As many expected, there were changes for the Oklahoma City RedHawks when Los Angeles-based Mandalay Sports Entertainment took over in 2010 and the franchise transitioned to an affiliate of the Houston Astros last year. And the changes weren't just with the roster. Upper level seating was closed off, and an ultimately unsuccessful "Free Rowdy" button campaign followed the longtime team mascot's replacement.
Not receiving nearly the same negative reaction was last year's ballpark name change to "RedHawks Field." It seemed to be met with a shrug of the shoulders from fans. After all, whether Southwestern Bell, SBC or AT&T, the place was always known as the Bricktown Ballpark, or more simply the Brick, to us. It'll be interesting then to see how yet another name change will be received by Oklahoma City residents.
In a press release today, the organization announced a naming rights deal with the Chickasaw Nation's Newcastle Casino, the state's fifth largest casino. Under the agreement, the Bricktown Ballpark will now officially be known as "Newcastle Field at Bricktown." Many fans are already taking to Twitter and other social media sites to note the oddity of Oklahoma City's stadium being named after an area suburb.
3/5 Update: Though there doesn't appear to be much they can do about it, city council members and Mayor Cornett are upset about the name, both for its ties to gambling and because it is "disrespectful to Oklahoma City."
3/6 Update: After much criticism, a change has been made on the new name of the Bricktown Ballpark, the Chickasaw Nation opting to use "Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark" rather than the much-maligned "Newcastle Field at Bricktown." "The citizens of this community built this ballpark. We want to be respectful of that," RedHawks president and general manager Michael Byrnes said.
Photo © Adam Knapp
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