Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Grand Slam Gratitude

I carved out some Thanksgiving time to reflect on 2015. It was an incredible season as we celebrated the DBAP’s 20th anniversary. I'll slice it up for you: 

#DBAP20 began with beloved manager Charlie Montoyo’s promotion to the Rays and a new skipper, Jared Sandberg, assigned to Durham. These leadership changes are consequential; we’ve had only four managers during the Bulls’ Triple-A era. Despite a record number of call-ups, the team scratched out a winning season, 74-70. We didn’t make the play-offs, but there were memorable performances. Utility player (and unique personality) Taylor Motter was picked for the International League All-Star Team, and LHP Blake Snell was chosen Minor League Player of the Year by both USA Today and Baseball America. 

Our fans came through with multiple milestones:
  • Fifteen total sellouts 
  • July 4th single-game record of 11,871
  • Full-season record paid attendance of 555K 
Bienvenidos Cubanos…and Blue Devils! We hosted the Cuban National Team, Duke University’s 2015 Commencement, the ACC Baseball Tournament & Fan Fest and our first big wedding in the new PNC Triangle Club.

Beer and Bats! Our in-house concessions operation Bull City Hospitality premiered, and we welcomed the East Coast Bats shop and our own brewery Bull Durham Beer Co. to the ballpark. 

Dogs, Dancing and Fantasy! Bark in the Park, Merge Records Night, the Dancing Grounds Crew, Game of Thrones and Star Wars Jersey Nights garnered national media attention.

Close Shave! Staff and players shaved their heads for Vs. Cancer. Our Bully Busters program returned to the schools. Explorer Post 50, our video internship program, was nominated for a regional Emmy.

We didn’t win a title, but nonetheless, it was a championship year for the front office. At the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville on December 7th, General Manager Mike Birling will be recognized as International League Executive of the Year. Bravo! 

The Durham Bulls are blessed…
- to play in this vibrant Triangle community
- in a resurgent Downtown Durham
- with hundreds of thousands of loyal fans
- for a generous, innovative parent company
- with a solid MLB organization, the Tampa Bay Rays
- and a creative, committed staff.

Happy Thanksgiving!