River Valley League Minutes-Special Meeting
Thursday, April 9, 2015
@ Belle Plaine, Minnesota, Neil’s Pub
President Ron Beckman
Vice President Mike Keenan
Secretary Lon Berberich
River Valley West League
Arlington Tony Beneke, Bryce Eggert
New Ulm K: Bob Skillings
Gaylord: Mike Walsh, Bill Schulte
St. Peter: Tom Lacina, CJ Siewert
Fairfax: Scott Black
River Valley Central League
Chanhassen: Mike Ralston, Mike Arnold, Shawn Reisgraf , Denny Laufenburger
Belle Plaine: Brett Kruschke, Matt Schultz
Jordan: Scott Hollingsworh, Jason Chalupsky
Le Sueur: Mike Feeney
Henderson: Cody Boelter
** Joe Chapman, team representative from the Prior Lake Jays was in attendance as an observer/visitor for this meeting.
Meeting called to order at 7:30 P.M. at Neil’s Pub in Belle Plaine by President Ron Beckman.
Roll call with all members/teams above present**. President Beckman informed the members present that this meeting was for Class C members only and that he did not send invitation information to Class B East League River Valley League team representatives.
He described the background of what led up to this point; his recollection of relevant items as they relate to this meeting and how his recollection was that Chanhassen would basically go with local high school, non-college players (Terre Kemble in a subsequent email response did add that she did not remember talking about college kids because at the time they did not have any seniors at the school to fill out their roster.) No minutes were found related to when the Chanhassen Redbirds were initially discussed as potential RVL league members (October 2009) and when they were accepted in the RVL (January 2010). Below is the link to the minutes from October 2011 as it relates to the Jordan Brewers and their reclassification to Class C-link to MBA minutes. (https://s3.amazonaws.com/scoremonsterclients/2/pdf/boardminutes/20111015BoardMinutes.pdf).)
President Beckman also said he had talked to MBA board members and they indicated the proper way to address these issues were to have the league review them and forward results to the Board for any subsequent action. He also stated that hopefully this would provide a model for future reclassification issues for other teams and leagues throughout the state.
Secretary Berberich indicated the League does not have the authority to reclassify but only recommend and the results of this meeting will be forwarded to the MBA secretary for action at their April 18 meeting.
Denny Laufenburger provided a history of the Chanhassen Redbirds program over the past 5 seasons, how they are working at times successfully and at times with difficulty to continue to make the Redbirds program better. He described how last year it was difficult to ensure there were enough numbers to field a team for games but that they are continuing to move forward. In addition, he had minutes available from October 2009 and January 2010 that were very short and basically welcomed Chanhassen to the league with no written criteria related on roster requirements and shared many other thoughts in support of Chanhassen.
Shawn Riesgraf discussed the past 5 playing seasons (73-73 overall record) with lower half league finishes and unsuccessful league playoff runs, roster difficulty, changeover of players from the original 2010 group and discussion and decisions related to adding current players to the roster that were initiated after the 2014 playing season.
Coach/Manager Mike Ralston went over the current roster with the additions (7 releases submitted for players to date to RVL Secretary, 6 from Victoria, 1 Belle Plaine with 1 coming from the Hit Dawgs, no contracts) and background of players (see MBA website for roster additions, high school, etc.http://chanhassenredbirds.teams.mnbaseball.org/roster ). The 6 players released from Victoria that have the potential to sign with Chanhassen are connected with the Chanhassen/Chaska school district or with Private schools within the district. Only 1 of these 6 saw extended playing time with Victoria in the last half of last season of 2014.
Summary of questions and comments from Tony Beneke, Arlington; Brett Kruschke, Belle Plaine; Bill Schulte, Gaylord; Mike Feeney, Le Sueur:
Chanhassen has a much larger school (1527 top 3 grades) and city population (24,000) to draw from (all); it already had players and opportunities with Adrian Turner used as an example to add to their roster (Feeney); prior team history has no bearing on today’s evaluation, need to decide based on evaluating the current roster and that each organization and our league needs to do what it thinks is right for the betterment of baseball (Beneke) – plus other general comments.
Chanhassen representatives indicated how unfair the reclassification would be right now and why if it was going to occur could it not have happened sooner-they think they have done things correctly per the MBA handbook. The schedule has been set: field secured with promotions and season ticket sales underway. They expressed frustrations on how this whole process was handled and that they should be provided the opportunity to show on the field first whether they are a Class B or C caliber team for one year rather than using an arbitrary player evaluation process to reclassify a whole team. Also, they asked why the class B teams were not requested to be present at the meeting (President Beckman replied that it was his decision to include Class C teams only because he felt it was a Class C issue.).
Motion Arlington, seconded Gaylord to recommend that the Chanhassen Red Birds be reclassified Class B by the MBA Board for the 2015 season. Voting in favor: Arlington, Gaylord, Henderson, Le Sueur, Belle Plaine and Fairfax. Opposed: Jordan, Chanhassen, St. Peter and New Ulm. Motion carried, 6-4.
Secretary Berberich will forward this information to Dave Hartmann and inform Chanhassen when this item will be on the agenda for the April 18 MBA meeting. Secretary Berberich and Vice President Keenan plan to attend this meeting.
Scott Hollingsworth and Jason Chalupsky on behalf of the Jordan Brewers reported that Chase Hentges, a former Kansas City Royal and St. Paul Saint professional player, recently released by the Shakopee Indians, requested to play for the Jordan Brewers. The Brewers have taken no action on this request indicating they would forward it to the RVL and MBA Board first to determine how this signing would affect the Brewers classification as a Class C team (They have no desire to sign Hentges or anyone else if it jeopardizes playing in the MBA C classification.). Indications are that if Hentges was signed, he would be a long-time roster addition.
Kruschke and Beneke both indicated they viewed Jordan’s 2011 commitment to stay with Jordan graduates and residents as long-term, with no expiration date, in order to maintain their Class C status. In addition to their spoken intent of wanting to stay local using only Jordan graduates does not go away, and should not. Schulte stated he always felt Jordan was a Class B team based on their successful history of over 25 years and evidenced by only one Class C loss in RVL games in the past three years. He said Jordan is a B worthy team now, with or without Hentges.
Motion Chanhassen, seconded Jordan to allow Jordan to sign Chase Hentges and remain a Class C team for MBA classification purposes for 2015 (Jordan added that if this motion passed but was not approved at the MBA level, it has no intention of signing Hentges if it means the team will be classified as B because of this action.). Voting in favor: Chanhassen, Henderson, Le Sueur, St. Peter, Fairfax and Jordan; opposed: New Ulm, Gaylord, Arlington, Belle Plaine. Motion carried, 6-4.
This information will be forwarded to MBA secretary Dave Hartmann and Jordan representatives will be informed when it will be on the agenda.
Discussion on what happens if MBA does reclassify Chanhassen (assuming Jordan will remain class C at a minimum); Chanhassen games would not count in the Class C standings but only for the four-game rule; no play-in game on the Central League side; also noted that MBA suggests the region plays things out to determine a true champion.
President Beckman adjourned the meeting at 9:25 P.M.
River Valley League Secretary