Saturday, March 31, 2018

Durham Bulls Basics - 2018 - Part 2

The Schedule

The International League schedules 140 games for each of its teams (down from 144 in 2016). Half of those games are played at home. So, unless you are truly a Durham Bulls fanatic, you will only have 70 chances to see your Bulls during the regular season. Although, Charlotte or Norfolk isn’t all that far away so you could hope on the highway and visit ...

The Bulls season starts at home against the Charlotte Knights on April 5th. The last game of the season is a Monday day game against the Norfolk Tides on September 3.

An important feature of the IL schedule is that the Bulls only play a few home games against teams 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 the first weekend of June (1, 2, 3). 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 against the RailRiders, August 11-13). Said another way, the Bulls only play 37 games at home against the teams from outside the South Division.

On the other hand, if you’re a Braves, White Sox, or Orioles 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 11, well past mid-season, and will be played Columbus, Ohio at the home field of the Columbus RailRiders (Cleveland AAA affiliate). 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 fan 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 18 also at the RailRider's Huntington Park.

The Durham Bulls, as all readers of this blog must know, has won five Governors' Cups, two AAA  National Championships, and has won the Southern Division championship eight of the last eleven years.

See also Durham Bulls Basics - 2018 - Part 1 and Part 3

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