Friday, December 27, 2013

DBAP Renovation Update

The $20 million DBAP do-over was front page news in today's Herald-Sun. Bulls' GM Mike Birling gave reporter Ray Gronberg a hard hat tour. Click here for the story. 

You can be a sidewalk supervisor - no hard hat required - via our web cam, live or time lapse

Dawn at the DBAP on Friday, 12/27. A giant sandbox! The new turf 
will be "installed" next week.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Remembering Ben Ward

He was a very big man on campus at Duke. Professor Ben Ward died earlier this month. He was a regular at the DBAP.

The only thing "regular" about Ben was his presence behind the Bulls dugout, wearing his Duke and Bulls gear, accompanied by his headphones and radio to listen to the broadcast.
Bulls Head Groundskeeper Scott Strickland

Ben Ward was an expert in philosophy and languages. He had a gift for music…and a gift with people. Read more about him in this August post from Bull City Summer: The Adopter of the Bulls. It will be included in the Bull City Summer book to be published next year - a fitting tribute to an exceptional Durhamite.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bull Durham to Broadway!??!

Bull Durham is the gift that keeps on giving! We celebrated the film's 25th anniversary this past summer, and now a musical is in the works. That announcement came last week at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando. ( story)

This isn't pie in the sky. The show has accomplished producers, a script and score. Casting is underway. It's off-Broadway debut will be in Atlanta next fall. That's where it's tweaked and readied for the Great White Way in 2015. Be patient. (Musical website)

At a reception hosted by the producers, Susan Werner - guitar in hand - performed a couple of the songs that she has written for the show. In my humble opinion, she has channeled Annie Savoy. It's uncanny! 

After talking with Werner, writer Ron Shelton and the producers, I'm predicting a raucous, southern fried extension of the beloved, iconic movie.

Speaking of gifts and Bull Durham, on Friday we received a shipment from Nike of the wildly popular Lollygaggers t-shirts. They are available online at our Ballpark Corner Store

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

ACC Baseball - A Return Engagement

The Bulls hosted the record setting ACC Baseball Championships this past spring. The event moves to Greensboro next year, but thereafter, we want the tournament to return to Durham.

The Atlantic Coast Conference issued an RFP for cities to host the championships in 2015 through 2018. Proposals were due last Friday, and we delivered Durham’s pitch with a personal touch. 

Wool E. Bull presented our bid to Kris Pierce, Senior Associate Commissioner of the ACC for the league’s championship events. Paparazzi hid in the bushes - click here for the video.

Wool E. Bull delivers the Durham bid to Kris Pierce
at Wake Med Soccer Park in Cary - site of the ACC
women's soccer tournament.

In early 2014 the Conference will be evaluating the bids – attempting to determine which city (or cities) will be the best fit for the annual baseball championships. I’m thinking that community and local business support will be a major factor. 

The ten competing teams will bring their own entourage of fans and player families, but the ACC wants to know that the stands will be filled with “locals.” It seems to work that way in Birmingham Alabama where the SEC baseball tournament has been held for sixteen years, and of course, there’s Omaha where the NCAA baseball champion is crowned each year. That’s our aspiration for Durham and the Triangle!

Hill Carrow of Sports & Properties Inc., assisting with the
project, gives a helping hand to Bulls GM Mike Birling.

The box contained bound copies of the Durham 
proposal as well as an iPad version.

During the fall and winter the Bulls will work alongside the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce (serving as the Local Organizing Committee) and the Triangle Sports Commission to tell Durham's story to the ACC.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Miracle League Field of Dreams - a Reality!

Wool E. Bull was on hand for the November 2nd ribbon cutting at Franklin County's brand new Miracle League baseball field. 

The Durham Bulls and Minor League Baseball Charities supported the project. Tommy Piper, an assistant school superintendent for the Franklin County schools sold me on the project earlier this year…with his enthusiasm and commitment. 

It's no small feat to raise the big bucks for this special rubberized playing surface that accommodates children in wheelchairs. The baseball league serves kids with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities in Franklin, Vance, Granville, and Warren Counties. 

Speaking of commitment, Sunrock donated the stone, concrete and asphalt for the project…and the company continues to spread the word about Miracle League!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Party in the Outfield

It's a pneumatic nuisance. There's a constant din from this jackhammerin' at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. They've been at it for three weeks...bustin' up the concrete on the lower rows of our outfield seating section.

Why are they doing this? Glad you asked!

The bottom-most rows of seating and the concrete underneath are being removed to create a new tier of terrace boxes. They boast an outstanding view of the outfield, hence the clever new name: Outfield Boxes. This is our expectation for the finished product:

This will be a great space for an office party, laid-back client entertainment or a ballpark outing with family and friends. You can make your reservation for the 2014 season now!!! Contact our Group Sales Department:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The New Age of Enlightenment

As I get older, I need more light to see we are replacing our field lights! Seriously, it's for our players. We had some shadowy spots. For the 2014 season, the DBAP field will be brighter and evenly lit.

