Saturday, March 5, 2016

Durham Bulls Basics 2016 - 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 2016 the Bulls opens their season on April 7 against the Chicago White Sox affiliate, the Charlotte Knights. The last game of the season is a day game at home against the Norfolk Tides on September 5.

A important 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 four games July 7 thru 10. 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 (three games, May 30-31, June 1). Cincinnati  fans, in an exception to the rule, will see their team, the Louisville Bats, come to town twice (April 27-29 and July 29-31). Said another way, the Bulls only play 35 games at home with the teams from outside the South Division.

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.

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 13, well past mid-season, and will be played up in Charlotte. 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 20, 2016 in Memphis, Tennessee.

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 nine 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.

Part 1 of Bulls Basics is here. Part 3 is here.

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