It already wasn’t looking good, but official word from the Pecos League came down last week - the Alpine o6 Cowboys season has been canceled. The league will attempt to field five teams, and play a limited schedule at a single ballpark in Houston during July and August.
For the first time since 2008, a summer in Alpine will pass by without any professional baseball games at Kokernot Field.
“We will work hard to get prepared for 2021,” said Cowboys General Manager Kristin Cavness via Facebook this week. “To all of our players, we will miss you and hope that in 2021 we will be the returning Champions in the Pecos League. We will also miss our fans. You are the best!”
Last year was a banner year at the classic ballpark. The season before had ended with the Bakersfield Train Robbers celebrating a Pecos League championship at Kokernot Field. In 2019 the Robbers returned, but they were swept by the Cowboys in a dramatic two-game series. It culminated in a ninth inning comeback by Alpine that included a game-tying home run by outfielder Sam Little.
Now, everyone will have to wait until 2021 for the magic to return. For Cowboys manager Sean Persky, it means heading back to work at a research hospital in Seattle, Washington this summer instead of manning the third base coaching box at Kokernot Field.
“The other teams in our division are sending their managers to Houston,” Sean said this week. “But this isn’t what the Cowboys have really been about. If we could play, we couldn’t play at Kokernot.”
The Cowboys have assured Persky that he is already the manager of the 2021 team. In 2019 he guided Alpine to the league title in his first year as a professional baseball manager. So far he hasn’t heard of any of his former players signing up for the 2020 Pecos League in Houston, although some have asked him for more information.
“It’s something we’re really going to miss,” True Value General Manager and Cowboys board member Bob Ward said. “Thirty-five nights in the summer, more or less, and most of the days I devoted to the Cowboys. It’s something that’s going to be a void this summer.”
Ward was a part of the group that first brought professional baseball back to Alpine in 2009. The Big Bend Cowboys occupied Kokernot Field for two seasons before they became the non-profit Alpine Cowboys in 2011. They helped anchor the brand new Pecos League that summer, and won the League Championship in 2012. Only Alpine and the Roswell Invaders remain from the original six-team league.
“The community is going to miss out on a lot of entertainment,” said Ward. “What else is more enjoyable than a night at the ballpark with a hot dog or a cold beer? More important than that are all the people who come from out of town that make a special trip just to see the Cowboys.”