Reviewing MBA classification: what makes a team Class B or C?

Posted on April 13, 2015 by CJ Siewert

In light of recent events in the River Valley League, many town ball followers have raised the question of what criteria is in place to determine a team’s classification within the Minnesota Baseball Association.

The simple answers for each class are:

1) All teams in the 494/694 loop are Class A

2) Teams that sign players (within a 30-mile radius) who use their college address are Class B

3) Teams that sign players (within a 30-mile radius) who use their permanent address (no college residents) are Class C

But if you’ve ever been to a State Board meeting that involves player arbitration, you are well aware that not all answers are simple.

This Saturday the Board of Directors will discuss team classifications for the Chanhassen Redbirds and Jordan Brewers – both currently Class C – of the RVL. On April 9, the RVL held a special meeting regarding roster parameters for said teams. It was noted that additions to Chanhassen’s 2015 roster would include six players from Class B Victoria, including former Vic’s starting outfielder Brandon Arnold, and Ryan Diers, the former ace pitcher of division rival Belle Plaine. After a lengthy and sometimes heated discussion, the league passed a motion to reclassify Chanhassen as a Class B team by a 6-4 vote, pending State Board approval.

Jordan’s classification was also put to a vote based on the potential signing of Chase Hentges, a former professional player, recently released by neighboring Class B Shakopee. The Brewers dropped from Class B to C three years ago and a few team representatives within the league argued that shouldn’t have happened in the first place considering Jordan’s success in Class C over the past three seasons (only one league loss and consecutive trips to the state semifinals) and a history of success in Class B.

Despite a few teams’ outspoken opinions regarding Jordan’s success, the league then voted in 6-4 favor of maintaining Jordan’s status as a Class C team, while allowing the Brewers to sign Hentges without the threat of reclassification. 

To view the RVL’s special meeting minutes, follow this link.

If you look at each case in black-and-white writing, both teams have every right to maintain their status as Class C. According to the information available today, neither team is signing a player with a college address. But as we stated before, not every situation has a simple answer.

What the majority of team representatives in the River Valley made clear, though, is that their interpretation of what makes a team Class B or Class C is the makeup of a roster and not the ability of a single player.

Before the special meeting last Thursday, RVL President Ron Beckman prefaced the discussion by stating he hopes it would provide a model for future reclassification issues for other teams and leagues throughout the state. Whether or not the RVL’s discussion and action provides a model for reclassification is yet to be seen, but it is certain to give the State Board an opportunity to review its classification rules.

Article 14, Section B of the MBA Handbook states the “Board has authorization to classify or re-classify any team at any time.”

Although the handbook lists criteria for player eligibility and the classification of that player’s team, a question can be made on whether or not a team can take advantage of the rules and how they are written.

Saturday’s discussion on team classification will be the first detailed assessment by the State Board since November 2012 when teams in question included Albertville, Owatonna, Mankato Mets, Sartell Muskies and St. Joseph. In January of 2013, the Mankato Mets moved to Class B.

Team classification is a sensitive subject and one that has been taken on a case-by-case basis for many years. We’ll know more how that classification is interpreted this weekend. Stay tuned. 

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