Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Wicked Good Time

The cast of Wicked visited the DBAP Monday. We entertained them in the Owner's Suite on their day off. The show runs through May 16th at the Durham Performing Arts Center.

Male lead
Chris Peluso (Fiyero) sang the National Anthem – an excellent rendition!

There’s been a shark-like feeding frenzy for Wicked tickets. Dawn Baumgartner Vaughn, writing in the Herald-Sun, calls the musical an uplifting cultural phenomenon:
It brings several timeless messages. It brings voices with ranges most of us can only dream of. It brings fantastical, delightfully twisted and beautiful costumes.

It was an honor to be in the company of the female leads, Vicki Noon (Elphaba) and Natalie Daradich (Glinda) sans green make-up and golden locks, respectively. Down-to-earth young women with diva-level talent!

The Wicked Cast & Crew with Durham's foremost thespian Wool E. Bull

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bulls History - on the sidewalk

…some more info on our new signs at the ballpark:

Our designer has turned the innocuous gate sign into a Bulls’ history kiosk. Below each entry sign is a brief history lesson mounted on the brick column.

In mere seconds - as you stand in line - you can absorb the highlights from 108 years of Durham Bulls' history. These three signs can be found at the front gate. Click on the image for an enlarged version. Read it carefully. We’ll have a quiz later.

Our signage plan was developed by Signal Design and Jones Sign.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Opening Day...for the arts

There’s more to life than baseball, and I must post a few words about the NC Museum of Art. NCMA’s new 127,000 square foot expansion opens to the public this weekend. It’s an incredible transformation. (I’ve been fortunate enough to get a couple of sneak previews.)

The galleries, gardens, new acquisitions, the overall presentation…they are stunning. The new building is as much a testament to imagination and creativity as is the museum’s content.

Some of us fondly refer to our community as Mayberry. Our sense of place is somewhat understated compared to our million plus population, but Andy, Aunt Bee and Opie are in agreement: WE HAVE A WORLD CLASS MUSEUM!

Congratulations to Museum Director Larry Wheeler. He’s a visionary and NC’s impresario of the arts. Regarding the latter, he’s no art snob. Larry has a special knack for art interpretation and accessibility. He understands how to connect regular folks with art.

…so join us this summer for a ball game, and be sure to put a visit to the NC Museum of Art on your itinerary. The DBAP and the NCMA are a mere 20 miles/24 minutes apart, per Google maps.

Meanwhile, I suggest that you
spend some time on the NCMA’s web site. Take a virtual tour. And check out the special coverage - video, slideshows, stories - at

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Windows 2010 - a major upgrade!

Check out our new windows!

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park is in the midst of a facelift - some cosmetic surgery at the hands of Signal Design and Jones Sign. The window murals are the work or Triangle Sign and the banners below come from AMI Graphics.

Signal is a design firm with considerable tenure at the DBAP. Jones is a new partner. They did signage at the Bobcats' Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte and they're working on the new NASCAR Hall of Fame there. Triangle Sign and AMI routinely handle our signs and banners.

On the inside, we pay homage to the Bulls' rich history with a new set of championship banners. Before the 2009 Triple A and International League Championships, there were very good years in the NC State, Piedmont and Carolina Leagues...

Bulls' GM Mike Birling imagineered this project. A good blend of history in the ballpark with a contemporary touch on the exterior. Nice work, Mike!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Opening Day...with an assist from Duke

Duke University played a major role on Opening Night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. We appreciate the University's participation on air and land.

Duke's Life Flight helicopter delivered Wool E. Bull and our National Championship trophy...landing in the outfield during the pre-game festivities. Very dramatic!

And the Duke men's basketball NCAA 2010 National Champions joined us at at the DBAP, too...for a first pitch(es) ceremony and on-field recognition of the entire team.

I want to thank Duke's Athletic Dept. and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce for staging the community celebration of Duke's National Championship in downtown Durham - on the American Tobacco Campus - and then bringing the observance across the street to the ballpark.

Downtown office workers had an opportunity to join in the hoopla as well as baseball fans from across the Triangle. Coach K was most gracious with his remarks about Durham, and the team seemed to enjoy the hometown adulation. Take a look at the Herald-Sun story and Coach K's comments.

