Saturday, December 17, 2016


I have a vocational fascination with the WakeyLeaks brouhaha…where a radio football analyst at WFU is accused of sharing football strategy with opponents.

Radio play-by-play has been a constant in my career. My first job: studio tech for Virginia Squires basketball games at a Richmond radio station. And that morphed into broadcast management spanning college, NFL, NHL, NASCAR and Minor League Baseball. 

40+ years of play-by-play (and lap-by-lap). Nothing resembling the Wake Forest story has ever occurred. The breach of trust is unprecedented. I'm not being overly dramatic. 

The radio broadcast crew is embedded with the team they cover. They are with the players and coaches day in, day out. Unlike TV announcers, who typically fly in for the game, the radio guys are insiders, often traveling with the team. They are privy to confidential information. It informs their perspective. They don't function with the freedom of reporters/journalists. Loyalty and discretion is owed the team they cover. In that department, Wake suffered an epic fail. 

~  ~  ~  ~

PxP: In my opinion, radio play-by-play is an art form. The best announcers, painting pictures with their words, place the listener in the stadium or arena. The color commentator, usually a former athlete, offers unique insight. It's a specialized skill set. And I fear it's taken for granted now that almost every game is on television.

It's been a privilege to work with Bob Harris, retiring after this season as the voice of the Blue Devils. You're crystal clear on Bob's loyalty to Duke University. And the indefatigable Chuck Kaiton, Hall of Fame broadcaster for the Carolina Hurricanes, his cadence can exceed the velocity of a hockey puck. At the Bulls we have Patrick Kinas behind the mic, renowned for his preparation and versatility. Bulls baseball, high school championships, women's hoops - even the Rio Olympics - are on his resume.

Gary Hahn, Tony Haynes and Johnny Evans of the Wolfpack radio network top my list. They had my undivided attention for the NC State-UNC game. Driving to Virginia on the Friday after a Thanksgiving, I began with the broadcast on MIX 101.5, switched to the Triad affiliate, and in the Virginia mountains, I listened to the stream on my phone via On that 200 mile trip from Raleigh to Blacksburg, it seemed like we were in Chapel Hill for the Pack's victory.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sports Radio Leader

...another honor and compliment for our sports radio group - 99.9 The Fan/ESPN Radio, Buzz Sports Radio and The Ticket.

General Manager Brian Maloney has been ranked among the best managers in radio by a leading industry publication, Radio Ink, in the Oct/Nov issue.

We were fortunate to recruit Brian to Capitol in 2009 when we acquired the two AM sports stations in our market, The Buzz and The Bull. He was their GM. We had premiered 99.9 The Fan in 2007, and it was now Brian's job, two years later, to consolidate this local sports "empire" of FM, AM and

Brian pioneered the sports talk format in RDU beginning with The Buzz in 1998. He's an accomplished sales exec with an even greater knack for programming. He paired Adam Gold with Joe Ovies. He put lawyer/sports writer David Glenn on the radio and propelled Coach Steve Logan to sports talk celebrity. Ditto Bomani Jones, now at ESPN. 

In the Radio Ink profile he talks about staying ahead of the curve and generating new ideas as a manager's biggest challenge. His mantra: Think. Explore. Create. Fail. Try. Succeed. I believe there's a top selling business book in that.

Under Brian's leadership, CBC's sports radio group has moved to the top of the ratings in RDU, social media chatter and web traffic. Advertisers find that to be an effective combination. Indeed, Brian is one of the best managers in radio...make that The Best!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Baseball U

Everyone understands that Minor League Baseball exists for the purpose of player development. We are a training ground, and that rings true for our entire operation. The DBAP is a launching pad for careers in the sports industry.

My advice to young people interested in the sports biz: Get a degree in business (or another major aligned with your interests) and it must be paired with a couple of years of part-time work experience in a ballpark or an arena. One internship at the end of your college career doesn't confer a competitive advantage. You need more than that! Here's what we offer at the Durham Bulls:

Seasonal employment. About 50 local college students are on our game day staff ranging from picnic hosts to fan ambassadors to the on-field promotions crew. Another 20 are in food and beverage jobs with Bull City Hospitality. 

