American Texas League

(ATL)

Constitution

(September 2011)

 

I.                    Organization

a.       Game Engine and MLB League Affiliation

                                                               i.      Unless otherwise agreed by all League members, the League will use the most current version of the Strat-O-Matic (“SOM”) computer baseball game for game play (the “Game Engine”).

                                                              ii.      All games will be played by computer on the approved Game Engine.

                                                            iii.      This League shall comprise of players rated for their playing ability by SOM with Major League Baseball (MLB) American League clubs, unless specifically noted in these rules.

b.       Membership

                                                               i.      The League was founded in March 1980 by four charter members: John Blomstrom, Rick Blount, Mel Waits and Brent Goodwin.

                                                              ii.      Membership in the League shall be granted by majority vote of the current League members.

                                                            iii.      All members shall be at least 18 years of age.

                                                            iv.      Members will be required to have consistent access to the Internet and e-mail.

                                                              v.      Members will be required to have a properly licensed copy of the Game Engine and the current season’s SOM ratings (the “Season Disk”)

                                                            vi.      Each member of the League shall have the right to vote on all League matters, with the exception of newly-elected members, who will be granted the right to vote on League matters only after their team has completed play at the end of their first full season.  A member who joins the League during a season in substitution for another member leaving the League will be granted member voting rights at the end of that season.

                                                           vii.      No voting rights may be transferred to other parties by proxy under any circumstances.

                                                         viii.      All League matters subject to vote will require a simple majority of those casting votes for approval, unless otherwise specified in these rules.  Abstentions will be ignored for purposes of determining whether a majority has been attained.

                                                            ix.      Membership may be terminated for any reason by a two-thirds vote of League members.  A vote for membership termination must be requested by at least two (2) League members in good standing.  Abstentions in votes on membership termination will be deemed as a vote in favor of retaining membership.

                                                              x.      In this Constitution, the following terms may be used and are understood to be synonymous with the term member as used to designate an individual who is a participant in the League: owner, manager, and team. 

c.        Governance

                                                               i.      The League will organize and be governed by the membership under the direction of the Commissioner.

                                                              ii.      The Commissioner may appoint additional League officials including, but not limited to:

1.       Statistician: Responsible for collecting League game statistics and distributing the updated League file for the SOM Game Engine.

2.       Historian: Responsible for maintaining records regarding League history and historical player totals.

3.       Webmaster: Responsible for the creation and maintenance of the League’s presence on the Internet, including a League website, if applicable.

4.       Hall of Fame Director: Responsible for maintaining the list of elected players to the League Hall of Fame, distributing League Hall of Fame ballots and conducting the annual election for new members to the League Hall of Fame.

5.       Rules Archivist: Responsible for updating and maintaining written rule documentation for the League.

                                                            iii.      The Commissioner, once appointed by the League, will continue to serve until:

1.       He resigns,

2.       The League elects a successor, or

3.       The League votes to reorganize.

                                                            iv.      In the event of a vacancy in the office of Commissioner for any reason, the duties and responsibilities of the Commissioner on an interim basis will be assumed by the League member with the longest tenure in the League.  This Interim Commissioner should organize and supervise the election of a new full-time Commissioner in a timely manner.

                                                              v.      The Commissioner will be responsible for the timely and efficient operation of the League, including but not limited to:

1.       Making decisions and interpretations that are not in conflict with SOM or League rules;

2.       Monitoring compliance with League rules and imposing reasonable penalties for violations;

3.       Settling disputes between or among League members;

4.       Seeking advice from other League members regarding interpretations, disputes, rule violations and penalties prior to making decisions;

5.       Delegating duties to other League members; and

6.       Forming committees of League members, standing and/or ad-hoc, to address League business, as required.

                                                            vi.      Decisions of the Commissioner, including all rulings, are subject to appeal by vote of the entire League.  Any League member may request a vote to overturn the decision of the Commissioner.  A majority vote of League members will be required to overturn the decision.  The Commissioner and Members directly involved in any matter must abstain from voting.  In the event of a tied vote, the decision of the Commissioner will be upheld.  On a vote to appeal the ruling of the Commissioner, an abstention will be considered a vote to uphold the ruling of the Commissioner.  Once appealed and sustained by League vote, the decision of the Commissioner will be final.

