Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer. As the traditional school year winds down, our crowds at the ballpark get bigger and bigger.

We had a great weekend. Paid attendance was about 27,000 Fri-Sat-Sun. The weather turned out better than the original weekend forecast

The Bulls’ next home stand is June 8-13. Here’s a tip: Come early in the week. The lines are shorter. It’s a more relaxed atmosphere. Weeknights at the DBAP give meaning to the phrase “laid back” during the summertime.

On the subject of Memorial Day - the real meaning - I lifted a few sentences from NC Governor Bev Perdue’s blog:

…let’s remember the reason for the holiday. Memorial Day honors the sacrifice of those American men and women who have given their lives in military service. We must thank them for the country they have built and protected, the freedoms we now enjoy and we owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. We should also remember the thousands of soldiers from North Carolina and across America that are still in harm’s way.

I will be calling on all flags in North Carolina to be flown at half-staff until noon in commemoration of Memorial Day. If you see a flag flying at half-staff on Monday - take a moment to reflect and give thanks.

Enjoy your holiday!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Big Stick

That’s not a tie-dyed T-shirt. It’s the new coverage map for 99.9fm/The Fan. (WCMC-fm) Our sports radio footprint has expanded…to XXL.

99.9fm The Fan/ESPN Radio has a new antenna and more power. Our former transmitting location was in Youngsville, 21 miles north of Raleigh. We’ve moved to Auburn, just nine miles southeast of downtown Raleigh. The antenna and power are higher. Our coverage area is much improved. (CLICK HERE for the particulars.)

Along with the power increase, we’ve added to our programming line-up. 99.9fm/The Fan will carry Carolina Panthers NFL games this fall. Of course, we remain the Carolina Hurricanes flagship station.

Capitol Broadcasting has an impressive sports platform in the Triangle: CBS and Fox sports on TV, on the web, the Durham Bulls, Wolfpack Sports Marketing…even mobile. On the radio, we're at 99.9 on FM with The Fan...on AM at 620 with The 1550 with ESPN Deportes.

Sports radio occupies an important space in this modest empire. To me, it’s the original “social networking” around the topic of sports…long before the web. Lots of info and chatter among passionate fans.

According to the Arbitron radio research firm, listeners (males, 25-54) spend six hours daily with our sports stations. From a marketing standpoint, advertisers are well served by sports radio...connecting with listeners who are very engaged with and loyal to the stations. And we just increased our reach across the Triangle by 49%.

PS - We celebrated with a cake for our engineers, Keith Harrison and Will Patnaud. POWER UP and Congratz!

Friday, May 21, 2010

An Act of Compassion

We are promoting the state’s organ donor registry at the ballpark as this home stand commences. 3400 North Carolinians await organ transplants. Nationwide, the waiting list stands at 107,000.

If you haven’t done the driver’s license check-off, you can enter your name on the registry through Carolina Donor Services.

The Bulls’ awareness effort has a very personal twist. Melissa Simon from Chicago was our guest for the first pitch ceremony on Saturday. In 2007 Melissa received the heart of fourteen year old Chloe Coleman of Chapel Hill. Melissa was in the Triangle to meet with Chloe’s family and friends, and to promote the cause near and dear to her heart. (Yes, that's an irresistible pun.)

The pitch...

The story…

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Outfield Overlook

The Bulls begin a home stand on Saturday. The weather forecast looks stout and the DBAP should be packed as we tangle with Pawtucket, Boston's top farm club. (

This match-up brings Red Sox fans out of the woodwork. You will notice lots of Boston jerseys. In addition to our Fenway-like outfield wall, we have more of that Yawkey Way ambience around the ballpark. (Do they use the word "ambience" in Beantown?)

Tobacco Road Sports Cafe is open for business! The eatery's patio sits atop the Blue Monster. Indoors, there's a monster wall of TVs. On game night, the Bulls are on the really big screen. It's Big League the American Tobacco Historic District.

Bulls on the BIG screen.

Patrons on the patio - an outfield overlook.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had the opportunity to speak with middle school students in Halifax County and a group of high school teachers in Durham. My pitch to both groups: kids playing sports should prepare for a career in the business of sports...just in case their dream of playing sports fizzles. Have a back-up plan!

