ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Isotopes may have set a franchise record for losses in 2014, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the attendance numbers.
More than 9,100 fans came out to the Isotopes season-ending 5-0 loss to the Las Vegas 51’s. That strong finish brought Albuquerque’s per game attendance up to 8,066, a jump over last year of more than 70 fans a game.
“The fans here have continued to support this franchise and we’re very appreciative of that,” said John Traub, Isotopes general manager. “Our season ticket base is as strong as ever, our corporate support is as strong as ever, our suites are sold out until the year 2022.”
The biggest draw on the field has been Joc Pederson, who completed the first 30 home run, 30 stolen base season, the first player to accomplish that feat in the Pacific Coast League in 80 years.
That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been drama in 2014. Dodgers prospect Alex Guerrero had part of his ear bitten off by now-ex teammate Miguel Olivo during a fight in the dugout while on the road in Salt Lake City. Weeks later, a benches clearing brawl against the Reno Aces drew more unwanted national attention.
But the biggest question entering the off-season is whether the Isotopes will be affiliated with the Dodgers come first pitch next April. An Oklahoma newspaper reports that the Dodgers plan on switching their AAA affiliation to the Oklahoma City RedHawks.
The Isotopes current affiliation agreement expires in a few weeks.
But Traub didn’t sound worried about that at Monday’s game.
“We are absolutely guaranteed of having a major league affiliate here next year,” Traub said. “We’ll still be AAA, we’ll still be in the Pacific Coast League. Nothing is going to change, we’re still going to be called the Isotopes. The Isotopes franchise is not for sale. This ball club is not going anywhere. We’re here to stay.”
The Isotopes are wrapping up year 12 of a 25-year lease with the city of Albuquerque, which owns Isotopes Park.
Last season, the team spent $1 million on upgrading the stadium’s video board. Traub said more improvements are planned for next year, but didn’t want to go into specifics Monday.