Published in Alamogordo Daily News on 9/9/2015
The fate of the White Sands Pupfish was originally going to be decided at Tuesday night's city commission meeting, however the Pupfish were taken off the agenda and pushed back to Sept. 22.
City Clerk Renee Cantin said the resolution was delayed in order to put together a more detailed budget cost sheet and be fully prepared. The resolution takes four of the seven city commissioners to pass.
Pecos League commissioner Andrew Dunn believes the Pupfish will return for their sixth season.
Pupfish man excites the crowd during a June 30, 2013 game. The fate of the White Sands Pupfish will be determined at a city commission meeting Sept. 22. (Daily News File Photo)
"I think we're going to be back in Alamogordo," Dunn said. "We may not have the most fans, it may not be Santa Fe or Roswell, but I think the Pupfish being a founding member of the Pecos League, it would be bad not to be there. I think people are kind of realizing that and wanting things to stay.
"They realize if they lose the Pupfish there probably won't be anything like this coming back to Alamogordo. We have a lot of the infrastructure there. The city built a great facility for us. It's a natural rival to Roswell and Alpine, which are permanent members of the league. We want to be there."
Spring training is slated to be hosted in Alamogordo next season. Pecos League spring training has been hosted every year in Alamogordo with the exception of the 2015 season.
"We're not going to fight them," Dunn said. "What can we do other than leave. I want to see the Pupfish in the Pecos League indefinitely. Moving it (spring training) to Las Cruces was a terrible mistake. That won't happen again. We can move it all to the north. Roswell can't host it either. The city doesn't let us host in Roswell or Las Cruces, they don't really want us down there.
"Alamogordo not only wants us, they were disappointed that we weren't there this year. We got a lot of resentment that we didn't have it there. It's great to see all those players come in, fight for spots, scrimmage and it's free to the public. I expect one northern team along with Roswell probably and do a three-team spring training there. I just don't see them ending it. This is Alamogordo, anything can happen right now."
Pupfish field manager Mickey Speaks is slated to return to the diamond for the 2016 season.
"I hope they're going to keep the team there," Speaks said. "I think there's some obstacles we have to overcome. I know it's a money situation and it's got to be financially feasible to do it. Attendance has a lot to do with that. With the death of Matt (McNeile) it makes it a little bit difficult. We need somebody there to spearhead it and get out to get businesses to help support it and get some sponsorships.
"I think it's a great atmosphere, a good area. I think it could do well. I think somebody needs to step up and grab the bull by the horns right now, not wait until the last minute to put some stuff in play. Once the league see's that, the people there are really trying to have a team....I don't think there's any reason why the league would not put a team there."
According to a Pecos League release, White Sands is set to remain in the Southern Division with the Alpine Cowboys, Roswell Invaders and Las Cruces Vaqueros. The team will also be limited to playing 31 home games while not playing no more than four home games in a row.
White Sands is also set to host one northern team and travel to either Topeka and Garden City, Kan. or Trinidad, Colo., once during the regular season.
This month, the Pecos League announced the addition of the Woodward, Okla. Westerners to the Northern Division. The Westerners join the Trinidad Triggers, Santa Fe Fuego, Garden City Wind and Topeka Train Robbers.
The Pupfish finished 37-30 last season, the first winning season since the inaugural 2011 campaign, while boasting eight all-stars and four promoted players.
"I think it's a positive for the town," Speaks said. "I'd like to think that the program was run right and the way the town wants it to be run. Most of the people had a good experience with the team. We tried to cut down the problems that they had a couple years ago. We cleared a lot of them up that we faced. I think it's on the right path. I just don't see why it couldn't be a positive."