Albuquerque Journal

Some sports open to fans

Strict public health order restrictio­ns in New Mexico loosened

- BY GEOFF GRAMMER JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Isotopes, Lobos and some preps to allow limited attendees.

Thanks, but no thanks, Sod Poodles. The Lobos are going to stay in Albuquerqu­e this week, after all.

While the news Wednesday of loosened public health order restrictio­ns around New Mexico covered plenty of ground, in the sports realm, the headliner was clear.

For the first time in 347 days, live sporting events — under certain circumstan­ces and in certain venues — are allowed again in New Mexico.

In some cases, much to the delight of college and profession­al teams in the Albuquerqu­e area that are dependent on the revenue generation of ticket sales, fans can even return to cheer on their teams.

And for the immediate future, it means UNM baseball coach Ray Birmingham won’t need to gas up his pickup to follow the team bus to Amarillo on Thursday for a “home” series against Air Force, which was set to be played at HODGETOWN Stadium, home of the minor league Amarillo Sod Poodles. Now it will be played Saturday (a doublehead­er) and Sunday at home.

“It’s fantastic,” Birmingham said of the news on a conference call, moments after demonstrat­ing his initial reaction to the news that consisted of a loud scream and a fist pump.

The prospects for high school sports, meanwhile, didn’t change as the day’s news was venue-based, not making any specific changes to the health order.

Said Birmingham, “We’re excited. We want to show off a new ballpark (UNM renovated its baseball stadium this past offseason). We want to show

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 ?? ADOLPHE PIERRE-LOUIS/JOURNAL ?? The Pit, which has been serving as a COVID-19 vaccinatio­n site since last month, will not currently be allowed to play host to Lobos sports events in the near future.
ADOLPHE PIERRE-LOUIS/JOURNAL The Pit, which has been serving as a COVID-19 vaccinatio­n site since last month, will not currently be allowed to play host to Lobos sports events in the near future.
 ?? ROBERTO E. ROSALES/JOURNAL ?? Under the new state health order, Albuquerqu­e’s Triple-A baseball team will be able to allow fans to fill Isotopes Park, above, to 25 percent of capacity this season.
ROBERTO E. ROSALES/JOURNAL Under the new state health order, Albuquerqu­e’s Triple-A baseball team will be able to allow fans to fill Isotopes Park, above, to 25 percent of capacity this season.

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