The Ligerís Den: The Pecos League in Moore County?
By Tyler Anderson, Sports Editor
Jul 7, 2017, 16:18
Whatís up, Liger Legionaries? Itís good to chat with you once again.
This time around, Iím on moorenews.com rather than Sundayís sports pages. Thatís all right though; Iím given plenty of room in the digital world to operate and there were plenty of more important things that needed to be placed on the pages.
If anything, itís good to get to know the Demonsí new offensive coordinator, and to know that Coach Criswell is heading down to coach at Odessa Permian. Then, itís nice to know how the Dumas Little Demons flag football team did before the holiday, the Marlinsí upcoming meet in Garden City and the latest happenings from the Moore County Womenís Soccer League.
Thatís a mouthful. Plus, I like bringing in traffic onto the Moore County News-Press website whenever I have the chance.
Before I jump on to talking about the Pecos League and what it would take for Dumas to get a taste of professional baseball, I always feel that itís necessary to give out plenty of shouts.
I would like to give thanks to Keldon Trayler and Mike Pitts, who took their North Plains Babe Ruth 13-Year Old team down to Seminole this past weekend. When it came to taking pictures of their team last Monday, they gave me one of those ďshort noticeĒ calls and I was happy to oblige.
The only bummer was that there were a few kiddos who missed out on the photo opportunities. But itís the summer time, and even the young guys and ladies can get pretty busy.
Photo by Tyler Anderson/News-Press
You wonít see any salt from me, because I was that kid who had other obligations during the warmer months of the year. I do want to say that Iím looking forward to the Senior League Regional Tournament that will descend upon the Demon Diamond at McDade Park this coming Thursday.
Look for a feature story on that in the next edition of the News-Press, by the way.
Another shout out goes to Mike Marquez, who sent in a lot of good information about his flag football team. Which reminds me, I canít wait until football season comes around again.
In fact, I would like to include scores and standings from the Moore County Youth Football League when the season gets started. You never know when someone from the Warriors, Scorpions or Longhorns turns out to be the next great Demon or Bobcat football players.
I know for sure that Marty is chomping at the bit for the Demons to get back on the gridiron once more. Hang in there, Marty; we have less than two months to go now.
With my usual shout outs good to go, I have to move back to talking about baseball. Lately, all Iíve been talking about has been baseball, as the previous Ligerís Den talked about the Texas League coming up to Amarillo.
So we talked about Amarillo, right? You know what, letís focus the scope a little bit more and focus on Dumas and Moore County.
Imagine for a second that the Texas League is not coming to Amarillo, and playing it close to recent events, the Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs is not coming to Potter County Memorial Stadium.
For those who donít know about the Pecos League, Iíll fill you in. The Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs is a 12-team independent baseball league operating in the ďdesert mountainĒ regions stretching from California to Kansas.
The league is divided into two separate divisions. The Mountain Division is home to the Alpine Cowboys, the Garden City Wind, Roswell Invaders, Santa Fe Fuego, Trinidad Triggers and the White Sands Pupfish.
The Pupfish is based in Alamogordo, New Mexico, just in case you didnít know.
The Pacific Division is a California-heavy set, featuring Bakersfield, California City, High Desert (Adelanto), Monterey, Tucson (Arizona) and a travelling team known as the Hollywood Stars.
Interestingly enough, Pecos League Commissioner Andrew Dunn has previously stated, ďthe future of baseball in the Pecos League is in Canyon.Ē Should that phrase come to fruition, West Texas A&Mís Wilder Park would be home to a future Pecos League team.
However, this was before the agreement was made to build a $45 million ballpark to lure the San Antonio Missions to the Yellow City.
So, letís have a brain exercise: A forum of discussion or a coffeehouse topic of conversation, if you will. You can even call it a measuring stick of sorts.
Quick disclaimer before I dive in. Itís not intended to put down any of the facilities that Dumas currently has. Theyíre fine places to play and watch baseball and softball.
Itís merely a suggested blueprint on how Dumas can attract multiple regional tournaments, state tournaments and Little League/Babe Ruth/Senior League World Series events in the near future. Youíre more than welcome to even take such words with a heavy grain of salt also.
With that said, is Commissioner Dunn looking in the wrong direction? Maybe, just maybe, could Dumas be a good fit in the Pecos League? Letís explore that Ė both the pros and the cons.
This idea dawned on me when I visited Colorado for the Fourth of July holiday. Since Trinidad housed the Triggers, I thought it would be interesting to take pictures and soak up the atmosphere a little bit.
My impressions are this - Trinidadís Central Park has an archaic charm to it. It is made up of a single grandstand built into a hill. The concession stand is molded into the structure, right below the party deck. The press box is just a small pine shed, located on the hill off to the right and tickets are taken in at small fold up tables underneath a few tents.
