Clarifying Baseball Levels, Terms & League Needs

On the left are the levels for Canadian Baseball, which are likely to be very close to the US level system. On the right we have the level system in Japan.

T-Ball (8 & under)————————Mini-Minor (9 & Under)
Junior Rookie Ball (8 & under)
Senior Rookie Ball (9 & under)
Minor Mosquito (10 & under)———Minor (10-11)
Mosquito (11 & under)
Minor Peewee (12 & under)———–Mini-Junior (12-13)
Peewee (13 & under)——————-Junior (12-13)
Minor Bantam (14 & under)———–Mini-Senior (14-15)
Bantam (15 & under)——————-Senior (14-15) or Junior High School (13, 14 & 15)
Minor Midget (16 & under)————High School (16 yrs.)
Midget (18 & under)——————–High School (17 & 18 yrs.)
Junior (21 & under)———————City Teams
US University Teams——————-University
MLB Farm Teams———————–NPB Farm

I believe the MLB is stronger than the NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) because of the level and numbers of foreign players playing in the MLB from all over the world. I would place the NPB above all US triple A teams though, as the NPB is a much higher level of play. When the MLB and the NPB leagues play each other the games are all played in Japan, and not all the MLB players come overseas, and then many players (and their team management) are not keen to go all out for the games.

In the Baseball Classic the USA loses out because the Japanese team is just better and or plays better together, as all the very talented Latin American players play for their national teams and make it plain for all to see why the Japanese rightly deserve to be the best team in the world.

The Need for an Big Asian Baseball League

I think that the NPB must lead in forming an Asian League that must have at least 2- teams from South Korea, 2- teams from Taiwan, 3- teams China and of course 3-teams from Japan.  Having two teams in each nation will develop the local rivalry needed, and allow citizens with less money to pick up games at two venues closer to home.

At first glance these teams from Japan should be the Giants, Tigers & a third team to be decided by wins.  The history and rivalry between these two teams would no doubt fit the bill.

Each national league would need to have a stake in the Asian League or they wouldn’t cooperate, so funds would have to go to the national league systems and they must not be left on the outside looking in. Government involvement in the teams would be made clear and penalties given for violations. The national leagues from each country should do as the English Premier Football League does and level up the best team from their leagues when one of their Asian League teams hits the bottom of the rankings table in this proposed Asian League. The worst Asian League team would be relegated to playing back in the national league system, unless from a country with only one team and no national league system to fall back on to replace the lowest falling Asian League team.  In this way any financial problems will be dealt with, as transportation costs would go down for the relegated club, upon being brought down to the national level, along with the need for expensive players. The Asia League would be less in need of propping up weak teams that overspent or mismanage in other ways, and avoid the risk of supporting some teams more than other teams with stretched rationalizations.

Efforts to expand this league should be centered at first with a lesser division (Southern Division) that should include 2-teams in Australia, 1-team in Singapore, 2- teams in India, 1-team in New Zealand, 1- team in Indonesia, and 1-team in Malaysia. The Asia First Division Teams should be encouraged to have Triple A teams in other countries so that national differences are not made to boil over.  As the, say Southern Division, will likely be a Triple A team for a bigger First Division team, the expenses will be more manageable and allow for the sport to grow in the more troubling expansion markets like India & New Zealand.

Umpiring would be very tricky, but a use of a video booth back up umpire, who would have a video with a box of the strike zone to review, would help to ease any risk of corruption, along with voting on of umpires by each team for those to take part in the playoffs.

What is needed for this to come to be is a real headliner that has an Asian outlook to meet the demands of the shrinking world. If this comes into being I have no doubt that the Asian League would surpass the MLB, as the inflow of talent from around the region would level out this advantage of the MLB, as would the revenues generated. The alternative is to slowly have the best talent whisked away to the MLB.

I will watch and support any efforts to bring this about, yet the most important mindset that must take place is looking clearly at the strengths and weakness in structures, not cover over problems with Disney happy talk, politeness taken to extremes, and stubborn control of teams and leagues by leaders who can’t see that the MLB will overtake such stubborn mindsets if the Asian Leagues keep to their private leagues and try to ignore the growth of the International flavor of the MLB.


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About Rafe Milo

A young switch pitcher & switch hitter and his father coach. The experiences of living, playing & coaching baseball in Japan.

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