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Little bit of heaven falls on Sonic fan

by Berry Tramel Published: July 4, 2008
Anthony Francisco calls himself Sonic Sooner on the radio airwaves, which he frequents to talk sports and hail his beloved teams (guess who?) and trash the Texas Longhorns and Compton Aqueducts (Lakers) at every opportunity.

Francisco watched his Oklahoma football team from up close, surrounded by a million Sooner zealots, and his Seattle basketball team from afar, maybe the lone SuperSonic fan in the seven-county region.

Life can throw you some curveballs. Sometimes, it throws you a pitch so fat, you can't help but pinch yourself and hit it out of the park.

Oklahoma City was not even a blip on the major-league radar three years ago. Now Sonic Sooner's beloved team has landed in his lap.

Through a series of events that can only be described as amazing, from a hurricane to an oil boom, OKC has joined the list of America's major-league metros, 41 in all.

A lot of us wondered what it would be like to live in a major-league market and figured we'd have to move to find out. But the mountain came to Mohammed.

"I'm the eternal optimist,” said OKC mayor Mick Cornett, who grew up a sports junkie on the northwest side of town in the 1970s. "I think I found myself on the side that said never say never.”

But even Mayor Mick admits the majors weren't realistic.

Then Oklahoma City passed the MAPS vote, and the NHL gave us a look, and the Ford Center opened, and Katrina swamped New Orleans, and Chesapeake Energy went flush with money, and Clay Bennett and his buddies bought the Sonics, and next thing you know, Sonic Sooner needs a new name.

Bennett is leaving the Sonics brand behind, and that's OK with Francisco.

"I can live with giving up the name Sonics,” Francisco said. He hoped they would be the Oklahoma City Sonics but said he would take the team two years early in exchange for the name.

"It is the team I've been following since '92,” Francisco said.

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