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Isotopes’ season opener to be delayed until May

Isotopes Park sits empty on what would be the eve of the Albuquerque Isotopes’ 2020 home opener last April. The 2021 season, originally scheduled to begin in April, now will begin in May if plans work out.. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Baseball fans who have endured the wait for Albuquerque Isotopes baseball will have to wait even a little longer.

Isotopes general manager and vice president John Traub confirmed an ESPN report late Tuesday that says the start of the Triple-A season will be delayed into May. The delay is pandemic related, ESPN reported, including hopes that buying time would allow for the vaccination of players.

Albuquerque was scheduled to open at home on April 8 vs. Sacramento. Now, the plan is a season and home opener on Thursday, May 6 vs. Sugar Land. Traub said the delayed start isn’t a surprise, and “we are pleased that we have some extra time to plan, given how quickly things are evolving. … The return of Isotopes baseball promises to be a wonderful and emotional day for all of us.”

The pandemic last year forced the cancellation of all minor league baseball. Major league teams instead operated alternative training sites for players not on their active rosters, and ESPN reports that those sites will remain in operation once camp breaks and the MLB season begins.

The revised Isotopes’ schedule will be 120 games, 60 each at home and on the road, after MLB assigns games at Round Rock July 12-13. The club continues to work on its ticket plans and promotional schedule. The state’s public health order would allow 25 percent capacity attendance at home games.

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