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Official Review by Bill Schum, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Welcome to the Pecos League! Formed in August 2010, this independent league currently features teams from Arizona (Bisbee/Douglas), Colorado (Trinidad), New Mexico (Alamogordo/Las Vegas/Raton/Roswell/Santa Fe/Taos), and Texas (Alpine).
In Santa Fe, as in the rest of the league, the regular season is shoehorned into dates from mid-May through the end of July, so plan accordingly. It’s a nice, condensed schedule of 70 games in not much more than 70 days, which means you can’t catch a Fuego game AND the annual September burning of Zozobra.
If you set your expectations accordingly, you should have a pleasant time watching these under-25 guys earning $50 a week try to prove themselves and catch on with an MLB organization.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Hey, it's New Mexico - you can get green chile on your dog! From the small food trailer near the entrance gate, you can get the basics. Dogs, burgers, and pizza are $4-$6. Chips for $2 and canned soft drinks for a buck and a half round out the limited menu. You also have the option of canned beer from the Santa Fe Brewing Co for 5 bones (or 4 if the Fuego score in the bottom of the first). Beyond that, you might want to bring your own sustenance (like peanuts).
It's a little tough to rate the atmosphere. On one hand, the mountain views, open seating, ability to sit close, and community park surroundings are very nice. On the other hand, it does have the feel of a high school game with its concrete tiers for seating and bare-bones infrastructure.
The public address announcer adds some good commentary and a little music to bolster the overall experience. The stands are completely covered for nice shade, but that does bounce the sound around a little too much.
Fort Marcy is almost exactly one mile north of the main plaza in downtown Santa Fe. There are endless choices for food and beverage. You can hit up an old saloon on Palace Ave or a rooftop cantina on Water Street. With most games starting at 6pm, you have plenty of time to take advantage of happy hour before first pitch and still catch a late dinner after the game. My wife, the chef, recommends the fish tacos at Coyote Café.
While in town, check out the incredible amount of history in Santa Fe, the oldest capital city in the United States. The ball field is named after a local fort that dates back to the 1800's and the town itself features some structures from the early 1600's.
The Fuego boost a surprisingly die-hard group of local fans, quite possibly the host families of the players. With no major sports anywhere nearby, the fan base, while small, is knowledgeable. Games at altitude with short fences can last upwards of four hours, but the fans are resolute with their camp chairs and obvious community pride.
It's a simple field to get to, and offers even easier free parking. From downtown Santa Fe, go north on Old Taos Highway, then turn right on Murales Rd. From there, you can't miss the ball field.
The drawback to the free parking is the main parking lot is in prime foul ball territory for the righties who are late on the fastball. The better bet is to park closer to downtown and walk over to Fort Marcy. The weather is almost certainly going to be perfect and it's a great area for a walk.
Once inside, the main building has standard restrooms, which aren't crowded.
Six bucks gets you through the gate and you can sit anywhere you want, even directly behind home plate. Although, you might have to battle the opposing team's resting pitchers as they want the prime seats to track pitches with a radar gun and tablet.
Regardless, you're sure to get a good seat, good weather, plenty of offense, some spotty base running, and, best of all, competitive baseball for about $1/hour.
There are no specific bonus points for Fort Marcy, but it is a nice experience for an independent league ballpark. If you love baseball in its purest form, you'll enjoy your time in Santa Fe.
Member Review by megminard on May 31, 2015
Pretty much agree with this review. It reminds me a bit of the ballpark in Trinidad; a community park, covered cement seating, view through a chain link fence... though Santa Fe is a bigger tourist town. If comparing the two, I felt more welcomed in Trinidad (I wasn’t unwelcomed in Santa Fe).
The stadium is not conducive to those in a wheelchair (or walker, cane, crutches, etc.) and there are banisters only on each end of the concrete seating area for those needing assistance with walking down the steps. If you sit high (on either end of the seating area – near the banisters), you can be more or less above the chain link fence to watch some of the plays on the field.
Santa Fe traffic is congested so if staying downtown, do take the walk to the park. It is a safe city but stay on the sidewalks. I think it's even less than a mile when hoofing it (cut through the park). I stayed at the Drury Inn and would recommend that as a hotel to stay (it’s a block or two to the Historic Plaza and museums and only about 1/2 mile or so to the ballpark).
If in town, check out a ballgame for something different in a ‘tourist town.’ For $6, it’s worth the investment.
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