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Official Review by Andrew Kulyk, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
When you have a college baseball team playing in a massive AAA professional baseball park, it usually does not work well. But that is the case here where the New Mexico Lobos call home, a massive 11,000 plus capacity ballpark which is primarily the home for the Pacific Coast League (PCL) Albuquerque Isotopes. The program averages around 1100 a game for attendance, meaning lots and lots of empty seats and a pretty dismal game day atmosphere.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
One concession stand is open, and they offer a chicken tender or burger basket with fries ($8.25-$9.75), hot dogs ($4), soda ($3.50-$4.50), beer ($7-$8) along with nachos, coffee and bottled water. That's it. That's all.
The stadium is big. It's empty. Except for the infield on the main level the facility is roped off, not granting access to the outfield or upper decks. Large canyon wide concourses are windswept and empty. Canned chanting music quietly wafts from the speakers.
Let's describe the four corners - this corner, Isotpoes Park, next corner, University Stadium, third corner, The Pit, last corner an office park. Lots of parking, nothing to see or do and it's about the coldest and least friendly neighborhood anyplace. For Isotopes games we assume there's at least a decent crowd and entertainment and food options inside the venue.
There couldn't have been more than 200 fans in the building on the night we attended, and even though their web site maintains a claim of 1100 average attendance, this building is way too big to create any sort of an atmosphere or energy for a team with so few who come to watch.
Parking is abundantly available and is free for UNM baseball games. For the public transportation option, the ABQ Pass allows unlimited bus travel for $2, and bus lines drop off right outside the ballpark.
Single ticket prices run $5 for general admission, and are free for students. The concession prices are reasonable although selection is limited. The team store sells Isotopes merchandise so good luck finding any Lobos merchandise here, although there is a team store located at The Pit, which is kitty corner across from the ballpark.
Simply put, this is an awful baseball experience. College baseball programs need a simple 3000 seat ballpark, with comfort stations, the basic scoreboard, concession stands and perhaps a play area for the kids, and an intimacy which makes a 1000 person house seem into it. In this massive stadium, fans are swallowed up by the size. Suggestion: Avoid.
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