Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Baseball Roots

The Bulls have been celebrating the 30th anniversary of Bull Durham this summer, reveling in our Hollywood birthright. On Saturday, we are seriously cranking up the time machine - 160 years retrograde - for a vintage game of "base ball" at the iconic Durham Athletic Park. 1860 rules and old-timey uniforms. No gloves, no foul balls, no strike-outs, underhanded pitching. It's a benefit for the Duke Homestead State Historic Site. Adam Gold at 99.9 The Fan has organized the celebrity team. He calls it the ultimate throwback game:

We’re going back in time, not to the 80’s or the 70’s, but to the 60s - the 1860’s!!!  Back, before there was such a thing as Tommy John surgery or lunch angles or even the dreaded shift.  We’re going back to the game’s original rules, to the game as it was intended, with limited commercial interruption.  No mascots, no in-game human bowling, no Chicken Dance, just the game as it was intended.  

Duke Homestead is in for a tussle when the Fourth Estate Nine rolls into historic Durham Athletic Park.  13 members of the local media celebrating the game as it used to be - apart from the chewing and spitting - will turn back the clocks almost 160 years.  

The DAP gates open at 3:30, BP at 3:45, first pitch at 5:00. Five bucks will get you in. 

Here's the Duke Homestead release...

Join Duke Homestead Education & History Corporation at the Historic Durham Athletic Park on August 11 for a vintage "base ball" game that celebrates and includes all those who contributed to the game over the past century and a half!

Experience the beginnings of America's pastime in Durham's historic ballpark - just a bat, a ball, and a lively match. Organized by the nonprofit friends of Duke Homestead State Historic Site (Duke Homestead Education and History Corporation), a team of vintage ballers will take on local sports media personalities, playing by vintage rules. We'll have game-inspired crafts and activities for kids. Don't forget to bring your appetite for food trucks, Bull Durham Beer Company brews, and old fashioned concessions. Hurrah!

This program will also recognize Durham's rich and complex baseball history, which includes decades of segregation during the Jim Crow era. We will share the story of segregation at the Durham Athletic Park and the Negro League, as well as the the early history of the game.

Tickets cost $5 per person, kids 4 & under are free! Get your ticket in advance online, or at the door (cash only).
Thank you to our sponsors, Capitol Broadcasting Company, the Durham Bulls, and Stone Brothers & Byrd Garden Center.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the nonprofit friends of Duke Homestead, the Duke Homestead Education and History Corporation.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Pickin' cukes at the DBAP

The harvest has begun! That's Bulls Assistant GM Chip Allen pickin' cucumbers in our streetside garden yesterday. It's yet another addition to his job responsibilities as our Victory Garden bears produce. 

Here's the story on our urban garden, a joint project with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC. 

In the seven surrounding counties over 250,000 people are considered “food insecure.” The Inter-faith Food Shuttle website has more metrics on hunger in NC. The stats are troubling, and this garden is our modest effort at community nourishment. The veggies will be donated to local non-profits, school kids will visit to learn about nutrition and gardening, and thousands of Bulls fans will see this live exhibit about urban agriculture.

...more photos of our edible landscaping. It began on a cold, wet February day as the Bulls and Bland Landscaping met to finalize plans for the garden build-out:



Last week...

Monday, May 14, 2018

NBC Reports: Miracle League

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt was on location in Durham for the network’s May 11th broadcast, and our Miracle League project received national attention. Thank you, NBC! 

The 6:30 national news broadcast closed with an affecting story about Miracle League of the Triangle. It was shot the previous Saturday at the Andy’s Foundation Miracle League field in Cary.

Bulls Manager Jared Sandberg, several players and front office staffers were volunteers.

The NBC story noted that $1.5mm has been raised for Durham's Miracle League field. That's a great start, but the goal is $2.5mm. We've launched an All-Star Campaign to close the gap. We're reaching out for $5,000 pledges, payable over five years. 100 of those will reap an additional half million dollars. All-Star Campaign details + pledge form. 

