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  • Writer's pictureMichael Davis

J.L. Johnson Stadium - Oral Roberts Golden Eagles


Photos by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57

J.L. Johnson Stadium 81st St & Lewis Ave Tulsa, OK 74171

Year Opened: 1978 Capacity: 2,418

 

J.L. Johnson Stadium

J.L. Johnson Stadium is the home of the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles baseball program in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The ORU Golden Eagles are an NCAA Division 1 program and a member of the Summit League Conference. J.L. Johnson Stadium was opened on March 6, 1978, as Oral Roberts defeated Southeastern Oklahoma 7-6. The ballpark has an AstroTurf infield with a natural grass outfield and a seating capacity of 2,418 spectators. The ballpark dimensions are 330ft down both lines, with 375ft power alleys and 400ft to centerfield.


The ballpark has made improvements over the years such as in 2008 when a 20,000 square-foot facility was added, including offices for coaches and workout facilities for players; the following year, the outfield wall was replaced with the current wall. In addition, J.L. Johnson Stadium features the Grand Slam room, which is an air-conditioned room on the right field foul line where members can watch the game. The park has hosted three NCAA Regionals and 18 conference tournaments, including the last 3 Summit League Tournaments.


Food & Beverage 2

J.L. Johnson Stadium has one concessions outlet for the entire park, but it is enough for small crowds. However, any large crowds will make this one stand keep fans spending more time at the concessions than in their seats. However, being the only concessions option inside J.L Johnson Stadium, the variety of the food is non-existent – this will help process fans through the line faster, as the only options are beverages, popcorn, hot dogs, pretzels, and nachos.


The prices aren’t outrageous, though, as hot dogs and nachos are $4, pretzels cost $3.50, popcorn is $3, and the candy is $2.All Pepsi product beverages cost $3, while bottled water and Gatorade are $3.50.There are no alcohol sales inside J.L Johnson Stadium.


Atmosphere 2

The atmosphere can be tricky when it comes to evaluating these small enrollment schools. There isn’t a must-see atmosphere at ORU games; the crowds just aren’t large enough to create that type of excitement. And while the fans that are in attendance here are very good, they can only be labeled as family, friends, or alumni. These fans are baseball fans that create a good atmosphere, but by the good atmosphere, I mean a basic baseball atmosphere of cheers when appropriate, and boos when necessary.


The in-game entertainment is as simple as any baseball game played across the country. There are music and games played between innings, the famous 7th inning stretch, and Sweet Caroline being played on the PA system in the 8th inning. The scoreboard and field are perfect, but the rest of the ballpark is just basic. The ballpark could use a little upgrading, but then again, the problem being the lack of fans doesn’t help. The overall experience is a basic baseball atmosphere on a beautiful campus, creating a relaxing way to spend the day.


Neighborhood 3

Oral Roberts is a private Evangelical liberal arts university that has an enrollment of just under 4,000 students. The campus is in a neighborhood 6 miles south of downtown Tulsa. The immediate area surrounding ORU’s campus has various restaurants, such as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Johnny Rocket’s, Thai Village, and Tres Amigos Mexican Grill and Cantina being the closest places (on the south side of campus).


First Watch-Tulsa is also an interesting brunch place off South Lewis Avenue, and if you travel on the north side along 71st Street there is Cajun Ed’s, Hebert’s Specialty Meats, Mazzio’s, and Kai Burmese Cuisine, as well as plenty of fast food restaurants.


Lodging near the campus can be found across the street at the Crowne Plaza-Tulsa Southern Hills or the Marriott Tulsa Hotel-Southern Hills, or the River Spirit Casino-Resort. Speaking of the resort, the casino is the main attraction near campus, but another is the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, located on 71st Street. For avid golf fans, ORU is near the Southern Hills Country Club, host to 15 major championships since 1946.

ORU’s campus itself has a beautiful setting, surrounded by grass, trees, and fountains, and the distance from downtown Tulsa is only 15 minutes, which opens up more restaurants, lodging, and attractions while you are in town. For any craft brewery fans, one place in downtown Tulsa that I enjoy is the Prairie Brewpub.


Fans 2

The fact that Oral Roberts is a small university means that their alumni base is relatively small compared to the larger division 1 baseball programs. The attendance seems to be listed at 600 on average, but at the most recent game I attended there were closer to 200 fans. The fans were spirited and loud given the size of the crowd, however, and they showed that they were into the game by rising to the occasion several times during the contest. The visiting contingent had an impressive showing as well, and both teams’ fans seemed to feed off the other group.


Golden Eagle fans are dedicated, but the issue is that there were too few of them to fill up the 2,000-seat ballpark; the crowd here is made up of about 90 percent of families, friends, alumni, and children.


Access 4

J.L. Johnson Stadium is on the campus of Oral Roberts University; Oral Roberts University is located east of the Arkansas River between East 81st Street South and South Lewis Avenue in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The stadium is across from the Learning Resources Center behind the school’s basketball arena, Mabee Center.

There is plenty of free parking around the stadium, but the ORU campus is a bit difficult to navigate, so it’s best to enter on University Drive off East 81st South.

The campus is about 6 miles from downtown Tulsa, so the best way is to take I-75 South to the 71st Street east exit, then follow 71st for approximately 3 miles to the intersection of 71st and Lewis. Then turn right at the stoplight onto Lewis, and follow Lewis for 1/4 mile until you come to 81st Street.

Take a left onto 81st, then another left onto University after the Mabee Center, then follow that road around to J.L. Johnson Stadium. Or, another way to find the ballpark is by a line of sight – University Ave off 81st South is across from the 2 tall towers of the Oklahoma Surgical Hospital, which was once operated by Oral Roberts University.


Once at the stadium access is easy, as the walkways and the two ramps are big enough to support the crowd size; the seating areas are at the top of the ramps.

Return on Investment 4

The overall return on investment is top-notch, as a trip to J.L. Johnson Stadium won’t be heavy on your wallet. The free parking and programs, along with the low concessions prices, would seem to offset any ticket prices. Yet, Oral Roberts ticket prices are well within the price of top Division 1 Baseball programs.


At the cheapest end, the general admission price is $9 and located along the baselines, while the reserved is $13 behind home plate, and the couple rows of box seats are $16. A game at J.L. Johnson Stadium would be a good return for fans looking for an affordable sporting event.

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Extras 1

The overall setting of the ballpark is simple, yet the talent of Division 1 baseball gives fans a great way to see top talented baseball players.


Final Thoughts

The recent trend of having the Summit League Tournament held at J.L. Johnson Stadium shows that the ballpark is highly thought of as a college baseball destination in the post-season. In addition, the ballpark is close to several lodging options, has easy access, and can be a perfect setting for baseball. Lastly, Oral Roberts has a competitive baseball program that can pique a baseball fan’s interest – combine these elements, and a trip to Oral Roberts University to watch baseball at J.L. Johnson Stadium is well worth the visit.




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