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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What Does SFYBA Do?
A. SFYBA provides a competitive traveling baseball experience for players ages 9-14 who reside within the boundaries of Independent School District 15.
 
Q. What are the advantages of playing traveling baseball?
A. Traveling baseball provides a more competitive experience for the player who is looking for that. All St. Francis teams play teams from other communities and their traveling programs. It is the opinion of SFYBA that the more competitive baseball experience will challenge and improve players each year as they move through the program more so than if they played at a recreational level.
 
Q. When is registration?
A. Registration is held in February. Registration is available online.   Check the SFYBA website for more information.
 
Q. When and where are tryouts?
A. Tryouts are usually held in late March. The tryout is normally a one day process where each age group is evaluated for 1-2 hours (depending on the number of players trying out). Tryout location will be announced in advance of tryouts.
 
Q. Why not fall tryouts?
A. SFYBA feels the benefits of holding tryouts in the spring outweigh what can be gained by holding tryouts in the fall. We realize this is a hot topic of discussion and will continue to review every year.
 
Q. Who are the evaluators?
A. SFYBA hires independent evaluators to complete our tryouts.
 
Q. How are teams selected?
A. Players are evaluated in tryouts in a number of areas, including hitting, throwing, fielding (infield & outfield), and catching. They are also evaluated on attitude and hustle. Scores from tryouts are tabulated and players are ranked. Of the typical 12 players chosen for the teams, the coach has some flexibility to choose the final 2-3 roster spots based on input from evaluators, previous coaches or past performance by a player in SFYBA. A coach would not be allowed to choose a player who scored below #18 to be on the AAA team, or below 30 for the AA team. Depending on the number of players trying out at an age level, SFYBA will keep as few as 11 or as many as 13 on a team.
 
Q. Does everyone who tries out get a place on a team?
A. No. An unfortunate part of the tryout process is that some kids get cut every year. It really is a numbers game. If we are fortunate enough to have 24 players try out in one age group, then we can keep everyone. If there are 28 players who try out, we are forced to cut 3-4.
 
Q. What if my child is sick and/or injured during tryouts?
A. The SFYBA board, in agreement with the evaluators, can waive a player onto a team provided there is a clear case that the player has successfully competed at the level of play that he will be waived to play.
 
Q. What are the levels of play?
A. SFYBA usually fields a team or teams at various (A to AAA) levels of play at each age from 10U up to 14U.  SFYBA may also opt to field a 9U team.  If SFYBA opts not to field a 9U team, 9U players will be evaluated for spots on a 10U team.
 
Q. What is the age cut-off date?
A. The age cut-off date is May 1st. However, we recommend each player play with his/her grade even if their birthday falls on or after the cut-off date. For example, if you are a 6th grader and your 12th birthday is May 15th, you would be eligible to play 11U but we would recommend you play 12U because that is primarily where all 6th graders will play.
 
Q. How are coaches selected?
A. Coaches are selected by a committee that includes SFYBA board members and the St. Francis High School varsity coach. An application is necessary to be considered and follow-up questions from the selection committee are possible. We are always looking for good coaches and never seem to have enough who apply. If you are interested in coaching and have questions, please contact a board member. Your application to be coach will have NO impact on the placement of your child. All coaches are subject to clearing a background test.
 
Q. What does the playing fee cover?
A. League dues, umpire fees, insurance, website fees, field rental, baseballs, hats, pants, and tournament fees. SFYBA is committed to only charging for necessary baseball expenses and to having an open book policy regarding our finances.
 
Q. Are there additional (hidden) costs that arise during the season?
A. We require each player to provide their own batting helmet. Purchasing pictures is optional. Playing in more than three tournaments is an additional cost of roughly $30-$35/player but is something that each team can decide on. No team warm-up or bat bag is required. Teams are not required to play in out of town tournaments. For almost all tournaments, SFYBA pays a gate fee up front so there is no admission cost to families.
 
Q. How long does the season last?
A. Practices start the first week of April, weather permitting. The season concludes with playoffs and possibly a state tournament in mid to late July.
 
Q. Who do we play against and how far is the travel?
A. We play in the Gopher State Baseball League (GSBL) against a number of cities primarily in the north metro area. Other cities involved in the league include Andover, Blaine, Brooklyn Park, Champlin, Coon Rapids, Elk River, Osseo/Maple Grove, Robbinsdale, Anoka, Cambridge, and Rogers. Your schedule generally is 50% home games and 50% away, meaning you will only travel to other cities for weeknight games about 8 times a year.
 