Musco Lighting is changing out all of the ballpark field lighting. It's a five week job and we're about two weeks in. This is a major component of our off-season renovation project. New seats, a new playing surface and the lighting upgrade are funded by the City of Durham. (Thank you!)

D3 Development is managing all of this work. D3's Shannon Moser tells me the lights are guaranteed for 10,000 hours or 10 years which means less maintenance over time. And with Musco's green lighting system the energy usage will be lower. 

Fewer bulbs, less power, more lumens. That's a big improvement since the original lights were installed in 1995. Baseball endures and technology improves.

Field renovation, 10/25/13

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ballpark Voyeur

We have installed a new and improved, HD webcam overlooking the ballpark. You can watch the DBAP improvements take shape. Spy on installation of the new seats and the turf replacement project.  The coolest feature is the time-lapse mode that's recording 24/7. Check it out and bookmark the URL.

The off-season is on!

It was a season to remember: 
  • Watching Will Myers and Chis Archer promoted to Tampa Bay
  • Retiring Chipper Jones’ jersey number
  • Strong attendance despite soggy weather
  • Record apparel sales
  • A League Championship!!!
Thanks for your patronage, and I just saw the TV ratings for the Triple-A National Championship Game. Over 114,000 of you were watching - better than any other TV market in the nation! Again, we appreciate your support of the team and our business.

The off-season will be memorable, too. A $17 million dollar renovation is underway, and we have vacated the premises for the winter.

We have moved out of the store and offices, temporarily relocating 
to the 1st floor of the Diamond View I building.

The Blue Monster video screen will be replaced 
 by a 3X larger HD display.

The old school signs have been removed from the outfield wall. 
New video screens will be installed this winter.

When we return next April, in addition to the video screen improvements, you will notice…
  • New turf, drainage and irrigation systems
  • New field lighting
  • New seats
  • New terrace boxes in the outfield section
  • Revamped concessions with new food & beverage offerings
  • A new club for season ticket holders 
I didn't want you to think we were relaxin' during the off-season. There's work to be done!

A New DBAP | April 2014

Sunday, September 15, 2013


For the fourth time in this young century the Durham Bulls have won the Governors' Cup, the International League Championship. A 7-0 victory over Pawtucket Saturday night clinched a second Cup for Bulls' Manager Charlie Montoyo. (His first one came in 2009.) Read the game story at

This is remarkable to me when you think back to the 2012 season. The team went 66-78, and it included a brutal, historic losing streak. The Tampa Bay Rays told us it could be two years before the Bulls were competitive as top prospects moved up through the farm system. Under promise. Over deliver.

What a turnaround! Finishing at .604 ...and at one point we had the best record in all of professional baseball, majors and minors.

Bulls win the IL Championship Saturday night in Pawtucket. 

The celebration continues 
in the visitor's clubhouse.

GM Mike Birling hugs the Govs' Cup, 
the 4th during his tenure.

ONE MORE GAME: The Gildan Triple-A National Championship is Tuesday night, hosted by the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in Allentown PA. 

The Bulls will play the Pacific Coast League champions, the Omaha Storm Chasers. It's a one game, winner-take-all contest for the championship of Triple-A baseball on national TV.

It airs on the NBC Sports Channel at 7:00 eastern. Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

14 Innings. 5.5 Hours.

...and 16 pitchers comprised a classic game last night in Pawtucket. The Durham Bulls are one game away from their fourth Governors' Cup Championship!!! 

Find out what a plate of tomatoes had to do with the victory. Read Adam Sobsey's report in Saturday's Herald-Sun.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Governors' Cup - within our grasp

Championship baseball resumes at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park Tuesday night as the Bulls play Pawtucket in game one of the International League Championship...and the coveted Governors' Cup is up for grabs. There's some serious history with this trophy.

The Governors' Cup dates back to 1933, and the original trophy is on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The Bulls have been fortunate enough to display this hardware by virtue of league championships in 2002, 2003 and 2009. 

Back in '03, we beat Pawtucket to claim the Cup. Triangle baseball aficionados know that Pawtucket is Boston's Triple-A farm club. I'm pretty sure Red Sox Nation is the biggest MLB fan base in our area, and we'll see a lot of Boston caps and jerseys in the DBAP Tuesday and Wednesday. We're glad to have you!

Hoping for another championship ring to go with 
the Governors' Cup! More on Championship Bling.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Playoffs begin: Durham vs. Indy

Put football season on hold for just a few days. We are still playin' baseball...augmented this week by Food Trucks and Craft Beer. (Details below.)

