place team plays the fourth place team in the same round and so on.

Position round games usually match pretty equal teams and can be quite exciting. When the schedule allows, we try to include position rounds but that is dictated by the number of teams in a division.

How can I get my player on a team?

The IBL does not put players on teams. Rather, we schedule and reserve diamonds for teams formed by parents. We have a link on our home page to Joining a Team that offers suggestions but it is up to players and parents to find teams.  A list of the current and previous season's teams is on the website under “Rosters” with managers' names and their phone numbers.  Parents not forming their own team may have to contact teams to see if teams have a need for additional players for the next season.

Are girls allowed in the IBL?

Absolutely!

Why doesn't the IBL allow games to be rescheduled if both managers agree?

At one time, we did. But as the IBL has grown, voluntary rescheduling has proven unworkable. We discovered teams were requesting to reschedule for some less-than-urgent reasons, among them missing a key player, a coach out of town, or entering a tournament. Just because managers agree on rescheduling doesn't mean parents do. As our lives have become more complex, all of us are forced to make plans far in advance. The IBL puts out a schedule and many parents plan vacations, short trips, birthday celebrations and other activities around our baseball games. It's bad enough when plans are disrupted because of make-ups of weather-related postponements without having to worry about games changed because of someone else's personal plans.  The schedule is not a guideline, it's a schedule. The League asks managers to get as much information about date conflicts before the beginning of the season and include those dates on the registration. We then accommodate a reasonable number of requests when the schedule is made out, avoiding conflicts in advance whenever possible.

Why doesn't the IBL certify umpires?

Given the wide range of experience and expertise, there really is no practical way to certify umpires. On some Sundays, we can have 25 games which would require 50 umpires! There is no way we could devise a training program to provide that many umpires certified by us. Attempting to do so would cause more problems than it solves. On our website we provide a list of people who have expressed an interest in umpiring, but we do not certify them. Our intention is to have team managers find their own umpires and ask that they be competent. We encourage managers, if they desire, to use younger umpires (although the home plate umpire must be at least 17 years old) so they have an opportunity to develop their umpiring skills in a relatively low-key environment. It's not unusual for an umpire to be a high school baseball player who can earn a few dollars and enhance his understanding of baseball by seeing the game from a different perspective. In general, umpires should focus on balls & strikes, fair or foul, safe or out and resolve rules issues jointly with the managers of both teams.

Why does the IBL play Major League Baseball Rules instead of Iowa High School Rules?

Primarily because of availability. Major League rules are available on the internet . We have never been able to find a complete set of Iowa High School Rules on the internet. And, there isn't much difference.

Why is leading off not allowed in 3-4 and 5-6?

Part of our philosophy is to gradually move closer to full baseball rules as players advance through the IBL's divisions. While leading off is not terribly difficult, it puts a tremendous burden on the pitchers and umpires at the lower levels. Third-graders would be required to pitch from the stretch, attempt pick-offs and not balk. All of this while struggling to throw strikes. While some players could handle it, it is asking too much of most young players. Another factor is the length of the bases. It is so short that leading off almost guarantees a successful stolen base. Finally, leading-off will amplify the difference between the stronger and weaker teams and we are already concerned about competitive imbalance.

If a team plays with less than the allowable number of players, is it required to take an out when the missing player(s) would have batted?

No. We figure playing shorthanded is penalty enough!

What about if a player leaves the game early and misses an at bat? Isn't that an automatic out?

Once again, no. The player is just skipped. There are no automatic outs in the IBL.

In the pitching rules, what does the term "...in any seven day period" mean?

This means in the *last* 7 days so it is a rolling period. If your game is on Sunday, it means since last Sunday. If your game is on Wednesday, it means since last Wednesday. If your game is on Thursday, it means since last Thursday and so on. It is not always the same time period but rather changes every day.


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