The Garden City Commission approved an agreement allowing a new professional baseball team to use Clint Lightner Field to play its games, as well as an ordinance allowing beer to be sold and consumed at the games.
Officials with the Pecos League announced in December that the Garden City Wind would be the eighth team to play in the independent professional baseball league. The Pecos League is entering its fifth season, with most teams located in New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.
Andrew Dunn, league owner and commissioner, told the city commission that league teams play 70 games in May, June and July. Players are typically younger than 25 and get promoted to other higher level professional and affiliated leagues.
“We had our first player make his Major League debut this year with the Texas Rangers (pitcher Jon Edwards), and we have about 200 players that have been promoted,” Dunn said. “We’re asking to use Clint Lightner in its existing condition — we’re not asking for improvements — and we need to sell concessions, beer, tickets and merchandise.”
The Garden City Recreation Commission oversees program activities at Clint Lightner, but it is a city-owned facility. The facility-use agreement also includes a $1,200 payment to the GCRC for utilities used at the park.
City attorney Randy Grisell said the ordinance, which allows both beer and alcohol to be served, is similar to actions the city has taken at Garden City Regional Airport, Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, Lee Richardson Zoo and Garden City Community College in which it allows consumption and sale of alcohol and beer at certain times.
“It’s similar to what you’ve done in the past,” Grisell told commissioners.
The Garden City Wind will be part of a four-team Northern Division that will include the Trinidad (Colo.) Triggers, Las Vegas (N.M.) Train Robbers and the Santa Fe (N.M.) Fuego. The Southern Division includes the Alpine (Texas) Cowboys, Las Cruces (N.M.) Vaqueros, Roswell (N.M.) Invaders and the White Sands (N.M.) Pupfish.
In a Telegram story about the announcement, Dunn indicated most teams in the league have an average budget of between $160,000 and $240,000 per season. Players are paid between $300 and $500 per month.
Both the Wind and the Trinidad team will conduct a six-day spring training in mid-May, with the regular season slated to open on May 19 against Trinidad.
Most teams receive funding from ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise sales and concessions at games. Rosters are set at 22 players, and National League rules are used, meaning that pitchers are in the lineup and required to bat.
The Wind will finalize its coaching staff in the near future. Players who are interested in a tryout should contact Eric Schiff at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314-874-6774.
In other city commission business Tuesday:
• Commissioners proclaimed the week of Jan. 25 through 31 as Health Awareness Week.
• Commissioners recognized safety award recipients, including: Traffic Department, 2014 Department Safety Award; Water Department, Most Improved safety record; Raelene Stoecklein, engineering department, 4th Quarter Safety Recognition Award and overall 2014 safety recognition winner.
• Commissioners appointed Mario Miller, Max Meschberger and Edward S. Ziegler to the airport advisory board; and appointed Brian Schwindt to the planning commission to serve the remainder of an unexpired term of Ken Rishel.