Tonight begins a happy weekend at Isotopes Park. Whether the Albuquerque players themselves will join the party is another matter.
The four-game home series against Omaha wraps up the regular season for the Isotopes, who played late Thursday at Oklahoma City against the lone team remaining as a threat to their division title hopes.
Up 2½-games going into Thursday, the Isotopes needed only a combination of three wins or RedHawks losses to clinch the division title in the Pacific Coast League American South.
That’s not so tall an order, except the Isotopes of the past week have played their least inspiring ball of the season. Before Thursday, they had lost four straight by a combined 30-7.
Yet for the casual fans who care about none of that, fun still will abound. Fireworks are in the works tonight, Saturday and Sunday. The mascot Orbit, which won an online popularity contest earlier this year, dons a championship belt tonight that would have made the late Johnny Tapia proud.
Should the Isotopes straighten up and clinch the division, the weekend series is a preview of a first-round playoff matchup. Omaha won the PCL American North.
And there also is the prospect of major league call-ups as soon as Saturday, when major league rosters can expand from 25 to 40. The parent and reconfigured Los Angeles Dodgers, who likewise haven’t always played up to the emotional investment of their new owners, surely will summon some reinforcements.
But who, and how many? Stay tuned.