Q. How many games are there and when?
A. There are 16 league games in the GSBL and those games are played weeknights (mostly) starting the last week of April and ending the last week in June. If we field at team at 9U, they will play a slightly reduced schedule of 12 league games. There are no set nights for games. GSBL holds a scheduling meeting in mid April and each coach schedules his/her own games giving him/her the authority to play on any weeknight. Please note that games may be scheduled on weekends, especially if weather causes the rescheduling of many games.  GSBL also holds playoffs beginning the week after the 4th of July and ending the third week of July.
 
Q. How many tournaments do we play in?
A. Each team participates in 3-4 weekend tournaments throughout the season. Most of these tournaments are held in May and June with a state tournament (if you qualify) in July. Teams will play 3-5 games in any given tournament. Again, the tournament costs for 3 are included in your registration fee, with the exception being the optional state tournament, which will cost each family approximately $35 to participate.
 
Q. How often do we practice?
A. You can expect at least 2-3 practices a week in April before the games start. Once the games begin on a regular basis, practice time will lessen to 1-2 days a week.
 
Q. Where are our home games?
A. We have many fields spread throughout the district. 14U plays at St. Francis High School. 13U plays at St. Francis Middle School (SFMS) South Field while the 12U plays at SFMS North. The 9U, 10U and 11U teams share a number of city fields: St. Francis Community Park, Oak Grove Preserve, Bethel Field, and Booster Park in East Bethel.
 
Q. What equipment does SFYBA provide?
A. SFYBA provides each team with two full sets of catchers gear (mask, chest protector, shin guards, glove), practice and game baseballs, and bases and pitching plates if necessary. At the 14U level, we also provide each team with 2-3 bats. We do not provide bats at the other levels.
 
Q. What are the bat regulations?
A. There are no bat size regulations from 9U-13U. Any length or weight is fine. At 14U, a bat shall not weigh, numerically, more than 5 ounces less than the length of the bat. For example, a 31 inch bat may not weigh less than 26 ounces. NEW FOR 2012 All bats must meet the USSSA standards (BBCOR Certified or 1.15 BPF) See MYAS webpage for further information.
 
Q. When can players start wearing metal spikes?
A. 13U is the first year players can wear metal.
 
Q. What other rules should I know about?
A. For a complete list of rules by age, please visit the GSBL website at http://www.myas.org/gm/_myas_home.asp
 
Q. What are SFYBA fundraisers?
A. We try to limit the number on fundraisers. We typically sell flowers at the beginning of the season and we host a tournament usually the first weekend in June.
 
Q. What does SFYBA do with the money raised?
A. SFYBA uses the money earned through fundraising to buy equipment, maintain fields, and for capital improvements.
 
Q. Do I have to volunteer?
A. No, volunteering is not a requirement. We do require a volunteer deposit at registration for those who want to volunteer. That check is not cashed and is destroyed once you complete your service. For those who do not want to volunteer, you can choose to pay an opt-out fee at registration time.
 
Q. What are the volunteer opportunities and how many hours do I need to work?
A. Examples of volunteer opportunities are coaching, team parent, working concessions or field maintenance at our hosted tournament, assisting with fundraising or clothing, etc. Coaching or team parent is a full season job but most of the volunteer work shifts at our tournament are 2-4 hours.
 
Q. What do I do if I have a complaint?
A. If you are uncomfortable talking to your coach, the first step is to contact your age group coordinator. They will log your complaint and start the process of rectifying the issue. If you aren't comfortable talking to the age group coordinator, please contact the travel director or talk directly to the president or vice president. Please try to refrain from contacting anyone on the high school coaching staff unless you feel like all other avenues have been exhausted. All board member contact information is located on the BOARD page on our website.
 
Q. Who maintains our fields?
A. SFYBA works with many entities to keep the fields maintained. District fields are maintained by ISD 15. City fields such as St. Francis Community Park or Oak Grove Preserve are maintained by each citys maintenance department.
 
Q. Who umpires our games?
A. All home games are coordinated through MYAS, which typically uses Rum River Umpires Association. Away games are out of our control and are assigned by the traveling association that we are playing against.
 
Q. How are board positions filled or how can I get more involved?
A. There are 12 board positions in SFYBA. The President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Travel Director are 2-year terms.  All other positions are 1-year terms.  SFYBA holds elections every year at our annual meeting in September or October. We also meet once a month (except for June and July) at a time and location TBD.  Check the Board page for more information.  If you are interested in becoming a Board Member or have any questions, feel free to contact one of the current Board members.