COLUMN: Jake’s Takes: Horses and minor league baseball; Tulsa’s sporting gems | Sports

There are a few things that I really appreciate in the sports world that may not get the recognition they deserve; horse racing and minor league baseball.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend both events in Tulsa. The horse racing was undoubtedly the highlight of the weekend. I grew up with horses but never appreciated them as much as watching the ponies run. Maybe it’s just that I appreciate the horse’s sporting achievements more than the rodeo or the English dressage shows.

Some people may not see the appeal of participating in horse racing. The races are generally short compared to other sporting events as the horses come through the gates and set off, but there is so much more to it than that.

There is a process to follow the horse races. You need to be there to get a program for the races and then go straight to the paddock to see how the horses look at the next race. Then, depending on which horse you think is the best, go to the cashier and place your bets. I usually choose my horse based on whether I like the name or think it’s a good looking horse. I don’t quite know the best betting mentality.



Usually at this time the trumpets start to sound and you have to find your place on the rail for the race. Once the horses and jockeys are settled, they wait for the gun to start, and whip-fast they thunder across the course, vying to be an inch ahead of the competition. Once you reach the finish line, either run to the winner’s circle to celebrate your victory or trudge there to see which horse has bested your spot.

Then when it’s all done, you do it over and over again for about ten more races.

Although it sounds monotonous, one of the most exciting things in sport is watching a horse get out of a slow start and win by halftime.

After my trip to the track was over, the next visit was dedicated to the Tulsa Drillers game. While the stadium was fairly empty on Sunday afternoon, the energy was unexpectedly high. Minor league baseball games give you almost all the benefits of an MLB game without the cost. You can still play good baseball, albeit at a lower level, but there’s a good chance you’ll get closer to the action.

For a baseball player like me, minor league games offer a chance to glimpse the future of MLB. Although these players haven’t yet made the big league roster, they have a chance to see the stars of tomorrow’s MLB teams.

And, of course, one of the greatest appeals of minor league baseball is watching the absurd mid-inning promotional plays that fans volunteer for. One of my personal favorites is the chicken rescue the Drillers did last weekend.

A child in a chicken suit and his family had to pick him up off the ground and carry him across the field. I mean where do you find simple entertainment like this other than a minor league baseball game?

Another great example of minor league baseball entertainment is Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Before the game, a guest player was branded a “crossed out beer batter”. Every time the batter hit the plate, the crowd would chant, “Put it out, half price beer, let’s go frogs.” There are just very few places where you can find that atmosphere.

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