Review by Mike
I love the idea of the Pecos League, putting franchises in communities that have no other opportunity to see professional baseball without it being a major undertaking. They often make use of older, smaller ballparks that no longer meet the standard for minor league baseball, but still have charm and enjoyment to give back to their community, like Clint Lightner Field in Garden City, Kansas, or Central Park in Trinidad, Colorado.
Sometimes, however, it seems that their reach exceeds their grasp. Legion Field in Raton, NM was the home for two seasons of the Raton Osos. Take a look at the photos and consider that a professional baseball team played here. Sure, this is a nice little baseball diamond in a town park, perfect for high school or American Legion ball, but, to me, this falls a little short of professional level.
The views, I must admit, are lovely. The town of Raton is at the southern end of Raton Pass, the gap through the mountains that connects New Mexico to Colorado. Mountain vistas abound and the park that hosts the field is very nice. An art deco National Guard building sits behind the first base line and a World War 2 tank greets you upon entering the park.
The “stadium” is just two small erector set grandstands and there is a small shed directly behind home plate which must serve as the scorekeeper’s quarters. The dugouts are actually a couple of steps below field level and the scoreboard is nice, with a full 9-inning line score. There is ample parking. In fact, there are probably more space for cars than spectators.
Having not seen a game here, I can’t speak to the gameday presentation, and it is certainly possible that with good use of food trucks, a PA system and creative fan engagement, a night at the ballpark in Raton may have been a very enjoyable experience. I hope so because, as I said, I really like the Pecos League and what they stand for. Heck, they gave little Raton, NM pro ball for two seasons. Kudos to them.