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Yodice: Hey Dan Patrick, we and the Isotopes are here in NM

Surprise guests Bart and Homer Simpson clap for Governor Bill Richardson after the throwing out the first ball at the first game in the Isotopes Park on Friday, April 11, 2003. (Greg Sorber/Journal)

Maybe, in light of this most recent identity crisis, we as the 47th state, in search of some image repair, ought to consider buying ad time during the Super Bowl.

Couldn’t hurt.

The latest episode in the ongoing comic saga, entitled “National Sports Media Who Apparently Don’t Know A Damn Thing About New Mexico,” centers on one the country’s most recognizable sports media figures, Dan Patrick.

And, oddly enough, the (cough) Albuquerque Isotopes.

On Monday, Patrick, who hosts a popular national radio show that airs in the Albuquerque market, was talking with longtime “The Simpsons” voice actor Hank Azaria.

And during their 10-minute chat, the conversation turned briefly to the Isotopes.

“Who does Homer (Simpson) root for?” Patrick asked Azaria. “He’s in the Midwest, he’s probably a Chiefs fan, wouldn’t he be?”

“The local minor league team is the Springfield Isotopes,” Azaria answered, adding, “I think there’s actually a real team named the Isotopes.”

Back to you, Dan.

“They’re in Texas, I think,” Patrick said.

D’oh!

For a state that already – and understandably – has more than a simmering frustration stemming from the constant mixing up of the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State by national broadcast media, Patrick’s comment was merely the latest reason for an all-too-familiar shake of our collective heads.

“I laughed,” Isotopes general manager John Traub said Tuesday.

“Obviously,” Traub added, “we need to do a better job of letting people know who we are and where we’re from.”

Which, if you’re Traub, would be almost a redundant undertaking, seeing as how the Isotopes nickname is consistently rated among the most hip and unique in all of Minor League Baseball.

It clearly was not an intentional slight by Patrick, and to be fair, it’s obvious he wasn’t certain about the team’s home state origin. (Incidentally, Springfield, the fictional home of the Simpson family and the cartoon Isotopes, is centered around Oregon, not the Midwest.) But somehow, Patrick believing they were located in Texas comes across as more of a diss than if he thought they were located in, say, Colorado.

Right, New Mexicans?

“I think it’s more indicative of some of the disrespect New Mexico gets nationally,” Traub said. “New Mexico is a nice little secret around here; with that secret sometimes, people don’t know things we think they should know.”

Traub said he already has reached out to the Dan Patrick Show, and said he has sent Patrick a care package courtesy of the Isotopes. Plus a letter.

“I let them know that we’re in Albuquerque,” he said. ” … There’s a nerve that it hits, for sure.”

Of course, this kind of affront on a national level has become a tired topic for those in the 505 and 575. Geographically challenged media so regularly confuse UNM and NMSU that a hashtag, #UNMSU, was created on Twitter. Goodness, ESPN once had a graphic during the New Mexico Bowl that said Dreamstyle Stadium was located in Albuquerque – Albuquerque, South Carolina, that is. The NFL Network once referred to Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher as hailing from New Mexico State.

So many of these, too many to document.

Traub himself relayed a story from the New Orleans airport a few years ago, when a worker in the rental car area asked for his driver’s license.

“She said, ‘Oh my God, it’s just terrible what happened over there today,’ ” Traub said. That comment caught him off guard, and befuddled him.

You know how this ends: The woman was referring to something that happened in Mexico.

For the Isotopes, this was the final indignity in a year that already saw the 2020 season stricken by the coronavirus, and also saw the recent passing of longtime club executive Nick LoBue, who died due to complications from COVID-19.

“We’ve got running water, we’ve got toilet paper, there are even maps that have us (Albuquerque) listed right in the middle of the state,” Traub said, who could be speaking on behalf of all of New Mexico.

On the plus side, Patrick during his chat with Azaria – who didn’t correct Patrick when Patrick said he thought the Isotopes were based in Texas – did at least express his admiration for the Isotopes moniker.

“I thought, that’s such a great nickname, there’s nobody who’s known as the Isotopes,” Patrick said.

You’re darn tootin’, Dan.

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