The Minnesota Baseball Association Board of Directors today denied the Faribault Lakers request to decrease their population points by 2,000 in their new classification system.  Manager Charlie Lechtenberg told KDHL, "The prison counts toward Faribault's official population and none of those guys are ever going to play for our team."  The Lakers were trying to lower their point total so they wouldn't have to make roster moves.

Faribault was one of several teams that could be bumped to Class B under the new criteria but Lechtenberg said, "We will make sure we are under the 49 point cutoff so we will continue to play in Class C next season.  If we win the Class C State Tournament we will be more than happy to go to Class B the following year."  Faribault is currently at 49 points and teams 49 and above are supposed to be bumped to Class B for the next two seasons.  Several teams above the 49 point mark asked the Board to allow them to remain in Class C.

I understand the board is in a difficult position because there really has been no set criteria to determine what teams are in Class B and Class C.  Until now teams could petition to  be placed in the league they desired.  Several years ago Faribault did just that when they were in Class B.  The Lakers told the board if they were not allowed to go to Class C they would probably have to fold as a team because they were struggling to compete against the Rochester Royals and Mankato Twins of the Minnesota Amateur Baseball world.  Owatonna was also allowed to move to Class C for the same reason as I understand it.

Here are the criteria being used to determine what class a team is in beginning in 2019 according to the Minnesota Baseball Association website www.mnbaseball.org.

  • Teams will accrue 1 point per 1,000 people in their town/township or school district. The town/township or school district their ballpark is in will be used.

I jokingly told Lechtenberg the Lakers could stay in Class C and not make roster moves if they played in Medford or Warsaw.  The criteria doesn't say anything about the name of your team.

Player level of experience:

  • Pro= 5 points    (Independent League experience not considered professional.  Players 35 and older will not accrue point for teams but hometown rule players will accrue points based on their college playing experience level and will not be grandfathered in.)
  • Division I = 4 points
  • Division II= 3 points
  • Division III/NAIA= 2 points
  • Junior College= 1 point

Postseason success points (past 5 seasons considered)

Class C:

  • Championship win= 12 points
  • Final 2= 10 points
  • Final 4= 8 points
  • Final 8= 6 points
  • Final 16= 4 points
  • State Tournament appearance= 2 points

Class B:

  • Final 4= 18 points
  • Final 8= 12 points
  • State Tournament appearance= 6 points

The population criteria makes some sense if you are firm in using the number.  I say that because the board approved a petition by the Rochester Roadrunners to remain in Class C. It's crazy.  The population in Rochester is 112,000.  The point total for the Roadrunners at the end of 2018 was the highest in Class C at 114.

Allowing them to stay in Class C makes your points system pointless.  How can you in good conscious say everyone above 49 goes to Class B when you allow a team with 114 points to stay in Class C?

I don't know how the board determined 49 to be the cutoff but they did say this first year will be the only year teams will be allowed to adjust their roster below that number.  If they are 49 or above at the end of 2019 then they will automatically move to Class B.  Will that include Rochester?  Under their current criteria there is no way Rochester can get to 49 points if population is used.  Or will you give them an exception again?  We are not talking about a couple points here like the Faribault situation.

There are a few teams in Class B who can petition to go to Class C also.

I don't agree with the postseason success points.  If the idea is to put the best team you can on the field then why are successful teams being punished?

Doesn't the Minnesota Baseball Association want the best possible product on the field?

The experience criteria makes the most sense.  If a team is filled with players currently in college ball or just a couple years removed from it then it really isn't "fair" when they play against a team of players with no college experience.

I would personally get rid of the success and population points and go with experience and the average age of a team.  Even a Division I college player loses a few steps typically when they reach their early or mid 30's right?

Class B currently (or at least at the end of 2018) has 40 teams and Class C 216 teams.  If the intention is to get more teams in Class B because the same teams are among the 16 that go to their state tournament the move to this system is not working.  10 of the 11 teams that would have potentially been in Class B asked to stay in Class C and have been granted the request as I understand it.  The only team bumping to Class B is Sobieski.

The Skis point total was 61 (second highest in Class C) primarily due to their State Tournament success over the past five seasons.

By the way there are 12 teams in Class A.  Comprised of metropolitan teams.

 

Faribault Lakers 2018 State Shirt. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld