Let’s root for the home team

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By Optic Editorial Board

To many people, baseball at any level, all the way from the Peewee leagues to the Majors, brings a sense of enjoyment and relaxation.

Unlike basketball, for example, or football played inside an arena, baseball at this level generally is played outside, where people can enjoy a cool breeze in the night air.

Now that Las Vegas has its own professional baseball team, that’s all the more reason to get out at night and support the Las Vegas Train Robbers, who have already chalked up three victories.

Not familiar with the team? You’re missing a treat. The young men, from virtually every state in the nation, comprise the Pecos League. The Train Robbers have sister teams in Taos, Santa Fe, Raton, Roswell, White Sands, Trinidad, and Alpine, Texas.

They play 70 games in 72 days. Some of the players from the Pecos league have graduated to higher levels of professional baseball.

The ‘Robbers operate on a shoestring budget. It’s been necessary for players to rely on the good graces of local folk who provide a bed and a place to clean up. The players aren’t by any means wealthy, and in the ‘Robbers’ case, it’s undeniable that they play for the love of the game.

Tuesday’s home opener at Rodriguez Park showed a small but enthusiastic crowd who witnessed first a pitchers’ duel that went scoreless for several innings then became a slugfest, with more than 20 total runs being scored, and our team winning. Those who attended got to see some excellent action: double-plays, balls snared out of the air just a few feet from the fence, and an array of stolen bases, strikeouts, sizzling grounders and curve balls.

Baseball brings back the glory days of the sport, the ‘40s and ‘50s, when Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto and Pee-Wee Reese came in to our homes via radio. Baseball brings a dose of nostalgia, a longing for the days when fans could forget their worries, go out to the ball game, relax, have some refreshments, razz the visiting team, and enjoy three hours of inexpensive entertainment.

The young men have received much-needed pledges of support from various local businesses. A ticket — six dollars for an adult and three for children — is certainly affordable. Part of the reason for the size of the crowd, estimated at about 200, could be due to the newness of the team; another factor could be competition from other sporting venues, as youngsters also play night games; and perhaps the biggest reason the stands weren’t packed could be the fact that Las Vegans are still strangers to the players and management.

With each game, we learn the personalities of the players, their habits, their batting stance, and much more. Las Vegans would do well to continue to support the Train Robbers by “adopting” the players, players who represent us both at Rodriguez Park and on the road. The Pecos League’s short season operates only in the summer; and for that reason, it would benefit the young men considerably if we fans took advantage of these few months to become boosters.

See you at the next home game. Bring your family.