A huge weekend of Bulls baseball kicks off Thursday night at the DBAP. In case you needed an incentive to go, we got you covered.
1. Charlie Montoyo’s Return – Thursday, May 19
This offseason, former Durham Bulls manager and current Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame. On Thursday, Montoyo will return to the DBAP for a Bulls game for the first time since he was promoted to Tampa Bay following the 2014 season. The team’s legendary skipper, who left a lasting impact on the Bulls and the community, will address the crowd pregame as the team celebrates his franchise-record 633 victories, Triple-A National Championship title, two IL Governors’ Cup titles and seven IL South Division crowns.
2. $1 Concessions – Thursday, May 19
Also on Thursday, come crush some hot dogs. Thursday’s game features $1 Concessions, so hot dogs, soda and popcorn are just a buck all night long. Shout out to anyone who crushes hot dogs like this:
3. Two Fireworks Shows – Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21
Fireworks on back-to-back nights. Whether you’re bringing the family out, looking for a date idea, or just love fireworks, we got the best. FIREWORKS FOR EVERYONE.
4. Two Diamond Cutters Performances – Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21
This weekend, the fellas are gettin’ down not just once, but twice. Will we be treated to a dazzling dance to Pitbull’s ‘Fun?’ Maybe the guys will inexplicably dance to ‘Whoomp There It Is.’ Or maybe we’ll see a classic like ‘Beat It.’ Regardless of what we see, we’re sure it’ll be… interesting.
5. Long Haul Bombers – Saturday, May 21
6. Bull City Blues Uniform Debut – Saturday, May 21
After a long wait, the Bulls will wear their Bull City Blues uniforms for the first time on Saturday, May 21. A tribute to the past, present and future of the City of Durham, the unis will be worn on all home Saturday games moving forward.
7. Wool E. Bull’s Birthday Party – Sunday, May 22
8. Kids Run the Bases – Sunday, May 22
We wrap the homestand Sunday night, when Kids Run the Bases. A billion kids running full speed around the DBAP infield. Yup, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds. Let’s hope no one gets trampled though.
Looking for tickets? Look no further: click here.
This weekend fans can return to their Durham Baseball promised land, when the Durham Bulls Fan Fest is going on from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 4, and Saturday, March 5, at the DBAP. This season’s Fan Fest has so many great activities around the DBAP, we wanted to be sure you got the best Fan Fest experience possible. Here are five of the can’t-miss events at Fan Fest.
1. Merchandise Mark Downs
Everybody loves a bargain, right? During Fan Fest, the DBAP has some of the best sale prices you will see on Durham Bulls merch. Select merchandise will be marked down as much as 50 percent, and other selected items will be sold for $5 or less. You’ll have more than enough left over for tickets to a game where you can show off your new swag, and who doesn’t love the feeling of new clothes?
2. Free* food!
*When you buy a ticket
That’s right, fans can get free food at Fan Fest (when you buy a ticket to any game). Single-game tickets will be on sale for any game, including each of our top date night suggestions. And when you buy a ticket, you get a voucher for a free hot dog and soda at Fan Fest. Your offseason dreams of ballpark hot dogs dancing with Pepsi products can finally be realized.
Fans who are considering season tickets or mini plans get a chance to test drive seats around the DBAP and pick the ones they want for their ticket package. How else can you find that seat that isn’t too far from the field, but is just close enough to the nearest concession stand?
3. Relive your baseball/softball glory days
Fans can take batting practice and play catch on the field during Fan Fest, too. Have your friend throw you some good fly balls you can dive for to show off your Kevin Kiermaier impressions in the DBAP outfield. Try to hit the Bull atop the Blue Monster during BP and live up to those seven home runs and 1.200 OPS you keep telling your friends you had for your high school squad (hey, if they aren’t there to see it, we’ll back up whatever you say happened).
Just remember to take it easy on your Jose Bautista bat flips.
4. Bull Durham Brewery Tours
Once you’re done getting grass stains from showing off your 80 grade defense in the outfield, check out the brewery tour at Bull Durham Brewery in the DBAP. You might be surprised what you find inside the brewery.
Don’t ask how all that would fit inside the DBAP. Source: tvrage.com
5. Pictures with Wool E. Bull
Practice your best selfie face, because Wool E. Bull is ready for his glamor shot with you. And if you’re taking selfies elsewhere around the DBAP, keep an eye out for his photobombing skills.
