OKLAHOMA CITY – Matt Mangini doesn’t remember many details from his last trip to AT&T Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, but he does recall that it was a special experience.
“I can’t remember if we won or not,” Mangini said. “But it was a good experience to play in a Triple-A level park after playing in those college parks.
“It was real cool.”
Mangini, a third baseman for the Tacoma Rainiers, played four games at the Brick as part of the 2007 Oklahoma State team that advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Three of the games were rivalry games against Oklahoma, including one in the Big 12 tournament. The other was a loss to Baylor in the first game of that tournament.
Mangini was 4-for-15 (.267) for OSU in those games, with his best game coming against OU in his last game there.
Mangini will play at Bricktown Ballpark again today when the Rainiers meet the Columbus Clippers for the Triple-A baseball national championship (5 p.m., Versus, 850-AM).
“It’s good to be back,” Mangini said. “It’s good weather for baseball, and it’s still warm.”
After a full season at Double-A West Tenn last year, Mangini started this season at Tacoma, the top affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. He not only survived his first Triple-A experience but thrived.
During the regular season, the first-round pick in the 2007 supplemental draft hit .313 with 18 home runs and 63 RBI.
“This year’s been a blast,” Mangini said. “I’ve had probably the most fun I’ve ever had at any level with this group of guys.”
Winning has certainly helped. Tacoma faltered a bit late, going 13-15 down the stretch but came alive during the playoffs despite not playing a true home game in eight postseason contests.
Renovations on Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium started following the end of the regular season, so the Rainiers couldn’t host a playoff game.
They played the final three games of their five-game series against Sacramento at Safeco Field, but the park was unavailable for the PCL championship series. All of the Rainiers’ games against Memphis were played on the Redbirds’ field.
That didn’t slow down Tacoma, though, as the Rainiers swept Memphis.
“It was weird,” Mangini said. “But I think we’ve played well on the road all year. The odds were against us but that’s how we like it.”
Triple-A Championship Game, Tacoma Rainiers vs. Columbus Clippers, 5:05 p.m. in Oklahoma City; TV: Versus; Radio: 850-AM