Itís old, but not well dressed enough to be regarded as classic. It does have an old time, minor league baseball feel and sadly, Trinidad will never see pro ball higher than that of the Pecos League.
In defense of the Triggers, theyíre a fine organization. If youíre interested in checking them out for yourself, the Pecos Leagueís season lasts from May 24 to the end of July. Tickets are also affordable, going at just six bucks per person, tops.
I will note that theyíre competitive year in and year out, and currently, they sit in third place in the Mountain Division.
But for the small mountain city of nearly 10,000 people, the small crowds are just fine. Lastly, Central Park doesnít hold a ton of fans. For the Fourth, it was announced that 625 fans attended the Triggersí game against Santa Fe.
Photo by Tyler Anderson/News-Press
Thatís not a lot of people. According to a local photographer (a super nice guy), the Triggers average from 100 to 150 fans per game. Again, thatís not a lot of people.
So where would we put our hypothetical Dumas Pecos League team? Currently, there are two choices: the North Plains Babe Ruth Ballpark and the Demon Diamond at McDade Park. Both would need some work before a team can call either place home.
For now, letís hone in on the Demon Diamond.
The dimensions and field conditions would be good, and the Pecos Leagueís schedule would not interfere with the likes of the Demon baseball program. Now, it could mess with the likes of both the NPBR City Tournament and the Senior League teamís summer slate.
In minor league baseballís defense, they could have annual roadtrips to cater to those existing teams.
Whatís nice is that the Pecos League doesnít need fancy scoreboards or too many of the balls and whistles with contemporary venues.
If we do need to make a slight makeover to the Demon Diamond, the best course of action would be to build two smaller grandstands (for shelter from the sun and rain) on either side of the press box (which is a whole lot nicer than Trinidadís small box). Also, the Demon Diamond could use some premium seating in front of the big green tower itself.
In all honestly, the Demon Diamond wouldnít need too much investment to bring it up to snuff with Trinidad or Roswell. It has a good batterís eye; the dugouts are not too small and the field dimensions are all well and good.
While it can serve as a temporary home, at the very least, the most potential for significant improvements is the NPBR Ballpark.
The common link, should a team be considered, is that someone will need to build a clubhouse nearby.
The Demons do have a nice clubhouse across the street in the SDR, but it would be nice to give the North Plains Babe Ruth league a set of locker rooms, especially for hosting big tournaments in the future.
Anywho, letís go back to the NPBR Ballpark. Out of the two fields, it would need the most work. Thankfully, Chris Felan Ė who is the current NPBR president Ė is looking into making small, but significant improvements in the near future.
One of those significant improvements will be the building the facility housing the concession stand and restrooms. That will go a long way.
However, the dugouts would need a higher ceiling and be a little longer, since it wouldnít hold just younger ballplayers.
The infield will need a lot work, as well as those hypothetical grandstands I keep rambling about. The press box will need a future makeover and utilize both rooms instead of the current one.
I could go on and on. Instead, I want to hit up one more side of this: the size of the ďmarket.Ē
Compared to Trinidad, Dumas is a fairly bigger city (with a population nearly 14,700) and Moore County is larger in population compared to Las Animas County. Moore County has nearly 22,000 residents compared to Las Animasí 15,500.
Thanks, Sunray and Cactus.
Another mention to make in the case of Moore County is that baseball is a well-followed sport. Itís shown with the decent crowds for the Demons and CT Dumas games, as well as the folks who support Sunrayís Little League and NPBR teams.
All in all, baseball has a big place in Moore County, alongside the sports of football, volleyball and wrestling.
ButÖthe little devil on my shoulder does want to point out something. While itís fun to dream big and think about how fun it would be for the Pecos League to set up shop in Dumas, I think about the local leagues who could get hurt by the presence of a hypothetical pro team.
Those leagues would be the MCWSL and the NPBR. Iím a huge fan of both, and I donít want them to go anywhere anytime soon.
Because of the pro team, there is a need for host families and sponsorship funds. You also have to pay the players to come in for a few months, ride in a bus and grind away. Unfortunately, thereís only so much money to go around.
Also, Trinidad is a good market due to its tourism side of business. Dumas is a great place to live, work and send kids to school. Both cities are on the opposite ends of the destination spectrum.
As before, I can continue on about the pros and cons. But I want to stop there, and if youíre reading this, I would love to hear your opinion.
Would Dumas Ė if a ballpark is up to pro-baseball standards Ė be a good place for the likes of the Pecos League? How would it be? How would it not? Or am I batcrap crazy for thinking such a thing?
Iím merely ripping a hair-brained idea out of my head and wanting to hear what you think. That will do it for now, Liger Legionaries. Until next time!