d.       Annual Rules Meeting and League Calendar

                                                               i.      Each year, prior to the Draft, the Commissioner will conduct a discussion and vote of the League on proposals for rule additions and modifications.  This process will be conducted by e-mail and/or phone discussions, unless otherwise agreed by a majority of the league to conduct an in-person meeting.  During this process, the Commissioner will:

1.       Solicit proposals for additional rules or modifications and will have these proposals prepared in writing for circulation to League members;

2.       Encourage productive discussion and consideration by League members of the proposals; and

3.       Conduct a vote, following sufficient discussion, on each proposal by e-mail and announce the results.

                                                              ii.      Approved rules additions and modifications require a majority of League members voting (ignoring abstentions) to be approved.  In the event of a tied vote, the proposal will not be approved.

                                                            iii.      All rule additions and modifications will become effective at the end of the approaching season, unless they specifically include provisions to be effective sooner and are approved without a vote against them.

                                                            iv.      The Commissioner will also be responsible for soliciting acceptable dates from all League members for the League’s Annual Free Agent Draft and for the most widely acceptable dates for the schedule of game meetings for the upcoming season.  Members are responsible for providing information to the Commissioner regarding known scheduling conflicts as soon as reasonably possible to assist in this vital League task.

                                                              v.      The Commissioner, taking account of submitted scheduling preferences and conflicts, will publish a League Calendar for review by the League.  The League Calendar will include, for the upcoming season, the dates, times and locations for:

1.       Any unique or special League functions such as dispersal and/or expansion drafts;

2.       The Annual League Free Agent Draft; and

3.       Scheduled game meetings.

II.                  League Calendar

a.        This League is intentionally designed and organized to promote face-to-face play among its members following a published schedule of game meetings for the course of each season.

b.       Members are asked, as a part of their membership, to make a commitment to be present and on-time for the scheduled League Free Agent Draft and game meetings barring unavoidable circumstances.

c.        For most game meetings, the calendar will include 12 League games to be played during that particular meeting.  Some meetings, as designated by League Calendar, may include more or fewer games in order to accommodate the required total of games in the most efficient number of meetings.

d.       Until modified by League vote, the preference for the scheduling of game meetings will be Friday evenings.

e.       Evening game meetings will be scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM, unless otherwise specified and agreed.

III.                Team Personnel

a.       Full Roster

                                                               i.      A team’s Full Roster will be comprised of thirty-four (34) players that are rated by SOM for their MLB American League play.  To be eligible for draft or acquisition via pickup, a player must meet or exceed the following:

1.       A Position Player must have a minimum of one (1) American League At-Bats (AB).

2.       A Pitcher must have a minimum of one (1) American League Innings Pitched (IP).

                                                              ii.      If a previously acquired player retained on a team’s roster does not meet the minimum standards for draft or pickup eligibility, the player may be retained on that team’s roster and may be utilized for game play within the limits specified in these rules.

                                                            iii.      If a player on a team’s roster does not receive a rating from SOM (for any reason), the player’s rights may be retained by a team by allocating a roster slot for that player.  This player will be ineligible for game play.

                                                            iv.      A 35th Full Roster slot will be permitted for retaining the rights to a player that is rated by SOM in MLB’s National League, but does not meet the eligibility requirements for this League.  This player will be ineligible for game play.

                                                              v.      A team’s Full Roster must contain at least two (2) players capable of playing each position unless a player at any position does not have an injury on his “card”.  If a position player does not have an injury on his “card,” a backup player at that position is not required on the Full Roster.

                                                            vi.        Each team will be required to carry 3 catchers totaling 600 at-bats..  The total roster will now be 34 players.

b.       Active Roster

                                                               i.      With the exception of the last 36 games, each team will designate 25 players as its Active Roster.  The remaining players will be classified as Minor Leaguers in the SOM Game Engine.  During the final 36 games, the Full Roster will be a team’s Active Roster.

