ARIZONA-MEXICO  LEAGUE
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

WHEN DID THE BASEBALL LEAGUE START?

The Arizona–Mexico League was a low-level circuit in American minor league baseball that existed as an affiliated Class C league from 1955–58 and as an independent league in 2003.
The Arizona–Mexico League was the successor league of the Arizona–Texas League which existed from 1928–32, 1937–41, 1947–50 and 1952-54. From 1928 to 1930, it was known as the Arizona State League.

WHERE ARE THE TEAMS?

The league is currently meeting with many communities to see if games can be played at their local ballpark and what upgrades need to be done to host professional baseball. 

WHAT ARE THE PLAYER QUALIFICATIONS?
Players with existing professional experience are welcome to the new league as well as graduated college seniors that want to continue their baseball career.

WILL THE PLAYERS BE PAID?
Yes, we are a professional league and all players will be paid.

WILL THE LEAGUE HOLD FORMAL TRYOUTS?
Early 2017, close to our playing season, which begins mid-May, the league plans to hold separate tryouts in Arizona, Florida, New York and close to our home base, in Phoenix and Tucson.

WILL PLAYERS BE ARRIVING FROM OTHER INDEPENDENT LEAGUES?
We anticipate that some players will be arriving our training camps after they did not make the final cuts in the American Association, Can-Am League, Pacific Association and Pecos League. We also anticipate some trades will occur as well as some players arriving our training camps from affiliated training camps from Arizona & Florida.

DO TEAM STAFFS HIRE INTERNS?
The league is built on the principle that all people involved, not just the players, can use the experience learned in our league, get college credit, and move on to the next level in their career as well.  Assistant team directors, sales development, public relations, media directors and game-day help will all be filled by interns as well as local people that wish to be part of this
exciting new venture!

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Welcome to the new ARIZONA-MEXICO LEAGUE website!


The league is known as the Arizona-Mexico League of Professional Baseball and is a non-profit corporation.




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MISSION

To revive organized baseball in smaller communities, many that once enjoyed the
professional game.

To develop and maintain a platform for baseball players to develop their skills and
succeed to the next level.

To provide an enjoyable and wholesome family oriented entertainment atmosphere.

To provide a cost effective advertisement stream for the local business community.

To contribute to local youth sports and other organizations.


THE VISION

The creation of a new organized baseball teams and league in small to medium sized
communities. Some of these communities have been abandoned of affiliated
professional baseball during the last several decades due to professional teams
demanding new stadiums and money infusion by the local governments. Some
communities have not advanced to the next level, which for them, is hosting a high-level
organized team.

As the game of baseball changes, the communities that once supported them stay the same.
Bringing baseball back to the communities of the past needs no reintroduction. Therefore,
these communities are willing and ready to be once again proud of a hometown baseball team
and appreciates what a "home team" will do for not only their community, but also the game
they once embraced in the past.

The Arizona-Mexico League, is dedicated to bringing baseball back to the Southwest and

surrounding areas. Players will be given the opportunity to advance to the next level, the local fans including children and the business community will all greatly benefit from the existence of the local teams governed by the AZML.


CONCEPT   

The creation, formation and revival of the Arizona-Mexico League, a professional baseball
league with clubs in cities that do not have professional baseball, to play a new and highly
exciting form of baseball that the sports fan will enjoy!

LEAGUE

The Arizona–Mexico League began as a low-level circuit in American minor league baseball that existed as an affiliated Class C league from 1955–58. The Arizona–Mexico League was the successor league of the Arizona–Texas League which existed from 1928–32, 1937–41, 1947–50 and 1952-54.[From 1928 to 1930, it was known as the Arizona State League.

COMPETITION  

This independent league is open to rookies and veteran players.

COST CAPS

Player and team expenditures are subject to a cap. The league office will oversee compliance.
Team expenditure caps and strong league administration will assure a continuity of league
member clubs and sustain orderly growth.

OWNERSHIP

For the inaugural season, to establish stability and continuity, all clubs will be league
owned.

FORMAT

Clubs will play 48-60 games depending on the number of clubs in the league. Season play will
commence in late-May and continue through mid-August.

