|Full name||Isotopes Park|
|Former names||Albuquerque Sports Stadium
(Albuquerque Dukes - 1969-2000)
|Location||1601 Avenida Cesar Chavez Southeast
Albuquerque, NM, 87106
|Broke ground||October 25, 2001|
|Opened||April 11, 2003|
|Owner||City of Albuquerque|
|Operator||Albuquerque Baseball Club, LLC.|
($29.2 million in 2013 dollars)
|Architect||Populous (HOK Sport)
Consulting Engineers, Inc.
|Services engineer||Coupland-Moran Engineers, Inc.|
|General contractor||Bradbury Stamm Construction Inc.|
|Field dimensions||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)
|Albuquerque Isotopes (MLB) (2003-Present)
University of New Mexico Lobos Baseball (Mountain West Conference) (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 is also used by the baseball program of the University of New Mexico.
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[according to whom?].
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. Mayor Baca put the issue to a vote and the voters easily approved the construction of the baseball park. 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. 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.
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. The game was viewed by 13,267 in attendance; the game was also broadcast on ESPN2 and on radio.
On June 23, 2009, the current single-game attendance record 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.
Isotopes Park has a seating capacity of 13,279, with 11,154 fixed seats. There are 661 club seat and 30 suites at the ballpark. The field features a hill in center field, similar to the one in the Houston Astros' stadium, Minute Maid Park. The ballpark has enjoyed considerable success[according to whom?], setting attendance records in the last two years. Since its opening, Isotopes Park has routinely been ranked among the top five minor league ballparks in the nation. On July 4th, 2013, the Isotopes set a record for the largest single game attendance in franchise history with 16,229.
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.
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.
- Latta, Dennis (October 26, 2001). "Beginning A New Era In Baseball". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- Best of 2003: Southwest Construction
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2013. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Albuquerque Isotopes Baseball Park - SMPC Architects
- Witz, Billy (June 23, 2009). "Dodgers’ Ramirez Begins Return to Baseball". The New York Times. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- Foley, Brian (13 June 2012). "2012 NCAA Baseball Attendance Report". CollegeBaseballDaily.com. Archived from the original on 2012-06-14. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Special Report: Isotopes Park
- Ballpark Digest visit to Isotopes Park
- Albuquerque Isotopes Official Site
- Virtual Tour of Isotopes Park