Following are standardized rules for Home Run Derby as established by Jeff and Rob, two of the co-founders and long-time players. The rules are based on experimentation and experience and are meant to encourage fun, fair, and competitive gameplay.

  1. Setting Up
    1. Players
      1. Home Run Derby is a social game. You need at least 2 people to play.
      2. Try to choose players who you get along with and have enough athletic ability to softly throw a plastic ball with some degree of accuracy. Who cares if they can hit.
    2. Batting Order
      1. Batting order should be chosen before play and should remain the same for an entire game.
      2. If possible, batting order should change every game.
    3. Playing Field
      1. A home plate is recommended to ensure that all players hit from the same place, to serve as a reference point for the foul poles, and to act as a target for the pitcher.
      2. Light Poles
        1. With bats and balls currently in use, light poles should be approximately 60 feet from a designated home plate.
      3. Tennis Courts
        1. Tennis courts with fences are preferred, as an outfield fence reduces judgment calls that tend to result in two pissed off people yelling at each other.
        2. If playing on a court with fences, vertical fence poles should be chosen as foul poles, and a home plate should be positioned on the court where these foul lines would intersect.
        3. With bats and balls currently in use, foul poles should be approximately 100 feet down the lines and centerfield should be approximately 140 feet away.
        4. Home plate should be placed at the point where the two foul lines intersect.
        5. Hitting from the corner of two side-by-side tennis courts usually makes* a reasonable playing field.
  2. Gameplay
    1. Pitching
      1. Pitchers may be chosen by the hitter from all available players at the beginning of each round.
      2. Pitchers may be replaced in the middle of a round.
      3. Pitches should be thrown from a position that is comfortable for all hitters. The recommended distance is approximately 40 feet from home plate.
      4. The hitter may ask for pitches to be thrown a particular way to make them easier to hit.
      5. Any pitch is "legal" and may be hit for a home run or out.
        1. Any speed is legal.
        2. Any angle of lob is legal.
        3. Bounced pitches are legal.
    2. Hitting
      1. Any pitch may be swung at.
      2. Any hit ball traveling in the air over the fence in fair territory is a Home Run.
        1. Balls striking exterior trees or lights in fair territory are Home Runs, provided the ball has gone over the fence.
        2. Home Runs that strike trees or lights and bounce back onto to the field of play are still Home Runs.
        3. Balls striking tree or lights that are over the field of play and prevent the ball from going over the fence are not Home Runs.
        4. Any fair/foul dispute may be ruled fair or foul with a majority rule.
        5. If there is no majority rule, a disputed Home Run is replayed in Double Jeopardy.
          1. The resulting Home Run or Out on the next pitch counts twice.
          2. A caught ball on Double Jeopardy counts as 4 Outs.
          3. If there are already 9 Outs in a Round or 1 Out in a Hit-Off, Double Jeopardy may not be chosen, and the pitch must instead be replayed as a Do-Over.
        6. Balls may strike interior lights or poles and continue over the fence in fair territory for a Home Run.
        7. Should a ball split into multiple pieces, a majority of the ball must go over the fence to be ruled a Home Run.
      3. Any swing not a Home Run is an Out.
        1. Swinging from the other side of the plate is considered a swing.
        2. Tapping the ball back to the pitcher to save time is not considered a swing.
      4. A Round is completed when a hitter reaches 10 Outs.
      5. If a Round ends in a tie, a Hit-Off is played.
        1. Batters hit in the same order as the regular round.
        2. A Hit-Off is completed when a hitter reaches 2 Outs.
        3. If possible, a neutral pitcher pitches to all batters.
        4. Hit-Offs are repeated until one player wins the round.
      6. Before the official start of the game, any number of warm-up swings with pitches are allowed. Recommendation is 5 warm-up swings.
    3. Fielding
      1. Balls caught by the pitcher, including those striking interior lights or poles or migrating birds in fair territory, may be caught, unassisted, for 2 Outs.
      2. Balls must be caught with the hands and without assistance from any equipment or clothing.
      3. Batter interference is an automatic 2 Outs and punch in the face.
  3. Equipment
    1. Bats
      1. Any bats may be used.
      2. Recommended bats should be no more than 34 inches in length or 2 3/4 inches in diameter. (Easton makes a really good black plastic bat with fake wood grain.)
      3. Tape may be used to make the hitting surface of your bat heavier and harder. There are no requirements for the tape. Experiment!
        1. Tape wrapped round the barrel of the bat makes it harder and heavier. This allows you to hit balls farther.
        2. Tape may be used on the handle of the bat to improve the grip. Be prepared to replace it when it gets soiled.
        3. Too much tape may cause cheaper plastic bats to bend excessively.
        4. Fake "labels" made of tape are dumb but Rob likes to use them so I guess it's OK.
    2. Balls
      1. Any balls may be used.
      2. Recommended balls are Blitzballs. (These are the only plastic balls we have found which won't crack or dent after being hit and won't damage houses and cars. If you find other balls that work, contact Jeff or Rob so that we may subject them to controlled laboratory experiments.)
      3. If you have kleptomaniac neighbors, use identifying markings to distinguish your balls from theirs.
    3. Uniforms are not required but it is suggested that you wear at least some clothing out of respect for the game.
    4. A box or bag to hold your balls is not required but helpful.
    5. A pen and paper (or cell phone if you're a real geek) is required to keep official stats.
  4. Statistics
    1. Only Rounds and Hit-Offs completed by all participating players are official.
      1. Rounds/Hit-Offs interrupted by inclement weather, darkness, tennis players, law enforcement, or anything else shall be recorded if at least 2 players have completed their round and there is a clear winner. All remaining players who did not complete their round will not have statistics recorded for that round.
      2. If the round leader is the one whose round is interrupted, they may choose to concede outs for the remainder of their round so that their round is complete and the round has a clear winner.
      3. If there is no clear winner of the round at the time of interruption, the round is not recorded.
    2. Official stats are kept up-to-date on this website.
  5. Miscellaneous
    1. If unforeseen play situations result in the definition of new rules, stress simplicity. Avoid rules that make the game too complicated or difficult to enjoy.
    2. Have fun. If it's not fun, email Rob.

