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What If - Baseball?
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rabidTU2 Offline
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Post: #1
What If - Baseball?
Now I'm not advocating this necessarily, but it is a subject that has been discussed by TU followers for some time. So since I'm homebound in this disgusting rainstorm, why not throw this out there for consumption.

Its the restart of baseball.

Now I've done a little checking and in another thread I stated that baseball requires 12 schollies - some I assume are partials and I mentioned a good Title IX addition would be Field Hockey. So IMO schollies aren't much of a problem/issue and I think there'd be iniitial financial support for the startup from outside sources - fans and alums. But there are a lot of things to consider - but IMO they can be easily overcome now that we're in the AAC.

The new baseball TV contract with CBSSN is the fuel(money) we could use for the startup. Right now the AAC has 8 baseball teams. SMU, NAVY, Temple and TU do not play the sport. As I've stated, I think at some point in the very near future there will be a push to invite Wichita St into the conference. If/when that occurs, someone in the athletic dept will look at our overall sports program and make a judgment on the viability of a baseball program. So what then? We need a place to play, a staff and a schedule that would draw enough fans to justify it.

Lets start with the schedule. Right now with only 8 teams in the AAC playing baseball, it is the #3 RPI conference in the nation. Our RPI is better than the Big 10, MWC, PAC 12 and yes, the Big12. So the conference schedule will be ready made for fan interest and a national stage. Outside the league, we have nearby instant rivals ORU, OU, OSU, Arkansas and other members of the Big 12 closeby like TCU and the Kansas schools and even Missouri St to rival with. We are literally in a hotbed of baseball in this part of the nation. So a schedule would be an easy thing to get if we had the home venue.

Now the venue. Some of the folks who wanted TU to restart baseball a few years back envisioned TU playing at Driller Park on the fairgrounds, but now the Tulsa Drillers play at OneOK field where the Big 12 baseball tournament is being held right this very minute. Driller Park has basically been converted to a soccer complex for the Pro Soccer team (or is it teams?). One of those soccer teams actually plays at OneOK, a facility that was designed for baseball - so the soccer teams need to play soccer in the soccer venue and the baseball teams need to play baseball at the baseball stadium IMO.

OneOk field is only 2 miles from campus. It is a first class facility that is the perfect size - 8,000-10,000(St Room). There are several college teams around the nation that share baseball facilities with minor league teams such as Missouri St who shares Hammons Field with the Springfield minor league club and its about the same size as OneOK.

The reason I like OneOK is that it would be a good draw for OU/OSU/Arkansas and some of the other major baseball programs we'd schedule outside the league- a venue they'd like to play at. Most of these college baseball players enjoy playing in a pro venue - just like Memphis in MBB.

The reason I started this was that IF the desire is ever there to be a part of AAC baseball, we have the ability to start it now - now more than ever before. We have the league. We have a possible great venue just down the street and we can get a great schedule immediately of teams that want to play us.

Here is a possible outside conference schedule at home.

OU
OSU
ORU
Arkansas
Wichita St (unless they are in AAC - as has been discussed)
KU
KSU
TCU
Baylor
Missouri State

Then you have the AAC with the #3 rated conference in the country.

Now that is a lot to bite off initially, but I think the fans would just like to have baseball back and see where it leads.

TU baseball was once a national power and just one win from the national champions in baseball. So to rekindle baseball isn't beyond the realm of possibility. Within a few years, it might be smart to look at it. Done right, baseball could pay for intself and be a sport TU could add to its arsenal.
(This post was last modified: 07-25-2015 09:35 AM by rabidTU2.)
05-22-2015 12:57 PM
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rabidTU2 Offline
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Post: #2
RE: What If - Baseball?
(This post was last modified: 05-30-2015 02:24 PM by rabidTU2.)
05-22-2015 07:39 PM
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rabidTU2 Offline
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Post: #3
RE: What If - Baseball?
Would it be hard to practice at OneOK since its 2 miles away - having to shuffle practice times with a pro baseball team? Well, that wouldn't be a problem. You see, Harwell Field is large enough to convert the FB practice fields used in the fall to a practice baseball field in the spring - even with that new IPF that will occupy part of that area (Harwell). There's still enough room for a grass baseball practice field converted in the spring after FB is done. And the best thing is when the IPF is completed and bad weather arrives, the baseball team just moves indoors for the scheduled practice.
(This post was last modified: 07-25-2015 09:35 AM by rabidTU2.)
05-22-2015 08:13 PM
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rabidTU2 Offline
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Post: #4
RE: What If - Baseball?
05-22-2015 08:33 PM
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rabidTU2 Offline
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Post: #5
RE: What If - Baseball?
One reason why colleges sometimes use pro baseball venues is that the season schedules only conflict a few weeks of the year. For instance ORU's "home" baseball schedule begins in February and ends (like most of the college teams), in early May. But the Drillers don't begin until mid April and play all the way until early september. So there's very little schedule conflict which is fairly easily remedied by playing afternoon games during those conflicts if one ever arises. I even envision a double header on certain days with both TU and the Drillers playing back to back - to encourage good crowds for both teams.