Trainee program. In addition to hourly seasonal employment, we had 23 college students or recent grads in our trainee program and two interns. They were working in the ballpark operations, ticketing, retail and marketing departments. We even added accounting trainees this past season.

News flash!!! Some of these jobs begin in Jan-Feb and the rest commence in April. Students who start looking for that summer job in May will miss out. Bulls job postings can be found on the Capitol Broadcasting Company website.

Explorer Post 50. The Bulls and Fox50 sponsor a unique training program for video production. Remarkably, our in-stadium and TV broadcasts are produced by high school students! We have about 75 participants. The young people in this program probably get more hands-on experience in Post 50 than a university communications major provides.

Through the Triangle Community Foundation we offer an annual scholarship program for our matriculating Post 50 members. These are our 2016 recipients, recognized on Labor Day during our last game of the season...

Scholarship winners: 

Bruklyn Miller (3rd from right) – This is Bruklyn’s first season with the Durham Bulls Explorer Post 50 program. She attends Meredith College with a GPA of 3.1 where she is studying Mass Communications with a minor in Marketing. 

Rachel McKinney (2nd from right) – Rachel has been a member of WRAL Explorer Post 5 for 3 years and Durham Bulls Explorer Post 50 for 2 years. She is a graduate of Apex High School with a GPA of 4.8 and is attending UNC at Chapel Hill, studying Media and Journalism.

Austin Edwards (far right)  – Austin has been a member of Durham Bulls Explorer Post 50 for 3 years, and he has taken on a leadership role. Austin is on the PIT (Producer In Training) Crew. He is a graduate of Green Hope High School with a GPA of 4.4 and is attending North Carolina State University, majoring in English with a concentration in film.

Molly Sobb (not pictured) – Molly has been a member of Durham Bulls Explorer Post 50 for 2 years. She is a graduate of Riverside High School with a GPA of 3.8 and is attending High Point University, studying Strategic Communications.

To the right of Wool E. Bull: GM Mike Birling, Post 50 sponsor/volunteer Ken Bland, and volunteer/Post alum Rob Rowe.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Renovated Reynolds

The makeover of Reynolds Coliseum at NC State is spectacular! Thanks to Deputy AD Michael Lipitz for the tour last week. He ably led the project.

The ACC men's basketball tourney and the Dixie Classic originated in this hallowed hall, completed in 1949. It's the repository of Jimmy V's legacy and home to Kay Yow Court. A shrine to Tobacco Road hoops. Holy ground for Wolfpack Nation. 

The arena's rich history has been preserved, enhanced actually, with museum quality displays, and the space has been totally reimagined. More from

Sunday, September 25, 2016

99.9 The Fan - Marconi Nominee

You can't brag about an award you didn't win, but I must give a shout-out to our crew at CBC Sports Radio - 99.9 The Fan, Buzz Sports Radio and 1550 The Ticket.

Specifically, 99.9 The Fan (WCMC-FM) was nominated for a Marconi Radio Award - top sports station of the year in America. The awards gala was held last Thursday night in Nashville at the annual Radio Show. It's a huge conference staged by the National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau; 2,200 in attendance.

99.9 The Fan has been a sports station only since 2007. We're a relative newcomer to the format, so it's quite an honor to be nominated. WFAN in NYC won the trophy last year, and this time around we were competing with a slate of major market stations. (RDU is radio market #38.)

The Detroit station won this year. We shall return!!! And I'm proud that we were on the the field of play. Congrats to our staff at 99.9 The Fan. That's our Director of Programming and Operations on the left, Dennis Glasgow, and our General Manager, Brian Maloney, on the right. Top talent!

Monday, September 19, 2016

HB2 Damage in Durham

The anvil of HB2 landed on Durham last week.

The ACC, at the direction of its University presidents, pulled their neutral site championships out of NC for 2016-17, following a similar decision by the NCAA. So, the week-long ACC Baseball Championship will not be held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park next May. In the spirit of transparency (and venting) I post herewith:

It's is so frustrating that this is hurting our community that prides itself on diversity and inclusiveness. Sadly, that doesn't offset our Legislature's resistance to the same. 

