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Wednesday, Jul 23rd

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Isotopes Park / Albuquerque Isotopes - Judging a Book by its Cover

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Article Index
Isotopes Park / Albuquerque Isotopes
A Grand Overhaul
Judging a Book by its Cover
Some Quirks
All Pages
The tone is set by the exterior of the park. Though there are several entrances to the ballpark, a first-time visitor is advised to park next door in the football-ballpark or The Pit parking lot and enter the front Broadway entrance. A new tower serves several purposes: it's a dramatic entrance to the ballpark, it served as a nice design counterpoint to the horizontal orientation of the ballpark, it adds a whimsical touch to the ballpark (at night, the colored panels are quite striking), and it ties into other architecture found throughout Albuquerque. It's also functional: the tower contains an elevator, service areas, access to suites and the press box, and stairs.

Once you're in the ballpark, you're presented with a fairly standard ballpark layout. A concourse rings the entire ballpark, with the majority of the concession stands located in the back of the grandstand. The ballpark has a seating capacity of 12,215, but the vast majority of this seating -- 11,075 -- is theater-style seating between the foul poles (5,845 reserved seats, 4,029 box seats, 661 club seats, and 540 suite seats). There are 30 suites at the ballpark, and the club level features its own bar and a cozy lounge area. Beyond the left-field fence is a spacious picnic area geared for groups of all sizes, and beyond the right-field fence there's a group of picnic tables for those who like to lounge during the game, as well as a set of terraces where kids were playing throughout the game.

The playing field also has its own distinctive qualities. First off, the field is framed perfectly with mountains in the background, so anyone sitting the grandstand will see a gorgeous vista. There's a 127-foot-wide, four-foot-high hill in center field that does occasionally wreak havoc with outfielders; there have been at least two inside-the-park home runs because the ball has taken some odd bounces off the curved wall and the hill. (Speaking of home runs: be prepared to see a few at a 'Topes game. Because of the high altitude and the relatively short center-field curved fence, there are a fair amount of cheap home runs flying out of Isotopes Park.)