Over the last week I’ve seen two Pecos League playoff games; I’ll be seeing another tomorrow. The league has teams in Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.
I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun at games, including the 1987 NL playoffs in SF and the All Star Game in the Kingdome in Seattle (whenever that was).
The ball is pretty good. Probably about AA. During the first game, the worst things I saw were a runner going from first to third stepping in the middle of second base (rather than clipping the inside corner), and a reliever nonchalanting a throw to first, and barely making an out. Other than that, it was pretty clean, other than an error on the other team’s SS where he just dropped the ball
The play is surprisingly good. During the first game, the Sagauro’s catcher, Jesse Baker, gunned down two would-be base stealers — quick release, gun for an arm, perfect throw. In the game I just saw, he almost threw out another, but for the runner dislodging the ball.
What makes it all so much fun is that the players are doing it because they love it — and for the chance to be noticed by a scout from one of the MLB teams. They get paid almost nothing, and stay with “host families” while the team is in town.
The owners? It’s a mom-and-pop operation. Last week during the second round of playoffs (attendance maybe 600), a friend and I were there drinking overpriced beer (the tickets were cheap — $7.50 for seats ten rows behind third base), and started talking with the “mom” of “mom and pop,” who was selling tickets in the stands for balls, caps, T-shirts, and jerseys.
A couple of minutes in, she said “Excuse me. I want to see this. Tyler’s pitching.” That left us mystified. My pal Leo asked her, “Who’s Tyler?”
“Oh. He stays with us during the season.”
What will, I hope, be the final game of the Pecos League championship series will take place tomorrow night here in Tucson (the Sauguaros won 11-6 tonight), at the white elephant (Kino Stadium — don’t get me started) down on Ajo. If the Saguaros lose, there’ ll be another game Friday night.
If you’re in town or nearby, come on down. You’ll have fun.