Out to the ballgame

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By Optic Editorial Board

Count us in as enthusiastic supporters of the plan to locate a semi-pro baseball team here in Las Vegas. Who isn’t in favor of it, given the multiple benefits it promises to bring to the city?

In case you missed it — and surely you didn’t, since this is a real “talker” around town — the Optic reported last week that the Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs has chosen Las Vegas  as a site for one of three semi-pro expansion teams in the 2013 season. The league has teams in West Texas, Southern Colorado and New Mexico, while the northern division is expected to include Trinidad, Taos, Santa Fe, Raton and Las Vegas next year.

It sounds like loads of good family fun, as well as a source for real community pride.

And, yes indeed, it will also be a significant economic boost as it brings more money into town.

Teams like these are where talented ball players get a start in the professionals.

That’s evidenced by the number of players who have “moved up” already. Pecos League Commissioner Andrew Dunn told Las Vegas City Council members that, so far, 127 players in the three-year-old league have moved up to higher level leagues — and nine have signed Major League contracts.

Negotiations with the city include the use of Rodriguez Park, how to divvy up concession revenues, securing a municipal liquor license for selling beer at the ballgames, and more, but we see nothing in the way of all this becoming a reality.

Even water — the great inhibitor to so much in our town — won’t be a problem, since the park is already equipped with an effluent line for watering the field.

Judging by what City Manager Tim Dodge said — that he thinks this will “help mend and bring the community together” in positive ways — the city is ready to embrace the team with open arms. “It’s not an east or west thing,” Dodge said. “It’s a community thing.” We concur.

The league anticipates playing 37 games in Las Vegas this coming summer, with tickets selling at a reasonable $6 each. Moreover, the season is scheduled to start May 5 and continue until July 26, which shouldn’t conflict with the schedules of either of our college teams.

This should be a winner all around. Las Vegas can unite behind this. In fact, it’s refreshing to see such enthusiasm already.

Seems we’re about to embark on a new level of community spirit. Go Train Robbers! Go Vegas!