ENYTB teams compete in regular season play for berths to entry-level tournaments in three different sanctioned National Championship Tournament Series (NCTS): AABC, NABF and PONY. Thus, except for host berths, ENYTB teams earn these berths on the field. Developing a rational structure for determining who wins what in the face of multiple competition levels and multiple sanctioning choices, as well as competitively balanced and customized schedules that are unique to each team, is a challenge and is the subject of this section.
Who wins what is determined by the divisional structure and the Standings methodology employed in each division. How divisions and their corresponding Standings methodologies are defined, and even how available berths are distributed among divisions, are matters of choice i.e., reasonable people could disagree on the best approach. Regardless of the specifics of different approaches, what is essential of any approach is that it produces rational and fair outcomes and that it can be widely understood. Also, all else being equal, approaches with more built-in flexibility are preferable to those with less.
It is logical to begin our search for the best approach by looking at how Major League Baseball (MLB) constructs its schedule, maintains its divisional standings and awards post-season berths.
MLB teams play an unbalanced schedule i.e., they play teams in their own division more than non-divisional teams.
MLB teams play identical divisional schedules but they do not play identical overall schedules, because of differences in both their inter-league schedules and scheduling quirks for non-divisional games.
MLB counts all games in its divisional standings i.e., divisional opponents play different schedules outside their division yet these games count in their divisional standings.
MLB post-season berths go to the best record in each division and one wildcard team.
MLB uses the divisional standings to determine who wins its "wildcard" winner i.e., the team with the best record that did not win its division.
It is important to recognize that MLB's divisional standings include more than each team's divisional record, they include each team's overall record. This is significant because no two teams play an identical schedule.
While the MLB approach for determining who wins what is instructive, the structure of MLB is significantly different from ENYTB in several important ways.
ENYTB has multiple post-seasons (sanctioned NCTS), MLB has one.
ENYTB has multiple competition levels, MLB has one.
ENYTB has any number of berths to a post-season, MLB always has four.
The challenge is to build a rational and fair system, similar to that of MLB, but which properly and effectively incorporates the structural differences between MLB and ENYTB.
Divisions......The key issues in defining divisions is who is included in the division, how many berths are earmarked to the division and in the case of divisions that mix competition levels, are there are any "berth guarantees" for each competition level. These three considerations effectively define who is competing for what.
Standings......The key issue with standings is in defining the basis on which teams will compete i.e., in defining what games will count in that standings. Also, when cross-over games count, inclusion of a strength-of-schedule adjustment is rational and logical.
All of the above, taken together, suggests several reasonable postulates for constructing divisions and standings in a multi-sanctioned league that balances each team's schedule according to its competition level:
Each post-season (sanctioned NCTS) should include its own division or set of divisions.
Only eligible teams should be included in these divisions.
The team records in those divisions should include all games played where both opponents are age eligible for that particular NCTS, not just games against divisional opponents.
Because team records include games with opponents from other competition levels, and because teams don't play identical schedules, a strength-of-schedule factor should be applied to the rankings methodology (W/L percentage) in ALL divisions, even those limited to a single competition level.
For both single class divisions, e.g., Gold or HiSilver or LoSilver, as well as multi-class or combined divisions that mix together teams from different competition levels, every effort should be made to ensure that to the extent reasonably possible, all teams from the same competition level should play each other an adequate, but not necessarily identical number of times. Obviously this will not be possible when the number of teams in a class is particularly large or when a particular team is playing a minimal number of games and the number of same class opponents is relatively large e.g., 6 DHs and 10 same class opponents. Home field availability can be another limiting factor. To be eligible to win a sanctioned tournament berth, a team is required to play a minimum of 9 games that count in the STANDINGS for that berth.
Post-season berths can be earmarked to the various competition levels in each multi-class STANDINGS where appropriate i.e., where the number of registered teams in a competition level is sufficiently large and where a sufficient number of berths are available so as not to prevent teams in other competition levels from having an equal chance of earning a berth.
Like MLB, ENYTB uses FLEX-scheduling i.e., it does not require teams to play identical schedules. In the case of ENYTB, teams are not even required to play the same number of games. Because of this, it is necessary that ENYTB standings include rank teams according to their won/loss percentage, adjusted by a strength-of-schedule factor (SoS). The RML website used by ENYTB has several variants for this type of standings methodology that differ as to what games count:
all games played by each listed team with other listed teams only (SoS may or may not be applicable, depending on whether division is single class or multi-class);
all games played by each listed team with any same power team in the same age division (applicable to single class divisions only and SoS is not applicable);
all games played by each listed team with any same power team in any age division (applicable to single class divisions only and SoS is not applicable).
all games played by each listed team with any team in the same age division (SoS applicable);
all games played by each listed team with any team in any age division (SoS applicable).
Consistent with MLB, ENYTB relies exclusively on the last two methodologies. When a single class (competition level) division is used, the represented class is guaranteed a certain number of berths. When multi-class divisions are used, there may or may not be berth guarantees for individual classes. It is possible to earmark any number of berths berths to the highest finishing team in each level of competition. For example, a berth could be earmarked to each competition level and all remaining berths could be awarded as wildcard berths i.e, going to the team with the next highest SoS adjusted win/loss percentage, regardless of competition level, then next highest and so on and so forth, until all berths have been distributed.
ENYTB usually relies on multi-class divisions with earmarking whenever reasonable.