I'm not despondent, though. This will be worked out by either judges or politicians in the next year, and hopefully, the tournament will return. I'm more concerned with the loss of momentum. We are trying to convince the ACC that Durham should be the long-term home of the event, and we were awarded a four year contract to show that Durham (and the Triangle) would embrace the event and grow attendance.

Last May, our pre-sold ticket sales were up 24%, and day-of-game sales averaged 1,000 per game for the weekend games. That was without UNC in the 2016 field, so clearly, we were making progress attracting "locals" to the games. Over the past two years, the ACC Baseball Championship in Durham has averaged attendance of 60K for the week with an annual economic impact of $3-5 million.

Regarding the latter, our hotels and restaurants, that had enjoyed full capacity over the typically slow Memorial Day weekend, get a punch to the gut.

My griping is not aimed at the ACC. They are our partner. We've hosted eight Championships since the DBAP opened in 1995. And I should admit that we have been the beneficiary of controversy in the past. We landed the tournament during the SC Confederate flag controversy, and we played host on very short notice when Fenway Park reneged on an invitation to the ACC.

My grousing is reserved for the NC legislature, the Republican leadership and our Governor. (I am registered as an unaffiliated voter, and on this issue I'm particularly unaffiliated with the GOP.)

I will never be convinced that this was really about the transgender bathroom issue in Charlotte - because the law has no enforcement provisions. Trust me, I've read the bill (over and over.) It was cooked up by the GOP leadership to motivate their voters, and it was meant to slap down Charlotte's city council. In the process, they took a broad, mean-spirited swipe at the entire LGBT community. That's what brought NC embarrassing national attention and the ire of the NBA, NCAA and ACC. Restroom security/privacy was never a problem - just a scare tactic to get votes. 

Meanwhile, the travel and tourism sector takes a major hit. Restaurants and hotels will lose millions. At sports venues, the hourly employees - the ushers, concessions workers and parking attendants - will lose work. The party known as a champion of business has done a great deal of economic harm.

We have just formed a Sports Commission in Durham to recruit sporting events to the Bull City. I'm a member. It was created and funded by the City Council and Board of County Commissioners last spring. The Durham Chamber of Commerce shepherded the project for over two years. Now, we are in the process of hiring two staffers. We must remove this anvil, aka HB2, so that we can get about our work.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Forever a Bull: William Mills Law

Our last game was Monday, but the season truly ended this afternoon with a noon celebration of Bill Law's life here at the ballpark. The closing prayer was followed by Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Reception fare: hot dogs and nachos. That's the way Bill wanted it! 

Our long-time PA announcer and team ambassador was beloved by fans, staff and the larger baseball community, owing to his devoted leadership of the Raleigh Hot Stove. RDU's Mr. Baseball. Forever a Bull. [Obituary] [Bill's Law - his life in baseball,]

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park, with its steel beams and brickwork, has has a certain look, and because of Bill, it even has a sound. His voice reverberated beneath the roof and throughout the concourse on the PA system. It truly met the criterion of “unique” - a Boston accent mellowed (or sweetened) by a lifetime spent in North Carolina. [More memories from our staff.]

We will miss Mr. Law…deeply. I have not known a more loyal member of the staff. And I can still hear his voice at the ball yard.

*  *  *  *

A moment of silence for Bill Law at the August 30th Bulls game.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Night Lights

As the Olympics wind down, high school football takes center stage. (The calendar and schedule intersect in a weird way this year; we will play two games before classes even begin!?!) 

And here we go! WRAL TV5 dispatches a dozen photographers across the viewing area for Football Friday. Jeff Gravley takes the reigns from the retiring Tom Suiter for our 36th season. Due to the Olympics, the first show will be an abbreviated version, folded into the 11 o'clock news tonight. The full half-hour premiers on August 26th.

