ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After a lost year, the Albuquerque Isotopes are just a couple of days away from playing ball again. However, before fans get back in the stands, the team had to make some changes to the ballpark on Tuesday.
Thursday’s home opener will mark 20 months since the Isotopes played a game at Rio Grande Credit Union Field and fans said it’s long overdue.
“It’s just going to blow my mind, you know hearing the excitement from the crowd, seeing the guys running onto the field all proud to be there in shape ready to go,” said Laura Collins. “There’s no other feeling like that in the world. It’s a buzz beyond belief.”
John Traub, the general manager of the team said things might look a little bit different around the ballpark but said the fact they have games this season makes it all worth it. Considering last year’s minor league season was canceled.
Now that Bernalillo County is in the green, they’ll be allowed to have 50 percent capacity, which is more than 6,000 fans. Masks will be required, except while eating or drinking and fans will be spread out throughout the stadium in pods of up to six people.
They don’t have markings on the seats, but they’ll have ushers at each section making sure fans are in the right pod. Traub also said they’ve installed hand sanitizing stations throughout the ballpark, markers for people to stand on for social distancing, and are closing off the “Fun Zone.”
One of the biggest changes will be a new option for ordering food and drinks.
“All they have to do is scan a QR code into their phones and the menu items will pop up on their phone, they can place the order directly, they can place from any of the concession stands permanent concession stands and then they’ll get a notification when the item is ready,” said Traub.
Fans will still have the option to order in person.
The ticket window at the ballpark is open. The team is still pushing online ticket sales.
Opening night is on May 6 at 6:35 p.m. The Isotopes are hosting the Sugar Land Skeeters. Each series will be six games this year instead of the normal three or four, to limit travel and COVID exposure.