Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43
ONEOK Field 201 N Elgin Tulsa, OK 74120
Year Opened: 2010
The Tulsa Drillers are a minor league baseball affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and play in the Double-A Texas League. Baseball has been played in Tulsa, OK for more than 100 years. Originally known as the Tulsa Oilers, the team mostly played at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. They became the Drillers in 1977. Besides the Dodgers, the Drillers have also been affiliated with the Texas Rangers and the Colorado Rockies.
In 2010, the Drillers moved to the brand new ONEOK Field (pronounced ONE-OAK) at the corner of Elgin and Brady in the Greenwood District of downtown Tulsa. After six years of play, this ballpark still contains its mid-western charm, and is a superb facility with a downtown view, plenty of food and beverage choices and has a family friendly environment in which to take in a minor league baseball game.
Food & Beverage 5
Some Triple-A venues will marvel at the food choices at ONEOK Field. Not only are there permanent concession stands, a plethora of specialty food carts line the inner concourse expanding the nourishment selection.
Permanent concession stands include Wildcatter Cafe (hot dogs, burgers, wings, chicken sandwiches from the grill ($2.75 – $6.50), snack items such as pizza, nachos, pretzels, fries, etc. ($3 – $7), and Pepsi choices including Dr Pepper, water, beer, coffee, and the like ($2.50 – $6).
Franx – Dogs with the Worx offers specialty hot dogs while Burgertopia is a hamburger lover’s paradise. Hornsby’s ice cream parlor peddles those favorite frozen treats with cones, banana splits, popsicles, and more ($2.50 – $6).
The specialty food carts enhance the choices even more with Smokies BBQ, Farmers Market Wraps and Salads, Mazzio’s Italian Eatery, and Steakadelphia. Some carts are cash only.
A noticeable amount of healthy, vegetarian, and vegan items are on offer with turkey and vegan burgers or hot dogs, wraps, and salads.
When visiting ONEOK Field, the local (and recommended) choice is a sausage from Siegi’s and a local brew from Marshall’s. Siegi’s is a Tulsa-based, family-run, hand-making sausage factory. At $10 apiece, their masterpiece is The Wrecker (3/4 lb andouille sausage with choice of onion, pepper, sauerkraut, and/or Gouda cheese). Marshall’s is a Tulsa-based brewery with a specialty stand on the concourse near Siegi’s. Both are near section 107.
Expect to miss a 1/2 inning or more when getting your food and beverage choices as lines can get long at the concessions. Outside food and beverages are not permitted in the park.
The Drillers provide a delightful game day experience where the music volume is loud enough to enjoy but does not impede conversations on the concourse and in the stands. Between inning activities are plentiful and are unobtrusive. The aura is very much geared towards families and kids.
Seating options include one level of wide, blue fold-down stadium seats with cup holders and an extra amount of legroom, a level of suites above the inner concourse, grass berms throughout the outfield, and picnic tables and benches in left field. The third base and outfield areas get the sun during the first several innings at evening games, so choose a first base seat to be in the shade. However, the best view of beautiful downtown Tulsa is from the third base side.
Thankfully, the net does not extend to the dugouts (sections A – J are behind home and behind the net). The Drillers dugout is on the first base side.
Many kid play zones are located throughout the outer concourse including, but certainly not limited to, a water bounce house slide and an impressive Splash Zone located behind the batter’s eye. Kids arrive in their bathing suits and play at these water facilities throughout the game. Next to the Splash Zone is a huge jungle gym play area.
Between inning activities include many of the standards at minor league baseball games: scream for a pizza, t-shirt toss, singing Oklahoma songs, dancing. At the top of the 6th inning, kids get to run across the outfield. The nicest part is these activities are not invasive to those fans who don’t wish to pay attention to them. In fact, it’s all done quite well.
There is a mascot and he does prance on the dugout while the game is being played (something that in this author’s perspective (not necessarily Stadium Journey’s view) should be banned from minor league baseball). It’s fine to prance on the dugout, just do it between innings; not while the players are on the field.
Section 112 is a good place to sit net free, with a great view of downtown, and where the mascot won’t be in your way.
