Thursday, November 19, 2009

Duke at the DBAP

Duke will be moving its ACC baseball games off-campus and into the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in 2010. While the pros are in Spring Training, we'll have college ball in the DBAP!

This adds more baseball to the entertainment mix in the American Tobacco Historic District, and it should entice more Duke students to downtown Durham...
where the University already has a significant presence.

Read the story at - click here. And check out the video clips as the key players tell the story:

Capitol Broadcasting Co. & Bulls President/CEO Jim Goodmon. Jim attended Duke. It just dawned on me...maybe there's a connection???

Duke Head Baseball Coach Sean McNally. Sean's a Duke grad and played Minor League ball at the DBAP.

Duke President Richard Broadhead. We're making him our honorary historian!

College baseball at the DBAP is not new to us. For the past three years we've hosted NC Central's new baseball team. The sport was added as the Eagles move up to Division I. NCCU is relocating to its permanent home, the refurbished Durham Athletic Park, a project that went into overtime. We've enjoyed working with Central's baseball coach, Dr. Henry White and Associate AD George "Bulldog" Smith. I envy his nickname!

(My only reservation about the college game in our ballpark is those #$@! aluminum bats...or is it kryptonite? That metallic ping reverberates off the steel beams and brick walls; it's like fingernails on a blackboard. Sorry, I'm old school. It just ain't right.)

Durham is known as the City of Medicine, but it has become the City of Baseball as well. The Bulls, Duke, NCCU and USA Baseball will play in downtown Durham during 2010. You can't have too much of a good thing.

PS - I want to recognize Bulls' GM Mike Birling and Duke's Sr. Assoc. AD Boo Corrigan. They're the guys who hammered out this partnership along with our Head Groundskeeper Scott Strickland. Scott has to get the field ready for play in February and nurture our turf into the spring and summer. It's a tall order.

From left: Birling, Corrigan, Strickland

Friday, November 13, 2009

Catfish Classic - Golfing for ALS

I attempted golf for a couple of years. It was a pathetic, arthritic undertaking. Still, I admire the game and golf courses in particular. It’s American feng shui.

Maybe my motivation was questionable. I regularly dispatched co-workers to charity golf tournaments while I remained in the office. I was jealous.

And we owned the Minor League Baseball team in Myrtle Beach. Our ballpark staff spent more time on the links than they did on the diamond! They insisted that it was work?!? I was jealous.

Yet another example: One Monday last month I was the only person in the office. Our ENTIRE staff was at the Catfish Classic…playing or volunteering in the annual event for ALS. I’m not complaining, though. The Durham Bulls sponsor the Classic at the gorgeous TPC Wakefield Plantation, and I'm on the board of the Jim Catfish Hunter chapter of the ALS Assn.

Our good friend, Wes Hare, is one of the tournament’s organizers:

The 2009 Catfish Classic was a huge success - even in a down economy. The event raised $60,000, bringing the total to $300,000 in our 5-year history. We had a cool start to the day, but wonderful weather overall. We listened to a patient who is in the early diagnosis stage of the disease, had a presentation on what it is like to be a care-giver for patients with ALS, and listened to Dr. Richard Bedlack from the ALS Clinc at Duke on progress made in diagnosis and treatment of ALS.

Wes works for Theo Davis printing (when he’s not working for ALS.) THANK YOU, Wes...for your dedication and enthusiasm!!!

Bulls' foursome: (from left) Head Groundskeeper Scott Strickland, GM Mike Birling, Rob Stover of Tyler’s Taproom and Mike Miller, Bulls' sales staff

Balloon photo: 420 golf balls are dropped from a hot air balloon gondola. The ball drop raised $4,200

Friday, November 6, 2009

DPAC Packs the House

Good news in the hood:

Our next-door-neighbor, the $44 mil Durham Performing Arts Center, had a stout first year…finishing well in the black…and with profit to share with the City of Durham.

High fives to Nederlander-PFM that manages the theater and GM Bob Klaus.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell: That's truly great news for Durham, especially in light of today's economy...our first season has been undeniably successful. Read today’s story in the Durham Herald-Sun.

The Bulls are proud to sponsor Phantom, November 26th - December 20th, as the 2009-2010 SunTrust Broadway Series begins. The DPAC schedule features Wicked next spring. The anticipation and hype is on par with Duke Hoops!

Broadway and baseball. Side-by-side in the American Tobacco Historic District.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Sea of Soggy Cyclists

Halloween was gray and wet, but Durham's sixth annual Halloween Bike Ride for Habitat was a ray of sunshine. (These pix are from Blackwell Street in front of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park where the event began.) The Bulls have sponsored the July Bull Moon evening ride and the Halloween trek raising over $75,000 for Habitat this year!!!

I want to thank former Bulls' GM Peter Anlyan and our Promotions Director Matt DeMargel. They have championed (and helped to organize and promote) these cycling events. Peter and Matt have combined their personal passion for cycling with support for Habitat for Humanity in Durham. We've helped to raise enough for a new home, and I believe the October ride is now the Triangle's biggest cycling event.

From the Durham Habitat news release...

The goal of the 2009 Habitat Bike Rides, including the July Bull Moon Ride and the October Halloween Bike Ride, is to raise the $50,000 Habitat home sponsorship for the Billious family home. Lakenya Billious is the 33 year-old mother of a 13 year-old daughter. Lakenya's mother and nephew also live with her. Lakenya works as a child nutrition assistant with the Durham Public Schools and as a parking attendant with the City of Durham. The Billious family is thrilled to have their home sponsored by the rides and to make their dream of homeownership come true.

With the Triangle area having the highest per-capita income in North Carolina, it is rated one of the most expensive rental markets in the state. As a result, Durham has the region’s lowest home ownership rate. Habitat believes decent housing is a matter of conscience and action. By raising money with the help of volunteers and donations, Habitat allows families to build equity and break the cycle of poverty for future generations. By riding, bicyclists help make the dream of home ownership a reality for a family in Durham!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Philly can be Foul

Watching the World Series last night I had a horrific flashback triggered by the hour and twenty minute rain delay. (Click here for the game story.) I put aside my Bud Light for hot cocoa.

It was one year ago at Citizens Bank Park - when our Tampa Bay Rays were in the Series vs. Philadelphia - that we found ourselves in a monsoon.

We came up out of the subway into a wind-driven, torrential downpour. Totally soaked. Water was sloshing out of my shoes. What happened to the limo ride and the luxury suite?

Still, it's a good "outward bound" experience for baseball fans. And I find some consolation as I contemplate thousands upon thousands of soggy Philly and Yankee fans!?!