Host families sought for ball players

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By Martin Salazar

Ever thought about taking a Train Robber into your home? Here’s your chance.

The Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs is seeking host families for about 30 players and coaches for its inaugural Las Vegas team, named the Train Robbers. It’s a rookie level professional baseball league, and the season runs from May 14 to July 28.

The local team will play 35 home games and 35 road games in 72 days. Its home field will be at the city’s Rodriguez Park.

“Players come from all over the country,” league Commissioner Andrew Dunn said last week at a community briefing at Charlie’s Restaurant. “They live with host families, play with us and move up in other higher level independent leagues… We’re excited about Rodriguez Park. We already have a great relationship with Luna (Community College) and all the baseball communities in Las Vegas.”

Casey Dill, the field manager for the Train Robbers, said the team is also expecting to draw some players from outside the United States, including one professional player from Japan and a top prospect from the Dominican Republic.

Dill, previously the field manager for the league’s Las Cruces team, said last year he had problems recruiting host families, which meant some of the players had to cram into a hotel room. He said players aren’t making enough money to spend freely on hotel rooms, which is why the league tries to find host families for them.

Players will stay with their host families from April 28 until Aug. 10.

Host families are given two tickets to every home game. Dill pledged that players would follow whatever house rules are established, and he said host families can supply as little as a couch to sleep on and a bathroom. Some host families, he said, treat the players they taken in like their own kids, providing them with meals, but that isn’t required.

“The only requirement is they need to be given adequate living accommodations, a bathroom and a place to sleep,” Dill said. He said his line is always open if any problems arise, although he said he is strict on his players and doesn’t anticipate that that would come up.

Anyone wanting to host a player is asked to contact Thomas Nelson at 530-514-1025 or email Dill at casey.dill@pecosleague.com

The Pecos League chose Las Vegas as a site for one of three expansion teams in the 2013 season. The league has teams throughout New Mexico, west Texas and southern Colorado.

“We’re going to be part of the community here, just like we are in the other cities,” Dunn said.

He said any player in the region who wants to try out for the Pecos League should register online. The league website is pecosleague.com, and its phone number is 575-680-2212. Tryouts for the public will be held at 3 p.m. at Fort Marcy Park in Santa Fe.  

He said the league combine will be held on May 7 in Las Vegas. Players from Trinidad, Raton, Taos, Santa Fe and Las Vegas will be on hand, giving the public a chance to see what the Pecos League is about.

Opening day is May 14 in Roswell with the home opener scheduled for May 19. The Train Robbers will host Trinidad at Rodriguez Park.

Dill said the team he managed last year in Las Cruces didn’t get much support from the community there, and so far he’s been impressed with the level of support he’s seen in Las Vegas.

“I fully expect to be back in the championship game,” Dill said. “Hopefully, we’ll win that last game this year… We want to make Las Vegas a place where the best players in the world want to come and play because they know they’re going to get the opportunity to move up at the end. That’s what it’s all about, creating opportunities for young people.”

The league is also working with the Las Vegas/San Miguel Chamber of Commerce on trying to find sponsors for the team. Southwest Capital Bank has already committed to being a Youth Camp Main Sponsor, pledging $2,500.