STILLWATER — It appears as if this weekend’s Bedlam baseball series could be the final three-game series in Norman between these two teams for some time, and it could end with Oklahoma State hoisting a Big 12 Championship.
Oklahoma State and Oklahoma start their final series of the regular season at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at L Dale Mitchell Park with the Cowboys entering the weekend two games back of league-leading West Virginia. It’s the teams’ last scheduled three-game series in the ballpark before the Sooners dart for the SEC. OU will return to Stillwater in 2024, but after that — like with every sport in this in-state breakup — the rest is in the air.
“We get to play them next year,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “I know that. I’ve seen the schedule. Beyond that, it’ll just be a matter of what makes sense. We’re certainly open-minded to playing if that’s something that the Sooners would like to continue to do, as long as it’s good for both teams and fits the schedule.
“I don’t see a scenario where a three-game series will ever be played again — just because you only get three or four of them to start the year and that’s Week 3, Week 4 of February and Week 1 and 2 of March. Then the conference is gonna open for both schools, and that’s gonna run from that date all the way to the very end of the season. Those are all conference weekends.”
With OU and Texas joining the SEC, that would put that league at 16 baseball-playing universities. When the Big 12 has BYU, Houston, UCF and Cincinnati, it will go from nine baseball-playing schools (no Iowa State) to 13 after OU and Texas leave.
There won’t be a ton of free weekends for either team to get a full-fledge series in outside of the months of February or March. With weather in Oklahoma during that time being unpredictable and the fact that college baseball crowds don’t start growing until later in the season, Holliday said he would have “zero interest” in playing an early season series against the Sooners, and he said he thinks the people at OU would feel the same way.
So that leaves midweek games.
The teams already play a nonconference midweek game, sometimes more than one a year. So, splitting an annual home-and-home of midweek bouts could be an option.
Until recently the teams also used to play their conference series split between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Holliday said that came at a different time when playing the series in the minor league parks generated revenue for both programs. He said O’Brate is where the Cowboys want to play their home games now, though, and that he has no issues playing at L Dale Mitchell, as well.
In a world where there could only be one midweek game a year, could it be played in OKC or Tulsa?
“No, not for us,” Holliday said. “We play here [in O’Brate].”
So, there is still much to be worked out, but — like with softball — it appears OSU is at least open to the idea of continuing a series with the Sooners in some capacity so long as it is good for OSU.