By Nick Gerhardt
The Minnesota Baseball Association Board of Directors heard from 10 teams Saturday about their classification status and made decisions on nine of them.
The board decided earlier this year that it will use its classification criteria to determine which level teams will play at next season. The criteria assigns point values for a team’s population, player experience level and postseason success.
Nine of the 10 teams who spoke to the board will play in Class C next season. Sobieski decided it will play in Class B next season.
Big Lake, Hastings, Isanti, Ramsey, Monticello and Hibbing played Class B last season and petitioned to move to Class C because their point total fell below the 49-point mark the board used as the cutoff for Class B and Class C teams. The board approved their petitions as well as the petitions from Faribault, New Market, Green Isle and Plato to remain in Class C following roster adjustments to fall below the 49-point threshold.
“We came up with about six scenarios and this is the one we thought was more fair,” Board member Mike Nagel said about setting the cutoff at 49 points. “We decided we wanted to test the waters, so to speak. This number may move up or down in the future, depending on how the board and its constituents feel.”
Sobieski, which had 61 points, did not petition to remain in Class C while discussions on Rogers and the Rochester Road Runners were tabled until the Dec. 29 board meeting.
Class B teams that want to play Class C in the future will have to play a season below the 49-point threshold in order to petition to move to Class C the following season.
The board emphasized that this will be the only year teams will be able to change their roster prior to the season. Teams will have to build their teams within the points allowed in the future.
The MBA board has spent the past three years building a data-driven approach to determining classification for Class C and B teams in response to teams who urged the board to create a definite system instead of the ad-hoc approach it used after dissolving a prior rule that automatically moved Class C champions and runners-up to Class B for a period. The criteria system is also an attempt to protect small Class C teams that were formerly automatically moved up to Class B following a Class C title game appearance.
New Market manager Todd Bergstrom expressed concern about Class C teams cutting players in order to remain in Class C and the effect it will have attendance.
“There’s a lot of disagreement with what’s going on with the point system,” Bergstrom said.
Sobieski manager Brad Czech pointed to the success points portion of the classification formula as one of those areas of disagreement.
“This was to gauge resources,” Czech said. “Population and player points is a resource, success points is not a resource.”
The MBA board will meet Dec. 29 in Glencoe at Unhinged Pizza.
Sean O’Neil will take over as Region 3C commissioner for 2019.
Princeton was removed from probation.
Aaron Johnson will be allowed to use the Heritage Rule to play for Red Wing next season.