It was a big evening for the have both National Championship trophies in the ballpark. Championship karma. A great way to begin the 2010 season!

Check out the slide shows at

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our Mission

I attended a sports management conference in Orlando last month. The subject matter was pretty technical: green technology, security, construction, digital media.

However, we received profound, platinum advice from two customer service gurus:

Pat Williams – Sr. VP of the Orlando Magic
Love your work. Have passion for it. Create fun!

Richard Andersen – EVP/GM of Petco Park (San Diego Padres)
Your work has a spiritual dimension. You may be on the verge of creating someone’s love affair with baseball. You are in the business of making memories.

I must confess that those notes already had been filed away. Then, these e-mails (excerpts) arrived after our April 3rd Spring Training Showdown:

…the boys and I
wanted to extend our sincere thanks for a wonderful time…they couldn't stop talking about it and
Christopher grabbed his glove just as soon as we got home!

Aaron comes to most of the home games and talks about the Bulls to anyone who will stand still long enough…one could say he loves everything pure about the game.

…a very special and memorable time.

As the Durham Bulls 2010 season begins, I’m clear about our purpose and mission!

The seeds of a love affair with baseball.

Evan Longoria making memories at the DBAP.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

News from the 'hood

Durham County broke ground last week for a new courthouse. Eleven stories. $75 million. Just around the corner from the Durham Bulls Athletic Park! The grand building will open in the fall of our neighborhood further improves! Click here for details from the Herald-Sun.

Meanwhile, Tobacco Road Sports Cafe - overlooking left field at the DBAP - will open in April. Check out their blog...including a great photo of the restaurant atop the outfield wall.

I took these pictures last week. Since then, the entry has been finished and the patio awning is complete.

Take a look at their menu. You will understand why this is a sports cafe as opposed to a sports bar. Let's call it cuisine sportif.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wool E. Bull & the Blue Devil

Our mascot and the Blue Devil are kindred spirits. Dare I make the claim that the two most famous sports mascots reside in Durham, NC!?!

Wool E. is posing with this official Blue Devil basketball...autographed by the Duke team and Coach K just before leaving for Indy last week. The ball will be a silent auction item at Monday night's Leadership Triangle Goodmon Awards Gala. Click here for more info.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Duke Hoops: Championship TV

How sweet it is! Another NCAA basketball championship for Duke University. Congratz to the Blue Devils!

The Duke vs. Butler match-up was a compelling David and Goliath storyline and a fantastic game. The TV ratings were in the championship category, too.

CBS is bragging that 25% of the US television audience was watching Monday night - a 30% improvement over the UNC championship game last year. The real ratings story is here in the hoops-crazy Triangle.

WRAL TV5 had a 46% share – almost double the national average! That was the third highest in the nation based on the Nielsen overnight ratings on Monday. The high water mark during the local telecast actually reached 58%. Whoa!

You won’t be too surprised by those ahead of us. Louisville, another community with a serious basketball jones, posted a slightly higher 48%. Take a wild guess at number one??? Indy, of course, with a whoppin’ 65% audience share.

Here’s the box score – the Top Ten – from CBS:

...and now you may turn your attention to baseball! The Bulls' home opener is April 15th. Join us at the DBAP.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fans WIN! Fans WIN! the Showdown

I have to admit that a DBAP sell-out is usually a business metric for me…a financial success. However, Saturday’s exhibition game between the Bulls and the Tampa Bay Rays was about the Fans...over 10,000 of 'em.

Several thousand folks showed up at 1:00…two hours early…for batting practice. It was a magnificent experience. Major League stars who not long ago played in Durham…graciously doing autographs…and BP where the new Diamond View II office building was target practice. Evan Longoria hit the Bull! I’m pretty sure BJ Upton hit the fourth floor of Diamond View…but was frustrated as he attempted to land a long ball precisely upon a balcony.

Yes, the Bulls lost the game (9-6) but that outcome was probably in the fine print of our agreement with the Rays??? We very much appreciate their making the trip to Durham. It was a GREAT DAY…for our fans! (Check out this piece - on Durham's partnership with the Rays - from the St. Pete Times.)

Evan Longoria...

Starting Pitcher Jeff Niemann...
[Photos by pro athlete stalker Cindy spouse.]

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