The 2017 season is significant one for Chicksaw Bricktown Ballpark–home of the Oklahoma City Dodgers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League)–which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Debuting on April 16, 1998, the ballpark allowed the newly-branded Oklahoma RedHawks to move from All Sports Stadium at State Fair Park to a new downtown facility. Characterized in part by its downtown setting, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark followed some planning trends that continue today, as it was developed as part of what has become the Bricktown entertainment district.
The Dodgers are planning a fairly elaborate celebration for the ballpark’s anniversary. Along with a commemorative logo (shown above), the team is staging several events and promotions. The first of the major events took place on Wednesday, when the Dodgers hosted the 20th season kickoff luncheon.
During the event, several officials–including Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett–said that the ballpark has played a vital role in the city’s development. More from NewsOK:
“When the ballpark opened, there was a sense of pride in Oklahoma City that I had never seen exist before,” Cornett said. “We kept looking around. Had a feel of a Major League stadium. Had a feel that you must be in some other city. It was just hard to imagine that this was really ours. It really belonged to Oklahoma City. That set the stage for the other MAPS projects.”
The Dodgers launched a celebration of the Brick’s 20th season with a luncheon Wednesday to benefit its foundation. The event was held in the Criterion, the cool concert venue on the east end of Bricktown that is just one more example of the OKC renaissance.
Cornett and his predecessor, Kirk Humphreys, told of the ballpark’s impact on the city and the psyche of its people. PCL president Branch B. Rickey spoke. The prevailing theme was how a ballpark ignited a city that dared to dream.
“As a city, we really had an inferiority complex, going back to the Great Depression,” Humphreys said. “It was kind of like we thought, if you want to do it right, go to Dallas. With the opening of the ballpark, we began to believe we could do it right here in Oklahoma City. The ballpark changed how we felt about our city and ourselves. It was a turning point in our city.”
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark’s 20th season is slated to begin on April 6, when the Dodgers host the Iowa Cubs.
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