SANTA FE, N.M. — Santa Fe Fuego skipper Bill Moore said the hardest thing about managing a ballclub is cutting players – then comes waiting for opening day.
But now that that’s out of the way, the Santa Fe Fuego baseball team of the Pecos League is ready to play ball.
The Fuego open their season tonight in Trinidad, Colo., against the Triggers. Former New Mexico Highlands player Jared Bowser is slated for the opening-day start. Santa Fe will then play its home opener Wednesday at Fort Marcy, also against Trinidad, starting at 7 p.m.
Moore trimmed roughly 35 players from spring training, which concluded this past weekend, and heads into opening night with a final roster of 22, including locals Jerome Romero, Nick Muller, Scott Berkebile and Rod Tafoya, who will get the start Wednesday.
“I’ve got a bunch of guys flying at 60,000 feet with no oxygen,” Moore said. “They’re pretty excited – they’re ready to rock and roll.”
Absent from the list is former St. Michael’s standout Kevin Chavez, who also played professional baseball with the Tampa Bay Rays farm system before being released last year. Moore said Chavez sustained a knee injury and will not play at all for the Fuego this season.
“It was real disappointing because, in my mind, I had him pitching probably Friday,” he said. “But that’s the way it goes, and I’m real happy with the guys who are here.”
And while questions about the less-than-ideal field conditions at Fort Marcy Park have been raised, Moore said the grounds crew have made the best of what they have.
“Those guys have done an awesome job with the field,” Moore said. “It’s a different ballpark, with a pro mound. The home plate area has been completely redone and the field is to regulation.
“When I left (Monday morning), they were still sod-cutting the infield to give it some form. I think people who haven’t seen (Fort Marcy Park) in a while will be pleasantly surprised.”
As for how well the older scoreboard overlooking the field works, Moore said, “I guess we’ll find out Wednesday.”
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: The Fuego will have batting practice from 4 until 5:15 p.m. during all home games. And from 5:45 until 6 p.m., Fuego fans can meet with players and coaches. Games begin at 7 p.m.
NOTES: The Fuego are still looking for play-by-play announcers and singers or musicians for the 35 home games, as well as host families for out-of-town players. For more information, call Moore at (602) 980-2372.