The Albuquerque Isotopes
are the newest team in the Pacific Coast League
, one of minor league baseball
's biggest AAA leagues, although the PCL is nothing new for the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico
. The Albuquerque Dukes won several PCL championships in the 1970s
before relocating as the Portland Beavers
The Isotopes began playing in 2003 when the Calgary Cannons relocated to New Mexico. Their major league affiliation is the Florida Marlins.
The name was chosen by the fans in the city, taking the name from an episode of The Simpsons where Homer's favorite team, the Springfield Isotopes, threatened to move to Albuquerque.
After the Dukes relocated, the city of Albuquerque almost completely destroyed the team's home stadium, Albuquerque Sports Stadium, but kept the old playing field intact. The city then built a completely new stadium around the existing field. The new venue opened in 2003 as Isotopes Park.