Here's the breaking news...
We launch a major new program on our HighSchoolOT web platform tonight at 6:55, HighSchoolOT LIVE. This is crazy ambitious. Utilizing video streaming technology, cellular transmission and ultra-compact production gear, we are webcasting seven games simultaneously...and pulling them together in a live studio show. It's hosted by our guru of prep sports Nick Stevens. (My heads about to explode as I type this!) Bookmark this:, and thank you Taco Bell for signing on as the presenting sponsor.
Our Game of the Week (multi-camera production) will be Millbrook @ East Wake at 7:00 PM. We will have the following video streams in addition to that game:

New Bern @ Hillside, 7:00 PM
EE Smith @ Southern Durham, 7:00 PM 
Heritage @ Green Hope, 7:00 PM
Wake Forest @ Panther Creek, 7:00 PM
Clayton @ Cleveland, 7:30 PM
Wakefield @ Middle Creek, 7:00 PM

Connecting with the community is in Capitol's DNA as a local broadcaster, and high school sports is as grass roots as you can get. The HighSchoolOT website and apps clocked 20 million page views last year and 1.5 million unique visitors. It's obvious that prep sports matter in the Triangle!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Our Man in Rio proud of our colleague and Bulls radio announcer Patrick Kinas! Initially, it was an just an honor to be chosen for the Olympic radio network team. Now, it's because he's doing such a great job - a Gold Medal performance!

WRAL TV's Debra Morgan talked with him Thursday:
I knew, being an emotional guy, that coming down here and being involved in a Katie Ledecky moment or Michael Phelps history, that I may need to somehow restrain my emotions so that those don't interfere with what my job is down here. While it's been hard to do, the hair on my arms, the back of my neck have still stood up. But I think I've maintained my focus on what my job is. It's been exhilarating!

Debra's Rio report on Patrick (video)
More from

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Durham Sports Commission

The Bulls, Duke athletics and NCCU sports bring considerable notoriety (and patron dollars) to Durham, but we are about to take the proverbial bull by the horns with sports marketing and sports tourism in our community.

The Durham Sports Commission has been officially established by the Durham City Council and the Durham Board of County Commissioners to recruit sporting events to Durham.

It will be a new department within the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, funded by the local hotel "bed tax," and it will be under the direction of an appointed board. The Commission's first meeting will be held in August, and the search for an executive director will commence.

I'm excited that this Commission is almost a reality. It will enhance Durham's image and economy over time. We recruited the 2012 National Championship game and 2014 All-Star game - on our own - and that convinced me that this kind of organization was needed. Then, we went after the State Games of NC and the ACC Baseball Championship. That was done on an ad hoc basis with help from the Durham Chamber and the Triangle Sports Commission. Having tasted some success, it was clear that sports recruitment represented a travel and tourism opportunity for our community. 

We should do "the wave" for County Commissioner Wendy Jacobs, City Councilman Steve Schewel, former Chamber CEO Casey Steinbacher and Shelly Green, CEO of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau. They carried the torch for this. 

ACC Baseball Championship at the DBAP. Powerade State Games
of NC at Duke and Durham Co. Memorial Stadium. 

These are the newly appointed Durham Sports Commission members:

City of Durham Appointees:
·         Desmond Scott – Owner, Prime Athletic Training and Fitness Institute
·         Dan Hill – Founder of Hill Chesson & Woody benefits consulting firm
·         Omar Beasley – owner MC Bail Bonding

Durham County Appointees:
·         Ingrid Wicker McCree – Athletic Director of NCCU
·         Tommy Hunt – retired, Atlantic Coast Conference
·         Dwight Perry – Ophthalmologist/Partner at NC Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat

Durham Chamber Appointees:
·         George Habel - Durham Bulls Baseball Club
·         Chris Kennedy - Senior Deputy Director, Duke Athletics
·         Terrence Holt - Holt Brothers Construction LLC

Sunday, July 3, 2016

All American Eats

This isn't an inside baseball blog. I leave that to the Herald-Sun in Durham or the Times-News in Burlington, and to bloggers like Chris Wise and his Watching Durham Bulls Baseball. Chris is the consummate chronicler of our diamond.

My insights are typically related to the community, team marketing, front office folderol...and I can tell you what's going on inside the ballpark kitchen!

Here's what to look for during the the July 4th home stand...

