At 9:30 PM on Tuesday, Fox Sports 1 will premiere The Pecos League, a new half hour series following the Trinidad Triggers of the independent Pecos League during their 2013 season. And while many fans assume that pro sports are all glitz and glamour, the Pecos League is a sobering reminder that players at the lower levels of baseball don’t have many (or really, any) of the luxuries that their major league counterparts do.
Triggers players don’t drive fancy cars, don’t live in mansions, and don’t play in stadiums with tens of thousands of seats and every amenity you can imagine. The stadiums they play in more closely resemble high school stadiums, with tiny clubhouses, very few seats, and cramped dugouts. Their housing is provided by host families. Their pay is minimal, coming in at $50 per week.
The players are realistic that their time has likely gone by. Many of them are playing out of love for the game, and for the fleeting chance that a scout will show up to a game and they’ll got a shot with an MLB organization.
The Pecos League is a unique look at what some would consider the dregs of baseball. The characters surrounding the team are diverse, and interesting in their own ways. The manager is a Harvard educated former lawyer. The team’s television show is produced in the basement of a funeral parlor – by the town’s funeral director. The Triggers catcher is Australian, complete with stereotypical accent. You really couldn’t have drawn up this cast much better.
Bur realistically, the first two episodes didn’t do a great job at building up the players too much past one characteristic. There’s the Australian guy, the black guy, the veteran captain, the former draft pick…there isn’t much overall development with the characters past that one note. However, the show doesn’t seem to be necessarily about fleshing out each character. It’s more of a general look at the team and the league, designed to give fans an inside look at what the lower levels of baseball are like.
In that aspect, I think the show achieves its goal. It’s not every day that you hear a baseball player remark that the place they’ll be staying for the evening is a converted homeless shelter. It’s not every day you see a player practice bunting next to a motel’s indoor pool. It’s not ever day that you see a minor league team load themselves onto a custom-painted school bus to begin a road trip. The Pecos League gives viewers that experience, and you probably won’t think of minor league baseball the same way again.