My first full season as a high school baseball coach has finally come to an end. For the grand finale, we were able to hook the C-teamers up with a dream come true…playing at Ricketts Park. They got the whole deal, including pre-game batting practice on the field. Watching the grins roll across those 8th and 9th graders faces reminded me just how special Ricketts is. I couldn’t help but smile too, seeing as how this was my first time coaching on Ricketts as a Scorpion. It is that unforgettable feeling, that you can only get when you play baseball on Ricketts, which is acting as the inspiration for this piece.
Growing up in Farmington, New Mexico has allowed me to enjoy one of the greatest treasures that baseball has to offer, Ricketts Park. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Farmington, or Ricketts, let me tell you about this ball field. It is a spectacular yard. Its dimensions are 330’ down the lines, 370’ to the gaps, and 400’ to dead center. The wall is approximately 20’ tall, give or take a few feet. The outfield walls are covered with two rows of signs advertising for local businesses. Surrounding this field is a stadium setting, similar to a spring training or minor league yard. The seats extend from behind home plate, down the lines, but not all the way out to the fence. Seating is arranged in two tiers. The lower tier has actual stadium seating, while the upper tier is comprised of bleacher seats. The stadium holds over 6,100 people at full capacity. If you would like to see larger pictures of this high-desert oasis, please click on each individual photo:
Ricketts Park holds a special place in a local baseball player’s heart. As a young child, it is where you can go with your family to watch big kid baseball. As you age, and enter high school, it becomes your goal to make the varsity squad and play and practice on the field daily. At age 16, you have your first chance to play in the Connie Mack summer league whose games are played on Ricketts. And if you win that summer league, you are invited to partake in one of the greatest amateur baseball tournaments this world has to offer…The Connie Mack World Series. Teams from all corners of the nation come together in Farmington, for one week, and play on Ricketts in front of a packed house until a champion is decided. It is one of the greatest weeks of the year for me, as well my fellow blogger, Dee. See, Ricketts means something special to baseball players in Farmington, New Mexico. Every age group sees something special about the place. It is a diamond in the rough. It is THE landmark of the entire city. Ricketts Park is baseball.
This is simply an introduction. It is the first in a series of pieces on Ricketts Park, and what it means to a kid who grew up playing baseball in little, old, podunk Farmington, New Mexico. I feel truly blessed to have this baseball field in my hometown. Hopefully, piece-by-piece, I will allow you to experience the joys of baseball at Ricketts vicariously. Hopefully. One.