I couldn’t help but laugh reading this as I was doing some searching in the archives…
A Message To Minors: No Vacancy
By John Rohde
|Friday, July 20, 1990
Edition: CITY, Section: SPORTS, Page 23
Oklahoma City doesn’t have a Statue of Liberty. Perhaps the Olympic torch runners in front of the Myriad will suffice. And like the Lady on Liberty Island in the New York Harbor, perhaps our torch runners could bear an inscription.
Graven on a tablet at the base of the Statue of Liberty is a poem that reads: “. . . Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . .” Perhaps Oklahoma City’s inscription could read: “. . . Give me your tired, your poor, your minor league franchises yearning to breathe . . .” Welcome to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma minor league capital of these United States.
Have a sports franchise yearning to breathe? Haul it on in here and we’ll try to make it work.
Forget the fact OKC’s business world is yearning to breathe.
Forget the fact the Oil Boom was about a decade ago.
Forget the fact downtown Oklahoma City had an office vacancy rate of 33.2 percent through March. Finding downtown office space was nearly impossible in March 1981, when the vacancy rate was 0.5 percent.
I realize some of these franchises hope to give Oklahoma City’s economy and its morale a swift kick in the rear, but it seems to me some of these franchises are putting their mouth where their money needs to be.
Of course, I’ve been told it’s pessimistic thinking such as my own that’s truly hurting Oklahoma these days.
All these franchises need the support of sponsors. However, several local sponsors still are trying to recover from U.S. Olympic Festival-’89, last summer’s multimillion-dollar extravaganza.
And yet there seems to be a Land Run toward Oklahoma City for sports franchises.
Pick a sport, any sport.
There’s baseball with the Triple-A 89ers. There’s basketball with the CBA Cavalry. There’s football with the Twisters. There’s outdoor and indoor soccer with the Spirit and Warriors. Thursday’s Oklahoman mentioned the possibility of an Arena Football League franchise coming.
There’s also semi-pro football with the Golden Mustangs. Women’s football departed with the Oklahoma City Dolls (darn it all). Minor league hockey could return to OKC if Dallas is granted an NHL franchise (and Dallas is being mentioned as a leading candidate).
These might be different sports and different seasons, but they tend to lose their identities when they’re lumped together.
Is there enough support morale and financial to go around?
If one franchise fails, is another soon to follow?
Cavalry president Chip Land and Twisters owner Ed Watkins are long on enthusiasm. They’re also long on hope and curiosity.
“I don’t think they’ll hurt each other,” Watkins said of the numerous franchises. “I think they can complement each other. We’ve got some crazy football fans out there who are pretty much committed.
They’re going to see football come hell or high water.”
Land recently received information about an American Basketball League franchise possibly looking into OKC. “And I’ve never even heard of the ABL,” Land said.
Maybe Oklahoma City doesn’t need a plaque to greet sports franchises. Maybe it needs a flashing neon sign.