Beer Brat, simmered in Sam Adams Summer Ale,
sausage stand, main concourse.

Apple Pie Milkshake, served in a Bulls mason jar,
left field corner stand.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Road to Rio

Competition concluded this weekend for the Powerade State Games of NC. Our home grown Olympic-style sports festival may not be a global spectacle like the Rio games in August, but this is where Olympic dreams take shape!

A total of 12,000 participants (770 teams) converged on the Triangle each weekend in June to compete in over 25 sports from swimming to BMX, from skateboarding to fencing. 

Capitol Broadcasting Co. was a sponsor, a commitment with deep roots. In 1986, we helped to found the first State Games of NC and Durham-based NC Amateur Sports. This year, Wool E. Bull was honored to light the Opening Ceremonies cauldron at the WRAL Soccer Center. Adam Gold of 99.9 The Fan was master of ceremonies.

In Durham, we hosted Disc Golf, Pickleball and Tack & Field. There were about 6400 participants and spectators at the Bull City venues.

Disc Golf aficionados designed a unique course at American Tobacco for about 90 participants who targeted parking garage decks, the Famous Bull and home plate at the DBAP. About 500 spectators followed the disc golfers around the campus.

Duke's Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center had never hosted a Pickleball competition before. There were 186 players.

Track & Field, Durham County Stadium. This year's competition had a Rio hallo. Manteo Mitchell, an Olympian from Shelby NC participated, prepping for his Olympic trials.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Of Zombies & Zealots

My friend DJ Mitsch has written a new book Zombies to Zealots, Reawaken the Human Spirit at Work! From the introduction:

The world's largest and most successfully traded companies are full of disengaged, cynical members who leave weekly meetings to mindlessly follow orders out of fear of consequences...

But the book isn't a screed. DJ's purpose: Call your spirit back into the work you do.

And that brings me to my colleagues at the Durham Bulls Baseball Club. Not a zombie to be found. Every last one a zealot!

Last Thursday we finished a mash-up of multiple Bulls home stands, Duke baseball games at the DBAP and the 15-game ACC Baseball Championship. That was a total of 39 games in 35 days. And I didn't bother to count the additional meetings and events hosted in the PNC Triangle Club. Our front office staff, operations department, grounds crew and F&B staff have been sorely tested. They have prevailed!

It's a privilege to work with this crew. They bring their spirit to work. (And thankfully, we don't have another game until June 20th.)

The ACC Baseball Championship Game on May 29th - emblematic of the 6th rainiest May in the Triangle since 1945. After eight hours and twenty minutes, including three rain delays, Clemson beat Florida State 18-13. The next day, Memorial Day, the Bulls began a seven-day home stand.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Citizen Clement

Howard Clement is remembered as a champion of civil rights and civic life. 

[June 6th Durham City Council Resolution | story]

I remember the City Councilman who loved baseball, who brought his grandson to Bulls games.

At Capitol Broadcasting Co. we remember "unfiltered" Howard. He seriously took our company to the woodshed in the late 1980s when we proposed a new ballpark near the airport. Amidst that major problem, he became part of the solution, and the Durham Bulls Athletic Park came to be.

CBC's Corporate Counsel in those days, Mike Hill, remembers Howard's admonishment "the ballpark has to be for all of Durham." So, Mike made sure local favorite Dillard's Barbecue was served at the new ball yard, and in the community, we kickstarted the Durham Bulls Youth Athletic League..."for all of Durham."

After the DBAP came the redevelopment of American Tobacco, and Howard helped to galvanize City and County support for the project that revived downtown Durham.

Then, I remember the Q&A at our annual First Pitch luncheon ten years ago in Bay 7 at American Tobacco. We had planted a few softball questions in the audience for the panel discussion. Howard stands up, veering off-script, and asks a Rays exec what the team was doing to develop African American players. A little awkward. And unfiltered. But authentic.

Howard Clement III (1934-2016) A man of many interests, dedicated to many causes and organizations. A true public servant. A baseball fan. We miss him at the DBAP.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kids & Baseball | Rekindling the Flame

The ACC Baseball Championship is drawing fans from Boston to Miami this week, but our Local Organizing Committee has placed a priority on connecting Triangle kids with this major college baseball event.