At the Durham Bulls, we always want to look out for you, our loyal fans and fellow Durhamsters. We also know that sometimes it can be pretty tough to come up with good date ideas for you and your significant other, so we picked a few dates out of our newly released promotional schedule to help you and your guy or gal break out of the old “Night in with Netflix” routine (though there are some shows on Netflix that know a good baseball hat).
Bark in the Park — April 27, June 8, Aug. 3
Show off those maternal/paternal instincts by bringing your well-cared-for dog to the DBAP on any of the three Bark in the Park nights. Singles should definitely circle these dates, too. If your dog gets along with someone else’s dog, or the cute guy/girl comes up to play with your dog, one thing could lead to another and then you will definitely need to circle the rest of the dates on this list for date nights. Think of it as speed-dating for you AND your dog.
Star Wars Night — May 7
If Star Wars is your scene, this is your night. Break out the big bucks to bid on the special edition, game-worn Star Wars jerseys and show off your philanthropic side because all the proceeds go to charity. Take couples photos with some of the many Star Wars characters who will be in attendance. Marathon through the movies during the day to refresh your memory on all the great quotes, so when he/she tells you they love you, you can hit them back with Han Solo’s iconic line.
And remember, if he/she hasn’t seen Star Wars, you should find out because that might be a deal-breaker.
Fireworks Nights — Every Friday, plus every Saturday beginning May 21
Take in a game in the company of your date, then kick back and enjoy the fireworks display a ‘couple’ times a week throughout the summer. Maybe our fireworks will help make sparks fly between the two of you.
DBAP Food Truck Fest — May 11, Aug. 31
You won’t have to worry about arguing over what restaurant to go to or concession stand to order from, because a wide variety of foods will be just steps away from each other at DBAP Food Truck Fest. If you want the tacos, but your date wants the gyro, you can both have what you want! Just remember to bring some mints if you might want to order something with garlic or onion in it. Your date, and the fans seated around you, will thank you.
DURM Night: Celebrating the Bull City — June 9
Show off your love for the Bull City and local companies, like Runaway, which designed the Bulls special edition jerseys for the night. Plus, it won’t break the bank if you’re looking for a budget-friendly date because Bright Leaf Hot Dogs, soda and popcorn are just $1 each all game long.
Day Games — April 26, June 1, June 22
Sweep your date off their feet and play hooky from work at a Wednesday day game. Soak up some rays, watch some future Rays, and have a one-day weekend in the middle of the week to get over the hump day blues.
4th of July — July 4 (duh)
There is nothing quite as American as baseball and fireworks on the 4th of July. Luckily for you and your date, we have both. Enjoy all the comforts of freedom with the Bulls and your date on one of the biggest baseball nights of the year. And if you plan to go to the game now, you can avoid that awkward weekend with your date’s parents.
Opening Night — April 7
Baseball is back in town after a long offseason, what more reason do you need for date night at the DBAP? It will be a great change up from those long spring days you’ve spent indoors avoiding the rain and pollen. Plus: fireworks!
It’s every prospect junkie’s favorite time of the year – rankings season. Websites like Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and ESPN release their top 100 prospects around this time of year, and it inspired us to sort of join the parade. Instead of prospects, we’ll tackle the best names in Durham Bulls history, which dates back to 1902. The Durham Bulls Media Guide (pages 17-25) lists every player to don a Bulls uni, from Brent Abernathy (2000-01, 2003) to Andy Zwichitz (1997). Here are some of the greatest names we found.
Ye Olde Names You Never Hear Anymore
41. Hobe Brummitt (1924, 26, 31) – A quintessential Roaring ’20s name.
40. Rusty Meacham (2001) – Rusty is a man’s name. Also the name of the son in National Lampoon’s Vacation movies, so that makes us chuckle.
39. Rusty Richards (1987-88) – It takes a real man to go by Rusty.
38. Wycliffe “Bubba” Morton (1957) – This guy wasn’t satisfied to go by Wycliffe, so he added “Bubba” in there.
37. Verbele Roberts (1936-37) – Honestly no idea how to even pronounce that first name, and not gonna try.
36. Quineth Roberts (1961) – Related or not, the Roberts Family had really unique taste in names.
35. Elbert Slayback (1931) – Not only does he have a great first name, but his last name is pretty epic, too.
The “You Don’t Want To Mess With Me” Names
34. John Cannon (1938) – A man who needed no nickname, Cannon was a pitcher for the 1938 Bulls. This guy was destined to pitch.
