Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

'Topes Play Ball With Autograph Hounds.(Final)

Byline: Dennis Latta Journal Staff Writer

Some disgruntled fans are upset that Isotopes players have refused to sign autographs, but team officials say the problem is in the timing.

They say the design of the new stadium puts fans so close to the dugout they ask for signatures during games.

''They're sitting right there,'' says Isotopes manager Dean Treanor. ''Players can't sign an autograph during a game. They have to focus on what's going on. Kids are always coming down and leaning over, asking for balls. It's constant the whole game, it really is.''

One player who has been criticized is utility player Derek Wathan, who has played every position except catcher and pitcher. An e-mail in the Journal's Sports Speak Out column recently singled out Wathan for disappointing a kid by not signing. …

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