Thursday morning over 325 students will attend ACC Education Day. It's a "best field trip ever" that ties science and history lessons to the National Pastime. And the kids get to watch UVA, last year's NCAA champ, take on Clemson in the 11am game. 

For three afternoons this week we're entertaining about 250 youth in the Full Frame Theater on the American Tobacco Campus. Thanks to WUNC TV they will be viewing an abridged version of Ken Burns' new documentary on Jackie Robinson. Afterwards, they trek over to the DBAP for a snack and the afternoon ACC tournament game. That's my kind of after-school program!

On Friday in the Alumni Village at American Tobacco there's a youth sports clinic and Saturday is Little League Baseball Day.

Meanwhile, fifteen teams (10u, 11u, 12u) are competing in our 2nd annual Triangle Youth Classic at the Walnut Creek complex in Raleigh. NC Development Baseball runs that tournament for us. The teams will come over to Durham Saturday night for the UVA-Louisville game.

Much is written about the decline in baseball fandom among young people. There's no denying it, but here in Durham, we are trying hard to rekindle the flame. The ACC Baseball Championship is a great platform for that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Atomic Crispy Chicken & the Bull City Float

We have packed so much into this upcoming home stand, you'll need a moving van to haul away the memories.

There's a Hall of Fame induction Thursday for the Bulls winningest manager, Charlie Montoyo. Fireworks follow the Friday and Saturday games. The team debuts their Bull City Blues uniforms Saturday. That game is followed by an out-of-the-park hitting exhibition from the amazing Long Haul Bombers. And Sunday is reserved for mascot mania as we celebrate Wool E. Bulls' birthday with dozens of his peers from teams around the region. Click here for more details.

And I offer a culinary heads-up from Bull City Hospitality...

We'll be fryin' up a mess of Atomic Crispy Chicken - chicken breasts marinated in a spicy secret sauce. Just ask for "The ACC" we prepare to host the ACC Baseball Championship next Tuesday.

Dial back that nuclear intensity with a Bull City Float - an orange and blue concoction, owing to Blue Bunny sherbet awash in Fierce Grape Gatorade, served in a Mason jar. I was in on the taste testing this afternoon. It's a hit!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

What Matters

Amidst all of our region's successes, poverty and inequality threaten our shared fate.
Triangle Community Foundation

Dr. Tony Iton, physician/lawyer at The California 
Endowment, speaks to the Triangle Community
Foundation on April 27th.
My last post was faith-related. Living evermore dangerously, I venture into public policy/politics...

I was once a disciple of "trickle-down economics" and "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" self-determination. In recent years I've had an attitude adjustment. 

There's still some truth in trickle-down, but in a global economy the trickling (job creation) may occur in China or Sri Lanka, not necessarily in NC. Money invested on Wall Street might become profit for a company that has off-shored, not supporting our tax base at home. 

And personal bootstrapping has little motivational luster in places of high poverty. Weak schools, poor job prospects, high crime and health deficits conspire against upward economic mobility.

I received a refresher course on this a couple of weeks ago at the Triangle Community Foundation's What Matters event. We heard about a California initiative - an attack on poverty and inequality - through the lens of public health. Please invest five minutes watching this video. And it's narrated by George Takei, Mr. Sulu from Star Trek!


Congratulations to our CEO and his wife. Jim and Barbara Goodmon received the Catalyst Award from TCF for their support of the foundation, their emphasis on regionalism and their philanthropic work.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Beneath the Canopy of Creation

On this National Day of Prayer I reprise our Opening Day Invocation by the Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery, Dean of Duke University Chapel. It's a memorable prayer, and I won't soon forget the circumstances. As Rev. Powery stepped onto the field it began to rain. We couldn't pause because the Invocation and the National Anthem were precisely timed with a vintage aircraft flyover. Standing in a downpour w/no baseball cap, the ink smearing on his paper, Rev. Powery offered this prayer to begin the Durham Bulls 2016 season:

Gracious God, fount of every blessing, as we stand under the canopy of your creation, we bask in the beauty of spring and newness of life. Our hearts are filled with joy as flowers bloom, leaves bud, grass grows green, and bright colors overflow the North Carolina land. The aroma of your presence fills this stadium tonight and what a joy it is to be alive and to be together in a spirit of community.

