Just when you think the independent Pecos League was on the brink of stability, another franchise shuffle occurs, with the Carlsbad Bats replacing the Las Cruces Vaqueros in the league lineup for 2013.
League commissioner Andrew Dunn says the prospect of competing with a Triple-A team in nearby El Paso in 2014 was not a battle the league wanted to pursue: “In 2014 neither the Vaqueros or El Paso Diablos stand a chance to go head to head with the El Paso Padres (sic) in the Pacific Coast League,” Dunn said via press release. “Apodoca Park is 40 miles to downtown El Paso. The Padres will logically take sponsors, fans and support from the Vaqueros in a large scale.” We’re also thinking the lack of attendance and sponsors in Las Cruces — two facts acknowledged by Dunn in the same press release — also had something to do with the decision to pull the plug on the Vaqueros: “The business community never supported this from day 1. The sponsorship dollars aren’t here. Fans want local, local, local.” Despite the criticism, the league will field a developmental team in Apodoca Park and host games against amateur teams.
So Carsbad is back in the mix. This isn’t an ideal situation, either: a Bats franchise never materialized because the city refused to award the team a beer license — and no beer means no profits in the pro baseball world. The Bats will spend most of the season on the road, Dunn says, with the prospect of 15 home games that might also include matches in Hobbs or Artesia.
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