The combination of this less than ideal weather and the fact that the Isotopes are in the middle of a road trip makes me begin to think that just maybe spring hasn’t truly settled into the Albuquerque area yet. Then I begin to wonder if maybe I jumped the gun and planted my gourds and sweet corn too darned early. I think my grandfather used to consult both the Farmer’s Almanac and the other farmers at Riley’s Gas Station in the wee town of Chambersburg, Illinois before he put in his cash crops each year.
I have my fingers crossed that things will begin to heat up for good when the Isotopes return to the Duke City and kick off a 12-game homestand. First the New Orleans Zephyrs blow into the valley Friday night for two night and two day games. The Zephyrs are, of course, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals (Major League Baseball’s “newest” ball club), so that should prove interesting enough.
Next, Robert Fick will lead the charge when the “nasty-boy” Portland Beavers (San Diego Padres) do their best to irritate both Isotopes players and fans alike. (If you don’t make it to any other ballgames this season, I highly recommend coming out to the park and catching at LEAST one of these games. And please, do not throw beer at Mr. Fick!)
The longest Isotopes homestand of the 2005 season wraps up the following weekend with four games with the Tacoma Rainiers. Many of the Rainiers players hope to be called up to play for the Seattle Mariners before the end of the year- or before they get traded to another team where they will have even less of an opportunity for promotion.
Hopefully the Isotopes will return to Albuquerque in a winning frame of mind. Outfielder Matt Padgett leads not only the team, but also the entire Pacific Coast League with his whopping Ted Williams-like .409 batting average. I’m predicting here and now that IF the bunny in right-centerfield is going to get bopped by a homerun this season, it will be during one of the next 12 home games… and probably by Matt (or perhaps big Mark Little).
Although the fans will be given freebies as they enter the park before most games, the only two promotions that really stand out include performances by Rockin’ Ray and the Amazing Skyy Dogs on Saturday, May 7th, and “Salute to Duck® Brand Duct Tape Night” on Thursday, May 12th.
The Isotopes just recently announced that they have been selected to host the 2007 Triple-A All-Star Game. Albuquerque is sure to shine in the spotlight as the 20th Triple-A All-Star Game is broadcast on ESPN2 on July 11th. The Triple-A All-Star Fiesta (sponsored by Sandia Casino) will feature the best minor league players from the Pacific Coast and International leagues as they face off in a home run derby, skills competitions, and the actual game itself. Players will also be available for autograph sessions and other activities that will be announced over the next 2 years, 2 months and 19 days (give or take a few hours).