Yep, it’s that time again. Time for us media buffs to contemplate the burning end-of-the-season questions facing Santa Fe’s expansion baseball team.
The Fuego wrapped up their inaugural season on the road with a 6-4 loss to the Trinidad Triggers. Perhaps surprisingly, the biggest question facing the newest Pecos League member isn’t whether it will return to Santa Fe next year. It’s not even a question of why Santa Feans so heartily support and celebrate their last-place team.
That’s easy. This is the City Different, one of the oldest, most culturally diverse, architecturally and artistically romantic, weirdly endearing cities in the U.S. Being the contrarians Santa Feans are, it’s little wonder they embrace video-game numbers, noodle-armed pitchers and bedraggled Fort Marcy Ballpark enough for league commissioner Andrew Dunn to justify bringing it back.
And quite honestly, who am I to fault people for civic pride? Eat your heart out, Santa Fe. Love the Fuego. Manager Bill Moore does. He just can’t say whether he’ll be back in the dugout next year.
That, friends, is the Fuego’s big unknown.
Asked to put a percentage on it, Moore said, “Somewhere between 0 and 100. But if I’m a Pecos League guy next year, I would bet the farm it’s going to be in Santa Fe.”
The 67-year-old will take time in the offseason to determine his professional course. He has a couple other job offers and has to weigh whether managing is worth another season away from his wife, who lives in Tempe, Ariz., where the couple have a house 5 miles from the one Moore grew up in.
“I haven’t come very far in life,” Moore said, laughing.
Wherever Moore goes, though, baseball isn’t far away.
It’s been like that since the 1960s, the last time Moore got cut from a baseball team. The coach who axed him said something that stuck with Moore throughout his baseball career, one that included coaching stops at all levels of baseball, from the majors to independent leagues.
“You keep going out and trying, until every person on the planet tells you to go home,” Moore said. “So far I’ve been lucky enough that everyone hasn’t told me to go home.”
Not even a doctor’s order kept Moore home. He suffered a heart attack two years ago, underwent bypass surgery, but found himself back in the game when Dunn called. Baseball keeps Moore young and vibrant.
“It’s like breathing, or your heart beating,” he said. “It’s part of being alive.”
Weather is also a part of it, too.
In seven years as an assistant coach at Mesa Community College, Moore cooked in Arizona’s blistering oven. Compare that with the City Different’s mild climate, and maybe Moore’s return isn’t such a burning question.
“The first thing I do [when I get a job offer],” Moore said, “is Google daytime July temperatures. And 85 on a hot day is better than 110 on a cool day.”
Contact Isaac Avilucea at 986-3032 or email@example.com.