If you're a fan of The Simpsons, you might recall a 2001 episode in which the Springfield Isotopes baseball considers moving to Albuquerque. Luckily for Springfield's baseball fans, Homer Simpson thwarts the plan by staging a hunger strike to save the team Isotopes. Fast forward a year and when the Pacific Coast League's Calgary Cannons announced a move to Albuquerque, New Mexico and the city's newspaper held a contest to allow fans to pick the team name. What do you think they chose? That's right -- the Isotopes. The team's name, however, isn't just a Simpsons reference. It also pays homage to the city, which is home to several nuclear military facilities. The Isotopes were initially affiliated with the Florida Marlins, and held that partnership between 2003 and 2008. The Los Angeles Dodgers took over in 2009 and that affiliate deal is still in place today.
The Isotopes play the home games on their schedule at Isotopes Park, which opened in 2003 and is shared with the University of New Mexico's baseball team. The park holds 13,279 fans and its features include a center field hill similar to Minute Maid Park in Houston and statues of characters from The Simpsons throughout the park.
No Pacific Coast League Championships
Since joining the Pacific Coast League in time for the 2003 season, the Isotopes have won three division titles, including one in their inaugural campaign. Subsequent division titles came in 2009 and 2012. They have yet to win the league championship.
Albuquerque Isotopes Roster
A number of notable Major League Baseball players have appeared on the Isotopes roster, either on their way to the big leagues or during a rehab stint. These names include Brian Wilson, Bobby Abreu, Adam Kennedy, A.J. Ellis, Brad Ausmus, Andre Ethier, Rafael Furcal, Jeff Weaver and Manny Ramirez.
During Spring Training, members of the Isotopes share Camelback Ranch with other players from the Los Angeles Dodgers system. The park opened in 2009 and is also the Spring Training home of the Chicago White Sox.
The Ballpark Guide hasn't visited the Albuquerque Isotopes yet, but hopes to in the near future. If you're excited to read a fan guide to Isotopes Park, check out the many ways you can support The Ballpark Guide on future baseball road trips.