Monday, May 24, 2021

Eighteen Games In; How Do the Durham Bulls Look

 The 2021 Durham Bulls are a very good baseball team. They stand in third place in the Triple-A East (Southeast). More about that weirdness later.

As a team, for the entire Triple-A East league, they rank 1st in hitting, 6th in ERA, and 2nd in WHIP (Walks/Hits per inning pitched). That's very, very good. 

And we can see it in the individual players. Six Bulls hitters have OPS's above .900. Granted the season is young, but that's still an exceptional number.

They have so many pitchers on the roster that I confess I can't keep track of them. There are, I think, 22 of 'em. Of those, 20 have made a mound appearance. 

So far Tampa Bay hasn't screwed with the team all that much, but that will surely change.

What about this Triple-A structure and schedule? I don't like it. How to count the ways? 

  1. No Governors' Cup. I've got a drawer full of South Division Champions and Governors' Cup T-shirts. But what are we rooting for this year? 
  2. What's this division structure and 6-game series all about? I'm guessing the idea is to save travel costs. But as much a fanatic as I am, I'm not gonna go to see 12 games in a row against just two teams.
  3. And even in "our" division the Bulls have teams they play a lot and teams they play hardly at all. 
  4. What would be wrong with a simple set of "grand rounds"? One home and away series for every team in the league? Why not? Then those of us who are not Tampa Bay Rays fans — that would be most of us — could see teams they are following. 20 x 12 = 240. OK, you'd have to trim it a bit. 
  5. I get that they are trying to save travel money, but calling the games from the MiLB-TV broadcast? Really? Shades of Bull Durham movie broadcasts.
  6. What are the players playing for? Only a few are on the Rays' 40-man roster, 5 pitchers and 4 position players. The salaries at Triple-A are OK. But, again, what are they playing for? Should be something — like a Triple-A championship ring.

What about the DBAP?

OK. Not great. Just OK.

  1. The field seems to be in good condition.
  2. All the between-inning stuff has been moved to extreme right field and out of view/earshot. Not sure why. 
  3. Covid protocols seem to be OK
  4. But you'd think they'd print a program since the visiting team will be here for 6 games. Can't tell the players without a smartphone ... and I don't like digging out my phone to try to figure out who's on first. Maybe with the crowd restrictions, they decided to save some money. At any rate, don't like it.
  5. Radio/TV. Needs tech work. Odd echo last night (23 May). Pose/Kinas team in good form. Kinas doing a great job calling games even if in the TV broadcast he sounds like he's in a well (OK on radio).
  6. Food beverage ordering is just plain awkward. I don't buy much at games, so not much impact.
  7. Netting has been extended. Mostly a good thing since parents apparently don't like to look after their children.
  8. 8. Still, IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK!!!

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