Go ‘Topes

The embankment beyond the outfield fence at the old Albuquerque Sports Stadium was covered with lava rock, and “lava” became synonymous with the long ball. One of my
great baseball moments was when Daryl Strawberry, then with the Dodgers, was down at Albuquerque on a rehab assignment. Whoever was pitching had gotten behind in the count to Strawberry, and I leaned over to my friend Chuck right before the pitch and said, “Lava.” Bang. Strawberry hit a rope into the lava.

The Dodgers” farm club, the Dukes, left us two years ago, and we’ve been out of baseball ever since. But tonight I am listening on the radio to Albuquerque Isotopes baseball, playing their season opening series in Memphis.

Lissa, Nora and I were among the 6,000 (how do they know that?) who made the pilgrimage today to an open house at Isotopes Park today, the beautifully rebuilt ballpark. We’ll have to pay more for tickets, and the food prices are exhorbitant, as befits a modern ballpark. But the grass is green, the basepaths are red and they put some lava beyond the center field fence.