Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kalkhof's Crescendo

He arrived in Durham twenty years ago when downtown was a bust (abandoned by cigarette makers and retailers) and he's retiring during the boom (adored by techies, foodies and urban pioneers.) Bill Kalkhof is going out on top, retiring as President of Downtown Durham, Inc.

We have given countless tours of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to visiting municipal officials. Bill would join us to talk about the politics and financing, to explain the stadium's impact on downtown revitalization.

While the visitors were impressed with our ballpark, they were equally capitvated by Bill's enthusiasm. On numerous occasions the visitors said, "Our downtown needs a guy like that!" Indeed, it is a blessing that we've had that guy in the Bull City.

Read more in the Herald-Sun (Kalkhof's modeling a Bulls jersey) and check out this video tribute...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Checkerboards land at the DBAP

Those gents being honored on the field last Thursday - now in their seventies and eighties - are US Marines, retired officers of Marine All Weather Fighter Squadron 312. Each one of ‘em has flown a jet in excess of 1,000 mph!

They are Viet Nam vets of the famous "Checkerboard" squadron that dates back to World War II, and this group of pilots flew 718 sorties in 1965-66 out of Da Nang.

Called The Last of the Gunfighters, because their cockpits sat atop four internal 20mm cannons, they piloted F8 Crusaders.

The pilots hold a reunion every two years, and this spring they landed in the Triangle - home of squadron member Joe Mavretic. Upon his military retirement Joe served in the NC House of Representatives for fifteen years, and is currently a panelist on NC Spin.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Old School R&B at ATC

Did you know that Clyde McPhatter of the Drifters hailed from Durham? 

Can you imagine James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, performing at the Durham Athletic Park...in 1966...and you paid $4.50 to sit in the infield!?! 

These R&B tidbits come from an exhibit in American Tobacco's Crowe Building gallery entitled Soul Souvenirsextended through the end of April. It features Durham concert posters and vinyl memorabilia from the 1960s and 70s. 

If you are coming to see the Bulls on Thursday or Friday, check it out. It's just a few steps across the street from the ballpark. Highly recommended for Boomer reminiscing.

More info from the American Tobacco Historic District website.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Help Wanted: Field of Dreams

I met a ten-year-old baseball player, Pierce Jernigan of Youngsville, at the Bulls game on Saturday. I’ve encountered many promising athletes. Pierce, however, is exceptional! He has spina bifida and plays baseball in a wheelchair.

Currently, he plays on a regular field. The grass outfield and dirt infield are not ideal for Pierce’s wheelchair. His game should improve with your help!

I’m asking you to support the Miracle League of Franklin County. Help them complete their baseball field. The organization is raising money to purchase and install a special playing surface.

The Bulls, our parent company Capitol Broadcasting Co. and Minor League Baseball Charities have made a contribution, but the fund raising campaign still has a ways to go.

Click the DONATIONS tab!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ballpark Documentary: Bull City Summer

Kate Joyce
Our team, ballpark, fans and neighborhood are the subject of a documentary, but you won't find it on Netflix or DVD. Life in and around the DBAP is being documented by a cadre of still photographers and writers during the 2013 season.

As the season unfolds their work will appear on the web - at wral.com, Paris Review Daily and bullcitysummer.org. Next year, it will reappear as a book (by Daylight) and photography exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art. 

The project was imagined and organized by local documentarian and baseball fan Sam Stephenson. A key underwriter is Triangle Orthopaedics Associates. Read our news release.

Three highly acclaimed photographers are participating in Bull City Summer - Alec Soth, Hank Willis Thomas and Hiroshi Watanable.

Soth was here for the Bulls first home stand. Take note of his old school camera. The image is captured on an 8 x 10 negative plate. This is the antithesis of point and shoot photography, and he creates images unlike anything you will snap with your iPhone.

Read this week's post at the Paris Review Daily, and visit the BCS website

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Opening Day - The Untold Story

I had reservations about Opening Day throughout the winter...just didn't like the idea of opening on a Monday.

Lesson learned: Any day of the week is a great day for baseball! 

We had perfect weather, a great crowd, grand festivities, a classic walk-off win and fireworks. What was I thinkin'!?! It was a great evening in the Bull City!

WRAL TV5 News camped out at the ballpark...covered every aspect of the game. Check out the slideshow and videos at wral.com.

There is, however, one untold story from Monday. Allow me to take you behind the scenes...

Late last year, we discovered that two foxes had moved into the DBAP. They made their home in the batter's eye, that sylvan oasis in center field. 

We were committed to a humane capture. Wool E. Bull wouldn't have it any other way, but the foxes took good advantage of that...very elusive. We nabbed one of them prior to Opening Day, but the remaining fox joined us for Monday's game. I believe that the fireworks show was the animal's undoing. The Fox had avoided the trap (a cage) during the game (we were checking it) but it must have become a bit frantic during the post-game pyrotechnics. Poor judgment ensued, and under duress, it took the bait. We outfoxed the fox!

The fox was released on a farm well outside the city limits. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Opening Day!!! It's here!!!

I don't remember a Monday home opener - or going head to head with the national hoops championship - but the Bulls will enthusiastically play the cards we have been dealt. Click here for the run-down on our first home stand of the 2013 season.

The scheduling craziness has turned out to be a blessing given the weather forecast. It's likely to be 70+ degrees for the first pitch at 6:05pm. Springtime and baseball! 

And we will cap it off with post-game fireworks. I'm not sure that's ever happened on a Monday night in downtown Durham!?!

Come early - gates open at 5:00. Before the game we will honor NC State Trooper Michael Potts who was shot in the hand, shoulder and head during a February 18th traffic stop. Before his career in law enforcement Potts was a ball player...pitching for the 1992 Bulls when we were the Atlanta Braves Single-A affiliate.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Grand & Gracious Spirit

Doris Barksdale passed on Wednesday. I was surprised to learn that she was seventy-seven years old. She had such a lively spirit!

Employed by the Carolina Hurricanes, Doris held various titles, but her key role was in-house motivational consultant - an on-call life coach. (wral.com - Long-time Canes Motivator Dies)

How did an African American woman from Georgia (by way of Detroit) become a confidant and counselor to hockey players? The answer: Doris had a grand and gracious spirit. A mutual friend described her today as "such an authentic and compassionate person."

I served with Doris on the board of the Hurricanes’ Kids ‘N Community Foundation. She addressed the Bulls staff several years ago on “customer service from the heart” and more recently she spoke to our United Way contributors. I’m grateful that the Canes shared Doris with us.

She published a book of poems in 1999. These lines are from the very last page:

Thoughts and Reality

You create…
your thoughts.

Your thoughts…
create your intentions.

Your intentions…
create your actions.


Your actions…
determine your reality.