MLB and USA Baseball Announce "Hit and Run Baseball," Designed to Encourage Youth & Amateur Participation in Modified Forms of the Game
DURHAM, N.C. - Major League Baseball and USA Baseball today announced "Hit and Run Baseball," a program supporting modified forms of the game that allow players to develop their skills in a more interactive format while also promoting player health and safety.
The program will serve youth leagues, tournament providers and amateur coaches with recommended game formats that can be easily applied at all levels of youth & amateur baseball. Additionally, operators can create their own modified rules to best suit their individual league, tournament or team needs. More information on Hit and Run Baseball is available for coaches, players and administrators at HitandRunBaseball.com.
Hit and Run Baseball is designed to encourage youth organizations to utilize alternative formats for gameplay, particularly during practices, scrimmages, and tournament play. The program provides customizable templates and recommended formats that can be applied to various age groups and stages of player development.
The basic tenets of Hit and Run Baseball encourage the following:
- Quicker pace-of-play with more game action by reducing the number of pitches per at-bat, increasing the frequency of balls-in-play, and giving teams bonuses for hitting certain pace-of-play goals;
- More engagement with youth players by introducing more diverse game situations, giving players the opportunity to play different defensive positions and providing more opportunities to participate defensively;
- Improved player health and safety by limiting player pitch counts, particularly among the youngest age groups; and
- More teaching opportunities for coaches to provide immediate feedback to players.
Pilots of the Hit and Run Baseball program have shown that games are played in a shorter timeframe with more plate appearances and more balls in play, while at the same time requiring pitchers to throw fewer pitches. Hit and Run Baseball applications during tournament play are particularly helpful in managing pitch counts and ensuring there is enough time to play all brackets of a tournament.
Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr.: "Hit and Run Baseball was created as a teaching tool designed to remind baseball participants that playing our game does not require a one-size-fits-all approach. There are many different ways to structure practice, games and tournaments so that players get the most out of their experiences, particularly through crisp pace of play while also limiting pitch count burdens on pitchers. We have assembled an advisory board, some of whom represent the highest levels of our sport, who will ensure that Hit and Run Baseball remains effective and focused on the overall development and enjoyment of young participants of our game."
"The importance of fun and actionable forms of game modification was identified early on in our strategic plan for growing our sport," said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's Chief Development Officer. "By creating this platform, we aim to make baseball available to a wider audience of participants by normalizing alternative methods of gameplay and further energizing the experience within the game. We're grateful for the continued support of our member organizations and other amateur partners who are championing initiatives like Hit and Run, as we collectively serve the millions of families engaged in our great sport."
The following youth & amateur organizations actively support Hit and Run Baseball and the general movement to encourage alternative formats of the game: American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), American Legion, Babe Ruth League, Dixie Youth, Dixie Boys & Majors, Little League International, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), National Amateur Baseball Federation (NABF), Ripken Baseball, USA Baseball, NCTB, PONY Baseball and Softball, and Perfect Game.
Future adjustments and strategy for the program will be guided by a committee consisting of leadership from throughout the professional and amateur levels of the sport, including the following:
- Cal Ripken, Jr. - Baseball Hall of Famer; MLB Special Advisor; Vice Chair of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
- Michael Cuddyer - Special Assistant, Baseball Operations, Minnesota twins; USA Baseball Sport Development Contributor; Two-time MLB All-Star; Member of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame;
- Steve Keener - President & CEO of Little League International Elliot Hopkins - Director of Sports, Sanctioning, and Students Services of the National Federation of State High Schools Association
- Paul Mainieri - Head Coach, Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers
- John Vodenlich - Head Coach, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks
- Josh Bloom, MD, MPH, CAQSM - Medical Director, Carolina Sports Concussion Clinic & Head Medical Team Physician, Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) and USA Baseball
- Kyle Stark - Vice President, Assistant General Manager, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Shaun Larkin - Coordinator of Skill Development, Los Angeles Dodgers Organization; former Minor League Manager & Coach; former Collegiate and High School Coach
- Sean Campbell - Senior Director of Sport Development, USA Baseball
- David James - Vice President, Baseball & Softball Development, Major League Baseball; Head of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI)