(Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
When the Albuquerque Isotopes were affiliated with the Florida Marlins
we never really got to see any of Florida's top prospect. We saw a few but nothing to make me really say "wow, I got to see this player". What the Dodgers
have brought to Albuquerque has rekindled the flame for Dodgers' fans in Albuquerque like the days of the Albuquerque Dukes.
Since the start of the Triple-A season the Dodgers have added and deleted players from the Isotopes roster over 90 times. The Albuquerque fans have seen many players who are now with the Dodgers such as Eric Milton, Jeff Weaver, Juan Castro and James McDonald.
We also have seen big names on rehab play in an Isotopes uniform such as Jason Schmidt, Claudio Vargas, Will Ohman and of course Manny Ramirez
Then there is the big names who are trying to make it back to the big leagues like Shawn Estes (who is no longer with the Isotopes but has retired from Triple-A) J D Closser, Hector Luna, Dee Brown and Danny Ardoin.
Last, but not least, my favorite group of player the prospects. The future Dodgers such as Scott Elbert, Josh Lindblom, Travis Schlichting, Eric Stults, Cory Wade (who started the season with the Dodgers but was optioned down last week), A J Ellis, Tony Abreu, Blake DeWitt, Chin-Lung Hu, Jaimie Hoffmann, Jason Repko, Jovanny Rosario, Xavier Paul and Kenley Jansen.
I have never seen this much talent pass through Albuquerque since the days of the Dukes. It is not only players you have to keep and eye out for but Dodger executives, coaches and instructors. Names that have been at Isotopes Park include Tommy Lasorda, Ned Colletti, Dejon Watson, Kim Ng, Jose Visciano, Bill Mueller, Gene Clines, Aaron Sele and Manny Mota.
The Dodger organization has done Albuquerque fans and the Isotopes right, and the fans are coming to the park. They've broken the single game attendance record twice. The first was on June 23 when Manny Ramirez made his debut as an Isotope with the attendance at 15,321. Then with Manny miles away the fans came to Isotopes Park on Friday July 3 with the new record of 15,358.
You can see it all over Albuquerque, Dodger and Isotope gear is being displayed by fans. People talking about baseball. People actually knowing Isotopes players' names. I was even surprised when I walked in to a place of business and all the employees were listening to the Dodger game, thanks to 101.7FM The Team who is now broadcasting Dodgers' games in Albuquerque.
Thank you Mr. McCourt and the Dodger organization, for bringing Dodger tradition back to Albuquerque.