BorderBall
Written by David Skinner

February 14, 2017

Since 1958 when Major League Baseball came to Los Angeles and AAA to Phoenix, fans in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico have taken for granted that professional baseball at the highest levels is available to view in person nearby, watch or listen to at home, and follow in the press. This has not always been the case. From 19th century boom towns and mining camps to the burgeoning cities of southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas, Baja California Norte, northern Sonora, and northwest Chihuahua in the 20th century, informal leagues involving teams on both sides of the United States-Mexico border came and went until the mid-1920s. These leagues were amateur and industrial in nature, with players sometimes given jobs so that they could represent the company or the community in such regional and often bi-national aggregations. Until the arrival of professional baseball in the form of the fallen star-studded “outlaw” Frontier (later Copper) League in 1925, such ballclubs could be considered semi-pro at best. A Negro League was even attempted in the still-segregated Southwest as early as 1910, a decade before the first successful Negro National League began play.

After the class D Rio Grande Association failed to complete its innaugural season in 1915, Organized Baseball never obtained a foothold in the region until 1928 when the Arizona State League began play, henceforth operating a class D and later class C league continuously for 30 years except for brief periods during the Depression and World War II. Until the late 1940s however, the leagues under the authority of the National Association, unlike the outlaw leagues before them which included the Juarez Indians in 1925-26, remained almost exclusively situated north of the border. The one exception was the so-called Mexican National League of 1946, which was an ill-conceived and short-lived attempt by OB to counter the then-independent Mexican League with what was despite its name a class B bi-national circuit.

Beginning with a brief stint for the Juarez Indios in its first post-war season of 1947, the class C Arizona-Texas League as it was then known was forever after bi-national in nature, not only in 1951 when it merged for one season with the Sunset League to form the Southwest International League, a fact which was finally recognized by the NA in 1955 when its name was changed to the Arizona-Mexico League. The Sunset, which itself had become a bi-national entity in its second season of 1948 when the Mexicali Aguilas swept to the regular season title, ceased to exist after 1950, though the SWI under that name continued for a season after its breakup with the A-TL, and key cities were later eased into the latter circuit and its successor the A-ML. The borderlands now host MLB teams in San Diego, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and since 1998 Phoenix, while AAA, in the widespread Pacific Coast League which long had franchises in SoCal, embraced Tucson in 1969, where it has remained after Phoenix hit the Bigs excepting two seasons of independent ball in 2009-10. It should be noted that the Mexican League has been part of Organized Baseball since 1955, initially at AA level and since 1967 at AAA. From 1973 to 1984 the Indios de Ciudad Juarez at the eastern end of our region played in the Mexican League, as have the Tijuana Toros and Potros de Tijuana at the western end from 2004 through 2008, and in their current incarnation as again the Toros de Tijuana since 2014.

Modern independent professional baseball, no longer branded “outlaw”, began to make inroads in the border region beginning with the 1995 Golden State League. The revived 2003 Arizona-Mexico League focused on the borderlands from northern Baja to southeast Arizona, and the 2005-10 Golden League featured teams in Yuma, San Diego, Tijuana, and various other border area communities, including Tucson’s two years as an indie. Then beginning in 2011 the Pecos League placed teams in southern New Mexico and later southern Arizona. West Texas too has seen its share of ballclubs since the disappearance of lower classification Organized Baseball from the smaller cities along the border, with El Paso moving up to the AA Texas League in 1962 where it remained until 2004, and after nine years of indie ball, one in the Central League and the rest in the farflung American Association with franchises as far north as Winnipeg beyond the Canadian border, graduating to the AAA PCL in 2014.

This series of articles will initially deal with the leagues, teams, and players from each period of professional baseball in the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest, from the failed multinational Southwest Colored League of 1910 and Organized Baseball’s first foray to the nation’s southern boundary, the Rio Grande Association of 1915, through the outlaw leagues of the 1920s which featured the great Hal Chase and the disgraced stars of the Chicago “Black Sox”, winding along the three decades in the low minors of National Association supremacy where the farm system gradually came to prominence and developing players for Major League teams became the goal, and finally the era of AAA, the Major Leagues, and the revival of independent ball which we are in today.

Welcome to the Arizona-Mexico League!


TRANSACTION TICKER


March 1, 2017 - Named Anita Ibarra - League Image - Social Media.

August 6, 2016 - Named Rene Morales Leon - Vice President.

August 1, 2016 - Named Geovanna Morales - League Development.

July 12, 2016 - Named Jay Mutum _ Player Procurement/Southwest.

April 1, 2016 - Named Bob Lipp - President.

April 1, 2016 - Filed Incorporation to become legal entity.


