Sunday, October 28, 2012

Living on the cars...with friends...

My very first blog post in 2008 was about Project Homeless Connect. It's a safe bet that I will write about it again because the challenge of homelessness persists.

The DBAP gates were opened to the homeless and those at risk of living on the streets October 11th. 270 social service and health professionals connected with about 281 people in need of services - medical, food, housing, employment. Hair cuts were available, and veterinarians were on hand to assist with the most loyal of pets. The Bulls' concessions company, Centerplate, with an assist from the Interfaith Food Shuttle, provided a hot meal for everyone.

A noteworthy feature of this event is the high level of volunteerism. 205 folks helped out. There's lots of one-on-one attention, an attempt to make this a personal encounter rather than standing in a long line for help. (The stats come from Matthew Schnars at the City of Durham's Community Development Dept. He ably organized PHC.) 

Read the Herald-Sun editorial:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Birthday! 99.9 The Fan

99.9 The Fan is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Capitol Broadcasting Co. premiered the Triangle's first FM sports station in October 2007. 

We've packed a lot into five years: Affiliating with the NHL Carolina Hurricanes, the NFL Panthers and ESPN Radio. Acquiring 620 The Buzz and 1550 ESPN Deportes. Adding digital HD Radio channels for each station, including an HD-only station, The Ticket. Streaming all of this to your computer/tablet/phone. Creating, and the wralSPORTSfan app for your smartphone. A new, taller tower and a more powerful transmitter. I'm out of breath... 

Our current focus is high school sports as we tweak the website, present the Holiday Invitational hoops tourney and partner with the Cap 8 Conference. 

Behind the mic (from left) Mike Maniscalco, Joe Ovies, 
Mark Thomas & Chris Morris
Wizards behind the curtain (from left) GM Brian Maloney
& Director of Operations/Programming, Jason Dixon 
Our team has transformed sports-talk radio from a niche format on the AM band (that generally appealed to an older male audience) to a robust sports information and entertainment platform. It's an engaging marketing channel that connects with men of all ages. In other words, it's a great medium for reaching men when they are actually paying attention. My wife would tell you that is quite remarkable!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fan Fest & Food Pantry

The DBAP field will soon be off limits as fall/winter turf renovation begins. Saturday's Fan Fest was an end-of-season opportunity for Bulls fans to take BP or play catch on our lawn. 

About 700 people turned out on a beautiful fall afternoon. The price of admission was three cans of food, and we delivered a van load of canned goods to the Durham Rescue Mission on Wednesday.

Tampa Bay Rays infielder Elliot Johnson - a part-time Bull City resident - was in town. He signed autographs in the home clubhouse.

Neil Offen of the Herald-Sun was at the ballpark, and I grabbed these fan shots from Instagram...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Continuing Ed & Baseball

You might be surprised to learn that Minor League Baseball has a continuing education requirement. A team owner's representative and the club's GM are required to attend Minor League Baseball University at MiLB HQ in St. Petersburg FL. I attended last week. (You might be surprised to learn that I graduated!)

I have a new appreciation for our league office; it's formally known as the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. The Major League offices - MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL - are regularly in the sports headlines, and those associations are a mere 30-33 teams each. Minor League Baseball is comprised of 19 leagues and 240 teams. Maintaining order among those independently owned entities in North America, Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic is a serious undertaking.

The New Era Cap Wall at MiLB HQ
The very best cap and logo!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Celebration of Suds

Wes Platt of the Herald-Sun gets credit for that headline. It's from his weekend story on the World Beer Festival at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. A total of 8,000 people - clutching their 2 oz. tasting cups - had an opportunity to sample 300 beers at the afternoon and evening sessions on Saturday.

CNN Travel posted an article on fall beer festivals a couple of weeks ago. Durham made their list of seven U.S. events worthy of Octoberfest in Munich; the others: St. Petersburg, Louisville, Denver, Austin, Pottsville (the PA home of Yuengling) and New Orleans.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Wolfpack Legends

I’m a member of Wolfpack Nation and readily confess that haute cuisine, among the NC State faithful, is a pig pickin’.

That stereotype was turned on its ear Friday evening as State established a Hall of Fame for Pack athletics. The inaugural class of the Wolfpack HOF was introduced at a Reynolds Coliseum gala. 

The ancient arena was transformed with portable air conditioning, sequined table cloths, giant video screens, Klieg lights and performance art. It was a grand affair…and I did find a chafing dish of ‘cue. It paired well with the champagne!

Hoops legends Jim Valvano, Kay Yow and Everett Case were posthumous inductees. Click here for more on the NCSU HOF from

Master of Ceremonies: TV5 sports anchor Jeff Gravley
Batter up! Mannequin or human?
Living legend, Roman Gabriel, of the NFL & Wolfpack