* Jeff and Rob disagree on the proper grammar here. Rob insists this word should be "make".


Here's the quiz you must take in order to be Home Run Derby-certified. You must get a perfect score before you can officially play with us.

For each question, more than one answer may be correct. We have thrown in a couple of essay questions at the end because we want to make sure we are not playing with illiterates. Home Run Derby players must be eloquent and articulate.

Take the quiz on a piece of scratch paper and check your answers after you finish. Don't cheat.

  1. If Rob is pitching to you and his pitching is garbage, you may:
    1. Swing at anything.
      May be correct if you are a complete moron.
    2. Bitch at Rob to give you better pitches.
      The best answer.
    3. Throw your bat at him and say something nasty.
      Unprofessional but acceptable.
    4. Dance a little jig.
      Incorrect. Doing so will get you a lifetime ban from Home Run Derby.
  2. If you don't like someone you are playing with, you may:
    1. Make him permanent shagger.
      If you can convince him that you don't want him to hit because he's TOO good, you're a genius!
    2. Make sure the loser never plays again so that his stats don't officially count.
      Conniving and smart. We don't want our stats to be corrupted by someone we don't like. The best answer.
    3. Dance a little jig.
    4. Do the adult thing and tell him you hate his guts.
      Not very nice but can be done.
  3. According to the rules, which of the following situations results in a home run?
    1. Jeff's pitch bounces, but Rob swings anyway and drives the ball over the centerfield fence.
      Rob has done it. You can swing at anything you want.
    2. Rob hits a ball that caroms off a light pole in the middle of the court and passes over the leftfield wall.
    3. Rob gets pissed at Matt and throws him over the rightfield wall.
      This does not count as a home run, but I would buy Rob a drink after the game if he did.
    4. Mitch's line drive hits Jon's back so hard that Jon can no longer play Home Run Derby. The ball then falls to the ground next to Jon.
      No, but funny to watch.
  4. Rob hits 21 home runs in the top of a round, setting the record. While Jeff is up later in the same round, the lights go out and the round is not completed. Despite Rob's best efforts to hijack the power box and get the lights back on, the game is called and Jeff gets to listen to Rob bitch all the way home. We should:
    1. Be nice to Rob and count the round so that he has the record.
      The round is not official until it has been completed, either at a later date or by convincing Jeff to concede the necessary number of outs to complete the round (which won't happen if Rob is on the verge of breaking a record).
    2. Screw Rob, don't count the round, and make a meaningless notation somewhere explaining what could have been. Listen to him bitch about it for years.
      Yes! Until the round is completed, the stats are not official.
    3. Erase all of the stats in Home Run Derby history and start over.
    4. Suspend play and continue the round another day so that Rob can keep his record.
      We used to do this, but not anymore. It may be years until all players are available to play again, and new parks or weather mean that the playing conditions won't be the same, and that's just not fair.
  5. With 8 outs in the round, Jeff hits a line drive that clears the fence over a designated foul pole. Jeff thinks it's fair. Rob thinks it's foul. They should:
    1. Fight.
    2. Erase all of the stats in Home Run Derby history and start over.
    3. Replay it as a Do-Over.
      Do-Overs only apply when there are 9 outs.
    4. Replay it with Double Jeopardy.
      Correct. Check the rules.
  6. Desperate to put up some big numbers, Jon uses a bat 6 feet long and 3 feet thick. We should:
    1. Call Jon a little girl and beat him with his own bat.
      Good idea, but that does not resolve the issue, and it may be difficult to wield the bat as a weapon effectively.
    2. Let him swing and see what he can do.
      The bat is more likely to swing him. It's also against the rules to use a bat like that.
    3. Tell him he can't play with us unless he chooses another bat.
      Yes. Or just tell him he can't play at all and send him home.
