If you’ve ever wanted to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, but just haven’t made the trek to upstate New York, here’s your opportunity, as the We Are Baseball Hall of Fame Tour makes a stop in Tulsa this week.
The innovative collaboration of baseball and technology, will be set up in a parking lot across the street from ONEOK Field, at Elgin Avenue and Archer Street, for a 9-day run, May 5 – 13. The exhibit will be open daily, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Realizing not everyone can get to Cooperstown, the Museum decided to travel to the fans.
“That’s really the purpose of traveling all this,” said Andy Couch, curator of the exhibit, in a phone interview earlier this week. “We partnered with Major League Baseball and IMAX to take this experience to people around the country. We are on our second year of the tour. This year we’re doing more events in minor league ballparks, that’s why we’re coming to Tulsa.”
Couch, formerly a program coordinator at Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, explained how the traveling museum is set up.
“We have five interactive experiences for the fans that are housed in five huge trailers that fold out,” he said. “We have the only portable IMAX theater with a special 12-minute film that is really popular with the fans.”
The movie, produced by Thomas Tull and Tom Werner, will immerse fans into the past, present and future of baseball with never-before-seen content and historical footage.
The exhibits include several virtual reality experiences, including taking a swing in a big-league stadium.
“The fans can play Home Run Derby where they can hit home runs in one of eight Major League ballparks,” Couch said. “Also, fans will be able to take a picture with Babe Ruth and other baseball greats, take part in the sausage race in Milwaukee, or put themselves in several different historical baseball scenarios. They can even create their own Hall of Fame plaque and we’ll email it to them.”
The plaques and photos are delivered by email at no extra charge.
“Our Memories is probably my favorite exhibit,” Couch said. “We’ve set up a participatory exhibit where people can share their baseball experiences. It’s really our treasure trove. We have Willie Mays’ glove from the famous catch, Babe Ruth’s final home run ball – No. 714, and Roger Maris’ bat from his 61st HR to beat Babe’s single-season record.
Ticket prices for We Are Baseball are $17 (Adult) and $5 (Youth ages 5-17). In addition, college student/military/senior citizen with ID are $10 and children under 4 are admitted free of charge. All tickets purchased are subject to a convenience fee, and can be purchased online at; www.HallOfFameTour.com.
ORU NEW COACH
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve avoided writing about the firing of Scott Sutton as the men’s head basketball coach at ORU, because I’m employed by ORU on a contract basis to do the P.A. announcing for several of the school’s sports teams and to play in the ORU Pep Band. I didn’t feel it would be my place to comment on such a move in this column.
I first became acquainted with Sutton in 1998, when he was an assistant under Barry Hinson, and I was doing the radio broadcasts at the time. We’ve remained friends over all these years that he’s been the head coach, and he certainly has been a great coach to work with from a media standpoint.
Sutton is a very classy individual, and would never do anything to tarnish his or the university’s reputation, and as we now know, he certainly didn’t get fired for any indiscretion. It apparently boiled down to a lack of wins and dropoff in attendance. I’m sure, if he wants to, Sutton will return to coaching in another year and will be successful wherever he ends up. I wish him all the best and will continue to follow his career.
With that being said, ORU has made an interesting, and somewhat exciting, hire to replace Sutton. On Monday, the school introduced to the public Paul Mills as the new head coach. Mills was on the staff at Baylor for 14 years, including the past eight as an assistant coach, and there’s no denying that team has certainly had a great turnaround in the post-Dave Bliss era.
While at Baylor, under head coach Scott Drew, Mills helped the Bears graduate 36 of 38 seniors and helped lead Baylor to a pair of NCAA Elite Eights, four Sweet 16’s and four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. The Bears have been ranked in the top 25 for 10 straight seasons and were ranked number one in the country for the first time in school history during the 2016-17 season.
It’s never easy to come into a situation where you are replacing a coach who had been there 18 years, but for the sake of the university, the men’s basketball program and the tradition of great basketball at ORU, I truly hope Mills is successful and can lead the Golden Eagles to many great seasons in the Summit League, and hopefully, many appearances in the NCAA Tournament.