                                                              ii.      Except for the replacement of an injured player, The Active Roster may be changed only at the beginning of each game meeting, except for replacement of injured players as provided in these rules.

c.        Annual Free Agent Draft

                                                               i.      The date, time and location for the Free Agent Draft will be determined as part of the League Schedule.

                                                              ii.      Any eligible player may be drafted.

                                                            iii.      The draft will be comprised of six (6) primary rounds and additional rounds as outlined below.

                                                            iv.      Draft order will be determined in reverse order of the final Win-Loss records from the prior season, with the exception of the selection order for the First Round as outlined below.  Ties will be determined as follows:

1.       If two or more teams finish with identical records, the team advancing the farthest in the prior season’s playoffs will have the later pick in each round.

2.       If two or more teams remained tied, the team having the best record against the other tied team(s) shall have the earlier pick in the First Round.  The picking sequence will rotate in subsequent rounds.

3.       If two or more teams remained tied, the picking sequence will be determined by chance and will rotate in subsequent rounds.

                                                              v.      The draft order for the First Round will be determined by chance for picks originally belonging to non-playoff teams.  Teams not making the playoffs for the prior year will be ranked by final Win-Loss record.  Chances will be assigned based upon the team’s rank in the standings.  The non-playoff team with the best record will be assigned one (1) chance, the team with second-best record will be assigned two (2) chances, and subsequent teams being assigned the number of chances appropriate based upon their rank.  A lottery will be conducted based upon the assigned chances to determine the first three (3) picks in the First Round.  The remaining picks in the First Round will be assigned based upon the reverse order of standings from the prior season.  The team with worst record from the prior season cannot be assigned a pick later than the 4th selection under any circumstances.

                                                            vi.      During the primary rounds, each team will have three (3) minutes to make their scheduled pick.  In the event that any team exceeds their time limit, the team with the next pick may proceed to make their selection.  Any team “missing” their pick during the allotted time, may recover that pick by drafting immediately after another team picks and before the next team scheduled to pick begins it three-minute draft window.

                                                           vii.      During the draft, each team will have the right to declare a 15-minute “time out” in the draft.  This time may be used for whatever purpose that team desires, including trade negotiation and review of available draft players.  The team requesting the “time out” may elect to use less than the specified time.  Once the 15 minute interval has elapsed or the team declares the “time out” to be completed prior to that time, the draft will resume with the start of a three (3) minute selection window for the team with the next pick.

                                                         viii.      At the end of the primary rounds, each team will reduce their Full Roster to 34 or fewer players by announcing player cuts.

                                                            ix.      Teams with fewer than 34 players may participate in the Secondary Draft rounds until they have a total of 34 players on their Full Roster.

d.       Cut/Pickups

                                                               i.      Two Cut/Pickup timeframes will be provided on the League Calendar.  The approximate dates of these timeframes will be April 1st and May 15th.  During each timeframe, each team may cut a player and select a replacement player from the eligible free agents.

                                                              ii.      The released player must not have been used in excess of their allowed pro-rated ABs or IPs at the time of release.

                                                            iii.      The selection order for this process will be determined as follows:

1.       1st Cut/Pickup Timeframe: Reverse order of standings from prior season.

2.       2nd Cut/Pickup Timeframe: Reverse order of standings for the current season.

e.       Trades

                                                               i.      Trades may be made at any time.  The in-season trade deadline will be the earlier of July 31st or the beginning of the game session when 36 or fewer games remain to be played.

                                                              ii.      An uneven number of players may be involved in a trade (e.g. Team A trades 2 players to Team B for 1 player in return).

                                                            iii.      Primary draft picks may be traded, but no more than one (1) year in advance.

                                                            iv.      Secondary draft picks may not be traded, except during the Annual Free Agent Draft.

                                                              v.      Trades will be made complete when both managers have agreed to the terms of the trade and reported the trade to the League.  Members have thirty (30) days from the date that a trade is reported to correct or dispute any incorrect details of the trade.  Thereafter, the trade will stand as reported to the League.

