May 10, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Opening Night: The Santa Fe Fuego Light Up Ft. Marcy Park

"It was a funky, sloppy, sluggish and chilly experience. It was also wildly entertaining and a wonderful community event..."

By Todd Eric Lovato

Fox in a Forest

Todd Eric Lovato is a Santa Fe native, the editor of and an overfed, long-haired leaping gnome.


In it’s Ft. Marcy Park debut, Santa Fe Fuego drew hundreds of enthusiastic spectators in a 14-8 victory over the Trinidad Triggers.  Families, groups of friends and baseball enthusiasts huddled in the cool spring air to welcome baseball back to Santa Fe. Locals sported their fresh Fuego ball caps and t-shirts with pride. The audience participated in a spirited rendition of our national anthem beneath the idyllic skyline of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Crowd favorite and starting pitcher Rod Tafoya -- who at age 47 has earned the nickname “The Ageless Arm” -- wowed the crowd with a game-opening fastball strike. Sure, the Triggers batter responded with the game’s first score, a homerun over left field that sailed past the arroyo and into the adjacent park. But we were a forgiving audience. We needed to be.

Both teams fielded poorly, threw balls wildly and even engaged in a near brawl, the result of some wild pitching by the Triggers. The first four innings lasted some two hours, and chilly temperatures likely contributed to most of the crowd clearing out well before the end of the game.

Both Fuego the team and the organization had some kinks to work out. The single concession line was dauntingly long. The ticketing system was a bit disorganized, although the $6.50 admission charge felt right. The scoreboard didn’t get fired up until well after the game began and the score keeping was inaccurate. The much-debated, and, to some, much-anticipated beer garden was absent. Errant fouls balls rained over left field, pelting more than a few parked cars – yet provided a non-stop source of entertainment for a scrum of ball-chasing boys.

It was a funky, sloppy, sluggish and chilly experience. It was also wildly entertaining and a wonderful community event that every Santa Fean should experience. Just bring a jacket, a snack and I don’t suggest parking in the left field parking lot.

See you at Friday’s game.