National AAABA President John Austin of Altoona announced that the franchises from Boston and Michigan each had informed him they will not participate in regional play this year.
The Michigan franchise had just been approved as a AAABA member in March, while Boston joined in 2015.
The Boston BASE Astros were scheduled to participate in a two-team play-in event at Buffalo. Michigan was to be part of a four-team Zanesville Regional.
Buffalo now will report directly to Johnstown for the 73rd annual AAABA Tournament, which begins on August 7.
As regional host, Zanesville, the defending tournament champion, will receive an automatic berth in the 16-team bracket in Johnstown. That means Chicago South Shore and Maryland State will compete to earn the second spot out of the Zanesville Regional.
Austin shared a letter on the subject:
On Monday July 24th, I received a response from Jim Kosmerick, Franchise Representative of the Michigan UBL Franchise. (Just voted in as a member in March). I had been in contact with him because his deadline for team rosters had passed.
Upon getting in touch with him, I received an email stating that they would not be participating in AAABA in 2017. He stated that it was a board decision and not his. He also mentioned he was disappointed because of all the work and effort he had put into securing the Franchise. He said he hoped this would not jeopardize their good standing with the AAABA. This situation will be turned over to the AAABA Franchise Committee which will meet in October.
Later the same day, I had contact with the Boston Franchise who was also late in sending their league team rosters. Franchise Representative, Stephen Lewis reported to me “Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances we will not be able to participate in AAABA this year. It was a decision that our organization had to make.”
In a call to John Lawler of Buffalo who was hosting the two team playoff between Buffalo and Boston, he was told there would be no playoff and that his Franchise Buffalo would go to Johnstown.
I also had to call Jim Wright of Zanesville who is hosting the four team regional, there would only be three teams involved. Zanesville was automatically going to Johnstown so it would be either Chicago South Shore or Maryland State that would advance from Zanesville.
“Things of this nature are very disappointing due to all the work and planning done by the Franchise Committee and the work of the cities hosting these events. Plus all the changes that most of the time have to be made by the Franchise Committee.”
AAABA Executive Director/President