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.