|Former names||Albuquerque Sports Stadium
(Albuquerque Dukes: 1969–2000)
|Location||1601 Avenida Cesar Chavez SE
Albuquerque, New Mexico, US
|Owner||City of Albuquerque|
|Operator||Albuquerque Baseball Club, LLC.|
|Capacity||13,500 (11,124 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)
|Broke ground||October 25, 2001|
|Opened||April 11, 2003|
($29.9 million in 2016 dollars)
|Architect||HOK Sport Venue
|Structural engineer||Chavez–Grieves Consulting Engineers, Inc.|
|Services engineer||Coupland–Moran Engineers, Inc.|
|General contractor||Bradbury Stamm Construction Inc.|
|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 Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The facility was also previously used by the baseball program of the University of New Mexico.
In 2000, Bob Lozinak, then-owner of the Albuquerque Dukes, the Triple-A 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 40 years. Their stadium, Albuquerque Sports Stadium, was the second oldest in the league at the time and was in disrepair.
Finding another owner and team was not difficult. 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. However, then Mayor Jim Baca was unable to overcome opposition from a city council reluctant to spend city money on the project. Debate centered on whether to renovate the old Albuquerque Sports Stadium as a baseball-only park or build a brand new park downtown. Mayor Baca put the issue to a vote and the voters easily approved the $25 million needed to rebuild Albuquerque Sports Stadium.
While almost nothing of the old Albuquerque Sports Stadium was carried over to Isotopes Park apart from the playing field, the new park did retain its predecessor's general structure, 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. Like its predecessor, it is 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 13,367 in attendance; the game was also broadcast on ESPN2 and on radio. Albuquerque's Valentino Pascucci was selected as the PCL MVP. Former Isotope Rob Stratton won the Home Run Derby.
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 1-0.
On 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 defeating the Omaha Storm Chasers, 8–3, in front of 9,569 fans.
University of New Mexico
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. 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.
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.
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