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Oklahoma City Dodgers plan for next season

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Spectators during the season opener at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark with the OKC Dogers vs Round Rock Express, 4-9-15.  mh
  • Spectators during the season opener at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark with the OKC Dogers vs Round Rock Express, 4-9-15. mh

Back in the old Brooklyn Dodgers days, fans had a saying to express their love and optimism for the team, despite any on-the-field shortcomings: “Wait till next year!”

For the Oklahoma City Dodgers, next year is now.

After a historic 2015 season, the Dodgers are thinking ahead to next season and planning more promotions, giveaways and baseball entertainment, said Michael Byrnes, team president and general manager.

“I think our staff is excited to build on the momentum that was put in place this year,” he said. “We want to see more people coming out and engaging with the team beyond what we did in 2015.”

2016 highlights

The Oklahoma City Dodgers open its 2016 season on the road and will begin its 19th season at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark on April 15 against the Nashville Sounds. Opening night will be the first of 13 fireworks nights during the season, including all Friday-night games and July 4 against Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

Fans arrive for the season opener at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark with the OKC Dogers vs Round Rock Express, 4-9-15.  mh
  • Fans arrive for the season opener at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark with the OKC Dogers vs Round Rock Express, 4-9-15. mh

Dodgers field trip days return May 4 and May 17. Both games begin at 11:05 a.m., and gates open at 10 a.m. The team welcomes area summer camps with an 11:05 a.m. game on June 15.

Full-season, half-season and partial-season ticket package renewals are now being accepted, and the group-preferred buyer period is underway for those who enjoyed an outing in 2015 and want to book another for 2016. New group ticket and hospitality packages are available to the public beginning Monday.

Success building

During the 2015 regular season, 471,996 fans watched the Los Angeles Dodgers Triple-A affiliate play at The Brick, including 23 sellouts, the team’s highest attendance since 2007. The Dodgers are the only Pacific Coast League (PCL) team to see an increase in attendance in each of the past five seasons.

Hernandez pops one up during the season opener at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark with the OKC Dogers vs Round Rock Express, 4-9-15. - MARK HANCOCK
  • Mark Hancock
  • Hernandez pops one up during the season opener at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark with the OKC Dogers vs Round Rock Express, 4-9-15.

The team’s rebranding generated excitement, and the game experience proved unique to Oklahoma City while staying Dodger true, from hearing legendary broadcaster Vin Scully’s voice saying, “It’s time for Dodger baseball,” to getting a famous Dodger Dog from the concession stand, Byrnes said.

The Dodgers’ on-the-field success didn’t hurt; it finished the regular season with PCL’s best record, 86-58, a record for most wins in the modern era. It won PCL’s American Northern Division for the second time in three years.

Off-the-field leadership

Byrnes was one of three finalists for 2015 PCL Executive of the Year award. The league nominated Dodgers Senior Vice President Jenna Byrnes for 2015 Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year. The award will be formally presented during the Baseball Winter Meetings Award Luncheon Dec. 7 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Dodgers are becoming community leaders as well. It established the nonprofit Oklahoma City Dodgers Baseball Foundation this year, with a mission to help families, provide youth education opportunities and support local first responders. The organization also received the 2015 Gold Star Award from the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services Support Services Division for its work in hiring disabled youth. It recently partnered with the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office and Safe Kids Oklahoma to host a free car seat check at The Brick.

For more information, call 218-1000 or visit okcdodgers.com.

Print headline: Forward thinking, Fresh off its historic 2015 season, the Oklahoma City Dodgers are already thinking ahead to 2016.

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