Martinez City Council set to approve license agreement for new professional baseball team

The Martinez City Council is set to approve on Wednesday night a license agreement for a professional baseball team to play its home games at the city's Waterfront Park.

The new baseball team is the Martinez Mackerel, and the team and the Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs LLC intend the team to be ready to play at the start of its 2020 season in late May.

The Pecos is an independent professional baseball league headquartered in Houston. In 2019, the league fielded 12 teams in cities in California, New Mexico, Arizona, southern Colorado, Kansas and West Texas.

The Mackerel plan to play on Waterfront Park's Field 3, which for the 2018 Pacific Association season was home to the Martinez Clippers.

However, that team dissolved after the end of the season, when the Clippers' operating agreement was terminated by the city due to non-payment of license fees by the team's owners, Jeff and Paulette Carpoff.

The couple had operated a Benicia-based company, DC Solar, which the FBI had raided after the end of the 2018 baseball season as part of an investigation into what was described as a "Ponzi scheme."

The Martinez Clippers, as well as the Pittsburg Diamonds, have both folded. Both were in the Pacific Association. While the Pacific Association has more teams from the greater Bay Area, including from Vallejo and Sonoma, a city staff report concludes that "uncertainty surrounds the league's future" and that the Pecos League is more stable.

The name of the team is also subject to change if local interests prefer something other than "Mackerel," according to a city staff report.

Wednesday's council meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 525 Henrietta St.