Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Day 60: Isotopes Park
All photos of Old Town Albuquerque and Isotopes Park are available on Flickr.
After a late arrival and some catching up between two old roommates last night, we slept in a bit this morning. Then we did some long-overdue laundry. We finally left the house around 3 PM and headed to Old Town Albuquerque. Everybody must have been on siesta because the place was dead. It took us a half hour of walking around until we finally found a restaurant that was open. Once inside it took us switching tables three times to finally get served. When we finally got our food from our not-quite-altogether-there bartender, it turned out to be delicious. Peter had a quesodilla loaded with sour cream, a margarita, and a beer, while I enjoyed some delicious enchiladas. Peter has been walking around all trip saying "I would like two tacos." But every time he has the chance to actually get two tacos, he gets something else. It was nearing time to head towards the park so we quickly made our way back to Old Yeller.
Isotopes Park is on the campus of the University of New Mexico, kitty-corner from the basketball arena, The Pit. The exterior of the building is very odd, with random windows colored in. Once inside though, it is an excellent minor league park. Most of the seats are on the first level, with excellent views from every section. There is a second deck in the right field corner and along the third baseline. As in most minor league parks, there are no bleachers in the outfield but instead a grassy knoll. This is where we bought tickets but we ended up sitting in the second to last section along the right field line in the third row.
The game did not begin well for the 'Topes, who, by the way, take their name from a combination of the Simpsons' team and New Mexico's longtime affiliation with nuclear energy and the atomic bomb. Even without the recently promoted Rick Ankiel, the Redbirds put up a six spot in the first and chased starter Kenny Baugh. The Redbirds would continue the onslaught with 2 in the 3rd, 2 in the 4th, 3 in the 5th, 3 in the 6th, and 4 in the 8th. The 'Topes could only respond with solo homeruns from Joe Borchard, Reggie Abercrombie, and Robert Andino. Things got so bad for the 'Topes that they brought in second baseman Josh Labandeira to pitch the ninth. That's right, we've now seen position players pitch in two straight games! Trailing 20-5, going to the bottom of the 9th, things looked pretty dim for the 'Topes. After Abercrombie made the first out, the rally began. Aided by two Redbirds errors and powered by a three run homer by Andrew Beattie, the 'Topes scored 7 in the 9th, but it was not enough.
After the game we were treated to a surprise. Wednesday night is apparently All Fans Run the Bases Night in Albuquerque. After a quickly touching them all, we headed back to Ben's for some beers and cartoons. Tomorrow, we will return to Colorado to wait for the Rockies to get home.
park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 5 (strange stained glass windows on outside)
views from park - 3
view to field - 8
surrounding area - 3 (University of New Mexico nearby)
food variety - 4
nachos - n/a
beer - 6 (decent variety and price)
vendor price - 8
ticket price - 8 ($5 lawn seats)
atmosphere - 5 (a lot of fans were scared away by the lopsided score, but Ben being there definitely made it entertaining)
walk to park - 2 (dangerous road crossing)
parking price/proximity - 10 (across the street for free)
concourses - 6
team shop - 7
best food - Baja fish tacos
most unique stadium feature - cup holders screwed into wall by urinals
best jumbotron feature - n/a
best between-inning feature - pepper & taco race
field dimensions - 340/405/330
starters - Blake Hawksworth (MEM) v. Kenny Baugh (ABQ)
opponent - Memphis Redbirds
time of game - 3:33
attendance - 7420
score - 20-12 L
Brewers score that day - 3-2 L