One other minor complaint is the starting lineups are not posted on the concourse, so there’s not an easy way to pre-fill a scorecard. Yes, it’s a dying art but some fans still like to record the game… on paper.
Tulsa has plenty of things to see and do, eat and drink, with many of those choices walking distance of the ballpark.
ONEOK Field is located in the historically-significant Greenwood District, which was once known as the “Black Wall Street of America” until one of the most horrific race rights riots occurred here in 1921 demolishing 35 neighbor blocks, reported killing up to 300 individuals and leaving thousands injured. In the Greenwood District, be sure to check out some history at the Jazz Hall of Fame, Greenwood Cultural Center and the Mabel B. Little Heritage House, all well worth a visit.
Tulsa’s Historical Museum & Society is a short drive from the ballpark.
Other notable places to visit are the Tulsa Zoo, the Philbrook Museum of Art, Woody Guthrie Center and Guthrie Green (two blocks from ONEOK Field) or catch a concert or show at the Brady Theater (also within walking distance of the ballfield).
The area surrounding the venue is now embraced with plenty of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Some recommendations are The Rusty Crane, Caz’s Chowhouse, and Abears Restaurant. Suggested bar and pub choices nearby include James E McNellie’s and The Hunt Club.
If visiting from out of town and spending a night or two, I fully endorse the Fairfield Inn & Suites Tulsa Downtown. It has superb service, is three blocks from the ballpark, walking distance to all the recommended eating and drinking establishments, is clean, quiet, and has a free breakfast with a good variety.
One other point of note is the BOK Tower in downtown Tulsa (seen clearly from the ballpark). This skyscraper is eerily similar (though 1/3 in size) to one of the former World Trade Center Twin Towers.
Fans are laid back and as polite as can be. Lots and lots and lots of families and kids are in attendance for a Drillers game and the organization suits them extremely well. They respond eagerly to plays on the field, in addition to supporting strong batting and pitching performances.
Drillers’ game day attendance has grown since the opening of ONEOK Field. For the last several seasons, the Drillers have ranged second in total attendance in the Texas League.
Some road construction surrounds the venue and there are one way streets in the area so be cautioned if arriving by motor vehicle. In addition, one section of Elgin Ave is closed off for pedestrian traffic during games.
Both street and lot parking are convenient for Driller’s games. Free street parking can be found near the stadium but get there early as those fill up quickly. Lots in the area run $5 – $10.
Tulsa has public transportation and it appears the bus stops close to ONEOK Field. Also available on Friday and Saturday evenings is the loop which transports visitors and fans throughout the downtown area. For $3.75 it may just be worth taking the trip to see where it goes.
Security and lines getting into the ballpark are painless.
Once inside, one can walk the entire concourse (and I recommend it) to find the many selections of food and beverage as well as check out all the park has to offer.
Several ramps and many handicapped seating areas are at hand.
Return on Investment 4
Attending a Drillers game is well worth the expense. Tickets range from $5 – $15 with an additional dollar or two charged for game day purchases (which drives me nuts).
Many promotions are available throughout the year: $2 Tuesdays, Fireworks Grand Slam Saturdays, Kids Eat Free! games, and many giveaway events make attending a game a worthwhile and affordable experience for the family.
A variety of game ticket packages are provided so, if a native of nearby Tulsa, be sure to check out the Drillers website for those offerings.
When attending a Drillers game at ONEOK, several things deserve extra credit.
The Splash Zone behind the batter’s eye serves kids and adults alike with cooling off on those hot Oklahoma days and evenings.
A U-Haul truck rental office is just behind the outfield wall; on top of its roof is a rotating/spinning U-Haul truck, a view I have not seen before from a ballfield.
The view of downtown Tulsa from the ballpark is spectacular.
The exceptional legroom and wide seats making watching a game comfortable and fans don’t even have to stand up to let other fans pass by.
A large merchandise shop is at the first base entrance (the main entrance) and is worth a visit.
ONEOK Field sports and entertainment is very much geared towards families and children. In addition, it is still an enjoyable visit for those without youngsters. Tulsa, though not the ‘hotbed’ of tourist destinations, has plenty to see and visit.