Results tagged ‘ ONEOK Field ’

Ballpark Bio: ONEOK Field (Tulsa, OK)

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Today marks the second installment in a seven-part series in which I’ll show you the different parks of the Texas League and give you an idea of the various places the Riders are playing, aside from Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Facts and Figures
Opened: April 8, 2010
Capacity: 7,833
Dimensions: LF – 330, CF – 400, RF – 307

The plot of land upon which Tulsa’s ONEOK Field rests is not all that large, but the Drillers do a great job of maximizing the space they have to work with.

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With no backstop behind home plate, fans get a very intimate feel with the action.

One of the first things that struck me about the park is its orientation. Unlike most parks (including Dr Pepper Ballpark) which face North, ONEOK Field faces South. As a result, fans (and broadcasters) are lent a great view of the skyline in nearby downtown.

Inside the park, it’s been a very intimate feel, thanks to the fact that the park sits on only about seven acres. The seats are very close to the field, and the way they curve in near the foul poles makes it feel even more intimate.

Another things that’s stood out to me here is the fact that there is no backstop behind the plate (although there is a net), very similar to Dodger Stadium, home of the Drillers’ parent club.

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The left field terrace looks like a great place to watch a game with a large group.

It helps add to that intimate feel, and the tables to the left side of the area by the backstop look like a great place to enjoy a meal with a view.

In the outfield, I was immediately fascinated by the terrace seating that makes up most of the seating area behind the left field wall. With rows of picnic tables, it seems like a great place to bring a group, while having a great view of the field at the same time.

The game atmosphere in Tulsa has been great the first few nights. Furthermore, this team has done a great job of creating an enjoyable experience without the need of all kinds of attractions.

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With tight spacing in the RF corner, there’s not much foul territory to work with.

That’s not to say I don’t like ballparks with fun attractions (see my review of Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field for reference), but it’s cool to see a team keep things relatively simple and still put on a great show.

All in all, there may not be a heap of room to work with on a great plot of land near downtown Tulsa, but I’ve been impressed by how well it’s been put to use.

Stay tuned for the next ballpark bio, coming this weekend from Hammons Field in Springfield, as I take you along for the ride on my first journey through the Texas League.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Beany – Said of a player who is a bit off mentally, a condition attributed to being hit by a ball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball DictionaryIMG_3938 (1)

Rangers Lose Top Minor League Talent

At first glance, he isn’t exactly the warm and fuzzy type.  To be honest, in my limited time with him, I can’t remember seeing him smile.  He looks, acts, and talks like someone who has been in baseball his entire life.  And it wasn’t until I had the chance to sit down and interview him in the RoughRiders’ dugout at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Ok. that I realized how truly valuable Senior Director of Player Development  Scott Servias was to the Texas Rangers.

Unfortunately, he’s now a valuable addition to the division rival Anaheim Angels.

New Angels GM Jerry Dipoto (Artesia News)

Right before the weekend, it was announced that new Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto had luered Servais away from Texas by offering him a multi-year contract as the Halos’ assistant general manager overseeing scouting and player development.  With Texas, Servais was responsible for the on-field minor league development in addition to instructing the Rangers’ Major League catchers. He also made recommendations for potential trades and free-agent signings.

There are a lot of moving parts involved with the operations and player development in both major and minor league baseball and I’m far from fully understanding it all.  Over the course of a season I see and meet coaches, scouts, rovers, coordinators, special assistants, and plenty more.  All of them work for the Rangers, and all are trying to help the players here in Frisco become players in Arlington.

What I do know is that Servais had the respect of every RoughRider I talked to.  A one-time player himself, the former catcher was taken in the third round of the 1988 First-Year Player Draft by Houston and began his career with the Astros, making his Major League debut on July 12, 1991.  His playing days ended in 2002 after  batting .245 with 63 home runs and 319 RBIs in 820 Major League games.

I remember talking with former RoughRiders’ second baseman Matt Lawson about Servais at one point last year.  He was incredibly complimentary of Servias and said that he felt like he really took the time to get to know him.  In my interview with Servais in Tulsa, I asked Scott about how important it was for him get to know the players he was developing:

“It’s everything.  I played for 15 years and I remember how important it was when the brass came into town. Letting [the players] know that they’re not just a number or a piece of meat, so to speak.  I’m a person, I have a family, I have a background.  I hope to build equity with the players so when I have to go to a player and hold them accountable or ask them to make an adjustment, we’ve built that equity, and they’ll buy in and take our suggestions.”

This told me a lot about Scott, and I think he really does care about the players.  That might sound a little too “Hallmark” for professional baseball, but in my ten minutes with him, I truly felt as though he meant it.

For the Angels, this was a big time acquisition.  For the Rangers, it leaves a big time void.  Texas general manager Jon Daniels told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram that “[Scott] helped put together an outstanding staff, so we’re confident others will step up and we won’t miss a beat . . . I’m looking forward to competing against him.”  Daniels also said that Scott will be missed and that his new opportunity is an exciting one.

No matter what happens, we’ll see the fruit of Servais’ labor 12 times a year when the RoughRiders take on the Arkansas Travelers.

– AG

Servais alongside Rangers' GM Jon Daniels (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)