From a TU standpoint, playing in a pro venue also is a recruiting tool for the school. To start a program from scratch, recruiting would need a jump start. These olympic sports such as baseball, softball, track and soccer are much easier to schedule since there is seldom a 2-1 or 3-2 contract to overcome and if the venue is adequate the travelling team enjoys the experience and comes back.

With the startup costs offset by a good TV contract and a venue that covers a lot of the negatives, TU baseball should IMO, be on the board at some future point - at least as a consideration. TU has the history and the instant interest, so why not look at it? There are a lot of programs around the nation that play baseball that can't come close to the level of enthusiasm it could generate right here in T town.

IMO
(This post was last modified: 05-24-2015 09:43 AM by rabidTU2.)
05-23-2015 02:02 PM
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rabidTU2 Offline
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Post: #6
RE: What If - Baseball?
More about using a pro baseball venue for a college baseball team's home field would be this - I used the Tulsa Drillers (home appearances in their venue) and ORU home schedule (dates) model as a replacement for a mythical TU team. Hope this isn't too complicated.

ORU played a (2015) home schedule that fell between Feb 13 and May 16 (this would be somewhat similar to a future TU baseball schedule). That amounts to 110 calendar days. During that time they (ORU) played 28 home contests.

During those same (110) calendar dates, the Tulsa Drillers played only 13 home contests at OneOk. That leaves 97 days where a college baseball team could have played games at OneOk. Even if you included the soccer team (Roughnecks) and their schedule (with only 4 games during those Feb thru May dates), it would still leave over 90 dates a TU baseball team could schedule games. There would be few if any conflicts and if there were, they could just schedule an afternoon game rather than a night game. Its really very simple.

Hope I didn't completely confuse anyone with all the silly details. What I'm trying to convey is that having a TU baseball team and playing their games at OneOk is a very doable thing.
(This post was last modified: 05-24-2015 10:28 AM by rabidTU2.)
05-23-2015 05:55 PM
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rabidTU2 Offline
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Post: #7
RE: What If - Baseball?
4 AAC baseball teams made the NCAA regionals - Houston, Tulane, USF and ECU. Congratualtions to them. Obviously the AAC is a very strong baseball conference and gets a lot of love. Good luck to those teams.

BTW, the Big12 only has 3 in the field of 64.
(This post was last modified: 05-26-2015 12:01 AM by rabidTU2.)
05-25-2015 11:53 PM
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rabidTU2 Offline
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Post: #8
RE: What If - Baseball?
One of the reasons that OneOk was built in the downtown district was that the folks in charge wanted Tulsa to be more vibrant after the 5:00pm rush hour. So the folks inside the inner dispersal loop thought having baseball in the summer would promote the area and the businesses there after 5:00. That was one of the reasons the city wanted to tax those businesses to help build the stadium and it seems to have been a success. Well, if another baseball team played there almost 30 more times in the evening on dates not used by the Drillers, that seems like it would be a bonus for the area. With more people living downtown and looking for things to do, more baseball should help those businesses.

The Drillers season, as I've said, runs all the way to September and they play 68 home games and if TU had the same number of home contests ORU had last year (28), that would be 96 total home baseball games at OneOk played all the way from February to September - 8 months of the year. Its obvious that the city would love to see more baseball in the area - especially on nights when TU would play OU or OSU or Arkansas or another big name opponent. And the best thing is when those teams would come to play, the money made would be going into the TU athletic baseball budget.

IMO
(This post was last modified: 05-30-2015 02:29 PM by rabidTU2.)
05-26-2015 08:17 PM
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rabidTU2 Offline
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Post: #9
RE: What If - Baseball?
NCAA baseball teams that presently share stadium venues with professional teams:

UC Santa Barbara
Missouri State Bears
Oregon Ducks
San Jose State Spartans
VCU Rams
New Mexico Lobos (Isotopes Field)
Utah Utes

Missouri State's Hammons Park is presently hosting an NCAA regional site

Also, 4 of those teams listed above are in the field of 64: Missouri St, VCU, Oregon and UCSB - thus it appears sharing a venue is not a disadvantage.
(This post was last modified: 05-30-2015 11:59 AM by rabidTU2.)
05-29-2015 06:37 PM
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rabidTU2 Offline
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Post: #10
RE: What If - Baseball?
So could TU baseball draw enough fans to justify a good, well attended season against the likes of OU/OSU/ORU etc? Well, a look at ORU's program might give a model.

ORU plays their home games on campus at their 2,400 seat facility. They regularly schedule OU and OSU home and home. I looked up the stats of those two home games and they sold out the OSU game (2,400) and drew about 1,500 for the OU game. I'd have to think a TU vs OU or OSU game would at least draw that many if it were played in downtown Tulsa. BTW, the OU v ORU game in Norman only drew 1,100, so the ORU/OU game in Tulsa outdrew the OU/ORU game in Norman. With the right schedule, I think we'd see consistently good crowds at OneOk especially if the games were in the evening hours.

imo
(This post was last modified: 05-31-2015 06:43 PM by rabidTU2.)
05-30-2015 06:41 PM
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