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What is  Junior Baseball Organization, Inc?

JBO is a non-profit organization formed to provide an opportunity for youth from grades 3rd through 8th to participate in an organized baseball experience.  The goal of JBO is to provide each child, regardless of skill level, the ability to compete in baseball against other players of similar skill and grade.  Players are divided into separate divisions based on grade and skill level.  JBO games are played according to the rules of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) with some modifications to tailor the rules to the grade and skill level of the players.  For example, JBO base lengths and pitching distances are reduced from the High School level to accommodate younger players, but increase progressively with the grade of the players.  The goal is to provide players the opportunity to play the complete game of baseball (leading off, stealing, etc.) but to progressively increase playing distances as the grade and skill of players increase.  The JBO program revolves around local associations creating community-based programs to meet local needs for summer baseball programs within the broader framework of JBO. Junior Baseball Organization is made up of three separate geographic districts.  The JBO Board of Directors consists of four elected officers, two district commissioners from each of the three districts, and other commissioners, such as, at-large and marketing.  These administrative members of JBO are responsible for the overall governance of the organization including activities such as establishing rules for player participation, league formation, game play, etc.   JBO is independent of the other traditional, nationwide youth baseball organizations.

What is a Junior Baseball District?

JBO is divided up into Districts, with rough geographic boundaries. The District boundaries are annually reviewed and adjusted as needed.  Each district has two commissioners with seats on the JBO Board of Commissioners. Each district is guaranteed two berths to JBO State Tournaments.  All other berths are wild cards determined by size of district.

How is JBO governed?

JBO is composed of an elected executive committee and district commissioners from each approved district.  Executive members are elected annually by a vote, serving alternating 2-year terms. JBO is governed by the elected executive committee and district commissioners.  The board proposes rules, provides input, and votes on proposals brought forth from the associations and districts.  The Board independently handles "sensitive" or confidential matters (in consultation with the affected areas) that are not appropriate for general communication.  The Board also oversees contracted positions necessary for the operation of JBO and manages all JBO State Tournaments.

Who do I contact if I have a concern or question?

Questions or concerns should be addressed to the appropriate district commissioner for your local community.  The district commissioner may forward issues that cannot be resolved locally to the JBO Executive Committee for consideration.

How do I get my child signed up to play in Junior Baseball?

Contact your local district commissioner to find out when they have sign-ups and tryouts (skill evaluations) for JBO.  If your community does not have a JBO program, contact the district commissioner in your area and they will help you find an association for your child to participate.  If you cannot determine the appropriate area, please send an email to the JBO President, who will direct you to the appropriate JBO district and association.

What are the major differences between other youth baseball leagues and Junior Baseball?

The primary difference is that JBO plays by amended high school rules, as opposed to most of the other youth league rules. Probably one of the most prominent rule differences is about base stealing.  In the other traditional leagues, a player cannot steal a base on a pitched ball until the ball crosses home plate. In JBO, a player may take a lead off the base and steal at any time during the pitch.  As the kids get older and more experienced, the "base stealing" rule makes for some very exciting baseball.  The rule also teaches the kids smart base running techniques.  They will need these techniques if they continue playing baseball as they get older.  Possibly the best thing about Junior Baseball is when it comes to playoff time, each team goes as a unit.  There are no "all-star" teams created.  Another major difference is the size of the field.  In other youth leagues, the field size remains the same through the age of 12 (46’ pitching and 60’ bases).  In JBO, the field size grows as the kids grow:  3rd/4th graders play on a field with 45’ pitching mound and 60’ bases, 5th/6th graders play on a field with 50’ pitching mound and 70’ bases., 7th/8th graders play on a field with 60' 6" pitching mounds and 90’ bases.  Because of the progressive field size, pitching does not dominate across the JBO footprint.

I like the principles of Junior Baseball. How should my community evaluate whether a switch to "JBO" would be beneficial to our children?

Any successful move to Junior Baseball from Little League, Babe Ruth or other organizations always occurs because of strong local support.  If people are hesitant (and they probably will be since change is always difficult) suggest the area put together an independent Federal level team (probably Minor or Junior Federal) to participate in JBO invitational tournaments.  In these tournaments, they will get to see how high school baseball is played, and will see how good the competition is in JBO.  If there is interest, contact a District Commissioner in your area to ask if they can send some board members to explain JBO to your local group.  If you eventually get to the point of a possible transition, contact an area who has recently "made the switch" to get advice on how to make the transition to a new association. 

