Dodgers Q&A: Ross Stripling Chooses “Batman”

usa-today-7772660.0(Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

For those of you not familiar with Dodgers’ pitching prospect Ross Stripling, you probably will be soon. He was actually on the doorstep of the big league rotation when a damaged UCL during spring training in 2014 required him to have Tommy John Surgery, wiping out his entire season. He would bounce back in 2015, though, and after a very successful spring camp this year, finds himself on the fringes of the Dodgers’ 25-man roster once again.

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OneOK Field: My Home Away from Home

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When Dodgers fans think of their home away from home, Dodger Stadium, there are quite a few words that come to mind — Historic, Dodger Dogs, Tommy Lasorda, Iconic and Magical are just several examples.

Following the Boys in Blue, I have visited 11 other major league stadiums with not a single ballpark coming close to the atmosphere of Dodger Stadium on a beautiful summers night. Sure, I may be a little bias, but who isn’t for their favorite team.

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OneOK Field is one of the most state-of-the-art stadiums to which I’ve ever been. From the amazing video board to the first to third ribbon board, this stadium is a crowd pleaser.

One cannot forget to mention the beautiful view of downtown Tulsa, racing appliances, Hornsby and Justin(@JustGo11) who keeps the crowd going in between innings. As a Dodgers fan, I feel like the vibe at OneOk Field is pretty close to being at Dodger Stadium as the fans are just as passionate about their team and players.

The opening weekend of 2015 in Tulsa was an amazing experience that I wish every Dodgers fan could have experienced. Most of the fans at the game were fans of their home team, the Tulsa Drillers, but I did see quite a few Dodgers hats in the crowd. It was great to be able to educate the fans around me about the new players on their team and their hopeful future with the Dodgers. They won two of three games over that first series and we spent parts of each game walking around the stadium.

OneOk Field, much like Dodger Stadium, is filled with the history of players who have worn the jersey. A walk through the concourse will have you come across banners of Pudge Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa. We then took a trip to the team store which is run masterfully by T.J.(@drillermatchguy) and saw jerseys of Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado hanging on the wall. The team store is full of friendly staff and great team gear. I was a little difficult as I wanted a custom jersey with #15 and “Law” on the back and T.J. made sure it was finished by the end of the game. This Adam Law jersey still hangs on my wall to this day.

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Season One of the Tulsa Drillers as a Dodger affiliate was life changing for me. Being there for 21 games I got to watch the people of Tulsa fall in love with the players that were all new to them. The players had a big role in this as they were beyond fan friendly. Always willing to sign an autograph, take pictures and interact with the fans. I probably saw Corey Seager sign 100 plus autographs the first weekend.

As the season went on it went from the fans cheering for the Drillers to them cheering for the players as well. By the end of the season we had become very well known in DrillVille as we frequented the scoreboard as a fan tweet, chatted with the players and sat through 18 inning games. It was great seeing the Dodger fanbase growing throughout the Midwest.

In the coming weeks, I am hoping to do some Q&A’s with some of the players that made last season memorable for me. If you have any questions that you have always wanted to know from a baseball player, please comment or tweet at me and I will get the questions answered as best I can. I really want this part of the blog to be for the fans by a fan. I also plan on doing some giveaways this season of autographed baseballs.

Dodger Blue in A Sea of Red

(Editor’s note: TBPC would like to welcome aboard another new member to the writing team, Jeremy Davis. Jeremy will primarily be conveying his own hands-on, personal perspectives in relation to the Tulsa Drillers, as well as occasional reflections involving the other minor league affiliates. Be sure to check back often, as Jeremy hopes to frequently publish many more insightful articles.)

In 2001, I made a tough decision in life… I moved away from my family and 1,539 miles away from my piece of heaven. Dodger Stadium was a place I spent many a summer night with my friends out in the bleacher seats, eating Dodger Dogs and cheering on the Boys in Blue. My new location was deep in the heart of Cardinal territory and boy was it strange. I was a blue dot in a sea of red.

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I remember the day I found out that my Dodgers had changed their AA and AAA affiliate to be within a few hours of me. I checked to see if we could swing season tickets, could we move there ASAP and how many times they would be in Springfield, Mo. The answers were no, not right now and 18 games. 1 out of 3 wasn’t bad, right? We decided to become partial season ticket holders to the Springfield Cardinals with seats behind the visitor’s dugout for every game the Tulsa Drillers were in town.

Opening weekend we took a road trip to Tulsa for opening night at OneOK Field. Opening night was full of everything picture with Corey Seager, tweet on the scoreboard and a nice Drillers win. The next night it was on to OKC for the next game. Kiké, Bolsinger and Dodger dogs. My wife is no rookie when it come to my Dodger fandom but this made it all more apparent my love for the team. Two wins, great food and amazing memories.

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That first season in Tulsa was full of highs for me with very few lows. Every game I left the park with a smile on my face win or lose because of the experience. Whether a game ball signed by Julio Urias, being photobombed by Nate Samson or tickets left by a player there was always something new at every game. As the season went on I became a familiar face for the Tulsa Drillers players and coaches when they were in town. That first season we collected signed balls,  bats, hundreds of pictures and player interactions that will last us a lifetime. Oh and we met Tommy freaking Lasorda. With season 2 on the horizon, I decided it was time to share my adventures with all and hopefully pass along some souvenirs.

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