One of the surest signs that spring is on the way, other than the howling New Mexico winds that seem to kick up dust from the Mesozoic Era, is the release of the Isotopes’ Spring Training Schedule (for a printable version of the entire 15-game schedule, click here).
If you’ve never been to Spring Training, it’s definitely worth the trip, and if you’ve never been to see the Minor League side during Spring Training, it’s really a great experience. Every Spring Training complex, be it in Arizona or Florida, is equipped with seemingly endless clusters of baseball diamonds that sprawl out from the main stadium. On these back fields is where the Minor League teams play, and going there makes you feel like you’ve traveled back in time. Each field usually has a small set of metal bleachers set up on either baseline and the proximity of each field to one another allows you view a Triple-A game for a couple of innings and then take in a couple frames of Double-A action simply by turning around. It really harkens back to the days before Spring Training itself became a multi-million dollar enterprise and the atmosphere is extremely casual and relaxed. Of course, you’re never too far from the main stadium, so you can watch some Minor League games before heading over to see the Big League club in action. The whole set-up is truly a baseball lover’s paradise.
Of course, this spring is extremely special because it is the ‘Topes’ first Spring Training back with the Dodgers and the Isotopes get to help the Dodgers christen their brand new training facility in Glendale, Arizona– Camelback Ranch. From looking at photos, it’s going to be first class, so it’s definitely worth a trip down in March to see the Dodgers and the ‘Topes. Plus, it’s now an extremely manageable six hour drive.
Here in Albuquerque, we’re coming up on a big week at Isotopes Park. Next Wednesday, we will formally introduce our manager Tim Wallach to the media (and Isotopes fans throughout the area) with a press conference and on Saturday, Feburary 7, the Isotopes and Ovations Food Service will be holding their annual job fair. More on those next week. Until then, hold on to your hats and keep checking www.albuquerquebaseball.com and the ‘Topes Tattler for all the Isotopes news you can use!