Isotopes Park

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Isotopes Park
The Lab
Isotopes Park
Former names Albuquerque Sports Stadium
(Albuquerque Dukes: 1969–2000)
Location 1601 Avenida Cesar Chavez SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
Coordinates 35°4′11″N 106°37′45″W / 35.06972°N 106.62917°W / 35.06972; -106.62917Coordinates: 35°4′11″N 106°37′45″W / 35.06972°N 106.62917°W / 35.06972; -106.62917
Broke ground October 25, 2001[1]
Opened April 11, 2003[2]
Owner City of Albuquerque
Operator Albuquerque Baseball Club, LLC.[3]
Surface Natural Grass
Construction cost $25,000,000
($29.5 million in 2014 dollars[4])
Architect Populous (HOK Sport)
SMPC Architects[5]
Structural engineer Chavez–Grieves Consulting Engineers, Inc.[3]
Services engineer Coupland–Moran Engineers, Inc.[3]
General contractor Bradbury Stamm Construction Inc.[3]
Capacity 13,279 (11,154 fixed seats)
Field size Left Field — 340 ft (103.6 m)
Left Center Field — 428 ft (130.5m)
Center Field — 400 ft (122.0 m)
Right Center Field — 428 ft (130.5 m)
Right Field — 340 ft (103.6 m)
Tenants
Albuquerque Isotopes (PCL) (2003–Present)
New Mexico Lobos (MWC) (2004–Present)

Isotopes Park is a minor-league baseball stadium located in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is the home field of the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Pacific Coast League, the Class AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The facility was also previously used by the baseball program of the University of New Mexico.

History[edit]

In 2000, Bob Lozinak, then-owner of the Albuquerque Dukes, the Class AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, sold the team to a Portland, Oregon-based group, who moved the team to Portland as the Beavers. The Dukes had played in Albuquerque for almost 30 years. Their stadium, the Albuquerque Sports Stadium, was the second oldest in the league at the time and was in disrepair.[6]

Finding another owner and team were not difficult, but then Mayor Jim Baca had a reluctant city council to contend with in building a new facility to entice a team to come to Albuquerque.[7] Mayor Baca put the issue to a vote and the voters easily approved the construction of the baseball park.[8] The Pacific Coast League had teams in Canada that they wanted to relocate. In 2001, a group headed by Tampa businessman Ken Young bought the Calgary Cannons with the intention of moving it to Albuquerque, contingent on building a park.[1] Debate centered on whether to renovate the old Albuquerque Sports Stadium as a baseball-only park or build a brand new park downtown. In a citywide referendum, voters decided to rebuild the old stadium for $25 million.[9]

Isotopes Park retains the general structure of Albuquerque Sports Stadium, as well as its dimensions and the system connecting the dugout to the clubhouse. The new stadium was also intended to retain the old facility's well-known "drive-in" terrace, where fans could sit in their cars and watch the game for free. However, Isotopes management scrapped those plans due to security concerns and instead converted it into a play area for children. Albuquerque has always been known as a hitters park, due to the high altitude and dry air, but changes in the field were made to create more of a wind screen which allows the ball protected lift. The fences were also brought in slightly.

Isotopes Park was the home of the 2007 Triple-A All-Star Game, with the International League defeating the Pacific Coast League 7–5.[10] The game was viewed by 13,267 in attendance; the game was also broadcast on ESPN2 and on radio.[11]

On June 23, 2009, a single-game attendance record (since broken) was set when fans saw Manny Ramirez make a rehab start after serving a 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. The Isotopes defeated the Nashville Sounds 1 to 0.[12]

On Tuesday, September 20, 2011 Isotopes Park was host to the 2011 Triple-A National Championship Game between the Champions of The Pacific Coast League and The International League. The game featured the Columbus Clippers defeat the Omaha Storm Chasers 8 to 3 in front of 9,569 fans.[13]

University of New Mexico[edit]

In 2012, New Mexico ranked 38th among Division I baseball programs in attendance, averaging 1,618 per home game.[14]

Features[edit]

Isotopes Park has a seating capacity of 13,279, with 11,154 fixed seats. There are 661 club seats and 30 suites at the ballpark.[15] The field features a hill in center field, similar to the one in the Houston Astros' stadium, Minute Maid Park.

The stadium has a large open breezeway above the primary seating area with a view of the playing field, which contains most of the park's services, such as restrooms, most of the food concessions, activities, and a souvenir store behind home plate. Behind the infield is the main structure of the stadium, which contains suites, offices, and the press box. An upper seating deck is attached to the structure, which overhangs the open breezeway. Beyond right field is a berm where fans can watch the game. Above the berm is a play area for children. Beyond left field is the scoreboard as well as a picnic shelter which can be reserved for groups.[16]

The high altitude (Albuquerque in that area stands at over 5,300 feet (1,600 m) above sea level) and warm summer air also give the balls great lift.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Latta, Dennis (October 26, 2001). "Beginning A New Era In Baseball". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ Knight, Graham (April 13, 2009). "Isotopes Park". Baseball Pilgrimages. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Best Public Project Over $5 Million: Best Steel Project". Engineering News-Record. December 1, 2003. Retrieved July 1, 2012. 
  4. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  5. ^ "Albuquerque Isotopes Baseball Park". SMPC Architects. Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ Smith, Mark (March 31, 2013). "Gloom Strikes City When Dukes Depart". Albuquerque Journal. p. D1. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ Latta, Dennis (August 30, 2000). "Baca Pitches Downtown Ballpark". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  8. ^ Latta, Dennis (May 31, 2001). "Baseball Vote Is As Expected". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  9. ^ Ludwick, Jim (November 20, 2001). "$25 Million OK'd for Stadium". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  10. ^ Wright, Rick (July 12, 2007). "Duke City's Star Turn A Homer". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  11. ^ Harrison, Randy (July 6, 2007). "All-Star Ticket Options are Dwindling". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  12. ^ Witz, Billy (June 23, 2009). "Dodgers’ Ramirez Begins Return to Baseball". The New York Times. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  13. ^ Critchfield, Tristen (September 21, 2011). "9,569 Watch Triple-A Title Game". Albuquerque Journal. p. D1. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ Foley, Brian (June 13, 2012). "2012 NCAA Baseball Attendance Report". College Baseball Daily. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ Puckett, Alisha (April 14, 2003). "Special Report: Isotopes Park". SportsBusiness Journal. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  16. ^ "McDonald's Picnic Pavilion". Minor League Baseball. January 12, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 

External links[edit]