33. Thor Skogan (1971) – Who doesn’t love a great Scandinavian name?
32. J.J. Furmaniak (2010-11) – Maniac is practically part of his name.
31. Gary Cunning (1966) – Gary sounds like a guy who came up with some great clubhouse pranks.
30. Lawrence “Crash” Davis (1948) – Everyone knows you don’t mess with Crash.
29. Chuck Churn (Manager in 1966) – Always, ALWAYS points for alliteration.
28. Willie Duke (Manager from 1947-48) – Chuck and Willie had two of the most fun names to say.
27. George “Possum” Whitted (Manager from 1920, 27-32) – No word on how he earned the nickname “Possum,” but Whitted also played for the Bulls prior to managing.
The “Worth A Chuckle” Names
26. Chris Bootcheck (2011)
— Chris Bootcheck (@RHPBOOTCHECK) October 4, 2015
25. Scoops Carey (1922) – There is a Raisin Bran joke here somewhere.
24. Shorty Angier (1913-15) – Poor Shorty was probably doomed to be made fun of all throughout his childhood.
23. Will Rhymes (2012) – Will rhymes with what? Bill? Thrill? Chill? Trill?
22. Keith Allswede (1949) – All Swede everything.
21. Rex Barney (1943) – Not to be confused with the dancing purple T-Rex.
20. John Sass (1953) – You know he had some witty comebacks.
19. Shag Thompson (1913) – Unfortunately Shag played in the early 1900s, or we could have had some great Shag Carpet Blanket giveaways in the ’70s.
The Animal-Related Names
18. Russell Lyons (1939) – The kind of name you earn fighting a big cat.
17. Rutherford Salmon (1961) – Last name, or his favorite food?
16. Thomas Sharkey (1958) – If six-year-old me was going to create a last name, this would have been it.
15. Harry Wolfe (1932) – Little-known fact (because it isn’t true): Wolfe never played night games during a full moon.
The One Name Wonders
Some of the earliest names in the record are just last names, but for this list we are going to assume these guys only had one name, like the Brazilian soccer greats Pele and Ronaldo.
14. Lowthian (1929) – WUT
13. Snowball (1928) – Not to be confused with fluffy, white cats.
12. Spikes (1928) – You have to love a guy who is named for baseball equipment.
11. Pope (1917) – How many other teams can claim that the Pontifex graced their fields?
10. Draghetti (1929) – Sounds like Count Dracula made of spaghetti. You could put it next to Fusilli Jerry.
9. Killingsworth (1921) – Such a great old-timey name.
The Top “Worth A Chuckle” Names
8. Champ Osteen (1913) – This guy was destined for greatness.
7. Donald Failing (1945) – This guy… not so much. Poor Donald.
6. “Big Six” Shelton (1924-25) – A pretty obvious choice for No. 6.
5. William “Gates” Brown (1961) – The original Bill Gates was a Durham Bull.
4. Alphonsus Simmononis (1942) – Say it, don’t spray it.
3. Mo Christmas (1995) – Mo Christmas means mo presents!
The Top Two
2. Wool E. Bull (1992-present) – Wool E. is a great friend of the blog, so we might be biased, but you can’t argue with the staying power of the name.
1. Chipper Jones (1992) – Obviously one of the greatest baseball names of all time.
Those are our favorites, but did we miss any? Take a peek at the list of former players in the media guide and let us know who your favorites are in the comments below.
2015 marked another historic season of Durham Bulls baseball. From attendance records to another winning season to breakout prospects, the year offered constant surprises and memorable moments. On the doorstep of a new year, we look back at the Durham Bulls Top 10 moments of 2015.
*Editor’s Note: Please take the term “moments” lightly. Some of these are not actual “moments.” We are aware of that. Bear with us.
10. The DBAP Hosts the ACC Tournament
This season Durham Bulls Athletic Park kicked off a four-year run as the site of the ACC Tournament. The six-day event drew a total of 64,140 fans (third most in tournament history), while the championship game between NC State and Florida State drew a tournament-record 9,759 fans.
