Clovis possible site for baseball team


Clovis is one of more than a dozen cities being considered for an independent baseball league team, according to the league president.
Bob Lipp, president of the Southwestern League, said Clovis is attractive because of its location, demographics and it has a solid baseball facility in Bell Park.
“It’s a good fit because it’s between Roswell, Farmington and Plainview,” Lipp said. “It also looks to be a growing community and it’s had baseball there in the past.”
Bell Park was home of the Clovis Pioneers minor league team from 1938 to 1956, when the team disbanded.
Other state and area cities being considered include Las Cruces, Roswell, Farmington, Alamogordo and Plainview, Texas.
Lipp said he is also exploring options in Kansas, Oklahoma and east Texas and would ultimately like to have two four-team divisions.
The level of play would be similar to a low-level Single A affiliate, with teams stocked with undrafted high school and college players along with professional players who have been cut, Lipp said.
“Independent baseball has had success in the smaller communities,” Lipp said. “There’s an overabundance of good athletes who deserve a chance.”
Lipp said the team would also include two or three local players and be coached by someone from the area.
“It’s really too early to tell,” said Lipp, who was in Clovis two weeks ago and plans to visit again next week.
He said he has not contacted anybody about using Bell Park — which is owned by the Clovis school system — or franchise ownership.
The proposed league was formerly known as the Arizona-Mexico League, but Lipp said management in Mexico was too unpredictable.
Based on demographics, Clovis is not among the top 10 cities being considered, he said, but finding local ownership and sponsors are also important factors.
Franchise fees for an expansion team would be $55,000, with local ownership preferable, Lipp said.