The National Pastime: Great Ballparks in Oklahoma

Just a reminder that basketball is not the only sport played in Oklahoma…..

Welcome back. Baseball is truly something special. Across the country there are many historical small town ball fields like Doenges Memorial Stadium where many professional major leaguers got their start over the last 70 years. With seating for 2,500 it’s been the crown jewel of downtown Bartlesville since 1932 and thanks to the support of the community it will continue to be.

In Tulsa the Double A Tulsa Drillers call ONEOK Field home. Opened in 2010 at a cost of 39.2 million, the stadium holds 7,833 spectators comfortably and when they add seating on the infield for concerts that number jumps to 9,000. Built just like the big league ballparks with a couple of dozen private suites, ONEOK Field also offers many other extras for fans, players and coaches.

Trying to see all the baseball I could over the weekend, on the 4th I caught a game at the stadium in Bricktown which is located right in downtown Oklahoma City and is close to everything.  The Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark as it is called is home to the Triple A Oklahoma City Dodgers which is the affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The big boys play here and with seating for over 13,000 it is also home to the Big 12 Tournament and numerous other major events.

While I was there I found out that there are three main gates leading into the park and each one is marked by a giant bronze sculpture of a ball player with ties to Oklahoma. At the main gate is Mickey Mantle who was born in Spavinaw and raised in Commerce, Oklahoma. The7’6” statue stands on a 3’ granite base and was dedicated on the opening day of the stadium in 1998. A 9’bronze of Oklahoma boy Johnny Bench greets fans at the home plate gate. Bench grew up in Binger, Oklahoma and his statue was dedicated in 2001.

Warren Spahn was a hard throwing left hander from Buffalo, New York who is in the Baseball Hall of Fame along with Mantle and Bench.  Although not a native of Oklahoma, the 8’8” statue of him at the other gate came to be because after managing the Tulsa Drillers in 1967 he chose to remain here and live in Broken Arrow.

The inside of the Chickasaw Ballpark has an elegant design and state of the art amenities including a 10’ high 185’ long LED video scoreboard in left field. The food in the ballpark is also top of line and it’s no wonder that it has been named the #2 minor league park in the country by Baseball America and ranked in the top 10 minor league stadiums in the country at the Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

Baseball, the 4th of July and America, they all go together so if you’re thinking of catching a ball game, whether at Doenges Stadium, ONEOK Field or at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, located at where else but #2 south Mickey Mantle Drive, you are sure to meet some friends and have a good time at the old ballgame.

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…..