Baseball league more optimistic about adding Clovis

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

The Pecos League has submitted a few concessions it would like as it moves toward the possibility of opening play next May with a baseball team in Clovis.

“I think there’s going to be baseball there (in Clovis), unless they come up and say (a park lease is) going to be more than we can afford,” said Andrew Dunn, commissioner of the Pecos League. “I think this could be something really special.”

Dunn wrote in an e-mail to Clovis city staff the league intends to have the Pioneers taking the field from May to August.

“He’s moving, he’s serious about bringing a team in,” Clovis Parks and Recreation Director Bill Bizzell said on Monday. “Now we’re just working out the logistics.”

Teams will be finalized by January, according to the Pecos League website.

Dunn said the Pioneers would play a schedule between 60 to 80 games, split evenly between road venues throughout New Mexico and Texas, and Clovis’ planned home stadium of Mike Harris Field.

Most games would begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday nights, but some games would be scheduled Sunday through Tuesday. Other cities involved in discussions with the Pecos League include Alamogordo and Roswell in New Mexico, and Del Rio and El Paso in Texas. Dunn is owner of the Las Cruces Vaqueros, which he plans to bring to the Pecos League from the Continental Baseball League, which recently disbanded after four seasons.

In his e-mail, Dunn said the league is asking for:

• A favorable stadium lease that would allow the outsourcing of concessions and the sale of alcoholic beverages

• Additional bleachers to bring seating capacity to 1,000

• The ability to sell billboards in the outfield.

• The ability to sell tickets and merchandise inside the park

• The ability to block outside views of the stadium. Harris Field currently has an uncovered chain link fence.

Bizzell said the requests seem reasonable, but Harris Field is traditionally a site for the senior division of Clovis’ two Little League organizations.

“There’s going to be an overlap for the youth league that uses that field,” Bizzell said. “There will be some scheduling that will have to be worked out that first month.

“I don’t see anything that would be a big problem other than (the dual scheduling).”

The team name is derived from a previous professional team in Clovis, which played in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s with major league affiliations with the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds.

A mockup of the team uniform is available at clovispioneers.com. The mockup is in purple and black, but Dunn said fans are welcome to suggest other colors or logos.

Dunn said he wasn’t optimistic about the prospects during his visit last Tuesday, but said his office and e-mail inbox have received a lot of Clovis-related traffic since.

“The support from everybody and the people who have contacted us (has been a surprise),” Dunn said. “There’s just overwhelming support.”

Dunn is planning another visit to Clovis within two weeks.