The Taos Blizzard expansion baseball team has been busy getting ready for the upcoming season in the Pecos League, but its managers have welcomed the challenge. 

“We are thrilled to be operating the Blizzard this season,” Jay Acton, the team’s general manager said. “I was in Taos a number of years ago and it was one of the one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Eric Pierzchala, our player personnel director, and Matt Leahy, our manager, can’t wait for spring training to get here!” 

Acton said his team will announce a pitching coach and a hitting coach shortly. The team’s roster, meanwhile, is filling up nicely. 

“We’re very pleased with the players we have so far — a mixture of veterans and top rookies,” Acton said. “Many of the experienced players have either played for us in other leagues or played against us. The rookies, for the most part, are from local Northeast tryouts or been recommended by coaches or scouts that we trust.”

The schedule has been released for the Northern Division teams: Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Taos, Trinidad and Ratón.

The Southern Division schedule will be released Jan. 15.

With The San Diego Padres moving into El Paso with their AAA team, it is going to be very hard for the Las Cruces Vaqueros to have an independent baseball team within the radius of a major league market. Apodoca Park is 40 miles to downtown El Paso where the Padres will play. The Padres will logically take sponsors, fans and support from the Vaqueros in a large scale. They are building a state of the art stadium in downtown El Paso that will be one of the best in AAA baseball.

Besides Las Cruces, the Pecos League is committed to all of its current nine cities for 2013 and beyond: Alpine, Las Vegas, Pecos Texas, Ratón, Roswell, Santa Fe, Taos, Trinidad, and Alamogordo.

“I will make decision on Jan. 15 about Las Cruces,” Pecos League commissioner Andrew Dunn said in an e-mail to the league. “If Las Cruces no longer makes sense, and the other market in West Texas isn’t ready, we will bring back the Carlsbad Bats for the 2013 season.”

The Bats would play limited amount of home games similar to Taos.

Even though Taos will only play roughly a quarter of its games at home, the Blizzard will be the home team in half of its contests. 

“Having half of the last at-bats is important — (it) gives you a chance to squeeze out a few more wins over the course of a season,” Acton said.  “The Pecos League will be extremely competitive this season and we are putting our team together accordingly. Commissioner Andrew Dunn has racheted up the stakes for this season and we want to be ready to answer the bell.” 

sports@taosnews.com

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