VISIT THE ARIZONA-MEXICO LEAGUE
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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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Welcome to the Arizona-Mexico League!
March 1, 2018 - Announced the formation of a minor league that will begin play in 2019.
August 6, 2016 - Named Rene Morales Leon - Vice President.
August 1, 2016 - Named Geovanna Morales - League Development.
July 12, 2016 - Named Jason Mutum - Player Procurement/Southwest.
April 1, 2016 - Named Bob Lipp - President.
April 1, 2016 - Filed Incorporation to become legal entity.
Copyright © 2002 - 2018 Arizona-Mexico League of Professional Baseball. All Rights Reserved.
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.”
John Raffel is a sports writer from Michigan. He has written about professional, college, high school and amateur sports for more than 40 years. firstname.lastname@example.org