LEAGUE MOVES FORWARD WITH CAUTION
Written by John Raffel

February 11, 2017



Bob Lipp's involvement in baseball includes a long list of accomplishments. But trying to bring back the Arizona-Mexico League is a top priority. He was once president of the league.
Currently owner-operator at Toughnut Ranch, Hopper and Auto Transport, he is a former Game Day Supervisor for the Tucson Saguaros games at Bisbee’s Warren Ballpark.
Also in baseball, he is the former assistant general manager at Bisbee Blue, a former President of the Centennial Baseball League; former president of Bisbee Kings Baseball Club, plus a former president of the Dodge City Desperados Baseball Club; former game day staff member at the Wichita Wranglers; former assistant to the President at American Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, and a former executive vice president at Wichita Broncos Baseball Club.
Lipp said with the election of President Donald Trump, talk about building the wall, the dollar strength and the peso sliding from 15-1 to 21-1 in the last year, efforts to get the Arizona-Mexico league going again will be put off until 2018.
“I've been real cautious,” Lipp said. “With Trump getting elected and the wall issue, and the strength of the dollar for the last 12 months and the peso going 21-1, we've decided to hold off to 2018. We were going to announce January 2017, and here we are. Now is not a good time to start a new business, I don't care what you're doing let alone playing baseball in the border towns.”
“Baseball in Mexico has an interesting concept of its own . When you say Arizona Mexico League, a lot of people find it very interesting.”
John Guy was general manager of the Bisbee-Douglas team. He's currently operations director for the Desert Baseball League. Bisbee-Douglas was in the league in 2003. But he's skeptical if the Arizona-Mexico League can get off the ground again.
“In 2003, myself and our partners captured lightning in the bottle,” Guy said. “We've been on ESPN, we've been in Sports Illustrated, we've had standing room only crowds. It's never been duplicated. Everybody has tried. It was one of those things where we were at the right place at the right time doing the right thing.”
There's also the population issue.
“You're not going to make it in professional baseball with demographics that small,” Guy said. “Back in 2003, they were able to go back and forth across the border. It's such tougher now.
“You have to have one of two things to succeed. You either have to have money or you have to have intelligent, experienced people. So many people at this level of baseball try to do it by themselves. They think that they have the answers...You need a core of people that know what they're doing. To achieve success at this level. You have to think outside the box.”
David Skinner, who has been a baseball historian, lives in Bisbee and was a shareholder of the Bisbee-Douglas team, agrees that reviving the Arizona-Mexico league will be a major challenge. Since the demise of the 2003 Arizona Mexico League, he has not directly been involved with baseball. He has done some writing on baseball and other sports.
“I'm very cynical based on my own experience here and the experience Bob and others have had trying to get various levels of teams going here since we did an overly ambitious attempt to put together a better league than anyone has tried since then,” Skinner said. “Everyone that has tried since we did it has probably been a little smarter about getting in it than we have. There hasn't been much success.
“It depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to put together a very low level professional league where you won't have great expenses and you won't have to make a lot of money at the gate and concessions, then it's a possibility. If your goal is to put together a league on the level of almost every other existing league, except maybe the Pecos League, any league with separate ownership and that sort of thing, then I don't think that will work.”
Skinner said Lipp has been correct in lowering his sights in the type of league he might attempt to put together.
“But I'm waiting to see if anybody can do it successfully,” he said. “It hasn't happened successfully since maybe the 40s around here and that was a much different time. Because of the economy in Bisbee and the uncertainty along the border, I don't see it personally. I'd love to see baseball here. I have no reason to be certain Bob would be able or willing to consider putting together a league for 2018.
“There's so much competition on what else is out there in terms of entertainment. I don't know how many people are left who enjoy watching young men who have yet to make it in the baseball world and kind of learn their craft in front of them.”
Luke Powell was on Lipp's 2003 Tecate Cervaceros team and started and owns the Desert League.
“I think it would be great if he could get it started again,” Powell said. “On the Mexican side of the border, you draw a lot of fans. It's really fun. On the American side of the border, it's still unique because it's the only league that plays on both sides of the border. Playing outside of the border is a whole different experience. For whatever reason, they seem to draw a lot more fans. They sell beer. Mexican fans are not exactly politically correct. When you do good they let you know you're doing good. If you do bad, they let you know that.”
“I think they're the best fans in the world. I enjoy playing in front of them more than I do than anyone in America, that's for sure.”
Powell is interested to see how Lipp will fare in his attempts.
“I think Bob Lipp has more knowledge about Independent baseball than anyone else in baseball right now,” Powell said. “He has certainly helped me out at times. Bob has the knowledge to pull this deal off. He has the knowledge but he'll have to focus 100 percent on baseball.”

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John Raffel is a sports writer from Michigan. He has written about professional, college, high school and amateur sports for more than 40 years. john.raffel@gmail.com