Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The meaning of the BPA Classes -Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum

Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum are the class level choices that coaches are given when sanctioning his or her team for the Baseball Players Association (BPA) season.  As with any team ranking or placement, the class level chosen depends on the perspective of the individual setting the ranking.  Although ranking a new team can be difficult, most teams are conservative when establishing their class level for the first time.  Of course there are teams that play above or below the class selected but the majority of the teams get it right.

After watching teams, talking with the coaches, and recording the results of BPA tournaments for over five years, we wanted to highlight the class levels and add more description to each to better explain the differences.  Just remember, in the game of baseball any team can win or lose in a one game scenario.  Upsets happen every year.  The class level of a team does not determine the heart, drive and determination of the team to work hard, improve and play great baseball.

The classifications are listed on as
Bronze - Recreation All-Star Teams 
Silver - Travel Teams
Gold - Elite Travel Teams
Platinum - Major Elite Travel Teams

Teams may play in any tournament with the class level designated by the tournament.  Teams are always allowed to play up into any class higher than their level.  (Ex: bronze can play in silver classification and above)

Bronze -
Teams that are formed as a beginning level travel team (first year of play), as a recreation league all-star team from a local area, or local league team are at the bronze level.  Unless the coaches have travel ball experience and know what to expect, first year teams typically require some time to get acclimated to the high school rules and increased level of play available at the travel ball level.   If teams are splitting time between the local league and a travel ball schedule either as an all-star team or local league team, they will usually select the bronze level.

Teams at the bronze level are encouraged to play any and all teams to determine what level they are capable of playing.  Players will benefit from playing against different players, dealing with new fields and surroundings and competing against teams that may prepare and play in a way that varies from what they are used to seeing.

Silver - Teams that have travel ball experience, play only a travel ball schedule or have been the best team at a recreational league all-star level tournament sanction at the silver level.  Teams at the silver class level have played travel ball in the past or understand the demands and challenges they will face in travel baseball.  The majority of the teams that are BPA sanctioned fall into this category.

Teams at the silver level typical have several players that are skilled at their age level.  The teams have 2 or 3 players that can throw strikes and are developing more players to be able to pitch.

Gold - Teams in the gold class only play travel baseball.  They regularly compete at a high level for BPA league and tournament championships as well as at other sanctioned tournaments.

At the gold level, teams will have 6 or more players with very good fundamental baseball skills in terms of pitching, hitting, fielding and base running.  Coaches are actively seeking out strong competition to improve their team, raise the teams level of play and win games.

Platinum - Teams in the platinum class only play travel baseball.  They regularly compete and win at tournament championships anywhere they play.

The entire roster is made up of players with very good baseball skills and instinct.  Teams at this level have a balanced pitching attack of multiple players.  Players are learning high level baseball skills.

Those are the four classifications of BPA as described by OnTurf Sports.  Just remember that playing youth baseball has little to do with the level your team is sanctioned and more about getting better and enjoying the game.  Use the classification to rank your team or let your team demonstrate what they know about the game!