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Official Review by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Las Vegas, New Mexico is said to have been the worst of the worst of Old West Towns, though not as well known as Tombstone or Deadwood. It is located at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Appropriately named for the Wild West, the Las Vegas Train Robbers baseball team began operation in 2013 and play at city-owned Henry Martinez Baseball Field at Rodriquez Park, located a little less than a mile from the historic town center. The Train Robbers are a part of the Pecos League of Professional Baseball.
I was told the field was built about 20 years ago and it was in disrepair with dust and dirt scattered throughout the outfield until 2013 when the Train Robbers began play. The city got on board and added some irrigation lines. It’s nice and green now.
The Michael Rodriquez Complex houses several playing fields including a little league park.
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The concession stand was not open when I arrived. It only opened when the adjacent little league game started. When asking the operator's of the stand if they will be open for Train Robbers games in their second season, they told me they had not been asked.
I was also told during the first season a local pizza place (JC's) operated the concessions and it served the crowd well.
I was also told there was a beer truck behind the visitor's dugout during their inaugural season but that was not available the game I attended.
The seating is all aluminum benches without backs so bring a cushion or a seat back to assist with comfort. There's a set of bleachers on the first base side and the third base side both containing 10 rows. If you sit higher up, you can get a view of the field above the chain link fence. There's also a set of bleachers behind home plate that has eight shorter rows. The pitchers sit here and chart the throws and record the velocity of pitches thrown.
The sun sets down the first base line so folks sitting on the third base line will get the sun light in their eyes during the first few innings of an evening game. None of the seating areas has protection from the weather elements so be sure to bring sun screen or an umbrella.
At the game I attended, there was no 'real' ticket handed out; just a basic 'Admit One' ticket like the kind you receive at a carnival. The person at the gate didn't know a whole lot about the facility and game day operations. She was pretty clueless. It was, however, their home opener for the season.
Beyond the left field you'll get a view of typical New Mexico topography.
The players paint the lines on the field prior to the game as there is no grounds crew.
The ballpark has the basic scoreboard with strikes, balls, outs and runs per inning. It was not working properly the game I attended.
The announcer is good and provides the starting lineups so scorecards can be completed with relative ease. No roster sheets are handed out.
Rodriquez Park is in a residential area.
If traveling from out of town, I'd recommend staying at the historic Plaza Hotel built in 1882 and has all the modern day comforts while still preserving the past. While you're there, get a tour of the hotel. And who knows, maybe you'll experience the ghost of Byron T. Mills.
A museum to visit is the Las Vegas Museum and Rough Rider Memorial. It features objects and photographs related to the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry and Theodore Roosevelt. It's worth it if you're a history buff.
There is also fishing and a wildlife refuge for outdoor activities when visiting Las Vegas.
For drinks before or after the game I'd recommend the following two places: The Old Town Drafthouse and the Byron T's Saloon located in the Plaza Hotel (named after the ghost). The Old Town Drafthouse is a newer brewery in Las Vegas and offers a variety of local brewed craft beers. Byron T's Saloon is frequented by locals as well as visitors to the hotel so there's an interesting mix of patrons. It's quite worth a visit.
Restaurant choices in Las Vegas, NM include El Rialto - Mexican (right next door to The Old Town Drafthouse) and JC's Pizza - Italian offering pizza, calzones, salads, etc. (also close by to The Old Town Drafthouse).
Most of the fans sit on the third base bleachers as that is the home team side. There were very few who made this home opener, perhaps because of the threat of rain.
Those that did attend stayed during the hour and a half rain delay, so I suspect they are a pretty hardy bunch.
All are willing to share memories and comments on Train Robbers game day experiences from the previous year(s).
The park is in a residential neighborhood. It is walking distance (about .7 miles) from historic downtown. But I wouldn't recommend walking as one of the roads there is narrow, sidewalks are inadequate, there are loose dogs, and it's hilly.
Driving is quick and easy, as is parking. There is no charge for parking and the parking lot is gravel.
I did not notice any public transportation in Las Vegas, NM; nor was I expecting to find any.
I would not consider this park wheelchair accessible because of the gravel and dirt surrounding the facility. The night I attended was quite rainy and pushing a wheelchair would be near impossible. And there's a five or six inch gap to get onto the paved walkway from the gravel lot, so that would be difficult too.
There are no restrooms; just port-a-johns (which I did not check out).
It's $6 to see a game (that's a normal admission price for a Pecos League game). Parking is free.
The game I attended lasted two innings, then the skies opened up. It took one and half hours after the rain to call the game (I suspect due to field conditions). There were no refunds.
With port-a-johns, unknown concession availability, and a disorganized operations, it's not quite worth the game day experience.
There are no extras for a Train Robbers game at Rodriguez Park.
At the game I attended, there was little organization and minimal fan amenities. I suspect the organization will improve on that as fans told me of offerings made at the park the previous year.
The town of Las Vegas, NM is a surprisingly nice place to visit and if you're in the area, check out a Train Robbers game and let us know of your experience.
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