The Pecos League is the newest independent baseball league in the United States. The 2011 season was the first ever and it was a success. The Pecos League can informally be considered the lowest level of independent baseball in the states. It was created from some teams left over from the now defunct and short-lived Continental League. They report to have promoted 37 players to other independent leagues in 2011.
1. Roswell Invaders
The Invaders play in Roswell, New Mexico at Joe BaumanPark. The team only lost 11 homes games during their first season. You can get season tickets, for a total of 42 games at Roswell for $200. That comes out to being just under $5 a ticket. The Roswell Invaders won the first ever Pecos League Championship in 2011 with a 47 and 27 record.
2. White Sands Pupfish
The Pupfish play in Alamogordo, New Mexico at Griggs Park. The Pupfish were eliminated in the first round of the 2011 playoffs and ended the season with the second best record in the league: 41-29. Ernie Munoz played catcher for the Pupfish and was named the Pecos League Offensive Player of the Year with a .427 average in 241 at bats.
3. Ruidoso Osos
The Osos (meaning 'bear' in Spanish) played in the final Championship game and ultimately lost to the Roswell Invaders. The Osos were the team to eliminate the Pupfish in the first round of the playoffs. The Osos finished the season with the third best record in the league at 38-29. The team lost only nine home games.
4. Alpine Cowboys
The Cowboys play in Alpine, Texas and had the fourth best record in 2011 at 37 and 31. Alfredo Caballero of the Cowboys earned Pecos League Pitcher of the Year honors with a 1.01 WHIP in 68 innings. The Cowboys play their games at historic Kokernot Field, a historic landmark in Texas. The Alpine Cowboys share the field with a number of different baseball teams.
5. Las Cruces Vaqueros
The Vaqueros play at Apodoca Park in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The team barely finished with a winning record in 2011, going 35 and 32. That was still only five games behind the leaders by the end of the season. Next year the Vaqueros are reported to have new uniforms and will continue to play at Apodoca Park
6. Carlsbad Bats
The Bats are the traveling team of the Pecos League. They do not have a home ball field. This could have contributed to their atrocious record in 2011. They finished the season winning only nine of sixty-eight games. The Pecos League states that in 2012 the Bats will have a home field. Hopefully that will give the Bats what they need to avoid another poor record.
The league that preceded the Pecos League, the Continental League, didn't last long. The hope is that the Pecos League will stick and offer their fans affordable baseball in towns where the MLB and Minor Leagues are not present. Still, the communities that the Pecos League caters to are very small and only time will tell if they will be able to generate enough revenue. There have also been claims that the Pecos League will ask some players to play for free in 2012. I think smaller towns deserve to host competitive baseball and I hope the Pecos League can continue operations for years to come.