Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tulsa Drillers

I know you are probably tired of disclaimers, but I aim for transparency. Tulsa is where I live (hey, don’t hate the 918) and I go to ONEOK Field often. It is also where I tested out my system before I started in early April. Now that I am an experienced hot dog explorer and have refined my system I wanted to give it a more critical look. I chose Wednesday because it was “Bark in the Park” night where fans can bring their well-behaved dogs (and not so well-behaved children). I love dogs but don’t have one. The “Bark in the Park” gives me lots of canine time without the vet bills.

While Tulsa does not have the best stadium in the minor league system, I would place in in the top ten or so. Not only did they nail the location but put some thought into the design. It was placed in what back in the day was called “Black Wallstreet.” African-American businesses thrived there before the infamous Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. Much was burned. Some rebuilt but eventually the area fell into disrepair. Placing the ballpark there a few years ago caused new businesses to blossom around it and the area is now a robust district of downtown Tulsa. It has a few interesting features in or around it. The main gate sports two gas lamps, paying homage to the ballparks sponsor ONEOK (a gas company). Beyond the outfield wall is a multi-story U-Haul storage facility...complete with a rotating U-Haul truck on a pole on the roof. Adjacent and built into the ballpark on the left field side is Fat Guys Burgers and Fries, serving up burgers that weigh as much as a small child. One major detractor is that ONEOK Field has fallen into the societal trap too many stadiums have….trying to be a kid’s amusement park in addition to a ballpark. I get it. Kids are easily distracted. But not only is there a large play area over the center-right field wall (very distracting) but a splash pad behind the batter’s eye portion at dead center field. A splash pad? At the ballpark? Unfortunately, these things distract from the ambiance and cost ONEOK Field a perfect score in that category.

Bun-fresh, steamed….and a bit squished.
Taste-the Nathan’s Famous frank was pretty darn tasty.
Toppings-nothing can drag your hot dog score down like skimpy toppings. Poor job.
Price-for $3.50 you get a plump wiener that tastes good.
Portability-the paper wrapper does the job.
It Factor-for a AA park Tulsa does a bang up job. They offer not only the Driller Dog and a super version of that, but several specialty dogs including the Firecracker, Sonoran, Frito Chili and others. Plus some brats. Nice selection.

Location-downtown and if there were extra points Tulsa would get them for using the new ballpark to revitalize the area.
Access-from downtown you can walk, drive, bike. Tulsa’s public transport is not the best, but that is not the fault of the Drillers.
Cleanliness-great job keeping ONEOK clean.
GA Ticket Price-$5 for a grass berm seat is what every minor league park should offer. Fair price for a fair seat (and that is where all of the dogs are).
Fans-Nice turn out for a mid-week game. Bark in the Park may have had something to do with that. School has just let out so there were some obnoxious teen doing what they do best. That didn’t help the score. And many seemed disinterested in the game. In fairness I was one of them since I spent some of the time shooting my kickstarter video.
Ambiance-It looks and feels like a ballpark for as new as it is. Good job in location and design to boost this score. Turning the ballpark into a playground cost the Drillers a point.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price5
It Factor5Fans4

Trying my best to be non-partial, with a score of 54 you really do want to see a game at ONEOK field if in the Tulsa area. After the game most of the city’s main bars and restaurants are within walking distance and it’s a great way to spend a sultry summer evening in the deep mid-west. Don’t forget to grab a Driller Dog while there.

No comments:

Post a Comment