There are 10,000 special needs children within a fifteen minute drive of the DBAP. Let's build a Miracle League field for those kids and their families right here in Durham!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Country Crescendo

What a surprise ending!!! Nashville Songwriters at DPAC concluded with Jessi Alexander on stage to perform her power ballad The Climb, a triple platinum hit for Miley Cyrus in 2009. Then, the curtain was raised to reveal her accompaniment - the Kidznotes orchestra!

Kidznotes was a beneficiary of the evening's proceeds, so this was a most meaningful finale for the performers, the kidz and the audience.

Capitol Broadcasting Company and WRAL TV were media sponsors. We were accompanied by 94.7 WQDR. Thanks to Don Curtis at Curtis Media and President Trip Savery for getting behind this unique event. 

The benefit concert began in a high school cafeteria and has graduated to the DPAC. Another round of applause for the impresario, Jeff Outlaw!

Ken Huth Photography was there with his camera...

Friday, April 20, 2018

Music City + Bull City

We are a week away from Nashville Songwriters at the DPAC. Durham County resident and songwriter Jeff Outlaw has persuaded seven of his Music City friends to perform in the Bull City on April 27th. Remarkably, this group is responsible for writing 75 number one country songs! 

It's a unique event, sort of like Behind the Music meets Unplugged. The writers sit in a semi-circle on stage, share the story behind each song and give a solo performance...with a little help from their friends. It's like you've been invited into the studio. (Read more about the show.)

Capitol Broadcasting Co. came on board because a portion of the proceeds will benefit Kidznotes, the nonprofit that engages youth with orchestra, band and choir. I really liked the idea of putting the popularity of country music to work in that space.

Jeff Outlaw chats with WRAL's Bill Leslie.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Gardening at the DBAP

The Durham Bulls are known for our urban oasis of luxuriant turf. Up next: squash and tomatoes and blueberries!

We are creating an edible landscape along Jackie Robinson Drive - an urban garden. It’s a riff on the Victory Gardens of wartime and the symbolic battle with food insecurity and unhealthy diets. [Bulls media release]

Inter-faith Food Shuttle came to us with this project. Mark Stanford at the American Tobacco Campus is on their board. IFS is promoting urban gardening in what are called food deserts - low income neighborhoods with limited access to fresh fruits and veggies. And it helps to alleviate food insecurity. 23% of NC’s kids live in households classified as food insecure according to the just-released 2018 NC Child Health Report Card. 

Another IFS board member Kurt Bland has been a key player. He’s in the landscaping business, and his firm figured out how to tuck a 1600 sq’ garden between the ballpark and Jackie Robinson Dr. The street-side location will allow IFS to bring in school groups. Their bus or van can pull right up to the garden. 

The Bulls are proficient at growing grass, but I couldn’t vouch for our ability to raise beans and ‘maters. That’s where Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC stepped up with the funding to maintain the garden. The project is aligned with their interest in promoting healthier diets. BCBSNC is particularly concerned with food insecurity, access to fresh/healthy food and childhood obesity. 

How does your garden grow? Check on our progress this summer. I’m hoping the DBAP is the perfect spot for a downtown garden that will bring attention to these issues of hunger, nutrition and better health. Maybe you can grab a handful of fresh blueberries before a game.

PS - check out Thrive NC. It’s another way Blue Cross is bringing attention to food system and health issues...with a food festival! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Clubbie's Spirit

One year ago Monday our forty-two year old Clubhouse Manager Colin Saunders passed away. He had been very ill, seemed to be improving, then suddenly, he was gone.

Despite fourteen years of greeting one another in the office and catacombs of the ballpark, Colin and I weren’t close. I did not post about this last March. There were no stories or insights to share. (That photo does suggest a shared bad taste in argyle vest sweaters.)

I especially regret that disconnect because a profound sadness among my coworkers settled over the ballpark. Colin was beloved by our staff and within the Rays organization. Confessor to some. Motivator to others. And chamberlain to the players and coaches. I use that archaic term to confer dignity on the Clubbie’s responsibilities and work. He pretty much lived at the ballpark. Steward to the ball players. Friend to all.

Looking back twelve months, the 2017 season had a gloomy beginning. Yet the Bulls went on to win the Governors’ Cup and Triple-A National Championship. We set business and attendance records - a remarkable year. It’s not sentimental conjecture - there's undeniable proof - Colin’s spirit was with us.