A Brief Look Ahead To The 2016 Season

By CJ Siewert

As temperatures rose above 60 degrees on Sunday for the first time all year, the melting snow and bright sunshine validated the fact that the 2016 town ball season is almost here.

The first important date to the new season is next Tuesday, March 15, which has been the annual date in which players can sign with a team using their address on said date. A rule change this year permits college students who are not on a college or university’s baseball team to use their college address and a 30-mile radius to sign with a team. And as was the case last year, a player cannot be signed to a contract before March 15 or after June 30.

As a result of St. Francis moving to the Central Ridge League, Section 2, 5 and 8 will see a change. 

Section 2: Coon Rapids, Isanti, Forest Lake, East Bethel, and Andover

Section 5: Blaine, Champlin, Brooklyn Park, and Anoka

Section 8: Current eight teams with the addition of St. Francis

Something to keep your eye on for the future is a specific criterion to determine the difference between Class B and C teams. Some of the criteria discussed at the February Board meeting included population, the number of college players on the team (and if they play Division I, II, or III), weighted by age (over and under 29), length of time a player has played with a team, whether they use their city or school district for their player pool, and lastly, state tournament participation and success in the tournament. The Board’s goal is to have something in place to present at the annual meeting in October.

Last season, ESPN 1500 out of the Twin Cities hosted the inaugural Town Ball Classic, which raised approximately $40,000 for the Twins Community Fund. Considering the success it had last year, ESPN 1500 is currently organizing the second annual event to take place this summer at Target Field. More details are expected to be communicated in the near future. 

More decisions that will shape the 2016 season will be discussed at the next Board meeting, which is Saturday, April 16 at the St. Cloud Eastside VFW. 

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