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Bethel Grad Reflects on Role with World Series-Winning Organization

As Ben Beecken ’10 leads marketing and communications efforts for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2020 World Series win will play a key role in those efforts as fans return to ballparks.

By Jason Schoonover ’09, content specialist

March 31, 2021 | 9:30 a.m.

Ben Beecken '10

Ben Beecken poses with his wife, Katlyn, and their children: Braeden, Aviella, and Adaleigh.

Ben Beecken ’10 isn’t sure if he and his coworkers with the Oklahoma City Dodgers will get World Series rings after the Los Angeles Dodgers won the 2020 World Series, but he and others in Oklahoma City are thrilled with their organization’s success. “There’s certainly a sense of pride to being the top minor-league affiliate of the reigning champions,” Beecken says. “There were 16 players on the L.A. Dodgers’ World Series roster who played for our team in Oklahoma City, so that was also really cool to see.”

Beecken leads marketing and communications efforts for the Oklahoma City Dodgers, the Los Angeles Dodgers Triple-A affiliate. So Los Angeles’ first championship since 1988 will play a big part in those efforts this year. After graduating from Bethel, Beecken has followed his passion for sports. He enjoys the many opportunities of working in the minor leagues, many that he says may not have been possible at a larger company. Along with seeing the Oklahoma City team’s impact on their community, Beecken loves working with a historic organization like the Los Angeles Dodgers. “Being closely aligned with one of the most iconic brands in all of sports is amazing,” says Beecken, who started working with the Oklahoma City team in 2011.

Ben Beecken ’10

Fans enjoy a game at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City before the pandemic. Ben Beecken ’10 leads marketing and communications efforts for the Oklahoma City Dodgers, the Triple-A affiliate of the World Series-winning Los Angeles Dodgers. Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma City Dodgers.

We connected with Beecken ahead of the opening day of the 2021 baseball season. Here are five things to know about him, his experience being part of a World Series-winning organization, how he’s helping his team return from the pandemic, and how Bethel prepared him for his multifaceted role:

1. The Oklahoma City Dodgers celebrated too!

Due to COVID-19, watch parties for the L.A. Dodgers’ playoff games weren’t possible at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City in 2020, but the Triple-A folks still celebrated. And they saw many familiar faces as the Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in six games. Many of the 16 players who once played in Oklahoma City played key roles for the Dodgers. Shortstop Corey Seager hit .400 and was named the series’ most valuable player, pitcher Walker Buehler struck out 10 batters in a game three victory, and pitcher Julio Urias struck out 13 over seven innings and recorded the last seven outs of the deciding game six. Some of those 16 players stuck out to Beecken more than others. Kiké Hernandez played for the Oklahoma City RedHawks when the team was the Houston Astros’ Triple-A club, and he played in the opening night lineup for the first Oklahoma City Dodgers game in 2015. Catcher Austin Barnes played parts of three seasons in OKC, and Urias and Buehler both spent significant time in OKC.

2. The big league club’s World Series victory will come into Oklahoma City’s marketing efforts this season.

As senior director of marketing and communications for the Oklahoma City club, Beecken ensures brand integrity and leads a team that produces exciting, engaging content in all fan-facing areas of the organization. For marketing, his team functions like an agency for the entire Triple-A organization. On the communications side, he oversees things like public relations and broadcasting, in addition to the Dodgers’ game presentation, which includes in-game fan experiences from mascots and on-field hosts to video board content. And L.A.’s world championship will reach to the Triple-A team and beyond. “In terms of the 2021 season, we’ll certainly remind fans that we’re the Triple-A affiliate of the World Series champions anytime we have the chance,” Beecken says. He and his team are working on ideas to tie the win to in-game entertainment, ticket sales in a marketing campaign, and more. “It’s definitely something that’s front of mind for our marketing team this year,” he says.

Ben Beecken ’10

Ben Beecken ’10, senior director of marketing and communications for the Oklahoma City Dodgers, is looking forward to fans being able to return to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark when the minor league season begins in May. Last year, the minor leagues canceled the season due to COVID-19. Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma City Dodgers.

3. COVID-19’s effects are far from over.

COVID-19 canceled the 2020 minor league season, and Beecken admits it was disappointing to not have fans in the ballpark and feel the excitement of the success of the parent team in L.A. The 2021 minor league season is due to start in May—after a one-month delay due to COVID-19—and Beecken notes all 150 minor league clubs will be facing the same challenges moving forward. Baseball is a seasonal business, and clubs haven’t been able to operate normally for over a year and a half, which greatly affects revenues. While the team is working on plans to bring back limited fans this season, COVID restrictions will limit the number of tickets that can be sold. “The COVID-19 impact will last beyond the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but we’re grateful to be in a place where we expect to have fans in some capacity for the entirety of the 2021 season,” Beeken says. “And that’s the first step to getting things back to ‘normal,’ at least in minor-league baseball terms.”

4. Bethel helped him pursue his passions and improve his skills beyond his history major.

Beecken took an untraditional route into baseball. He majored in history at Bethel, and he expected to work as a teacher while coaching baseball or basketball. But then he learned more about the business world behind sports—his top passion. He credits the late G.W. Carlson, a professor of history and political science, for being patient and encouraging him as he discovered that passion.

“I appreciated the genuine engagement and interest in my future and my career that was shown by my advisor and the professors in the history department as a whole. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do with my career at the time, and they were understanding and more than willing to help me navigate my time at Bethel and find the right course mix to allow me to have a well-rounded, informed view of history and society at large."

— Ben Beecken '10
Beecken says his history background—and the many presentation and papers he completed—helped him grow as a communicator who often relies on writing, public speaking, attention to detail, and general communication in his role. And his history background still comes in handy. “There are absolutely some projects that we work on where having a history-focused mind drives my curiosity and causes me to look deeper and consider things from a broader context,” he says.

5. Opening night is his favorite night of the year.

Beecken’s favorite night of the year is opening night, and it will be special this year. He’s excited to see fans in the stands, especially after the lost pandemic season. He’s looking forward to them cheering the return of baseball. “I cherish the opportunity that we have to provide unforgettable entertainment and a fantastic experience to fans, and there’s simply nothing like opening night,” he says. “Even if it won’t be a packed ballpark of 11,000-plus fans this year, it will absolutely feel like it. And it can’t come soon enough.”

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