As I was watching this playoff video on YouTube an ad popped up for Ashford University. I thought it was part of the video because it said Achievement Belongs to Everyone. So true! Our superlative season really belongs to Durham and our fans across the Triangle.

Join us at the DBAP. Let's try to squeeze a two more weeks out of the 2013 season. Got tickets? Achievement belongs to everyone!

DBAP Food Truck Fest: Playoff Edition And Craft Beer Rodeo On Tap

DURHAM, NC – The International League South Division Champion Durham Bulls today announce the promotional lineup for first round Governors’ Cup Playoff Games at the DBAP, presented by Sport Durst Automotive Group.  The Bulls, who will face the IL West Champion Indianapolis Indians in the best-of-five series, host Game 1 on Wednesday, September 4 and Game 2 on Thursday, September 5. The return of the popular DBAP Food Truck Fest, a Craft Beer Rodeo, and rally towel giveaways highlight the first round event schedule.

On Wednesday, September 4, eight of the Triangle’s most renowned food trucks will once again make their culinary specialties available during the DBAP Food Truck Fest: Playoff Edition. Participants at the DBAP Food Truck Fest: Playoff Edition include Only Burger, Chirba Chirba, Parlez-Vous Crepe, Sweet Stacey Cakes, BaguettAboutIt, Porchetta, The Humble Pig, and American Melt Down.  Fans with tickets to the Game 1 will have access to all of the trucks, which will each have select menu items available for purchase at their locations along the Diamond View I concourse within Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Game 2 of the first round on September 5 will feature the ballpark’s first ever Craft Beer Rodeo, where fans will be able to experience an expansive selection of craft beers along the Diamond View I concourse.  Once inside the ballpark, fans can sample and then purchase $5 tokens to enjoy pints from breweries including Anchor Brewing, Bear Republic, CBC, Cottonwood, Carolina Brewery, Foothills, Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, Lagunitas, and Innis and Gunn. A portion of the proceeds from token sales will go to the Durham Bulls Youth Athletic League.

The first 1,500 fans at each first round game will receive a complimentary Rally Towel, courtesy of Sport Durst Automotive Group. Both games have a scheduled first pitch of 7:05pm, with gates at the DBAP opening at 6:00pm.

Single game playoff tickets are $10 for all seating bowl locations. Groups of 20 or more can purchase playoff tickets for $8 each. Tickets for the 2013 Governors’ Cup Playoffs can be purchased now at the DBAP box office, by phone at 919.956.BULL or online at


Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Spirit of our Team

Plenty of folks love baseball, but Bill Law is dedicated to the game. As the Bulls retired PA announcer and longtime organizer of Raleigh's annual Hot Stove banquet, Bill is Mr. Baseball in the Triangle. 

Our League President Randy Mobley was at the ballpark last week to present Bill with the Spirit of the International League award. Well deserved! Read more about Bill's 20 years with the Bulls and his lifetime love affair with baseball.

The best part of this event was surprising Bill...completely. We asked for his help with a sponsor presentation, but we turned the tables on him! His entire family - wife/children/grandkids - sneaked into the ballpark for the ceremony, and of course, an evening of baseball.

From left: Messrs Bull, Law, Mobley, Habel
Bill was an "early settler" on the American Tobacco Campus moving into the Old Bull apartments north of the ballpark. He has VIP parking worthy of his stature at the ball club...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Nobel Laureate in the house!

We've had countless baseball luminaries visit the ballpark. A few Olympians and entertainers. Lots-o-pols, too. 

Tonight is a first, though. We will honor a Nobel Laureate.

Dr. Robert Lefkowitz of Duke will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony by Durham Mayor Bill Bell and Dr. Victor Dzau, CEO of Duke's health system. He will, of course, throw the first pitch.

I hope Dr. Lefkowitz will autograph a baseball for me!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Indy Week on Bull City Summer

Bull City Summer made the cover of Indy Week on 7/31. The multi-media documentary project is the subject of two articles in last week's publication.

BCS is a season-long study of the Durham Bulls - not just the team - but the ballpark ecosystem: the game, the players, the fans, the staff, the ballpark, downtown Durham. Every facet, every angle of the season is explored with photography, prose and video. It will culminate with a photography exhibition at the NC Museum of Art next year and the publication of a book. Regarding the latter, it can be pre-ordered.

Regarding the Indy Week story about Hiroshi Watanbe, it was an honor to meet this LA-based, world class photographer...and to have him visit the DBAP.  In the photo above, he is explaining the inner workings of his Hasselblad camera after loading the film. (Do you remember film?) This isn't point and shoot photography! His take on Bulls will be featured in the 2014 exhibition at the NCMA.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fill that Bus!