    4. Give him an official warning, let him play, and tell him to bring a better bat next time.
      No. He can't play and must be sent home.
  7. Jeff thinks it would be cool to go to the tennis courts in hurricane-force winds and play a few rounds of Home Run Derby. Rob should:
    1. Let him go play by himself.
      Even if Jeff can find a pitching machine with an auto-feeder that works in hurricane-force winds, you need at least 2 people to play an official round of Home Run Derby.
    2. Go out there and see what happens.
      Yes. Home Run Derby players are adventurous and love to experiment.
    3. Convince Jeff that they should stay in and play with their Home Run Derby statistics instead.
      Go ahead and play. If it doesn't work, or one of you blows away, then work on the stats and website.
    4. Do a standing backflip.
      This is never the right answer.
  8. How many home runs in a single round would it take to finish with an average of .900?
    1. 1
      No. That's 1 / (1 + 10) = .091
    2. 9
      No, but a good round at 9 / (9 + 10) = .474
    3. 90
      Yes! 90 / (90 + 10) = .900
    4. It's impossible!
      Nothing is impossible in Home Run Derby! Except batting 1.000 in an official round.
  9. Rob and Jeff keep hitting foul balls which roll into the street and down a storm drain. With only 1 ball left, they should:
    1. Get the ball after every swing and keep playing.
      Sure. Home Run Derby players are dedicated.
    2. Save the one ball they have left and go home.
      To do what with? Put on a shelf? No. Home Run Derby players are not quitters.
    3. Lift up the grating, climb down, retrieve the lost balls, and try not to get bitten by sewer rats.
      Yes. That's how we did it in the old days.
    4. Go to Academy and buy more balls so that they can continue their round without further interruption.
      Also correct, but expensive. Try not to lose your balls.
  10. Which of the following would be cool places to play Home Run Derby?
    1. The Grand Canyon.
    2. Behind a fraternity house.
      Sure! Try to hit them over the roof.
    3. Hell.
      If there are fences, play ball! Hope the balls don't melt, and good luck finding wifi to record the official stats.
    4. On a baseball field.
      Standing at home plate, the lack of a reachable fence would make things difficult. But you could play right up against an outfield wall if you like.
  11. Matt hits a weak fly ball and sees that Jeff will make the easy catch. In an effort to distract Jeff, Matt starts screaming insults and throws the bat at Jeff's legs. Jeff drops the ball. What is the correct ruling?
    1. Nothing. It counts as 1 out and Jeff is a chump for allowing himself to be distracted.
      Jeff may be weak sauce, but rules are rules.
    2. Matt is penalized with 2 outs for interference, regardless of whether or not Jeff catches the ball. Jeff may then punch Matt in the face.
      Correct. We had to make this rule to specifically address Matt's immaturity.
    3. Matt is penalized with 2 outs for interference and then must play the rest of the day without his shorts or underwear.
      No thanks. Matt must be punished, not us.
    4. Rob throws Matt over the rightfield fence.
      Generally a good idea, but not the best answer in this scenario.
  12. In 50 words or less, share what you can contribute to the game of Home Run Derby.

    Answers must include at least one of the following points:

    • Good pitching so that Rob and Jeff can continue breaking their own records.
    • You have a videocamera and will record some video for our web site.
    • You will come up with a new statistic that Jeff and Rob believe is worthwhile.
    • You will give us money.
    • You can do a standing backflip.
  13. In 50 words or less, describe the feeling you will get when you break Jeff's single-round record of 28 home runs.

    Answers must include at least one of the following points:

    • Orgasm.
    • Pointing at the ball and holding your sac.
    • Doing the Sammy Sosa "chest-bump, finger-kiss" thing.
    • Yelling "See ya later, Mr. Smooth Polyball!"
    • Running the bases which aren't even there.

Think you got what it takes? Grade your own work. If you get 100%, email Jeff and let him know.

Reveal answers