Tuesday, May 28, 2013

2013 ACC Baseball Tournament - Recap

The 2013 ACC Baseball Tournament is in the rear view mirror this morning, but we have some great memories and stats.

12, 14 and 18 inning games. The latter ending just shy of 2am on Sunday as UNC beat NCSU before the largest crowd in tourney history...and the biggest college baseball game in NC history. (I left at midnight.)

Across 13 games, Wed-Sun, the ACC teams played more innings (133) than the Bulls played during the entire month of April (128)!

In the front office, attendance numbers matter as much as game stats, and I'm elated to report that Durham posted the fourth largest attendance in the event's history...

Watch this time-lapse from Saturday night as the ballpark fills to a capacity crowd of over 11,000...

Thanks to our hard working staff for getting those games in. We enjoyed working with the ACC office - a great group of professionals - the broadcasters and media reps who camped out in Durham for the week and the visiting fans from FL to VA. The Durham Convention and Visitors bureau gave us a significant assist, too.

We often struggle with rain when we host this springtime event, but it was only a minor problem on Wednesday evening...and we were rewarded with this memorable image (slightly enhanced by Instagram)...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Welcome College Baseball Fans!

Welcome to Durham! From FL to VA, we have college baseball fans visiting us this week from the Univ of Miami and Florida State, from Georgia Tech, Clemson, UVA and Va Tech...as well as the "locals" from NC State and UNC. The 2013 ACC Baseball Tournament will be held Wednesday through Sunday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

This event means big exposure for the Durham skyline. The Sunday championship is on ESPN2, and the Fox regional sports networks carry the Wed-Sat games. The east coast is covered from the New England Sports Network (NESN) to Fox Sports Florida, and individual games will be seen in San Diego, Arizona, Wisconsin, even in the Dakotas, on the Fox system. All games are on ESPN3.

Click on the bracket diagram to enlarge...

For Visitors: the Durham Convention & Vistors Bureau has created a web portal - acc.durham-nc.com

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Baseball Chapel

Congratulations!  ...to Alexis and Joey. 

They were married Saturday at the historic Durham Athletic Park. 

Their married life begins on the 25th anniversary of Bull Durham, the movie classic filmed at the DAP. 

A most memorable wedding and venue!

Home plate nuptials viewed through the backstop netting.

The reception was staged on the entry plaza.

The old ballpark has never been so dressed up!
There was a dance floor and DJ, too.

Concession stand becomes a bar. Clever!

The Durham Athletic Park is available for special events

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Exceptional Grass

That's the title of WUNC TV's Almanac Gardener episode this weekend. 

The program visits with DBAP Head Groundskeeper Scott Strickland about the Triangle's best lawn. It airs Saturday at noon with a repeat Sunday morning at 10:30. Set the DVR and find out how Scott works turf management magic. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

High Voltage

We need a giant surge suppressor.

It seems that this light tower was zapped by lightning last Wednesday night during a storm. We didn't realize it until prep began for Thursday's game. 

Nine of the giant light bulbs were out, the lights on our manual scoreboard didn't function and the controls for the famous snorting bull were fried.

We were not at full power that night, but City of Durham personnel and contractors worked round-the-clock to get things ready for the weekend games.

The crane (and the courageous guy in the gondola) returned today for some additional work. Changing a light bulb is quite an undertaking at the ballpark!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New Lease for Bulls & Ballpark

The 2013 season is off to a great start! We’ve made ESPN’s SportsCenter twice - for a triple play and a no-hitter.

I’m equally excited about a business development. Monday night the Durham City Council approved a new 20-year ballpark lease and committed $12 million to repairs and improvements. The team is kicking in an additional $2 million as we work with the City to upgrade the DBAP for a new generation of Bulls fans.

Forgive the cliché, but this is truly win-win. Our landlord approved needed repairs/improvements, and we agreed to assume the operational responsibilities and expenses of Durham’s major public facility. The City will save $7.4 million. Our patrons and players will enjoy major enhancements next season as we host the Triple-A All-Star Game.

We’ve been negotiating the new lease for sixteen months with City Manager Tom Bonfield and his senior staff. That’s heavy lifting, but it has been done in a spirit of collaboration.

The City’s media release explains how Council OK’d new leases for the ballpark and the adjacent Durham Performing Arts Center on the same night. Baseball and Broadway have a home in the Bull City for decades to come!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Prayer for the Ballpark

Today is the National Day of Prayer, and I want to share our 2013 Opening Day invocation from the Rev. Ed Priestaf, Pastor of McMannen United Methodist Church in Durham. These sentiments are appropriate, not just for Opening Day, but for every day!

O God,  giver of every good and perfect gift, we thank you for the gift of this night.

We ask your blessing upon all who gather here, and upon all who make it possible to enjoy this Durham Bulls season: for the administration, for the volunteers, and for all who labor unseen hours for our common good.  We pray especially for the players, coaches, and umpires and their families - may they be kept safe and well. 

We pray that these players will be inspired by you, and will inspire the countless fans who watch them: with their talents used in cooperation with others, with their strong resolve to never give up should they fall behind, and with the sportsmanship and respect they show in victory or defeat. These players have come from many places to work and play together in a spirit of goodwill; may our world learn from their example.

It is in your holy name that we pray, trusting and believing together with all our hearts that no voice is too small to be heard by you. Amen.