Durham's Rotary Clubs are attempting to fill a bus with school supplies. $50,000 worth of crayons, notebook paper, markers, pencils, glue sticks...for Durham teachers and their students.

60% of the kids in the Durham public schools live at or near the poverty level. Their parents, struggling to make ends meet, are hard-pressed to provide back-to-school gear. That's why our teachers reportedly spend $500-$1000 - of their own money - for classroom supplies each school year.

This drive ends on August 3rd. 175 local businesses and organizations are donation drop-off sites. Click here for more info on the Rotarians' project. Help them fill the bus with school supplies on Saturday!

Promoting FILL THAT BUS at the ballpark and accepting a Rotary Foundation grant: Phil Kearney, President of Southwest Durham Rotary. Crayons2Calculators Board Member and DPS parent Nakira Carter and her daughter Kayden Carter, a rising 1st grader. C2C Board Member Signe Brown, a 44 year teaching veteran.

A tip of the ball cap to Durham veterinarian Joyce McKinney. She's in a regional leadership position with the Rotary Clubs, tirelessly organizing and promoting this service project.

Monday, July 22, 2013

BIENVENIDO! visiting Cuban baseball players.

WELCOME!  …to the Cuban National Team visiting the Triangle for two games, tonight in Cary at the USA Baseball Training Complex and Tuesday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, against America’s college all-stars.

This “friendship series” has a 35 year history, but it has been 17 years since Cuba played in the U.S.

When we recruited USA Baseball to the Triangle ten years ago, this is the type of international event we had in mind. The team has played in Des Moines and Omaha, Cary tonight and the finale is tomorrow in downtown Durham. We will conclude with fireworks befitting an international celebration!

Speaking of fireworks, NC State’s Carlos Rodon is on the mound Tuesday. The last time he pitched here was Memorial Day weekend in that classic ACC tournament game with UNC. 6 hours. 18 innings. Record crowd. I’m expecting more of that Rodon magic as he dons a USA jersey and plays in front of a hometown crowd. Team USA also features Rodon’s Wolfpack teammate Trea Turner and Carolina standout Skye Bolt.

Join us at the DBAP Tuesday evening!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Turf Futures

Expecting parents proudly share their ultrasound photos. This is in that category - sort of.

Bulls' Head Groundskeeper Scott Strickland is boasting about this shot taken at Sandhill Turf farm in Candor NC. It's a field of Tifway 419 Bermuda grass. Two acres are on order for the DBAP. Our turf will be replaced this winter as the playing surface is completely renovated - one of the capital improvements planned by the City of Durham.

Actually, you are looking a twins. The grass on the right is headed to Durham. The turf to the left is under contract to the Charlotte Knights for their new ballpark.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Food Truck Phenoms

Eight food trucks cued up on the Diamond View Plaza for Wednesday night's game. It was an overcast, steamy evening, but fans flocked to the ballpark for our first DBAP Food Truck Fest. It was definitely a home run! 

Our walk-up ticket sales were 50% better than usual, and we attribute about one third of the Wednesday night crowd to food truck aficionados. 

Lines are the bane of our existence in this business, but that didn't bother the food truck fans. They patiently waited their turn for burgers, 'cue, grilled cheese, crepes and cupcakes. The lines persisted into the sixth inning. (This may be the first time crepes have been served at the DBAP!?!)

This is quite a phenomenon, and it helps to explain why Southern Living has named Durham "The South's Tastiest Town."

Friday, July 5, 2013

Record-breaking Independence Day

Thank you! ...for filling the DBAP to capacity on July 4th. It was a record crowd: 11,754. That's 80 more fans than we entertained on Independence Day 2010, the previous record.

Here are some outstanding memories from the camera of Brian Fleming...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fixin's for the Fourth

I had lunch at Parker & Otis yesterday, and I was pleasantly surprised to see our Triple Play 'cue sauce on display...along with Stonewall Kitchen's Ballpark Mustard and The Great American Hot Dog Book. From the latter, I learned that Americans eat 20 billion hot dogs annually. Have at it!!! ...and have a great Independence Day Holiday!!!

Parker & Otis website

Tonight's Durham Bulls game is SRO, but we will do it all over again Friday, fireworks included, at 7p. Join us in downtown Durham for a big bite of Americana!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Textile Update

The Lollygaggers t-shirts were a gigantic hit for our Bull Durham 25th Anniversary celebration. 

We only have a few mediums left in the store, but our genius retail manager Bryan Wilson has ordered another crate. 

What this tells me is that most Lollygaggers are L, XL and XXL...and that's not much of a surprise!

Moving on to Independence Day...
Bryan worked up this design with Nike. It's in the store now. You know you want one for July 4th. S-w-o-o-s-h!!!