                                                            vi.      Trades will be effective at the start of the next scheduled game session, exceptions include:

1.       Players involved in a post-season trade will change teams after post-season play.

2.       The trade stipulates a later effective date, subject to these rules.

3.       The trade is made a first-year League member and is thereby subject to challenge by any League member as provided below.  If unchallenged, the trade will be effective as one made by any other League member.

                                                           vii.      Trades by first-year League members will be subject to challenge by any league Member.  If the trade is challenged, the remaining League members who are not involved will vote promptly to either approve or void the trade.  The first-year member will be entitled to provide an explanation for the trade prior to the vote.  A majority of the voting League members will be required to void the trade.  The purpose of this rule will be to preserve competitive balance in the League and prevent long-term damage to a team’s viability by new League members.  After the first games of a season are played, a player may be traded effective at the end of the season.

                                                         viii.      Players may not be “loaned” to another team or traded twice in the same season by the same team.  (Example: Team A trades Reggie Jackson to Team B during season 16 but effective at the end of that season.  Team A then trades Reggie to Team C for the balance of season 16.)

                                                            ix.      Any dispute on trades must be made within a maximum of 60 days

f.        Injuries and Suspensions

                                                               i.      When a player is injured, a team may bring up a player (“Replacement Player”) from the minors to replace him as early as the next game.

                                                               i.      The Replacement Player must remain on the Active Roster of the team until the injured player returns from the designated injury period.

                                                              ii.      A team may not “shuffle” Replacement Players due to an injury.  If a team has more than one injury at a time, they may choose which player returns to the minor leagues when an injured player returns.

                                                            iii.      If a team has all players injured at a position, the team must use the most logical player to play that position until the injured player returns subject to the following guidelines:

1.       All outfielders must be used before an infielder or catcher can play the outfield.

2.       All infielders must be used before an outfielder or catcher can play the infield.

3.       All second baseman or shortstops must be used before a third baseman or first basemen can play second base or shortstop.

                                                            iv.      For purposes of calculating the number of days that a player is unavailable due to injury, an “off day” shall be counted between each game meeting in the League Schedule.

                                                              v.      Injuries carry over into the Playoffs and World Series with “off days” counted as a game injured.

                                                            vi.      If a pitcher accumulated a minimum of 200 actual MLB American League innings, his longest injury will be 5 games.

                                                           vii.      If a player is played, intentionally or inadvertently while he is injured, the penalty will be a 10-game suspension.  Any games played will not count towards the player’s original injury.

                                                         viii.      A suspended player may not be replaced on a team’s Active Roster by a player from their Full Roster.

g.       Usage Limitations

                                                               i.      No player or pitcher will be restricted by these rules to fewer than the actual number of MLB American League games, starts or innings that he actually accumulated.

                                                              ii.      Players are restricted to 110% of their actual MLB American League ABs.

                                                            iii.      Pitchers are restricted to 110% of their actual MLB Americal League IPs.

                                                            iv.      If a catcher played in more than 150 games, he is eligible to play in a number of games not to exceed the actual games played.  Otherwise, no catcher may play in more than 150 games. 

                                                              v.      A starting pitcher may start every fourth game up to 35 starts.

                                                            vi.      Pitchers that are rated as both a starter and reliever are subject to the following rules:

1.       He may not relieve in the game before or 3 games after a start.

2.       If he starts 10 or more games, he may pitch in up to 50 games.

3.       If he starts fewer than 10 games, he may pitch in up to 80 games.

                                                           vii.      A relief pitcher may pitch in up to 80 games.

