ACYBA as we currently know the name has been in existence since 2011. The league has had some changes over its 15 plus years, and when the decision was made in 2011 to incorporate more of a 'community' presence to include the entire district, our name changed from RAYBA (Robbinsdale Armstrong Youth Baseball Association) to ACYBA. ACYBA is a state registered non profit organization, and we rely heavily on community and parent involvement to keep operating with a non profit designation. The main desire of the organization is to provide a positive baseball experience both on and off the field for every player, at every age level no matter what level they choose to play. We believe positive community experiences as a youth are highly valuable in shaping our ball players to be positive and active members of their own communities as adults.
The name we use for our teams is the Raptors, which is formally referenced as the Armstrong Cooper Raptors. The Raptor name was chosen as it is somewhere in the middle of the bird of prey hierarchy between a Falcon (Armstrong HS) and a Hawk (Cooper HS). Additionally, age groups within ACYBA may see two or three teams playing at the same level, those teams will also be given a color desgination to differentiate - we choose to use the colors of the American Flag - Red, White and Blue.
For example: 14U-AA-Red or 13U-A-Blue
Simply put, it is a program wherein our local teams play teams from adjacent cities. We typically place one team per age level (13U, 14U, or 15U) and division (AAA or AA or A), so our teams do not play other teams from within our association. Our traveling teams play in the Gopher State Baseball League (GSBL) administered by Minnesota Youth Athletic Service (MYAS), www.myas.org, which is headquartered in Spring Lake Park. We typically travel to nearby cities such as Maple Grove, Champlin, Andover, Orono, Brooklyn Park, etc. for away games. The AAA level is the most competitive, while AA is slightly less competitive, followed by an A level (sometime referred to as a development league) a step below the AA level.
The following terms and definitions have been comprised through the experience and research of the MYAS Baseball Staff and are the league/division standards for levels of play.
AAA - The highest competitive level - typically the top team from a traveling baseball association.
AA - The intermediate level of play. The AA level is intended for teams from baseball associations that have already provided teams at the AAA level.
A - The developmental level of traveling baseball. The A level is often used to place teams who are building baseball mechanics and preparing for a higher level of play.
House or 'recreational' - A community recreational level of baseball. Recreational teams consist of players that are placed on teams via a process of their home association (i.e. all players go through a draft process, random draw, etc.).
The short answer is YES.
Select players in ACYBA traveling program are picked to play on high-level All-Star teams during the post season, for instance in a league-wide weekend All-Star program sponsored by MYAS or through programs such as Blizzard Baseball. The exposure provided by playing traveling baseball can open opportunities for extensive off-season baseball training and play, with associated out-of-state travel for tournaments in southern cities.
The ACYBA winter warm-ups provide exposure to higher level qualified coaches and instructors who also select players for and coach elite traveling teams (e.g., Minneapolis Millers) playing the highest level of youth baseball. Again, the commitment required for elite-level play is high, both in time and expense (e.g. out-of-state tournaments.) But, the level of coaching and exposure to college and professional programs are unsurpassed.
It's simple - playing against the best in the surrounding communities! ACYBA teams participate in traveling baseball because it is the dominant program for competitive baseball in the Twin Cities metro area at ages 13U through 15U. Virtually all metro-area communities participate in traveling baseball programs playing in one of two leagues, either the Gopher State League (most north-metro communities) or Metro Baseball League (most south-metro communities). ACYBA plays in the Gopher State Baseball League against teams from other north-metro communities.
Evaluations are held in early Spring to select 12 players for each traveling baseball team. Skills tests are used to score players and rank them 1 through the number trying out. Based upon the number of players attending the tryouts we form 1, 2, 3 or at most 4 traveling teams at each of three ages; 13U, 14U, and 15U. The top 12 are placed on the traveling team if one team is fielded. The top 24 are selected for a multi-session secondary tryout if two teams are fielded. The AAA (A) team coach runs the multi-session secondary tryout to pick the top 12 (of the 24) for his team. The remaining 12 players are placed on the second traveling team, which typically plays at the AA (B) level. A similar selection process is used if three (or more) teams are fielded. We plan to field an A-level team at 13U again in 2014, if at least 36 players tryout.
Players are placed on teams without regard for city of residence. Players not selected for a traveling team are invited to play in our house-league program. Every youth ages 13 to 15 interested in playing baseball is offered a spot on either a traveling or house league team.
A season consists of approximately 16 regular season games, at least 9 weekend-tournament games (3 weekends), as many as 3 playoff games, and 3 state-tournament games (if qualified) for a total of approximately 31 games. The more games a team wins in tournaments, the more games they play. Many weekend tournaments have a pool-play/bracket-play format, so 5 to 6 games are played to reach the championship game. Teams may also register for additional weekend tournaments to play more games. A traveling-team player should be prepared to commit to 5 to 6 days a week of baseball during the month of June and early July, and it is expected that baseball will be their primary focus.
As most players prefer a certain brand or weight of bat, we have provided a link for a printable PDF of the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services Bat Standards HERE.
MYAS provides detailed information on sizing, material, and weights allowed for each age group. ACYBA does not provide bats for player use, as this alleviates Coach responsibility of transporting bats.
Incoming 13-year-old players receive a new batting helmet to keep (not returned to ACYBA). Players are provided with an AC decal and matching number set to put their jersey number on the helmet for easy identification. Providing helmets to players relieves the coach of the need to carry helmets to the field and players do not have to share helmets (useful for hygiene purposes.)
Returning players on the 14U and 15U teams have a helmet from the previous season. 14U and 15U players requiring helmets are issued a surplus helmet from the previous season (or new helmet if none are available.) The 16U and 19U team managers will receive mesh bags with 6 helmets from the previous year, which are returned to ACYBA at the end of the season.
Damaged helmets are replaced from used stock (if available) or new.