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Bombs smashing Isotopes

March 12, 2007

Daylight savings, 70 degree weather… high pollen counts. It must be time for baseball.

Spring Training is in full swing, and players are battling it out for spots in the Marlin’s opening day roster, not the least of which are Isotopes pitchers. Albuquerque presents arguably the greatest pitching challenge: elevation. Albuquerque’s high elevation means thin air, which in baseball translates to deep bombs from big swingers. Put simply, Albuquerque is a hitter’s dream and a pitcher’s worse nightmare. Pitchers from Albuquerque traveling to the Marlin’s $28 million spring training facility (shared with the 2006 World Series Champions, St. Louis Cardinals) are hoping to shed their mountain high ERA’s and don pinstripes in Miami on April 6, the Marlin’s home opener—all are dreading a flight back to Albuquerque.

“Everybody is like Coors Field this, Coors Field that,” right-hander Randy Messenger said. “No, go experience Albuquerque and then come back and tell me where it flies better.”

“In Albuquerque, you can’t try to psyche people out,” [Marlins Vice President of Player Development Jim] Fleming said. “You have to get the ball in play, get early strikes and pitch in good counts. You have to do all the things that are advantages for you. It’s about pitching there.”

[Via the Sun-Sentinel.]

Isotopes Park is great facility and has received enormous love from baseball fans at all levels of play, but one can understand a pitcher’s terror of taking the mound at 5,100 ft. above sea-level. For all the tears pitchers sob into pillows, the good news is that if they can survive the elevation of Albuquerque and the Pacific Coast League, they almost certainly can make it in Miami, elevation 6 ft.

Listen up pitchers, it’s like Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell Albuquerque, keep going.” Work hard and you’ll make it to a Major League park, but in the meantime Albuquerque will show you love—we know we’re not in danger of tsunami; we understand you’ll get hit off of in a game.

Go Topes!

For those who don’t know: The Albuquerque Isotopes (70-72, 2006) open their 2007 campaign at Isotopes Park on April 5 against the Omaha Royals. (Topes will play an exhibition game against the Lobos on April 3.) The Topes are the AAA affiliate of the Florida Marlins. Minor League Baseball has multiple grades distinguished by ‘quality of play’. Albuquerque’s AAA designation indicates play just bellow what you would see in the Majors—just bellow the Marlins.

One Comment leave one →
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