Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The DAP "under new management"

The historic Durham Athletic Park will be managed by the Bulls as the new year begins. Durham City Council gave its approval last Tuesday. We will be assuming the operating agreement from Minor League Baseball. MiLB had been running the ballpark since it was renovated in 2009.

The primary motivation is to assist our two partners, Minor League Baseball and the City of Durham.

MiLB sought an early exit from its operating agreement with the City which we are able to facilitate. There’s a seamless hand-off from MiLB to the Bulls, and the City maintains consistency with the Bulls as operator.

The Bulls will honor existing commitments to the baseball teams at North Carolina Central University and Durham School of the Arts. The same holds true for American Legion baseball, and we will continue the Long Ball program for inner city youth funded by MiLB Charities.

Ray Gronberg writes about this in the Herald-Sun. Click here for the story.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Best Wishes for the Holiday Season and New Year
from the Durham Bulls front office.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Have voice. Will travel.

This is an unusual player move...

Bulls play-by-play announcer Neil Solondz has been called up...added to the Rays' radio roster for the 2012 season.

This is a big loss for the Bulls, but we are delighted for Neil as he takes a big step toward his career goal.

In addition to his radio/tv work for the Bulls, Neil has been our top account executive. It will probably take two people to replace him! Neil is conscientious, meticulous, hard-working, dedicated to improving his skills...a consummate professional...and a darned good broadcaster.

This is a great tech-oriented company and a great brand to be involved with, and I'm very appreciative that they'll never stand in the way of an opportunity.

That's a quote from Neil in a prescient story that ran two weeks ago on the MiLB website. Click here for Benjamin Hill's article on the the Major League aspirations of Minor League broadcasters.

Here's the Rays' Friday news release:

ST. PETERSBURG, FL—The Tampa Bay Rays announced today that Neil Solondz (SO-lahnz) has been named the team’s new pre- and postgame radio host.

Solondz has been with Tampa Bay’s Triple-A affiliate, the Durham Bulls, since 2004 and for the last two seasons has filled in on the Rays pre- and postgame show. During his tenure with Durham, Solondz broadcast the Triple-A All-Star Game and the Triple-A National Championship game to a nationwide audience. Over the last two seasons, he did play-by-play for 11 games that aired on MLB Network.

“I’m thrilled the Rays are giving me such a great opportunity,” said Solondz. “I’ve certainly enjoyed the past eight years with the Bulls a great deal, and I’m excited about the chance to join the tremendous broadcast team of Andy Freed and Dave Wills.”

“Neil will be a great addition to our radio team,” said Rays Senior Vice President Mark Fernandez. “Not only is he an accomplished broadcaster, his tenure as the voice of the Durham Bulls will allow him to offer Rays fans unique and in-depth commentary throughout the season.”

“Neil has been an invaluable member of the Bulls staff for the past eight years as both a salesperson and more notably as our play-by-play announcer,” said Bulls General Manager Mike Birling. “Many of his radio calls will forever be part of our rich history.”

In addition to the pre- and postgame show, Solondz will contribute to the “This Week in Rays Baseball” radio show during the regular season and will host Rays Watch Parties and community appearances throughout the year.

Prior to his tenure with the Bulls, Solondz broadcast minor league games for the Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) and Quad City River Bandits (Minnesota Twins). He also has done freelance play-by-play of college football for ESPN3 and has worked for the North Carolina State University, Rutgers University and Delaware State University radio networks.

66 Days Until Pitchers & Catchers Report to Spring Training


For more information please contact the Rays Communications Dept., (727) 825-3242.

The Tampa Bay Rays have proudly represented Major League Baseball in the Tampa Bay region since 1998. The organization and its foundation are committed to building a strong community bond through meaningful interaction and charitable contributions.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Going Green on I-40

Capitol Broadcasting Co. is adding several electric-powered vehicles to its fleet. This Nissan Leaf is the first to arrive. (There's a waiting list.) It's stationed at the American Tobacco Campus where a charging station has been installed. ATC is a bastion of hi tech, and we are promoting this alternative to the internal combustion engine.

I commandeered the Leaf for a day last week, drove it to a meeting in downtown Raleigh and returned to Durham. It's really quiet. An electric motor and batteries. No transmission. Cruising along on I-40, I was surprised to see 70 mph on the speedometer.

If your driving style alternates between jack rabbit starts and hard braking, you're not suited to this car. The Leaf is for patient, mature drivers. (I'm working on that.)

The Leaf gets hooked up for an overnight charge...that provides enough juice for about 100 miles. The car's range and the charging routine would be the big adjustment for me. The upside: electricity is a lot cheaper than gasoline, and your commute is pollution free.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Nutcracker. It's Magic!

What do I know about ballet? Nada. Zip.

...but undeterred, I heartily recommend Carolina Ballet's Nutcracker.

I was privileged to attend a preview Friday at the Durham Performing Arts Center - along with 2000 school kids. They were enraptured. Me, too.

I'm thinking that they especially enjoyed two things: watching other children (in really fancy costumes dance) and THE MAGIC.

Carolina Ballet - with sponsorship from Capitol Broadcasting Co. and WRAL TV - has infused the production with illusions developed by Rick Thomas. He's best known for plying his craft in Las Vegas stage shows.

This is a wonderful way to introduce your kids to the performing arts. Click here for info on performances in Durham and Raleigh.

...and check out this report from TV5 News:

...received a backstage tour. I can't reveal what I learned about the magic props, but the costumes are impressive:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Wonderland

It was sixty-seven degrees as I drove home this evening, but we're in winterfest mode nonetheless.

The Lucky Strike tower on the American Tobacco Campus is aglow for the Holidays, and the 2nd Annual Triangle Christmas Tree Challenge is underway.

Downtown Durham is merry and bright. Come and see!

Click here for info on the Christmas Tree Challenge and check out the slide show from the Friday night tower lighting at American Tobacco.

The United Way of the Greater Triangle is participating in the competition, but they donated their fir to a needy family. It's been replaced with this Charlie Brown tree - bearing a single ornament and a wimpy string of lights - to make a point from the 2011 United Way Campaign...

Visit the United Way website. Consider an on-line Holiday contribution...in support of 82 human services agencies and their 149 programs in the Triangle. Make 2012 merry and bright for someone else. It's the perfect gift!

...and here's how you can vote for the United Way's scrawny tree. They could win $5,000. Ready - Set - Text: