51s return home Saturday to face PCL road warriors

When your Las Vegas 51s return home Saturday for more exciting Pacific Coast League baseball action, their opponent will be the El Paso Chihuahuas, who are in the midst of a 24-game, season-opening roadtrip.

It can be assumed the Chihuahuas have the largest travel bags in the PCL.

No, the 24-game road trip was not by design, nor does it have anything to do with the Chihuahuas making El Paso their home base and wanting to stay away as long as possible.

Actually, they have something in El Paso that 51s players and fans only can dream about — a brand new downtown ballpark that cost $74 million to build. Only it’s not quite finished. Thus, the Chihuahuas are opening with 24 consecutive road games.

El Paso was the designated home team and batted last in a four-game series against Reno in Tucson, Ariz., over the weekend, probably because that is where the Padres’ Triple-A franchise was located last year — and probably because the Chihuahuas were getting tired of wearing their traveling gray uniforms.

The 24-game road trip is believed to be the longest away-from-home stint in pro baseball since the Astros went 12-14 in 1992 when the Astrodome was being refurbished for the Repubican National Convention.

The old Montreal Expos also played 26 road games in a row in 1991 when a beam at Olympic Stadium collapsed.

The new El Paso team is 6-5 heading into the start of a four-game series at Albuquerque tonight.

It has been reported in various blogs that the Chihuahuas are getting to know one another on a first-name basis and have been playing a lot of cards on a lot of buses.