By Nick Gerhardt
The Minnesota Baseball Association is trying to simplify the classification process and though it’s been drawn out to this point, progress is being made.
The MBA has developed a formula based on three criteria. A point total is established and that point total will determine which class a team will land.
The three criteria are:
Population -- Each town can pick the population of the city the ballpark is located or the school district where the ballpark sits. A team accrues a point per 1,000 people in its population.
Roster -- If teams choose to get players outside of the town/school district, they acquire points if they played college baseball at any level. Any player who has played professionally at any level is assigned five points. That number decreases as the level decreases, so a former Division I player is given four points, a D-II player gets three points and so on to the junior college level where a player would get a point.
There are some instances where those points don’t apply, such as if a player is over 35 years old or resides in the town of the team they play for during the season.
Performance -- Teams who have qualified for the state tournament will receive a point. Those that reach the final 16 get two points and those that get to the final four get three points.
When the formula gets put into place remains a question mark but the MBA has inched toward implementation in the past two years. The MBA has studied rosters from across the state to determine just how many teams could be affected by the new standard for determining which class a town winds up being placed. At its November board meeting, the MBA revealed, as of now, the Rochester Roadrunners, Winona, the Shakopee Coyotes, the Moorhead Miners, New Market, Hampton, Alexandria and Green Isle would have to move from Class C to Class B. Isanti, the Sauk Rapids Cyclones, Red Wing, Anoka, Ramsey and Monticello would move from Class B to Class C.
The MBA has not moved forward with adopting the new classification standard but is attempting to collect more data for the upcoming season. Any decision the board makes on the classification determination will not affect the 2018 season.
The data the MBA needs to collect is mainly the rosters of all amateur teams. That piece is necessary because the classification system relies on the level of play a team member has achieved in the past.
“There’s been a lot of thinking put into it,” said Mark Forsman, a director with the MBA and long-time manager of the Dassel-Cokato Saints who helped develop the point system criteria. “There are about six or seven teams that would move up to B and there are six or seven teams that could move to C. Our goal is to have a fair, competitive balance in B and C. Some people think our goal is add teams to B.”
Forsman said the goal isn’t to add teams to Class B, but it’s clear the goal is to create a formula that can be applied throughout the state to avoid petitioning to move up and down classes.
Certain leagues already have more stringent requirements for rosters in terms of the radius they can draw from to fill rosters.
The MBA board will meet Wednesday, Jan. 3 at Unhinged Pizza in Glencoe at 7 p.m.