However, the record crowd is not the 8,600 spectators who filed through the gates as ONEOK opened in April 2010, but rather 9,400 a month later for the “Bedlam Series” when Oklahoma took on Oklahoma State. We enjoyed a 15-inning marathon win over Springfield, with 5,100 attendees on a weeknight as scattered rain was expected.

ONEOK Field

An active, involved crowd was also a surprise, especially considering the Drillers are the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies and therefore have little connection to parent club 700 miles away. Attendance and interest is also pretty impressive, since on-field success has been missing recently. Tulsa hasn’t won an outright league title since 2002, and though perched near the top of the standings, has a mediocre record so far this season.

ONEOK Field

 

A spacious concourse takes you to picnic areas in right field, with bleachers and berm seating behind the visitors’ bullpen. The right field wall is very low and an outfielder actually flipped over trying to snag a home run early in the contest. Fans can see games free through outfield gates if not blocked by a faux oil derrick in center field. There is also a party deck section on the first-base line called the refinery deck.

ONEOK Field

The left field fence is slightly higher, and there is a large terrace section with benches across most of that area toward center field, all situated beneath some developing condos beyond the fences. The foul area in left also has the ubiquitous beer pavilion full of well-groomed urban professionals blowing off steam after work.

ONEOK Field

But not everyone visits ONEOK to drink and carouse. As noted earlier, most Oklahomans were involved in the game. I saw numerous fans keeping score, and enjoyed good baseball discussion with fans throughout the stadium.

I don’t usually mention ballpark food, but we raced such a long distance — from southern Mississippi to northern Oklahoma — that there was no time available for a pregame meal. I’m glad we waited because of the great selection available at ONEOK — from ethnic food to tons of fresh, interesting sandwiches. I enjoyed a “Beer and Cheese” Burger, which was delectable. I was equally tempted by the “Oktoberfest” bratwurst and Rodeo Burger (angus beef with grilled onions, mushrooms and American cheese).

ONEOK Field

ONEOK, one of the largest natural gas distributors in the U.S., is a century-old corporation whose headquarters are visible from most seats. The company should be proud of the stadium bearing its name.