Pecos League interested in starting new LA club

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By Mike Cote

The president of an independent baseball league said Los Alamos is on the top of his list of potential sites for a new team.
Andrew Dunn, who is in charge of the Pecos League, sent a letter to Los Alamos County Council chair Geoff Rodgers, county administrator Harry Burgess and others asking if there would be interest in putting a semiprofessional baseball team on The Hill.
The proposed team would play at Bomber Field on North Mesa, but there are several issues that would need to be ironed out with local officials before anything would happen. Nevertheless, Dunn said if things break the Pecos League’s way, the team could be up and running in fairly short order.
“We move very fast,” Dunn said. “We’ve got to have things ready.”
The Pecos League is currently comprised of eight teams, six of them in New Mexico, one in west Texas and one in Trinidad, Colo.
Dunn, who operates the league out of Houston and readily admits he knows very little about Los Alamos County, said one of the major considerations of the league is expenditures and one of its biggest is travel costs.
Despite having most of its teams in New Mexico, travel is still an issue. Teams are spread out, just in New Mexico, from Alamogordo all the way to Taos.
In the 2013 season, Taos played as a traveling team, having just 10 games in the city – the teams have 70 scheduled games in a season and the other teams had half of those at home and half on the road.
Taos’ Blizzard, which Dunn described as something of an experiment this season, were well supported by fans and by the City of Taos.
Prior to next year’s play, Taos will install lights on its field and have a better apparatus to support a regular league team.
As the Pecos League is currently set up, Taos plays in the South division along with Alpine, Texas, Roswell and White Sands.
The other four teams in the league, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Raton and Trinidad, Colo., make up the North division.
Dunn said he would like to add Los Alamos to make a 3-division league comprised of 3 teams each. Los Alamos would likely play in the division with Las Vegas and Santa Fe.
Rodgers said in an email Monday to the Los Alamos Monitor that the prospect is something the county will definitely take a closer look at.
“I think we would be very interested in the Pecos League,” Rodgers said. “It sounds like an exciting opportunity. (Deputy county administrator) Brian Bosshardt will be in touch with Mr. Dunn to get more information about the league and its relationship with the communities in which it plays. After we learn more, I think we can certainly have the necessary discussions with them.”
One of the biggest negotiating points between the county and the Pecos League will likely be whether the league will be permitted to sell beer at Bomber Field. Dunn said without an on-site beer sale agreement, getting a team in Los Alamos is probably not viable.
The issue of on-site beer sales also came up in Santa Fe. The Fuego play at Fort Marcy Park and the Pecos League had to fight with the City of Santa Fe to approve beer sales.
Ultimately, an agreement was reached and the Pecos League contracted with the Santa Fe Brewing Company for sales at the city-owned field.
“It was a very, very tough deal for us,” Dunn said. “But our main vendor has done a lot of business in Los Alamos.”
Dunn said he’d like to have Santa Fe Brewing Company – one of the vendors that will be at this weekend’s Pajarito Mountain Beer Fiesta – also operate at Bomber Field for the Pecos League games.
Santa Fe started play in the Pecos League in 2012 and has drawn pretty well – including drawing a few fans from Los Alamos – and its licensed merchandise has sold at a good clip, according to the league.
In 2012, former Los Alamos High School pitcher Scott Berkebile made the opening day roster for the Fuego but struggled early in the season and ended up making just four relief appearances.
To introduce the Fuego to the area, the league staged an open spring training workout and split-squad game at Bomber Field in early May of last year. Dunn said the turnout by local baseball fans was underwhelming – not a single spectator showed up.
The Pecos League is getting close to the end of its 2013 regular season, with all eight teams having less than 10 games remaining.
Roswell, one of the biggest-drawing of the league’s franchises, has already clinched the South division title and Las Vegas’ Train Robbers, in their inaugural season, are poised to clinch the North title in short order.
Dunn said if a deal can be reached with the county, which operates Bomber Field, on the lease and the issue of beer sales, a team manager will be installed in short order and things will get rolling.
“We want to play baseball,” Dunn said. “If Los Alamos wants us there, we’ll be there.”