Downtown Drillers review

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I was in studio this morning with KFAQ's Pat Campbell to discuss the latest developments in the proposal to build a new ballpark for the Tulsa Drillers in downtown Tulsa, prompted by the announcement that the Drillers and the City of Tulsa are extending negotiations for 45 days. (Here's a link to the MP3 podcast.)

Here's a timeline of Tulsa baseball since the move from McNulty Park (where the downtown Home Depot is now) to the Fairgrounds.

1932: First Oilers season at the Fairgrounds.
1977: Before first Drillers season, part of grandstand at old Oiler Park collapses.
1979: County bond issue to build new park fails.
1981: Sutton Stadium opens to the east of the existing ballpark, later renamed Tulsa County Stadium.
1989: Renamed Driller Stadium.
1991: Tulsa one of five finalists for AAA expansion, passed over for Ottawa, Charlotte, and New Orleans.
1992: Camden Yards opens, heralding the neo-traditional era of ballpark construction.
1993: Oklahoma City approves MAPS, which includes a ballpark for Bricktown.
1993: Prescription Athletic Turf installed.
Mid-1990s: Discussed for possible inclusion in Tulsa Project; soccer stadium proposed instead. TP defeated in October 1997.
1998: Bricktown Ballpark opens in Oklahoma City.
1998: Tulsa not selected in AAA expansion; Memphis and Durham chosen.
2000: "It's Tulsa's Time" package for arena and convention center doesn't include ballpark.
2003: Ballpark included in feasibility study for downtown facilities, but ultimately left out of Vision 2025. Drillers uninterested in moving.
March 2006: Went Hubbard turns over majority ownership to Chuck Lamson.
August 2007: Drillers sign non-binding letter of intent with Jenks River District.
January 2008: Lamson says he wants to be in a new park by 2010.
January 23, 2008: Drillers enter into four-month negotiating period with City of Tulsa.
May 23, 2008: Drillers and City extend negotiations by 45 days.

Possible sites include the old Nordam site (4th to 6th, Frankfort to Lansing), the Hartford Building site (north of 2nd between Greenwood and Hartford); northeast of Archer and Elgin; and the Evans Electric site between OSU-Tulsa and US 75, although there are rumors that the site currently under discussion is none of the above.

Here's my UTW column about the Drillers' options for moving, along with some of their history from last August when the City of Tulsa began wooing the Drillers in earnest. And here's a more recent column, from February, about Jenks' demographic advantages over downtown Tulsa for providing a fan base for the Drillers. Also, in a February UTW op-ed County Commissioner Randi Miller discussed what might be done with the current stadium when the Drillers move.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 27, 2008 6:18 PM.

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