OFFSEASON UPDATES: MBA criteria considerations, ballpark upgrades and more

By Nick Gerhardt

news@mnbaseball.org

Since Labor Day a lot has happened in the Minnesota amateur baseball world. Here’s a look back and a look ahead for 2024.

CRITERIA UPDATES

The Minnesota Baseball Association Board of Directors voted at its November meeting to adjust success points for the 2024 season. Class B and C teams that make the state tournament will receive one point for each game they play, including byes. All success points from previous years will remain the same.

The board reviewed reclassification scenarios at its October meeting and has outlined four possibilities. Possible section, region and district assignments were outlined in the third and fourth scenarios. The board has not taken any action on reclassification and continues to discuss options. 

NEW WEBSITE

The MBA will have a new website for the 2024 season. The address will remain the same but the site will have a new look and navigation. The MBA will hold a live training session at its February meeting for all league secretaries to become familiar with how the new site functions. 

THE RED RIVER AMATEUR BASEBALL LEAGUE

The Red River Amateur Baseball League added four new teams for the 2024 season. The Moorhead Brewers, Moorhead Mudcats, Breckenridge Bucks and Fergus Falls Hurricanes have all joined the league.

The Class B Moorhead Brewers and Moorhead Mudcats join the league after the Minnesota Baseball Association voted to allow teams in Section 2B to find leagues in order to satisfy four league game requirements for postseason eligibility. In the past, Section 2B teams played all four league games at one site over a weekend due to the long travel between section teams. Cold Spring, another Section 2B team, will move to the Sauk Valley League. Twin Ports will join the Eastern Minny League. Hamel continues to seek a league or designate specific games as league games. Sobieski remains part of the Victory League and will choose four games as league games to count toward postseason eligibility. 

Former Countryside League members Fergus Falls and Breckenridge have joined The Red River Amateur Baseball League. The Sabin Mets, formerly the Fargo Mets, have joined the RRABL for 2024, departing from North Dakota Amateur Baseball League. The RRABL now has 10 teams in the league. 

NEW TEAMS

Several communities have expressed interest in fielding teams in 2024. St. James will field a team for the first time since 2018 and will join the Tomahawk East League. The team is named the A’s and have 22 players committed to play. 

Austin has sought to add another Class C team while Nathan Shallcross and others work on details to field a third Rochester-based team. Shallcross has met with the Twin Rivers League and has around 15 players interested. He needs to find a field for the team and has considered playing home games in Byron.

Elk River, International Falls, Ottertail and Zimmerman have all expressed interest in forming teams.

BALLPARK UPDATES

There is no offseason for ballpark work and several teams have continued the work.

Victoria unveiled plans for a $2 million 600-seat covered grandstand and the Hutchinson City Council recently approved plans for a new grandstand at Veterans Memorial Field.

Elsewhere, St. Boni continues work on its field and will add lights for the 2024 season. The Saints built new dugouts last season and have completed several field projects, too. Fellow Crow River Valley League member, New Germany will follow suit. The Wells Wildcats have added lights to their field ahead of the 2024 season.

RETIREMENT

Tom Koplitz, who formed the Rum River Bandits in 2007, has stepped down as the team’s manager. He entered the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017. Koplitz doesn’t know who will take over managing the team for next season. The Bandits lost 12-2 to Chisago Lakes last season in a state-qualifying game.

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