BAKERSFIELD, Calif — The Bakersfield tradition of 7:45 baseball at Sam Lynn Ballpark is here for another season. The Bakersfield Train Robbers are getting ready to start their 7th season of independent baseball in the Pecos League.
Pecos League Commissioner Andrew Dunn says Bakersfield is a baseball town.
"People want baseball here. They want tradition. They want it," said Dunn. "They want to see hard-nosed, old-school baseball. A lot of our fans are also, you know, Major League fans and other teams' fans, but they enjoy the Train Robbers, enjoy the Pecos League, and Train Robbers have been very good on the field every year they've been here, and will be the same this year."
The Pecos League has expanded to 16 teams across 7 states. For the first time, Dunn believes the league is filled with talent, and it'll show on Opening Day.
"The league is only as strong as its weakest team, and there are no weak teams," said Dunn. "I think the biggest difference this year is every night you play a big game here. You have a good game and a competitive game, and Train Robbers will still be in the top of the standings with their players, but it'll be a more competitive look and a more competitive year."
With the new expansion teams, the league will have a Pacific Division made up of 8 teams from California, including the newest team in Lancaster, renewing the old California League rivalry between Lancaster and Bakersfield.
"I think playing the new teams and getting an all-California-only division is good," said Dunn. "Not having to go to Arizona, the guys love, so that's what we're looking forward to, but baseball will be here before you know it. Put us on your schedule."
And as 23ABC Sports reported previously, the Bakersfield Train Robbers players are looking for local host families for the season. Anyone with room to spare who's interested in welcoming a Robber to their home can get in touch with the team through the Bakersfield Train Robbers' website.