Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Triple A Team of the Year

I had put my blog to bed for the holidays - but was awakened from my long winter's nap - by unexpected recognition for our club.

As the year winds down, mlb.com is doling out awards for the major and minor leagues. The web site has cleverly named the minor league (MiLB) awards the MiLBYs, and the Bulls received two of them this week:

Best Triple A Team - The Bulls' September Triple A championship...caps a 12-year stretch since Durham moved from the Advanced A Carolina League to Triple-A status, a period during which they've enjoyed nine playoff appearances, eight division titles, seven spots in the league finals, three IL championships and one national title (and a partridge in a pear tree).

Best Single Game Performance - Chris Richard hit two grand slams in one game back in May: It's an unbelievable feeling," Richard said. "You're just excited. It's a lot of joy. It's just a great time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Your blogger is excited about Christmas!
Best Wishes for the Holidays and 2010.

Blogging resumes January 4th.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Farewell to Jan Sharp

It’s a bittersweet week. The joy of Christmas is upon us, but we grieve for our coworker Jan Sharp, Capitol’s VP of Human Resources. Jan passed away Saturday after the ordeal of cancer.

Jan was with CBC for twelve years, yet her service could have totaled twice that number. She was passionate about our corporate culture; a “best practices” leader who wanted CBC to be the very best employer in our community.

Manager or employee, you felt that Jan had your back. She was our corporate confidant and consigliere…a great listener…eminently fair. (Jan had an HR director’s fondness for rules and policy. I've never quite measured up in that category!)

Energetic and enthusiastic about everything, Jan was dedicated to Capitol, the Wolfpack, community, church and her family - husband Ed and sons Chas and Hunter. She juggled it all with her Blackberry. It seemed that she was available 24/7.

It’s beyond poignant that Jan passed on the day of our company’s holiday party. I’ve been pondering that, and I can only assume that she favored a festive legacy. Camaraderie and dancing at NC State’s alumni center. It does seem fitting.

~ ~ ~ ~

In that vein, this is my favorite photo with Jan - from December 2002. We were temporarily trapped in an elevator after a luncheon at the Capital City Club. It appears that we were having fun!?! Ah, the good times.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Semper Fi & Adeste Fideles

It's snowing...sleeting...raining as I write this. Bona fide winter weather in NC. It gets you in the Christmas spirit.

...but our staff at Wolfpack Sports Marketing and 99.9 The Fan/620 The Buzz has been playing Santa for several weeks...working with the US Marines and their Toys for Tots program. We've helped to raise $65,000. And that cash will be transformed into Christmas gifts for kids next week.

Check out these stories from gopack.com:

Pix from the O'Brien dinner at Rey's Restaurant in Cary on 12/10:

That's Rey with the mic.

Coach O'Brien. He's on the national Toys for Tots board.

MC and radio Voice of the Wolfpack Gary Hahn.

It's not too late to join the cause.
Send in the Marines!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ample Leg Room

What’s wrong with this picture?

Yes, our seats are missing! A major waterproofing/fireproofing project is underway at the ballpark during the off-season, and the seats have been removed…about six thousand of them at this point. The DBAP looks naked.

Why? All of the joints have to be re-caulked and a sealant will be applied to the concrete. It’s a high-tech membrane that will keep water out of our offices and concession stands beneath the seating bowl.

After 15 seasons (the DBAP opened in 1995) it’s a bit leaky “down under” and a few front office employees have developed a mildew problem. It’s interfering with their social lives!

~ ~ ~ ~

Ticket patrons can pick their seats for 2010…and even take them home for the winter. (…just kidding.)

...and we now have seating on the concourse. I question this marketing strategy.

...hope this project is finished on schedule, or you may be asked to bring a lawn chair to Opening Day. (...just kidding.)

Photo credit: Molly Boyce

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Weekly Round-up

We're off to the Baseball Winter Meetings in Indy. Ginormous trade show...league business meetings...seminars. The Tampa Bay Rays host a reception for all of their Minor League affiliates, and the MLB honchos gather for trades and transactions. The latter adds considerable drama to the annual off-season convention. We don't participate in those decisions. That's the province of the Major League club, but we do get to rub elbows with the big dawgs.

Baseball America, our industry bible, announces a slew of recognitions and awards in its Winter Meetings issue. The Bulls are basking in BA glow...

1 - Rangers
2 - Rays
3 - Giants
4 - Phillies
5 - Indians

~ ~ ~ ~

On the home front, the Bulls' staff spent Friday afternoon working on a Habitat home near the ballpark. Our team has helped Durham Habitat raise over $75K this year...and our front office volunteers helped to raise a house. I won't make any snide comments about their construction skills because their hearts are in the right place. Plus, they were closely supervised, and no one was taken to the ER.

Our Habitat Home (about 50% of it)

Sales staff at work: Chris Overby, Mike Miller, Ryan Tuttle, Ashley Giovenco

Bulls PR chief Matt DeMargel and GM Mike Birling

Head Groundskeeper Scott Strickland

Molly Boyce of sponsorship services

~ ~ ~ ~
...and finally:

I attended Phantom of the Opera Thursday night at the Durham Performing Arts Center. I've seen Phantom several times, and this national tour is undoubtedly the best. The production is opulent! DPAC GM Bob Klaus tells me it took 22 tractor trailers to deliver the sets, costumes and associated gear. The lead performances and music soar! The special effects are impressive. The theater acoustics are superb. Phantom runs through December 20th. You gotta see it!

The Durham Bulls are a proud sponsor of the DPAC's Broadway Series.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More on ALS...

Indulge me, please, for another post on ALS. My last blog on the subject was about our NC chapter's golf tournament. This is more serious, and I ask that you invest five to ten minutes with the content I'm posting.

Incidence of ALS among soldiers. This horrible disease has a historical connection with baseball heroes Lou Gehrig and Catfish Hunter, but an alarming link has developed with the military.

WRAL TV ran this story yesterday. CLICK HERE to view the video. TV5 anchor Debra Morgan provides and informative and moving story.

...and I commend this column to you. Tom Swift of Hendersonville writes for the Asheville Citizen-Times. He is losing his ability to speak, but not his eloquence:

Every three months I go to a clinic in Charlotte that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ALS. "Treatment" is an optimistic word, for there is no treatment or cure for ALS at present, only the management of symptoms. At each clinic I take a breathing test to measure my lung functioning. I breathe as long and as hard as I can into a tube that measures me against a standard based upon my age, weight, gender, and so forth. The first couple of times I took the test I exceeded the standard and scored over one hundred percent. During the last two years, my lung function capacity has gradually declined to seventy-six percent. While this is no reason for immediate alarm, it is objective evidence that the disease is robbing me of my health. It is evidence that ALS will eventually kill me.

...and I commend the Jim "Catfish" Hunter ALS Assn to you for a special Holiday Season gift. Capitol Broadcasting Co., the Durham Bulls and Wolfpack Sports Marketing are big supporters. Join the team!

Thanks, gh