Significant discussion was had regarding the league's current Regional format

The Tomahawk East League held its annual meeting on Sunday, Jan. 26 at the Community Center in Sleepy Eye.

Many items were discussed. Items included a 2019 season review, Fairfax replacing St. James, divisions, KNUJ Radio games, the All-Star Game, and a potential change to the current Region 2C format.

Firstly, TEL President Myron Seidl gave a review of the 2019 season. Seidl made special note of how well the KNUJ Radio games went over as well as last year’s All-Star Game. Seidl also congratulated New Ulm, Stark, and Sleepy Eye for making the State Tournament in Delano last season.

Last season, St. James informed the TEL they would not be able to field a team last season. The league then went with an 11-team league last season. Last fall it was explored that the Fairfax Cardinals would replace the St. James Express beginning in 2020. On Sunday, the league officially welcomed Fairfax to the TEL. The Cardinals were formerly a team in the River Valley League. Fairfax will be placed on two years probation which is customary for new teams that join the TEL.

Craig Hansen of KNUJ expressed on behalf of the radio station that they are again interested in broadcasting six games on Sunday evenings beginning at 5 p.m. during the regular season. The goal is to help promote amateur baseball. Hansen is hopeful the league and KNUJ can continue its working relationship as the league looks to continue to grow. The six teams selected to host KNUJ games this season include: Gibbon, Hanska, Leavenworth, Sleepy Eye, Springfield, and Fairfax. KNUJ games will also have live prizes for those who attend.

This year’s All-Star Game against the Corn Belt League will be hosted in New Ulm on Friday, July 10 at New Ulm at 7:30 p.m.

Significant discussion took place as Derrick Jenniges of Lamberton proposed a new 12-team regional double elimination format for the 2020 season. The idea was tabled after discussion and pushed back to the scheduling meeting on Sunday, Feb. 16. The league will discuss with Region 2C Commissioner Bryce Pack.

A few pros and cons discussed so far have been fair and the open discussion will seemingly help what is arguably one of the goofiest Region set-ups in the state when compared to other Regions. An 8-team Regional double elimination bracket is also up for debate with the league.

A few pros of the move so far include an atmosphere the Region does not currently display. “It’s more like the State Tournament--waiting for games, playing at neutral sites, etc.” Having most games on the weekends can also increase attendance as well as having games at one site. Another comment provided that it gives each team a chance. “Everyone makes the playoffs and has a chance at the State Tournament.” The top four teams are awarded a bye for their play during the regular season and are also awarded a host game.

A few cons of the 12-team proposal have fair arguments. “Do all 12 teams deserve to make regions?” Also, considering all 12 teams make the Regions, there would be no drafting until the State Tournament. “Dependent on host sites, how do you determine who gets home games? There is less opportunities for ballparks to make concessions.” Another point against the proposal was that some teams may face the possibility of having two games in one day and then playing again the following day.

Of the 8-team proposed format, pros included seeds 1-4 would be awarded a bye and for the bottom eight teams there would be a best-of-three series to move on. Each team would then get a home game. The top eight teams still alive could draft from the bottom four teams that missed the playoffs. Points made to this point against the proposed 8-team format included the fact that a draft may not be reasonable. As even if you have just one draftee, that eight players from just four teams would be selected. You also have have three potential “seeding” games. It was also pointed out that because each team would not make the playoffs, that it could potentially discourage teams who do not do well and the players that stay on that team.

The discussion will bring across items such as what is the leagues goal when discussion the potential change in its regional format. Is it to get the best teams to the State Tournament? Do you draft or not? Is your goal to maximize attendance?

Overall, the league must decide would will be best for the entirety of the league and do constructively decide what is best.