Oklahoma City's ballpark was field of dreams for locals

The Brick was the first MAPS project to be completed, and it more than met the expectations for voters and city officials.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: December 2, 2013 at 2:24 pm •  Published: December 8, 2013

You may not be a baseball fan. You may not know the difference between Mickey Mantle and Mickey Tettleton. You may not consider a baseball diamond to be a gem.

But if you love what's happening in Oklahoma City, you should love the Bricktown Ballpark.

The ballpark changed the tenor of civic change in the city.

On the 20th anniversary of the original MAPS, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that first tax passed by the narrowest of margins. Oklahoma City had been a place that said no to bond issues pushing progress, and when it finally said yes to one, it wasn't resounding.

But the ballpark changed all that.

The Brick wasn't the only construction funded by the original MAPS. Not even close. The bond issue provided for several major projects, including a downtown arena, a downtown library and the Bricktown Canal.

But the ballpark was the first of those major structures to be completed.

The most visible, too.

Anyone who drove by downtown on Interstate 40 or even Broadway Extension could see the park and its stately brick facade and immense light towers rising out of the skyline — and they could see that it was spectacular. Oklahoma City hadn't built anything that glorious in years.

And when people had a chance to go inside for a ballgame, they were even more impressed.

The park was — and still is — a world-class minor league park. It mixes the charm of ballparks of yesteryear with the best of modern-day accommodations.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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