                                                         viii.      A pitcher may not start and relieve in the same series.

h.       Position Player Usage

i.      Any player may play at any position for which he has an SOM defensive rating.

ii.      Outfielders may play other outfield  positions for which they do not have an SOM defensive rating.  Defensive ratings for these players will be those assigned by the SOM Game Engine.

iii.    A non rated defensive player may not start in any position.

vi.  Pitchers may not be used in the field or used to bat unless all postition players have been used

v. Batters may not be used to pitch unless all pitchers are used up or tired

vi.      Starting in the 8th inning and after all of the position player usage options provided above have been exhausted, managers may utilize players in positions others than those outlined in these rules.

vi.   After all relievers have been used in an extra-inning game, a starting pitcher may be used to relieve

IV.               Game Play

a.        The schedule of games for the League will be created at the direction of the Commissioner.

b.       Unless otherwise stated herein, all advanced SOM Game Engine rules will be used.

c.        MLB American League rules will apply as reflected in the SOM Game Engine.

d.       The SOM Closer Rule will be used.

e.       Following a home run, if either the next batter or the same batter in his next At Bat is “Hit By Pitch,” the pitcher will be ejected from the game.

f.         All teams must use the home ball park of their team name, without modifications.

g.        During play, League members should allow ample opportunity for the opposition to make adjustments to playing conditions (e.g. defensive positioning, holding runners, etc.) before proceeding with play.

h.       All games must be played by computer using the SOM Game Engine and during designated game meetings.

i.         It is the stated intention of the League that, for the convenience of all members, that all games should be played during the game meetings specified on the League Calendar.

j.         The date and time for the completion of will be determined by the members involved by mutual cooperation.

k.        If a League member is not in attendance for a game meeting, they may designate a substitute manager, other than another League member, to manage their games for that meeting.  In the absence of such a substitute, their games will be managed by the computer manager (HAL) against their live opponent.  Each League member is responsible for providing an updated Computer Manager file (including Starting Rotation) to the League Statistician for inclusion in the League database that is sent following each game meeting.

l.         If a League member is late for the game meeting and does not provide information indicating that they will be absent for the entire meeting without a substitute manager, a 30-minute grace period will be extended following the time that the meeting is scheduled to start before games will commence with the HAL managing their team.  Subsequent series of games may be managed by HAL beginning in 30-minute intervals following the end of the original grace period or when the opponent for that team completes the prior series from that meeting’s play and is ready play the team to be managed by HAL, whichever is LATER.  (For example, Team A is scheduled to play Team B, C, D and E—in that order—at a given game meeting.  The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30pm.  At 7:00pm, Team A has not arrived.  Team B begins to play its series against Team A, with HAL managing Team A.  At 7:40pm, Team C completes its first series and is ready to play its next series against Team A, which has yet to arrive.  Since an additional 30 minutes has elapsed since the original grace period, Team C may begin its games against Team A with HAL as its manager immediately.  If  Team C had completed its first series at 7:20pm, the earliest time that its series against Team A with HAL managing could have commenced would be 7:30pm.  The earliest time that Team D could commence its scheduled series against Team A would be 8:00pm.  Team E could commence its scheduled series against Team A no earlier than 8:30pm.)

m.      If the League member who is absent from a game meeting has indicated that they will be absent for the entire meeting, opponents may commence their series against the HAL-managed team immediately upon completion of their previously-scheduled series.

n.        A starting pitcher who is injured by the end of the 4th inning can be replaced with a starting pitcher.  If he starts the 5th inning and even so much as walks a batter, he can NOT be replaced by a starting pitcher. This applies thru the end of the 4th inning only.

 

V.                 Playoffs

a.        The number of teams that will qualify for the playoffs will depend upon the number of teams in the League.

                                                               i.      When the League is composed of ten (10) or more teams, the four (4) teams with the most wins at the end of season will qualify for the playoffs.  The qualification of the 4th-ranked team is subject to that team winning a minimum of 85 games.  If the 4th ranked-team fails to win at least 85 games, only three (3) teams will qualify for the playoffs.

                                                              ii.      When the League is composed of less than ten (10) teams, the three (3) teams with most wins at the end of the season will qualify for the playoffs.

                                                              iii.      The 4th-ranked team plays the 3rd-ranked team in a 5 game series. The winner of that plays 2nd-ranked in a 7 game series. The winner of that plays the 1st place team in a 7 game series.

b.       The teams that qualify for the playoffs will be seeded based upon the number of wins at the end of the season.

c.        Any ties for playoff qualification or playoff seeding will be decided as follows:

                                                               i.      Ties involving two teams: a one-game playoff with the home team decided by a coin toss.  For player rest and scheduling purposes, the playoff shall be considered to be played on the day after the conclusion of the regular season for purposes of starter availability and injured players.  No “off day” will be provided.

