Friday, April 29, 2011

Bulls' Hometown Alumni

I doubt most fans realize that very few Bulls players live in our community. After we won the 2009 Triple A National Championship in Oklahoma City, Durham's City Manager wanted to have a parade. I had to swallow hard and confess that the team wouldn't be returning to Durham, that they dispersed to their individual hometowns after the season-ending game.

That's the way it works in the Minors. It's a nomadic life until you land a Major League contract. Only then - as a Ray rather than a Bull - do you invest in a splendid crib on Tampa Bay.

Why do I draw attention to this? There is a great article in the April/May edition of Durham Magazine about two former Bulls who do, in fact, reside in the Bull City: Chris Richard who retired at the end of the 2010 season and Elliot Johnson who now plays for the Rays.

The article isn't on-line. You need to invest in a copy of the magazine...available at Parker & Otis, Regulator Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, Whole Foods Market, Sam's Quik Shop and Harris Teeter.

Meanwhile, check out the magazine's website and blog. You'll learn a lot about Durham.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Take Steps. Be Heard.

The DBAP will host an awareness and fund-raising walk June 18th for Crohn's and Colitis. It's a 5pm event...a good idea for that time of year.

GI disease doesn't make for pleasant conversation, but it warrants more attention.

People just don't talk about intestinal disorders...they feel that somehow there's a shame to it. I want to help take away this perceived stigma. There's nothing to be ashamed of.

That's a quote from Dr. Sandra Kim, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine. It's from an informative, inspiring story in today's
News & Observer. Click here for the newspaper piece. The N&O has slugged it "gut reaction."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Disaster Relief - Amazing Generosity

I'm not braggin'...but I am saying THANK YOU.

Over $800,000 was raised for disaster relief on Wednesday when every division of Capitol Broadcasting Co. participated in a fund-raiser to assist NC tornado victims.

Amazing generosity...encouragement...and hope for the 439 families who lost their homes last Saturday as 28 tornados tore across the state.

That's the Easter message in our own backyard.

Bulls staffers load donated clothing and canned goods
into the Wool E. Mobile after Wednesday's day game.

It's not too late to help. Click here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Disaster Relief

The whole of Capitol Broadcasting Co. is conducting a disaster relief drive today...television, radio, web, mobile and baseball.

The Bulls - playing a day game - are offering a free ticket for a donation of canned goods or clothing.

THANK YOU to our fans! It's piling up on the sidewalk...

Assuming that YOU are not at the ballpark today, punch up WRAL TV5 and join the effort.

Click here to support the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Samaritan's Purse and the NC Baptist Men.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nuptials at Home Plate

May I present Mr. & Mrs Dan Redfield...

Suezette Cowles and Daniel Redfield were married at the DBAP Saturday. I feel badly. We had to roll out the tarp instead of the red carpet as that infamous storm system was bearing down on Durham.

Still, a good and memorable time was had by all. Suzi and Dan were flexible...willing to improvise. That's an outstanding way to begin a marriage!

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park is available for memorable special events. Mary Beth Warfford stands ready to roll out the red carpet...or tarp...on our Field of Dreams. Send her an e-mail.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Raleigh tornado takes out a radio station

Capitol's Hispanic sports-talk station, 1550 AM/ESPN Deportes, was a casualty of the tornado Saturday afternoon.

WCLY is located on Maywood Ave. in south Raleigh near the NC Farmers Market. No one injured; it's a satellite-delivered format and the transmitter site is monitored remotely.

It appears that the tornado winds severed the guy wires, and the 285' tower fell over. Engineers hope to begin repairs Sunday using a generator and a temporary low-power antenna.

The tower collapse impacted another station, too. We share that antenna with Curtis Media's WQDR AM which plays classic country music.

Photos - Rob Truitt, Sunrise Broadcasting

The storm affected our sports group across the board: NC State's spring football game was cut short as the storm approached, and in Durham, the start of the Bulls baseball game was delayed for an hour. Our radio stations are located at Highwoods in north Raleigh...pretty close to the tornado's path, but everything was intact there. We did lose power. Fortunately, we have an industrial strength generator.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The DBAP Comes Alive!