What a joy it is to experience another baseball season with the Durham Bulls. We thank you for the way this team draws people from all walks of life, from the east and west, north and south, Duke fans and Carolina fans, all in the same stadium cheering on their team. We thank you for those who make every season possible - the administration, staff, players, coaches, umpires, sponsors, volunteers, fans, and everyone who works tirelessly to make each game so special.

Let the play and delight of tonight brighten the world just a little bit, that we may not be so burdened down by sounds of the world’s sorrowful lamentations but rather filled with the echoes of eternal celebration, alongside our family, friends, and even strangers who are gathered here. As we cheer, clap, sing, dance, laugh, and eat, may we never forget those for whom no one is cheering. May we remember the least, the lost, and the left out and acknowledge that to whom much is given much is required. Just as these teams give their all with bats, baseballs, and gloves, help us to give our all to love of neighbor.

We receive this Opening Night as a gift from your gracious hand, knowing that sometimes we strike out in life, but one day we will round the bases of life’s journey and make it home safe at last as the great company of saints wave their hands in everlasting joy and praise. Amen.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Friday Night (DBAP) Lights

It's hard to believe we lost last night's game. I was having such a good time.

Before a sell-out crowd, Dayron Varona hit a homer into the Famous Snorting Bull. That is a rare poke for which he receives a steak dinner at the venerable Angus Barn. And phenom Blake Snell, back from his MLB debut at Yankee Stadium, was pitching. Game story.

The crowd roared as our Dancing Grounds Crew saluted Prince...and the soundtrack for a spectacular fireworks show featured his greatest hits. So yes, we lost to Louisville 4-2, but it was an outstanding night at the DBAP. The Bulls return to downtown Durham next Friday, vs. Norfolk at 7:05, as a seven game home stand commences.

If I may raise a point of personal privilege, we celebrated my Mom's 90th birthday at the ballpark last night. (My Dad hit 95 in March.) We enjoyed official birthday greetings from Wool E. Bull - a perfect evening for the young at heart!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Tales of the Turf

We are only seven homes games into the 2016 season, but Goodmon Field is in for industrial strength lawn care this week.

Now that Duke calls the DBAP its home field, there have already been 40 "turf events" here dating back to mid-February scrimmages. No other pro baseball team in the US shares its field with a university team to this extent. It's a super efficient use of the stadium, but the wear and tear on the turf presents an agronomy challenge. You can't just throw out more fertilizer and cross your fingers. You need a rigorous turf management regimen.

While the Bulls are on the road, the infield is being completely replaced and the outfield has been aerified. The latter provides more oxygen to the Bermuda turf that begins to propagate in this warmer weather. Fans marvel at the lush green grass, but the real action is below ground. It's all about healthy roots!

For me, this is painful. It's like watching major surgery on a TV medical drama. I wince and look away as the turf docs put their scalpel to the infield.

The Bulls return from a ten day road trip on Sunday. We play Indianapolis at 5:05. The team is at home 4/24-29. Come out to the game and admire the handiwork of our grounds crew.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

On Duke's Tom Butters

A note about the passing of retired Duke Athletic Director Tom Butters...

Capitol Sports managed the Duke Radio Network in the 1990s. Looking back (and I should confess) we were in the vanguard of commercializing college sports 25 years ago. Butters mightily resisted! It's hard to wrap your mind around that today, but he could be passionate about it. He was a deep thinker, very articulate. He took me to the wood shed a couple of times over our marketing ideas. But you never felt too bad about losing an argument to him. It was like receiving an infusion of integrity!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Net Gain

Our expanded netting has been installed just in time for Opening Day, April 7th. The old backstop, behind home plate, was about 2400 square feet. The new net, extending to the end of each dugout, is almost 8500 square feet. I submit that fan protection is improved by 250%.

WRAL TV's Leyla Santiago was at the DBAP Thursday as the project was being finished. Watch her report.