The Garden City Wind, which will begin its third year of professional baseball in Garden City this May, will serve as the host team for the 2017 Pecos League All-Star Game.
That announcement was made Friday afternoon in a press conference at Jax Sports Grille in Garden City by Wind General Manager Marcus Sabata.
The All-Star Game will be played on July 11 (a Tuesday), and is scheduled for a 7 p.m. first pitch at Clint Lightner Stadium.
Also on hand for the announcement were Roxanne Morgan, Executive Director of the Finney County Convention and Vistitor’s Bureau, and Matt Allen, City Manager for the City of Garden City.
“Our intent is to make this the best all-star game the league has had,” Sabata said in his remarks, citing that in recent seasons the event has been played in Santa Fe, N.M.
Sabata said that in recent all-star games, the rosters have been set at 30 players for each of the two teams, and in this year’s event, it will be New Mexico vs. The League.
New Mexico teams include the Santa Fe Fuego, The White Sands Pupfish and the Roswell Invaders. The League includes the Garden City Wind, The Salina Stockade, The Trinidad (Colo.) Triggers and the Alpine (Texas) Cowboys.
A Pecos League Home Run Derby competition is also slated to be held earlier in the day, with a time to be announced at a later date. Sabata also indicated that some supplemental event could possibly be held the evening of July 10 to make it more than a one-day event.
Morgan said the CVB had done an economic impact study for the event before it was approved and the invitation accepted by Pecos League President Andrew Dunn, who was not present at the announcement.
“We expect it to have about a $30,000 impact for just one day, so if we get a second day of events, then it could be doubled,” Morgan said. “We’re working on attracting the fans who support the visiting teams and players.”
Allen said that with two full seasons under their belt, the Wind had met, or exceeded, many objectives that were established when they came in for the 2015 season.
“The biggest benefit is to have an additional (entertainment) offering for the young people in the community,” Allen said. “Our average age is 27, and this is another event that is an attraction to keep these young people around an extra three or four years. It has a huge impact on our work force and the employers in the area.”
Allen said there has been a need to create entertainment, and entertainment value for the 20-something group who then move into the 30s and have young families.
“We’re getting a great cross-section of the community coming to the games, and that’s what we had hoped for,” Allen said.
Sabata said that between him, the CVB and the City of Garden City, the event had been in the planning stages since October.
“With the history of the park, the responses we’ve had from visiting teams and the support of the community groups, this just seems to be a good fit,” Sabata said.
Sabata said that The Wind will begin its spring training on May 18 and will open its regular season on May 25. He also indicated that the Great Bend Boom and the Topeka Train Robbers would not be fielding teams this year in the Northern Division of the Pecos League.
The Northern Division, according to the Wind’s website, will consist of Trinidad, Santa Fe, Garden City and Salina, while the Southern Division will be comprised of the Tucson Saguaros, Roswell Invaders, Alpine Cowboys and White Sands Pupfish. There also will be a Pacific Division this year, which will include California teams of the Monterey Amberjacks, California City Whiptails, High Deseert Yardbirds and the Bakersfield Train Robbers.
The Wind had a massive turnaround season in 2016, claiming the Northern Division title a year after they finished dead last. But their goal of playing in the Pecos League Championship was dashed by the Triggers, who won the best 2-of-3 series at Clint Lightner Stadium in early August.