Story and photos by Darl DeVault, Contributing Editor
Despite uncertainty at the Major League Baseball level, the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark will host 75 Oklahoma City Dodgers games during the 2022 season, adding three Salt Lake Bees games to close out the season.
Opening Night is Tuesday, April 5, against the Albuquerque Isotopes, with the first of 14 fireworks nights this season, including after each Friday home game. The rest of the season will see Tuesday through Sunday home stands, as the schedule is designed for Mondays off.
“After two years, we are looking forward to things finally getting back to normal at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark,” said OKC Dodgers President/General Manager Michael Byrnes. “We thank all of our fans who have been patient during that time, having no baseball season in 2020 and reduced-capacity crowds for most of 2021. This year is shaping up to be as exciting as ever, both on the field as well as getting to unveil several new amenities at the ballpark.”
For the first time since 1995, MLB spring training will not start on schedule as MLB, and the MLB Player’s Association are embroiled in baseball’s ninth work stoppage.
The ongoing MLB lockout will not interrupt the OKC Dodgers’ upcoming season or impact the Minor League Baseball schedule. Players on minor league contracts are still eligible to appear in games regardless of a work stoppage in MLB.
LA Dodgers prospects and minor league players — those not represented by the MLB Players’ Association, will play for the OKC Dodgers.
Seniors with an appreciation for the game and Minor League Baseball can invest in the only sure crack of the bat and roar of the crowd to start the season by securing season and single-game tickets before they are gone.
For seniors who played the game in their youth or those who attend this fan-favorite with the youth in their family.
Otherwise, it is Internet/radio where award-winning Dodgers’ sportscaster Alex Freedman delivers the play-by-play on AM 1340 “The Game” or through the iHeartRadio mobile app.
The Dodgers start their second season in the Triple-A West. Most of the games will be against teams in the East Division, including Albuquerque (Colorado Rockies), El Paso (San Diego Padres), Round Rock (Texas Rangers) and Sugar Land (Houston Astros). In addition to Salt Lake (Los Angeles Angels), the Dodgers will also host four other members of the West Division: Las Vegas (Oakland A’s), Reno (Arizona Diamondbacks), Sacramento (San Francisco Giants) and Tacoma (Seattle Mariners).
Fan-friendly surroundings at the ballpark are a complete recipe for family fun. The venue offers amenities designed to entertain children of all ages.
There is plenty of room for kids to play on playground structures and the grassy hillside, and kids can run the bases after each Sunday home game.
The ballpark features an outdoor picnic area on the large concourse surrounding the outfield. It is wide and runs around the entire facility. This allows fans to walk around the park to see every angle of play from all the venue’s dimensions. Parents can attend to their restless little ones and still watch the game by showing them the pitchers warming up in both bullpens from the outfield concourse.
Many fans enjoy looking at the history of baseball in Oklahoma portrayed on murals around the concourse. The ballpark boasts bronze busts of Oklahoma stars and three larger-than-life bronze statues of Oklahoma’s National Baseball Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench and Warren Spahn.
Single-game tickets go on sale on March 1 and can be purchased through okcdodgers.com. Prices range from $12-32. Group outings and season ticket plans are also available. Call (405) 218-1000 for more information.
In local LA Dodgers news in the offseason, Oklahoma City’s humble MLB World Series Winner, Don Demeter, died in November at 86.
With the LA Dodgers, Demeter’s 18 home runs and stellar outfield play helped in the run to the Championship in1959. Later, in seasons split by playing for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Detroit Tigers, he roamed center field for 266 consecutive errorless outfield games to set the MLB league record at the time.
Many Oklahomans remember him as the pastor of the Southern Baptist Grace Community Baptist Church in south Oklahoma City. He founded the church and pastored it for 16 years. He and Bobby Morgan, 95, were the only Oklahoman City residents to star on the Brooklyn Dodgers before their move to Los Angeles.