ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Vaqueros will be one of six teams to play in Continental Baseball League next spring.
Las Cruces will have its first professional baseball team next May, when the Vaqueros of the independent Continental Baseball League begin play in the city’s Apodaca Park, league president and CEO Ron Baron told the Las Cruces City Council Monday.
The Las Cruces Vaqueros (the Web address says “Los Cruces Vaqueros”) will be one of the CBL’s six teams, playing a 60-game, 15-week schedule, and will play exhibition games against Mexican league teams, the Albuquerque Journal reported this morning.
Under league rules, the payroll for the 25-player team must not exceed $25,000, the Journal said.
Team owner Andrew Dunn, a real estate executive from Beach City, Texas, just outside Houston, told the Las Cruces Sun-News that Las Cruces was a “perfect location” for him to have a team.
“It came down to Las Cruces and Bartlesville, Okla., and it was hands-down Las Cruces,” Dunn told the paper. “There’s a lot of reasons I decided to come here; the climate, the city, and the people here are very good. There’s no other true major professional sports teams nearby to compete with (for attendance). To be really successful, minor league baseball needs to be played in cities with a population of 100,000 or less. Las Cruces fits that perfectly.”
Dunn said a goal will be to average 500 fans for each of the team’s 36 home games the Vaqueros will play at 1,233-seat Apodaca Park, where games will be played Thursdays through Sundays, the Sun-News said.
Dunn expects it will cost $250,000 to field the team in Las Cruces and is seeking business sponsorships, the paper reported.
Season tickets for the 2010 season are expected to go on sale next month.
5:50pm 10/13/09 — Play Ball? Las Cruces Might Get Minor League Team: Continental Baseball League official says league, city “very close” to an agreement.
Baseball fans in Las Cruces might have a minor league team to cheer for next year.
The Las Cruces Sun-News is reporting that Ron Baron, president and chief executive officer of the Continental Baseball League, said the city and the league are “very close” to finalizing an agreement.
Baron has already come up with a team name, Las Cruces Vaqueros, and an investor for the team. And he has scheduled a news conference at next week’s City Council meeting to publicly announce that a CBL team could be playing in Las Cruces next spring, the newspaper reported.
The Sun-News said that according to City Manager Terrence Moore, any formal council action will come after all details and legal requirements have been negotiated with the city. Included in that would be a lease for Apodaca Park, where the team would play.
The CBL is an independent minor league, according to the Sun-News. None of the teams or players are affiliated with Major League Baseball teams, but players from independent leagues are often signed to contracts with MLB organizations.
The league had six teams in Texas and Louisiana in the 2009 season: the Alexandria Aces, Big Bend Cowboys, Texarkana Gunslingers, Bay Area Toros, South Louisiana Pipeliners and Coastal Kingfish. It had begun play as a four-team league in 2007.
Baron and the CBL tried to bring a team to Las Cruces three years ago but were unable to find investors for the franchise, the Sun-News reported.
Baron told the newspaper he has an investor now. He declined to disclose the investor’s name, saving that until Monday’s news conference.
“The investor has been to Las Cruces several times and has met with city and business leaders,” Baron said. “He likes what he’s seen so far and considers it a great opportunity.”
Baron said game tickets would be in the $5 to $6 range. The team would probably play a 60-game schedule, with 30 home and 30 road games, with games played on Thursdays through Sundays from late May until August, the Sun-News reported.
“We’re excited about coming to Las Cruces,” Baron told the newspaper. “From the first time we visited, we love the Las Cruces market and know that it will make a perfect addition to the Continental Baseball League.”