What are the different Grade Divisions?

JBO provides opportunities for players in 3rd through 8th grade.  Players are grouped into four distinct grade divisions:  Minors, Juniors, and Seniors. The Minor Division is made up of players in 3rd/4th grade, Juniors are players in 5th/6th grade, Seniors are players in 7th/8th grade. Within each division, players are separated into three distinct skill levels:  Federal, American, & National.   (See "What are the Different Skill Divisions")

Are there opportunities for players younger than  3rd grade?

Most of the local areas within each district offer developmental leagues for players younger than 3rd grade.  These leagues are governed by the local area and are totally independent of JBO.  Please contact your local area head to obtain information on programs that may be available in your community.

What are the different Skill Levels?

Within each Grade Division, Junior Baseball teams are also separated by the relative skill level of the players.  This separation is necessary to meet the JBO goal of ensuring that all players participate against other players of equal grade and skill.  For all Divisions, players are separated into three distinct levels: National, American and Federal.  Generally, the National level is for players with beginning or recreation level skills, the American level is for intermediate skills, and the Federal level is for players with the highest skill level.  

I believe that my child has skills suited for the Federal level of play but my local Area does not have a Federal team. What can I do?

JBO rules provide that if an association (area) does not field a Federal team, Federal players from areas without a Federal program must play in any bordering Association (no "skipping" to another Area).  The intent is to prevent player recruitment.

How are players assigned to teams of the correct Skill Level?

JBO rules require that each association (area) conduct a skill evaluation of players prior to forming teams.  They will then be formed by placing players together on teams of equal grade and skill.  At these player skill assessments, coaches or area officers are responsible for evaluating players and placing them on teams of the proper skill level.  JBO has found that where player skill evaluations are completed and teams are formed according to these evaluations, the need to "move" teams during the season is very rare.

How long is a Junior Baseball season?

The length of a normal JBO season will vary according to the grade/skill level of the team being considered, and whether a team advances to post-season play.  Regular league play generally begins in mid-April and continues through late June or early July.  Teams that advance to a district tournament will continue until approximately mid-July. Teams that further advance to the JBO State Tournament may continue playing until the last weekend in July.

If a player is late in arriving to a game, can he play?

Yes. The player is added to the bottom of the batting order, and may be inserted at time of arrival regardless of inning. This is a JBO exception to the high school rule. 

How can a baseball game end in a tie?

A game can end up in a tie because of time restriction.  Details are in the "JBO" rulebook.

How are league games reported and tracked?

JBO does not track each individual team throughout the regular season. This responsibility is left up to each district to have their own system for reporting and tracking regular season games.

Why are pitch counts  recorded on game results cards?

Junior Baseball rules limit the number of pitches that a player can pitch during a game (depending on the division) and requires days of rest.   These rules are intended to protect the health of the players.  Each district tracks this information closely.  Coaches that "over-pitch" any player may have to forfeit the game where the pitch count exceeded the maximum allowed by rule and serve a suspension.

Do invitational tournament games count against regular game pitching limits?

No - the Junior Baseball rules which limit the number of pitches that a player can pitch only applies to league games.  The number of pitches pitched by a player during invitational tournaments DO NOT count in subsequent games played in the regular season schedule.  Coaches are strongly encouraged to consider the pitch count in invitational tournaments when using pitchers in the subsequent league games to protect the health and safety of all players.

What opportunities does Junior Baseball Organization offer for post-season play?

Junior Baseball Organization annually hosts a State Tournament for each division and skill level within JBO.  The teams which qualify for the State Tournaments advance from each of the JBO Districts based upon their success at their district Tournament, or their standings from regular league play.

How are teams selected for participation in the JBO State Tournament?

Junior Baseball Organization is divided up into "districts".  At each level of play, every district is given two automatic berths for each State tournament.  All additional berths are granted based upon the size of league.  The method a district uses to send their team(s) to the JBO State tournaments varies.  One method is to send their team(s) with the best regular season record.  The other method is to hold a post-season tournament to determine which teams will advance to the State tournament.  The district tournaments are held no later than the weekend prior to the State tournament for the given level.

Where are the JBO State tournaments held?

The sites for State tournaments are determined annually by the JBO Board of Commissioners based upon requests by the districts to host these tournaments.  The JBO Board of Commissioners tries to select tournament sites which have top grade facilities.