By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
The newest old team in the Pecos League has a manager.
Carlsbad, which will return to the Pecos League for the 2013 season — replacing Las Cruces — will be managed by Ray Hancock.
Hancock comes to the Pecos League from Avon, Indiana, where he's coached middle school, high school summer ball and a USA Baseball collegiate summer league, as well as served on the staff of the Ohio Valley
Redcoats in the Frontier League.
"I' ve coached all my life. T-ball, all the way through," Hancock said, explaining he always preferred coaching to playing. "When I was a little kid, I just wanted to be a coach. I liked playing, but I always liked coaching better."
And, the 58-year-old manager said, he's never had a losing season.
"I've just been lucky, on that particular point. I've just never had a losing season and I don't plan on having one."
Which makes managing Carlsbad a bit of a crap shoot.
The Bats had a rough time in their first season, losing 24 straight games — all on the road — and their manager to open the season. Under a new manager, they eventually turned things around a bit, playing competitive ball and having an effect on the pennant race, but still ended up only 9-58, playing only three games at home.
This year, the Bats have 16 scheduled home games, and while Hancock said he was pretty much in the dark about the Carlsbad history, he's coming into the position thinking positive.
"The way I look at it is, I'm a brand new coach, and all the players are going to be brand new. We don't have to start out with a bad attitude," he said. "We'll start out with a positive attitude. The way I look at it, every team basically starts out even. No matter what team I have, and even the teams I'm playing against, at least in the first part of the season. We have to work harder and smarter, is the way I look at it."
Hancock, who was recommended for the position by former Vaquero Derrick Pyles, a long-time friend, knows it could be a tough summer.
"I understand it's going to be a very trying summer. There's no doubt about that," he said.
But, the first-time manager is not the only one in that position in the Pecos League, and he saids he's ready to learn.
"Again, I'm in a learning position, too, and I'll know more once I get there, I guess. At least, after the spring (league), I should know a lot more. Everybody seems to be very helpful. I'm going to ask for help."
Hancock said he won't necessarily be recruiting the Bat players — some of that will be done by league management — but will be going to the Pecos Spring League to find players.
And he reiterated that if he can get his team off to a winning start, it could be a much different season than the one Carlsbad saw in 2011.
"I do believe, that if you're winning, your attitude is going to be good," he said. "I'm excited about coming."
League commissioner Andrew Dunn sounds pleased Carlsbad is back in the fold with Hancock at the helm.
"The League is committed to having Carlsbad as competitive as possible," he said. "We learned a lot in 2011 and made adjustments that made the team much better in the second half. There are a lot more players available in 2013. Having Ray Hancock in the Spring League to get players will be valuable for him and his team. Housing in Carlsbad with the oilfield boom appears to be the toughest challenge. The support in Carlsbad will be better."
The Bats' current schedule calls for nine road games before they play in Carlsbad May 23 vs. Roswell. Artesia will also welcome Carlsbad, with several games scheduled in that city.