Independent Baseball: Would You Play for Free?

Devon TeepleAnalyst IMay 5, 2011

The Pecos League picked up the pieces once the Continental Baseball League fell apart. 

Now with less than a week before opening day, this new six-team start-up is fully functional and ready to entertain its fans. 

There has been little written about president Andrew Dunn and the work it has taken to bring this together, however, it peaked my interested last October when I read their motto; 

“The league's high power offenses are fueled by high altitudes and smaller ballparks”  

Indy baseball has to consistently think outside the box to bring in new customers and with a slogan that sounds like its promoting Playstation-like results, it might just actually work. 

It’s been some months since I published my first article on the Pecos League, so I began to do some digging. After reading up on the return of the Las Cruces Vaqueros, I found information that will definitely raise some eyebrows. 

Indy leagues are notorious for not paying a hefty salary and many of the players are playing for the love of game or that one last shot at professional baseball. 

But, get this, would you play for free? 

If you answered no, you are in the minority. 

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, last year Vaqueros had a team salary of roughly $20,000. Players were being paid a minimum of $200 a month, with a cap of $400. Dunn was reportedly quoted as saying that in 2011 teams will entertain a $35,000 cap, with players now making between $200 and $500 a month. 

Here’s the kicker; ten of the 30 on a roster will not be paid. 

Talk about love of the game! 

Despite all the struggles of being one of the few teams left in the CBL, the Vaqueros pulled through and are fully operational for 2011. It proves that the game can and will be played despite any condition and regardless of any obstacle in its way. 

For anyone out there who says the game is played just for money, think again. In Las Cruces, it’s more about the community and giving the players that opening they’ve been looking for for years. 

Local personality Bob Ogas has said the Vaqueros were thought to be a "plus for the community."

"It gave (young players) a chance to play and get better," he said. "And you might have a late bloomer somewhere."

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

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