Professional baseball league coming to Clovis

Kevin Wilson

Professional baseball is coming back to Clovis.

Pecos League Commissioner Andrew Dunn said Thursday that one of the league’s eight teams will definitely be in Clovis in 2011.

Most of the games are expected to be played at Bell Park, owned by Clovis Municipal Schools, though some may be at the city-owned Mike Harris Field late in the league’s 74-game season, Dunn said.

A public meeting has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Nov. 3 at the city’s parks and recreation office at 500 Sycamore St.

Dunn has had meetings with city officials, who had concerns about youth leagues that have traditionally been scheduled to play at Harris Field through mid-July.

Dunn’s original preference for was Bell Park anyway, though school officials have said alcohol sales is not an option there as Dunn had hoped.

“We want to break even the first year, that’s our goal,” Dunn said. “We think there are baseball fans here, or we wouldn’t be here.”

Dunn said he is looking for sponsorships and host families, and hopes to be able to sell 200 season tickets.

“That’s kind of a tall number. A first-year team is typically around 100. That being said, there’s a lot of support.”

Other details, like a usage contract with the school district and concession stand splits, are still in the works, Dunn said.

Harris Field may be a possibility after July 15, when youth leagues are finished. Parks and Recreation Director Bill Bizzell said he felt good that the league could make a compromise.

Now, Dunn is looking for public input, and is asking for help designing the logo for the Pioneers.

“We want to replicate (the logo) as much as possible, the team that was there,” Dunn said.

The original Clovis Pioneers, who played in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, enjoyed affiliations with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds.

The league plans to run its season May through August, with the regular season divided into two halves. Large-scale tryouts will be held in Toronto and Memphis, with smaller local tryouts to be announced.

Clovis is one of four New Mexico teams, along with Las Cruces, White Sands (Alamogordo) and Roswell. Texas teams are Del Rio, Alpine, Odessa and El Paso. The Odessa and El Paso teams will travel more often than other Pecos League teams.