Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Durham Bulls in 2016: Part 5 - The Durham Bulls Athletic Park

This is Part 5 of our 2016 wrap-up. Part 1- The Team is here; Part 2 - The Pitchers is here; Part 3 - the Hitters is here, and Part 4 - the Tampa Bay Rays is here.

As usual, the Durham Bulls staff and management did a terrific job this year. Please jump in with your comments.


The most visible change this year was the extension of netting from just behind home plate out to the edges of the dugouts. We sit on the front row of the terrace view section behind the first base dugout, so netting did change our view of the game. At first, it bothered me. However, I have to say that for years what bothered me much, much more were inattentive parents among us. I've seen children sitting on top of the dugout with their back to the game! And that was even more distracting to me than the netting has been this year. Plus, our seats are pretty far back, unlike the netting in the old Durham Athletic Park, which feels like a cage.


Not a high point this year. After the extreme efforts of a couple of years ago, we expected better. Hasn't happened yet, although the field certainly drains better. A key problem was probably overuse of the field, first by Trinity College (sometimes referred to as Duke University) and then by the ACC tournament. It did seem to play well, but here's hoping they find the right mixture of grass species and usage so that appearances are better next year.

Food and Beverages

I am no expert on beers, but the variety available, including a microbrewery right in the ballpark, seems to be superb. Similarly, when you go to as many games as we do, you can't eat too much ballpark food without turning into a blimp. However, the loss of Rise Donuts pained me. I know they had a poor location and who (other than I) goes to the ballpark for a donut? On the other hand, my other favorite, Durham Coop Market, is still there. I hope they made money and will be back. Overall I'd say there's a tick upwards since Bull City Hospitality took over food operations.

Co-op Market 


I have grown to really like Patrick Kinas as the Bulls broadcaster and am very impressed with the growth of Scott Pose as the color commentator for most of the home games. They make a very good team. Kinas went off to work the Rio Olympics for a couple of weeks and Pose did a very credible job backing up a stream of stand-ins.

And then there's the Post 50 TV crew, who set a very high bar for everyone in Triple-A baseball. I often check in on the Bulls when they are on the road via MiLB-TV. There I see what the home team is streaming and listen to their broadcast team is up to. Some are awful, some are OK, none of their TV operations come close to what  Post 50 does.

Just a few more watts of transmitting power would be nice for my little radio in the park and for those useless embedded antennas in modern automobiles.

Plus, Kinas did a daily interview of Bulls manager Jared Sandberg that was aired in the pre-game show. We were not able to listen every day and it sure would have been nice to have those interviews available as podcasts. In particular, the Rays are obsessively secretive about player injury status, but they will answer questions ... if asked. And Kinas often does ask. But if you're not listening in that moment, you simply don't know what's up. I get more information about Bulls players status from the Tampa Bay Times than I do from either the Bulls front office or the local paper, the Durham Herald-Sun.

The Bulls communications crew

Does a very good job, particularly on stats, little essays for the programs, and this year's set of "Arrival" videos. This year's fan appreciation video was well done.

All the between innings promotions get a bit old for folks who come to a lot of games.

We are going to miss Bill Law. See the tributes here.

A few nits to pick
  • For several years there was a pre-season "Meet the Team" luncheon for season ticket holders and sponsors. That's gone away. Too bad.
  • Although we've solved the cupholder problem for the front row seats of Terrace View, even I would admit that it looks awfully ratty. 

Lastly, the ACC has pulled its tournament from Durham for 2017. Here's the Bulls' response.
   DURHAM, NC – Our partners at the Atlantic Coast Conference had a difficult decision to make regarding the location of neutral site championships throughout the state of North Carolina. We understand the conference’s position, and support our partner’s decision to remove those championships from North Carolina. We look forward to a resolution of this issue, so that we can welcome the tournament back to Durham in future years.
    We have opposed House Bill 2 from the beginning, and continue to share that sentiment.

Good for the Bulls! We too share that sentiment.

Next Home Game: 200 Days

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