Sunday, April 13, 2014

Oklahoma City RedHawks

Triple A baseball at its finest! The Oklahoma RedHawks (AAA affiliate of the Houston Astros) were in splendid form Saturday evening taking on the New Orleans Zephyrs. The only thing affecting an otherwise perfect night at the ballpark was the extreme wind gusting up to 36 miles per hour. That combined with seasonal allergies made my eyes feel and look like an olympic version of Bob Costas.

The RedHawks play in Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, aka “The Brick.” It was built to blend in nicely with the trendy bricktown area of Oklahoma CIty. It is snugly placed among hotels, shops, restaurants and a man-made river. One can easily make an evening out on the town before and after the game.

At the games I was able to meet lovely Lisa, the team’s Media Relations Assistant. She had graciously set up and interview with their Concessions Manager and Executive Chef. Both provided a wealth of information about how the team handles all things hot dog. It is folks like Lisa, Alona and Brandon that will make my sojourn worthwhile.

Before getting to the ratings two items:
1. Thanks to the suggestions of my old South Pole mate Nate Cannon, parks will be ranked on accessibility instead of parking. Meaning how easy is it to get to the park in all aspects.
2. I have decided to add speciality dogs availability and how alluring they are to the “It Factor.” Too many teams go beyond the ordinary dog not to give their efforts credit.

On to the dog:
Bun-fresh and steamed
Taste-I was really hungry by the time I delved into the dog, and it was tasty. Plump and juicy frank.
Toppings-A nice assortment of toppings, but not the full monty due to the lack of relish...a dog must.
Price-$4 is not exorbitant, but slightly more than other parks.
Portability-comes wrapped in aluminum foil. Works well but it you load up the dog you cannot completely wrap it back up and some spillage occurs.
I Do It For Science
It factor-OKC excels at doctoring up the dog. In addition to the regular concession stand there is a Franx stand or two that has a Chicago, Porker, Coney and BLT dog for 6 smackers. They can be a meal in itself. And yes, I know because I tried one. I know what you are thinking…”that’s a lot of dogs in one game Tom.” Well…..back off man, I’m a scientist. OKC has also designed specialty dogs for homestands this season including a Hong Kong, Frito Chili Pie, Guac, Red White and Bleu and Steakhouse dog. If you are a dog man...OKC is your ballpark.

The ballpark:
Location-Awesome. Smack in the middle of the trendiest part of downtown.
Access-Another big score. In the city you could take public transport, horse and carriage (really), ride your bicycle and if you know where to go you can park for free a short walk away.
Cleanliness-Spotless venue.
Ambiance-It was built to look and feel like an old time ballpark and it does. And it has a nice skyline view.
GA Ticket Price-$7 to plop your butt on a grass berm in the outfield is a little pricey. I have been to MLB parks where GA was about the same….and included a seat.
Fans-It was Saturday night, the second home game of the season…..and the seats were only about half full. Real fans would pack it in under such conditions. Perhaps the fans in OKC don’t know how well they have it compared to other venues. Also, I had to move twice due to kids running amok and interfering with my view of the game. I finally had to poach some bleacher seats to avoid them. Don’t mess with my view of the game kids….adulthood could escape you. What happened to parenting?

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability4GA Ticket Price4
It Factor5Fans3

Lisa and her team have a score to be proud of with a 54 out of 60. Delicious dogs in a baseball-rich environment. A game a Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is highly recommended.

Entrance at Night

The Red Hawks exploded in the later innings for a 12-1 blowout of the Zephyrs. In case you are wondering, a Zephyr is a light breeze. An appropriate name for the home team’s opponent on this windy night.

Selfie With Mascot

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