Review by Mike
ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Oklahoma is the home of the Tulsa Drillers of the AA Texas League. When the Drillers moved from their utilitarian, fairgrounds-based ballpark, Drillers Stadium, in 2010, they upgraded in nearly every way. The downtown location, right off the highway, provides easy access and nice views of downtown Tulsa. The comfortable seating and plentiful amenities provide a very agreeable environment to watch a ballgame.
The large main seating bowl is well-shaded by the upper level of luxury suites and does not have a cross-aisle halfway down, which I always appreciate as it spares people in the upper rows the distraction of wandering two-way traffic in their line of sight. The seating goes deep down the lines with fewer rows than is sometimes found, bringing all of the seats down closer to the field for a more intimate experience.
At the terminus of the seating down the 3rd base line, the concourse juts towards the field, with a railing that is perpendicular to the foul line, resulting in a standing room area that is both elevated and facing directly towards home plate. A nearby refreshment vendor provides sustenance for those that wish to stand by the railing for a great view.
Beyond the left field fence is a large, tiered picnic area with lots of tables. Many ballparks have picnic areas, but what I liked about this one is that it is placed so that you can actually watch the game while sitting down and eating at a real table. While enjoying my dinner in this spot, I was nearly beaned by a home run ball that clanked off the railing above my head.
The concourse is 360 degrees, allowing for a nice stroll, and grass berms can be found next to the picnic terrace and beyond the right field fence. Another very cool spot is a bridge to nowhere that extends off the 1st base side of the upper-level suites. One simply walks past the last suite and onto a bridge that goes for a little ways before reaching a staircase down to the main concourse. The only purpose for this bridge seems to be that it is cool, and that’s good enough for me. Nice view of the game from up there as well.
The ballpark is wedged into a small footprint, resulting in a very short right field fence, just 307 down the line, with lots of funky angles as the stadium designers worked to squeeze everything in. The concourse itself is comfortable with nice concessions and good variety on the 1st base side. On the 3rd base side, the space under the suite level is open, with no concession building and no back wall, so the breeze comes thru and sweeps down the 3rd base seating.
I like that the press box sits atop the suite level rather than occupying the center section of the 2nd deck. This arrangement gives the best seats to fans, rather than the media, as is usually the case. The space at ONEOK has been utilized for a nice, air-conditioned lounge area with outdoor seating in front. With its quirky angles, comfortable arrangement of seating and lively crowd, I found ONEOK Park to be an outstanding AA park in a very nice city. Thanks to Brian from the Drillers front office for showing me around and telling me tales of baseball in Tulsa.