Tim Leonard has been an Oklahoma City 89ers and RedHawks season ticket holder for about as long as he can remember. Leonard is also a Chicago Cubs fan who has made the pilgrimage to Wrigley Field several times. He feels right at home at RedHawks games during this homestand, as the team continues its "Taste of the Big Leagues” campaign featuring some of the top ballparks around the major leagues. There is ivy on the center field wall and a replica of the entrance sign at Wrigley. For the Yankees, there were subway stops and a replica of Monument Park. "It’s something different and unique," Leonard said. "It’s different than normal promotions.” RedHawks co-owner Scott Pruitt got the idea for the campaign after visiting several parks around the majors. Fans may notice fewer bobblehead and bat giveaways this year. That reflects a national trend, RedHawks executive director John Allgood said. "It goes in cycles,” Allgood said. "Now entertainment and experiences are becoming more popular.” Food is also part of the experience. For Wrigley, Chicago Dogs and Mother-in-Law Sandwiches are sold. For Boston’s Fenway Park, lobster rolls and Fenway Franks are on the menu. "It draws people out,” Oklahoma City resident Chris Hayes said. "You may have some people who can’t get to some of these places, but they can have a little bit of it here.” The RedHawks themselves have noticed. Center fielder Julio Borbon plays in front of the makeshift ivy in center field. "When you see such a beautiful ballpark and see those things, it’s a boost,” Borbon said. "It makes you feel good as a ballplayer to see the effort that’s put in.” Heartland Baptist student Zach Estep enjoyed the section of outfield wall covered in ivy on the concourse. The RedHawks also had a live goat during the first game of the home stand to honor the Billy Goat Curse, a key chapter in Cubs lore. "I’ve been to a few ballparks and this is definitely something different,” Estep said. "It brings people in. You see a lot of Cubs fans out here so they must like it.” Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and Busch Stadium are some of the other stadiums to be featured later this summer. Revolutionary War re-enactors will be at the ballpark during Philadelphia week. A replica of the Green Monster will be constructed in left field for Boston, Allgood said.
The RedHawks are presenting their Taste of the Big Leagues campaign this season during all homestands. Elements from each park, including architectural features, will be on display around the concourse. Foods native to those ballparks will also be available. Here’s a look at what’s coming to The Brick.
Wrigley Field→Today through Thursday
Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia)→May 12-18
Busch Stadium→May 29-June 5
Dodger Stadium→June 15-26
Yankee Stadium→July 4-12
Fenway Park→Aug. 1-4 and 14-21
Best of the Best (combination of all parks)→Aug. 31-Sept. 3