Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Durham Bulls Basics 2015 - Part 2

The Schedule

The International League schedules 144 games for each of its teams. Half of those games are played at home. So, unless you are truly a Durham Bulls fanatic, you will only have 72 chances to see your Bulls during the regular season. Although, Charlotte and Norfolk aren’t all that far away ...

In 2015 the Bulls opens their season on April 9 with an away game against the Atlanta Braves affiliate, the Gwinnett Braves, at their stadium in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The last game of the season is a day game at home against the Norfolk Tides on September 7. The first home game is April 15 against the Norfolk Tides.

A key feature of the IL schedule is that the Bulls only play a few home games against each team outside the South Division.  That means that if you are a Boston fan the only chance you’ll get to see Red Sox prospects will be the three games May 5-7. That’s it. They won’t be back unless both teams are in the playoffs in September. The same is true if you’re a Yankees fan (four games, May 14-17). Cleveland fans, however, will see their team, the Columbus Clippers come to town twice (June 18-21 and Aug 22-23) as will Detroit fans (the Mud Hens are in town June 23-25 and Aug 19-21). Said another way, the Bulls only play 39 games at home with the teams from outside the South Division.

Just for the record, this is a huge change in IL scheduling which will only be noticed by the most die hard of fans. In the past it was four home and four away for all outside-of-the-division teams. This year the Bulls will instead split 41 games against the 6 teams in the North Division and play 37 games against the 4 teams in the West Division. Why the change? Beats me.

On the other hand, if you’re a Braves (Gwinnett) or White Sox (Charlotte) or Orioles (Norfolk) fan, you’re in luck. (Well, it’s a bit difficult to call an Orioles fan as being in any sort of luck, but you get the idea.) Those teams will be here a lot this year: 11 games each.

The Bulls have a 9-game home stand in August, but home stands usually run 4-8 days. Road trips are often 8 days long, but sometimes they are shorter.

Triple-A ballplayers have a much more relentless schedule than major leaguers. They play more games with fewer days off, at least until September.

The Triple-A All-Star game pitting the International League All-Stars against the Pacific Coast League All-Stars is set for July 15, well past mid-season, and will be played in Omaha, Nebraska. Exactly how the players are selected for the game is something of a mystery. Fans do get a vote; however, usually the IL doesn’t bother to tell us how the voting went.

The International League Championship (The Governors’ Cup) is decided with two rounds of best of five playoffs in September. A one-game “AAA Championship” game is to be played on September 22, 2015 in El Paso, Texas.

The Durham Bulls, as all readers of this blog must know, in just the most recent years won the Governors’ Cup and the AAA Championship in 2009, the Governors’ Cup in 2013, and has won the Southern Division championship seven of the last eight years.

This year’s schedule is at the Bulls web site here. If you want to download a calendar file of the home games to your computer or smartphone the file is here. Lastly, for a full schedule of all the teams in the International League, a schedule is here.

If you missed Part 1, check it out here. And then there's Part 3.


  1. Hey Chris, good stuff as usual!

    My understanding of the "unbalanced" schedule is that it was done to facilitate travel and cut down on 1- and 2-game series. It is disliked by some of us who appreciated the symmetry of the old schedule, as well as those who fear a possible competitive advantage if one division should be weaker than the others--I'm looking at you Western Division....

    Anyway, good luck this season Chris, and we'll check in again during the IronPigs series'.

    www.lvnoisenation.com -IronPigs

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    2. My guess had been that it had to do with the North Division wanting to play more games with each other, but I was too lazy to run the numbers on that. Travel costs more plausible. Still puzzled why more of you Nawtheners don't come south at the beginning of the season.

    3. I COMPLETELY agree. While I love having the true "opening day" at our home park, half the time it seems like we end up heading FURTHER north to Buffalo or Syracuse to open. Ridiculous. They could bring the team straight from Florida to Gwinnett to open, then do Charlotte and come up here to open after that. Would be fine.

      I think it was more the flexibility to have 6 or 7 games on our GWN/CHA trip or our DUR/NOR trip etc, rather than 8. That also allows them to put the off-day in there with the travel, which the players hate because it doesn't really feel like an off-day when you're on the bus the whole time. Still, it's better than the PCL. ;-)

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