We're back in business! Team mascot Wool E. Bull arrived on Duke's Life Flight helicopter and the Bulls won their home opener Thursday night...beating the Norfolk Tides 4-0.

Not only was it a win, but the game seemed gift-wrapped, with a 70-degree temperature reading at first pitch, a cloudy sky splashed with blue and a sunset that reflected off downtown buildings before the glow of the lights took over.

That's a nice piece of writing by Javier Serna in the News and Observer.
Click here for the story.

WRAL TV5 swept into the DBAP with team coverage of our grounds crew, the new Bull Dog and sumo wrestling. Check out these videos...

We're at home through April 22nd, and that includes day games on Monday and Wednesday. See ya at the ballpark!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Culinary Tour of the DBAP

Visiting MBA students want to know about our business model, and I’m quick to explain that it’s pretty simple: Each patron purchases a ticket, a cap or t-shirt - and here’s the critical element - each patron should visit our food court or concession stand between EVERY inning. If a half million people do that from April to August, we'll have a good season.

Tammy Scott, the manager of Centerplate, has been working on our menu offerings during the off-season. Here’s her new and improved “eat between every inning” concessions strategy for the 2011 season:

We have a new purveyor of hot dogs - Brightleaf pork and beef dawgs from Carolina Packers in Smithfield NC.

At the Carolina Brewery concession stand you will find Johnsonville brats plus Italian, Polish and veggie sausages. We’ve added a Texas toast grilled cheese sandwich and a Philly cheesesteak. There’s a chicken version, too. Finally, look for the new Chipstix, a ribbon cut, fried potato on a stick with a variety of seasonings.

Our gourmet barbecue is new this season…shipped over from the renowned Pit in Raleigh. At the Pit’s stand you will find two new offerings - fried pickles and loaded tater tots.

We’ve also added tacos and wings at several stands.

Pizza: Papa John’s has come to the DBAP! And you will find a hot meatball sub at the Papa John’s stand.

Another big brand with a new stand - Moe’s Southwest Grill...featuring burritos, nachos and salads.

That's a recap of our new offerings, but I assure you that Chick-fil-A is returning along with Rita's Italian Ice and Frozen Custard. Rita's is expanding to handle the demand.

Words are inadequate to describe our menu. This is really about smell and taste - so eat your way around the DBAP - beginning Thursday, April 14th. Gates and food court open at 6:00 PM.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Home Opener Approaches...

The excitement is palpable. We are closing in on our 2011 home opener. (And it was enjoyable watching the Rays clobber Boston last night on ESPN, 16-5.)

Meanwhile, the DBAP seems like a construction equipment showroom. Boom lifts, scissor lifts, forklifts are around every we prepare for Opening Night on Thursday.

The City of Durham is wrapping up a major maintenance project, and the Bulls are installing new awnings and signs. Painters and masons have been on the job during the off-season. There's new carpet and cabinetwork in the suites. Now, the power-washing and landscaping begins in earnest. It's down to the wire. That's how we roll.

...but our dedicated staff will be ready - at 5:59:59 PM on Thursday - just before the gates open at 6:00!

A benefit of my team sports vocation is the opportunity to start fresh each season. Join us Thursday (or this weekend) for our annual we embark on 5.5 months of Durham Bulls baseball.

The WRAL TV5 WEATHER CENTER extended forecast is outstanding for the beginning of our nine-game home stand...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

East Durham Update: The NCDC VOICE

Capitol Broadcasting Co. is supporting this community newspaper and website that's "narrowcasting" to the Northeast Central Durham neighborhood.

VOICE is staffed by teens from the NCDC, and they are mentored by journalism students from UNC-CH and NC Central Univ. Read more about it; click here.

This project has been nurtured by Jock Lauterer, Director of the Carolina Community Media Project at UNC's J-school.

We have UNC and NCCU students working together...with kids from a high poverty the young folks career direction...and creating a sense of community in Northeast Central Durham.

I'm delighted to give VOICE to this excellent collaboration!

