By Nick Gerhardt
The Minnesota Baseball Association resolved some remaining classification issues Saturday at its meeting in Glencoe.
Austin, the Rochester Roadrunners and Rogers appeared at the meeting to petition down to Class C for the 2019 season. Rochester and Rogers were both on the November agenda but both items were tabled until Saturday's meeting. Both teams were allowed to move to Class C for the 2019 season following Saturday's meeting.
Rochester petitioned to remain in Class C, where it has played since its inception, because its population points, which total 112, put the Roadrunners into Class B based on the criteria classification. On a 7-2 vote, the board decided to allow Rochester to remain in Class C, provided that it not use any players outside of Rochester who play college baseball. Board members reiterated that the board reserves the right to move teams to different classes.
Rogers has 19 criteria points as a Class B team and had the opportunity to petition down to Class C for next year. The board approved the move unanimously.
Austin is the midst of a managerial change and will work with the board on roster issues before any decision is made on its classification. Based on the information the board had to work with before, Austin sat at 49 points and was poised to stay in Class B. That point total could change after a thorough review of the roster.
The board also heard a population waiver request from Faribault. The Lakers ended last season at the 49-point threshold and would be moved to Class B. But after the November board meeting, Faribault was given the opportunity to make roster changes to drop their number below 49 and remain in Class C. On Saturday, Lakers players and coaches asked the board to consider reviewing the team’s population number of 23 because the city houses a prison and the inmate population of 2,000 prisoners counts toward the city’s total population in the census. Since that’s a pool of 2,000 people the team cannot pull players from, the Lakers argued that their population number should actually be 21. The two-point difference would allow Faribault to remain in Class C without having to make roster changes.
The board voted to deny Faribault’s request and there was discussion about several communities having unique circumstances that affect their populations.
After the board implemented the classification criteria for the 2019 season, 11 teams have moved or remained in Class C pending roster changes. Only Sobieski has moved up to Class B.
In other news: St. Michael requested to play an independent schedule next season but was told it wouldn’t be eligible for postseason play without playing in a league.
The board voted to increase payments to umpires at the state tournament to $130 per game for 2019-20 and $140 for 2021-22.
Discussion on the state tournament format for Class B and C was tabled until the February meeting.
Representatives from 2020 state tournament host New Ulm updated the board on renovations taking place at Johnson Park and Mueller Park.
Work continues at Delano Municipal Baseball Stadium. There will be LED lighting for the tournament and underground electrical work will resume to replace old wiring.
Section assignments for Class B have been determined for the 2019 season. Section 1 will have: Dundas, Elko, Hampton, Miesville, Northfield and the Rochester Royals. Section 2 will have: Brainerd, the Cold Spring Springers, Moorhead Brewers, Moorhead Mudcats, Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud Beaudreau’s and Sobieski. Section 3 will have: Burnsville, Chanhassen, Chaska, Eagan, Prior Lake Jays, Shakopee Indians and Victoria. Section 4 will have: Andover, Anoka, Blaine, Centennial Champlin, Coon Rapids, Forest Lake and St. Michael.
The board meets again Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. at Eastside VFW in St. Cloud.