Consider the stats:

There are over 455,000 kids playing high school baseball in America. There are 7300 freshman roster positions across all colleges/universities, and 5700 will be playing as seniors. 600 will be drafted annually. The percent of high school senior players that make it to pro baseball is .5%.

Lets look at hoops:
550,000 youth are playing basketball in HS. There are 4500 freshmen roster spots at the college level…3500 senior players…and approx 44 will be drafted. High school seniors to pro = .03%.

I’m not trying to throw cold water on a kid’s dream, but they can use their education to prepare for a career in the sports business: sales and marketing, finance, food service, turf management, communications, IT.

Play sports. Prepare for a career in the front office.

BTW, I visited Enfield Middle School in Halifax County at the behest of Teach for America. Great school. Dedicated staff. Promising young scholars. Glad I made the trip.
~ ~ ~ ~

Here in the Bull City we recently honored Teacher of the Year nominees from the Durham Public Schools...

From left to right:
Emily Greenstreet, Northern High School
JeVar Bransome, Shepard Magnet Middle School
Takesha Trapp, Pearsontown Elementary School
Rebecca Myers, Rogers-Herr Middle School
Matt Hunt, Northern High School - 2009-10 Teacher of the Year

...and the winner is:


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

An Evening at the DAP

We entered Wool E. Bull's time machine yesterday - returning to the 60s, 80s and early 90s - returning to the Durham Athletic Park for an evening of nostalgia. About 4,000 people attended, nearly 1/3 on the bank or lawn.

The News and Observer spins the tale well. Ron Morris, now a columnist for The State newspaper in Columbia SC, has written a great story. He covered the Bulls at the DAP as a cub reporter and courted his wife there, too. He gets it!

Enjoy his article and the N&O pix:

Bulls' GM Mike Birling talks about the DAP game Tuesday morning on 620/The Buzz with Mark and Mike. CLICK HERE to listen.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Retro Baseball

The Bulls return to the old home place on Monday. It's an exclusive, one-night engagement at the Durham Athletic Park. The Bulls haven't played at the DAP since 1994. It was refurbished last year by the City of Durham. Today, NC Central University plays baseball there, and Minor League Baseball operates the ballpark as a training facility for umpires, grounds care, etc.

The DAP is a Durham landmark, and it's where Bull Durham was filmed in 1987. It's fitting that we're playing the Toledo Mud Hens on Monday evening. I like to think that the Bulls and the Mud Hens are the most famous Minor League ball clubs - the Bulls immortalized by Bull Durham and Toledo made famous by the TV series M*A*S*H.

Step back in time with us on Monday at the DAP. Bone up on Bulls' history at our web site. And you can get in the spirit by checking out these old photos at the Endangered Durham web site. Click here...then scroll down.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Ballpark Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer. Coincidentally, we have 3500 school kids coming to the DBAP for Education Day. Please, pray for us!

In that vein, I reprise our Opening Day invocation. The prayer was penned and spoken by Durham Pastor Larry Bowden of McMannen United Methodist Church.

Blessed are you, O Lord, creator of all the earth.

In the beginning, you made this beautiful world and set us in it to worship and serve you. There is no place we can go apart from your presence; even to the four corners of the world, you can be found.

You call us to lives of love and mercy, of community and of joy, and you take delight in your children at play.

Bless, O God, we pray, this season of Bulls baseball; the team, players and managers, the administration and fans. Keep them safe, and help us through them to find your loving presence in the faces of our neighbors.

And Lord, grant us peace in our time. We bless your holy name, O God. Amen.

Join your neighbors for a Durham Bulls game this weekend. As you often hear folks say in the Bull City: Have a blessed day!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fusion of Fan & Fashion

Nike and Under Armour are household names, but there’s another brand of team apparel that’s incredibly popular…and gobbling up floor space in our retail store.

It’s known by the number ’47 - Banner ’47 apparel and ’47 Twins headwear.

The company was founded by two Italian immigrants in Boston. They got their start as kids making pennants for Red Sox fans. Now it's caps and tees...a must-have for celebrities. Check out the photos on their web site.

Today, the company supplies MLB/MiLB, NHL, NBA and 450 colleges. They are everywhere! They understand (or seem to set) trends in fan apparel. ‘47 creates a fusion of fan and fashion. I lifted that phrase from their web site, and it rings true. '47 has its own section in our store - THE BULL PEN:

...and you are welcome to shop on-line. Click here.