East Durham Update: Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels of Durham has completed a renovation of its "depot" in east Durham. It's on Ross Rd. a few blocks off Highway 98. The MOW HQ has convenient access to I-85 and the US 70 bypass. That's good for the volunteers who trek all over Durham County delivering hot meals - about 280 daily across 25 routes.

Durham MOW has a volunteer cadre of 200, and the Durham Bulls host an annual outing for that group and provide tickets for the vols throughout the season.
MORE VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED! Visit their website.

Durham County’s aging population is among the fastest growing in the state, and seniors - as they become more senior - are a vulnerable group. Currently, 30% of Durham County's seniors over 65 years live alone, 21% live below the poverty level, and 25% have a disability.

MOW is attacking those stats with a hot meal and vital daily contact. Executive Director Gail Singer Adland believes MOW could be delivering 400 meals per day...the need is that great!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The 2011 season begins...almost.

We have good players. We’ve got a great manager, good assistant coaches, and we’ve always got talent here in Durham.

Top prospect & outfielder Desmond Jennings, Tuesday in Durham

We welcomed the 2011 squad to Durham Tuesday with a luncheon at American Tobacco's Bay 7, and the team held its first practice that evening.

The Bulls open on the road this year. That's Thursday night in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett. (Follow us on the road via radio - WDNC AM 620/The Buzz.)

TV5's Jason Jennings covered the team luncheon and assembled a complete Bulls prospectus, including this interview with manager Charlie Montoyo:

Click here for more including several player interviews from

Check out the interview with Dirk Hayhurst, new to the pitching staff. He's a blogger, author and celebrity in the making. His book - The Bullpen Gospels - has been a New York Times bestseller.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Walk to Defeat ALS

Saturday's Triangle walk was a humongous success for the Jim "Catfish" Hunter ALSA Chapter. $250,000 was raised!!!!

THANKS to my supporters. We accounted for 1% of that total.

...and there was another walk in Winston-Salem where 1000 ambulatory volunteers raised over $70K. It was a record day for the chapter!

2500 participants walked to defeat ALS at the Credit Suisse campus in Morrisville.

Wool E. Bull dances to defeat ALS.

It's a busy month for the dedicated chapter staff as they fan out across the state for these events in Chapel Hill, Greenville, Greensboro, Lancaster SC, Wilmington and Charlotte:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Final Four: GO RAMS!

Our attention turns to hoops. I'm pulling for the Rams of Virginia Commonwealth University - my alma mater.

Confession: I’ve been a lousy alum. I graduated from VCU in May of ’75 and immediately moved to Charlottesville where I was soon involved with the radio broadcasts at UVA. Capitol bought that company in ’82, and I was introduced to sports marketing at Duke and NC State. The Wolfpack connection has held steady for close to three decades.

...but I’m totally on the Rams’ bandwagon this week, and I've told all of my Facebook friends:

(I guess I’ll have to join the alumni association to avoid being a complete hypocrite.)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Baseball Blackout

After touting MLB.TV in the last post, I have egg on my face - a three-egg omelette w/a side of grits.

I fired up the iPad, downloaded the new app, and as fate would have it, the Rays vs. Orioles game is blacked out on MLB.TV. Major bummer.

This part of NC is considered to be in the Orioles television market. We're supposed to watch the Orioles telecast when the Rays and Orioles play. Well and good, but the O's games are not available on cable here.

It's not a blackout as much as it is a deep, dark, black hole. Crazy.

Rays Open Tonight!

And so it begins: the Tampa Bay Rays play the Baltimore Orioles tonight at 7:10. Former Durham Bull David Price will pitch before a sell-out crowd at the Trop in St. Pete. How sweet it is!

I'm not getting a kick-back or commission for this; still, I'm compelled to recommend some hardware and software that will profoundly enhance one's baseball fandom. It does require an investment, about $615 total: an iPad ($500), with the At Bat app ($15) and MLB.TV's video streaming subscription ($100).

This stuff will work on a computer or smart phone, but the iPad takes it to another level. It becomes an amazing portable television with impressive video quality.You can watch games from every MLB team and geek out on stats.

Disclaimer: There's a hidden cost to this mobile, multimedia investment - HOURS OF YOUR TIME WATCHING BASEBALL. How sweet it is!