                                                              ii.      Ties involving three (3) or more teams: A random selection process (coin flip, card drawing, etc.) will be administered by the Commissioner to select which team(s) is/are provided a bye in the tie-breaking process.  The home team in each game will be determined by a coin toss.  (Example:  In the event of three-way tie, a random-selection process will be used to determine which team is awarded the bye.  The remaining two (2) teams will play with the winner facing the team with the bye.

                                                            iii.      Other tie-breaking situations: The Commissioner will be empowered to determine an equitable tie-breaking procedure for any circumstances that are not explicitly addressed by these rules.

d.       All playoff series will follow a 2-3-2 format with the team with higher seeding being the home team in games 1, 2, 6 and 7 of each series.

e.       Playoff rosters will be limited to twenty-five (25) players and must be set prior to the start of the playoff series.  Injured players may not be replaced except between playoff series.

f.         Teams must use four (4) man rotations for all post-season play.

g.        Each team may designate one (1) starter to be used as a reliever in each playoff series.  Once designated, this role cannot be changed until the end of the playoff series for any reason, including injury.

h.       The first playoff series will be played between the two lowest-seeded playoff teams.  For injury and starter availability purposes, the series will be deemed to begin after one “off day” following the end of the regular season.  If any participating team has been involved in a one-game playoff prior to this series, the “off day” will be considered consumed by the previous playoff game and no additional “off day” will be provided for the team having played in the previous one-game playoff.

i.         Subsequent playoff series will be played between the winner of the previous playoff series and the next-highest seeded team.  An “off day” (representing MLB’s “travel days”) will be granted between each playoff series and between ballpark changes during a playoff series (prior to the 3rd and 6th games of the series).  Any game(s) not played due to the completion of a playoff series in less than seven (7) games will be converted to “off day(s)” for the advancing team and any remaining teams that have a bye.

j.         Pitching rotation and rest for players, relievers, etc. will be given one day off between games 2 and 3 and games 5 and 6.

k.        Between games 2 and 3 and 5 & 6, each team will be ONE day off.  Starting pitchers can start based on whatever the Strat-O-Matic game allows.

VI.               Awards

a.        Annual awards (MVP, Cy Young, etc.) will be those awarded by the SOM Game Engine.

b.       The League will maintain a plaque to be awarded to the League champion each year.  The responsibility and expense of having the new champion’s name added to the plaque shall be that of the previous champion.  The plaque should be updated no later than the Annual Free Agent Draft of the next season and presented to the winning League member at that gathering.

VII.             League Hall of Fame

a.        Only players retired from MLB are eligible.

b.       The League Historian will be responsible for placing eligible players on the ballot.

c.        A 70% vote of the League membership is required for election.

d.       Any League member may vote for as many players as desired.

e.       Voting shall be based on statistics accumulated in the ATL League only.

f.         A player receiving no votes in two (2) consecutive years will be removed from the ballot.

g.        A Veterans Committee composed of the Commissioner, Historian, Statistician and a rotating annual League member may elect one (1) additional member annually after the regular vote with at least 75% of the Committee’s approval.  The rotation order for the rotating League member will be based on League tenure.

VIII.           Expansion, Contraction and Movement of Teams

a.        In the event of expansion or dispersal of teams, the provisions for that process will be determined by League vote following the recommendation of the Commissioner for each such occurrence.  Every effort should be given to maintaining a consistent process for each circumstance based upon the previous procedures used and their effectiveness.

b.       The awarding of existing teams to a new League member when another member leaves the League shall be based upon the order that the teams became “open” and the order in which new League members are approved to join the league.

Teams may change team names (and associated ball parks) with one (1) year’s advance notice to the league at the cost of a 4th-round draft pick in the primary phase of the Annual Free Agent Draft in the year of the move provided that team that did not make the playoffs in the season prior to the move.  The cost for the move for a playoff team will be increased to a 3rd-ro