Thursday, October 29, 2009

Taking a break from Hoops HQ

We’re in the middle of football season…the World Series is underway…but I have to admit we live in College Hoops Town USA. Hence, this basketball post:

We were among the sponsors of a very special event Thursday – The Triangle Tip-off Luncheon. Duke’s Coach K, UNC’s Roy Williams, NC State’s Sidney Lowe and Lavelle Moton (the new hoops coach at NCCU) shared the dais. This gathering of basketball luminaries was worthy of an ESPN special, and TV5’s Jeff Gravley asked some very thoughtful questions. It was not an X’s & O’s discussion; it was more about hoops philosophy, values and "what's on your iPod?"

Kudos to Hill Carrow and the Triangle Sports Commission for organizing this wonderful event. The confluence of ACC and Division 1 hoops in our community is unique. (NCCU is moving up to D-1.) The universities, their teams, the legendary coaches, the rivalries – it’s a significant feature of our lifestyle in the Triangle. I herein implore the coaches to make it an annual affair!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Our Championship Fans

A few days earlier on this blog I was lamenting the bittersweet nature of winning the Triple A trophy. That is, the players immediately head for home - only two of the guys live in Durham - so we forfeit a parade or bonfire. (There is an upside: no hangovers, no arrests.)

Yet our fans were determined to savor the accomplishment. I would have been delighted if a couple hundred folks showed up for the Wednesday event...but we were pleasantly surprised. Very gratifying! THANK YOU, BULLS FANS!

Several worthwhile links...

- The Bull City Rising blog did a great job chronicling the festivities. Click here to check it out.
- Visit our Facebook page for more.
- Relive the celebration and closing moments of the Triple A Championship game on ESPN. Click here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

118 years at-a-glance

Here's a pictorial history of our neighborhood on Blackwell Street in downtown Durham.

First comes a map from 1891, pre-ballpark, obviously...from Duke University's Digital Durham collection. (I highly recommend that you check it out. Click here to explore further.)

Next, the hood - the tobacco biz and downtown were thriving - circa 1950:

And finally, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, 2009:

Thanks to the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau for the '50 photo and their latest aerial shot. Visit the DCVB's image library for more.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall Lawn Care

It's raining today. Temperature in the 40's.

We need a classic autumn photo (from last week) to raise our spirits...

Join us in the clubhouse (and on the field) October 21st for a celebration of the Bulls' National Championship. Read more about it/click here.

I have to admit that winning the Minor League title is anticlimactic. The game was played in Oklahoma City, and the players - only two of them live in the Triangle - immediately headed for home. No bonfire. No parade. the October 21st event is an opportunity to show off the trophy and to THANK OUR FANS.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Help for the Homeless

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park hosted Project Homeless Connect on October 8th. It might strike you as odd that we hold an event for homeless people in the ballpark, but the organizers attempt to create a festive atmosphere to draw folks in…to eliminate the stigma that goes with homelessness.

And they aggregate about twenty service providers (medical, mental health, housing, benefits, employment, etc.) so it’s one-stop shopping.

Another important feature: there are about as many volunteers as there are clients…lot’s of one-on-one attention vs. standing in long lines. A very worthwhile event!

We were glad to host the event and feed everyone...went through 260 pounds on chicken in a couple of hours! Thanks to our CenterPlate food service manager Tammy Scott, the Interfaith Food Shuttle, Dillard's Barbecue and Durham Rescue Mission for helping to pull the gigantic buffet together.

Note the festive atmosphere...thanks to the Durham Divas.

About 300 people registered for services, and there were approximately 300 volunteers.

A client account from the Raleigh News & Observer: A veteran seeking permanent housing and help with his benefits had just finished a "slamming" piece of chocolate cake and said he was leaving with something he didn't come with. "A lot of hope."

Smiling faces at the Durham Housing Authority booth.

A volunteer quoted in the Durham Herald-Sun: "It just lets me know how privileged I really am. I have a house to sleep in every night. I have food on my table. I have transportation. I have a job to go to, and these people don't have any of that."

That certainly sums it up for me.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sports Radio Update

On the same day the Bulls won their National Championship, Capitol Broadcasting scored with its plans for sports radio in the Triangle.

Capitol, Curtis Media and McClatchey Broadcasting have agreed to a transaction that will change the sports radio landscape later this fall.

The Triangle’s long-time sports station 850am The Buzz is being sold. It will become an oldies station, but Capitol will retain much of its programming, sales staff and the well-known Buzz brand.

Also, Capitol is purchasing 620am and 1550am. 620 will be reincarnated as The Buzz and 1550 is the newest affiliate of ESPN Deportes, the Hispanic sports network. ESPN Deportes premiered September 30th. (More on that below.)

Buzz vet David Glenn will host 1-4pm on 99.9 The Fan, and Adam Gold and Joe Ovies will move to 620 for the 6-10am time slot.

We are awaiting approvals from the Federal Communications Commission, but here’s the end game: By year’s end, we will be operating 99.9 fm The Fan, 620 am The Buzz and 1550 am ESPN Deportes.

This is the daytime programming schedule for 99.9 fm and 620 am:

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More on 1550am and ESPN Deportes:

ESPN Deportes has been serving Hispanic sports fans in the U.S. since 2000 and offers a variety of sports talk programming and events, highlighted by exclusive national Spanish-language broadcasts of Major League Baseball, Mexican League Soccer, UEFA Champions League and NASCAR. ESPN Deportes Radio 1550 AM in the Triangle will be the only affiliate in the Southeast region outside of Florida and Knoxville, TN.

Launching ESPN Deportes Radio 1550 AM allows Capitol to serve the area’s growing Hispanic population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population, the largest minority group in the U.S., reached 45.5 million on July 1, 2007. In North Carolina alone, there are more than 640,000 Hispanic residents, an 8% increase over the previous year.

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Check out this post from a year ago on the Triangle sports market.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

DBAP Vibrancy & Camaraderie

The Durham County Board of Commissioners extended official congratulations to the Bulls on Monday night...approving a resolution that recognizes our National Championship.

Bulls' GM Mike Birling and I attended the meeting. We lugged the big trophy into the Commissioners' chamber. It weighs more than a Hyundai! And we gave them Championship T-shirts. (You have to be careful with gifts for public officials. I don't think anyone's integrity was compromised.)

Of course, the Triple-A title is great, but the resolution hit on something of equal importance. It recognizes the Bulls for bringing a sense of vibrancy and hometown camaraderie to downtown Durham. That's something we try to do year 'round! Thank you.

Read the entire resolution for a Bulls' history lesson and brief season recap. I believe the commissioners' clerk is a wannabe sports writer.