9. Mike Birling is Named International League Executive of the Year
For the second time in his career, Bulls General Manager Mike Birling earned the IL’s Executive of the Year award. After starting with the club in 1998, Birling led the franchise to back-to-back single-season paid attendance records in 2014 and 2015, while guiding the team through the process of hosting the 2012 Triple-A National Championship Game, 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game and the 2015 ACC Tournament.
8. Jared Sandberg Named Durham’s New Manager
On January 20 Jared Sandberg became the youngest manager in the Triple-A ranks when he was named the new skipper for the Durham Bulls. Just 37, he led Durham to a 74-70 mark, despite seeing the team undergo a franchise-record 213 roster moves and playing in a division in which every team finished at least four games above .500. He became just the fourth manager in the franchise’s Triple-A history (1998-present), following an eight-year stint by Charlie Montoyo.
7. DBAP Celebrates 20th Anniversary Season
2015 marked the 20th anniversary for one of Minor League Baseball’s most iconic ballparks. In the preseason fans voted for the All-DBAP Team, players wore a special commemorative patch on their jerseys and fans shared their favorite ballpark moments all season long using #DBAP20.
6. Joey Butler Hits Walk-Off Home Run
On April 24 against Gwinnett, Joey Butler cracked a walk-off, two-run homer to beat the G-Braves 8-6. It marked the first time Durham had won a game via a walk-off dinger since Aug. 11, 2013, and was the team’s only win via a walk-off homer of 2015.
5. Boog Powell Becomes a Human Highlight Reel
Promoted from Double-A Montgomery at the end of June, Boog Powell made the most of his time in the Bull City, turning in highlight reel catches regularly. The play below earned him No. 2 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays, while he also turned in this play and this play. A fan favorite, BOOOOOOOOOOOG was traded to Seattle in November.
4. Richie Shaffer Hits Three Homers in One Game
On June 12 at Louisville, Richie Shaffer cracked three home runs in Durham’s 11-7 win over the Bats. Promoted from Double-A Montgomery just 20 days earlier, Shaffer became just the third Bull in the team’s Triple-A history – and first since 2009 – to hit three homers in one game. The 24-year-old posted four multi-homer games for Durham after he had never had a multi-homer game in his career prior to joining the Bulls.
3. Matt Moore Strikes Out 16
Gaining strength after returning from Tommy John surgery, Matt Moore struck out 16 Columbus Clippers in six innings on Aug. 22 at the DBAP. The southpaw broke the franchise’s Triple-A single-game record for strikeouts, breaking the previous best of 13 set by him and two others.
2. Blake Snell Takes the International League by Storm
After joining the Bulls in late-July, Blake Snell was brilliant over the first nine Triple-A starts of his career. The left-hander allowed one earned run or fewer in eight of his nine starts with Durham, and from the time of his promotion through the end of the season led the league in opponent’s average (.187) and ranked second in wins (6), ERA (1.83) and strikeouts (57). At the end of the season he was crowned the Minor League Player of the Year by both USA Today and Baseball America.
1. Bulls Set Numerous Attendance Records
In 2014 the Bulls completed a $20 million renovation and hosted the Triple-A All-Star Game en route to breaking the franchise’s single-season paid attendance record by drawing 533,033 fans. In 2015 the organization shattered that record – drawing 554,788 fans to the DBAP – over 21,000 fans more than the 2014 campaign. The 20th anniversary season of the DBAP saw the stadium hold a record 15 sellout crowds, hold three capacity-plus crowds on three consecutive days for the first time ever, and set a new single-game paid attendance record on July 4 with 11,871 fans.
From all of us here at the Bulls, we wish you a happy, safe and healthy New Year, and we can’t wait to see you at the DBAP in 2016!
After a few days of rumors, the deal has come to fruition. 2013 American League Rookie of the Year Wil Myers has reportedly been traded to the San Diego Padres in a three-team deal that also included the Washington Nationals. Prior to his promotion to the Bigs in 2013 though, the Thomasville, N.C. native put on a display in a Bulls uniform, hitting .286-14-57 in 64 games. As Myers departs the Rays organization, we take a look back at his Top 10 moments with the Durham Bulls.
10. In the offseason between the 2013-14 seasons, Myers dropped by the DBAP to check in on the $20 million renovation taking place at the stadium.
9. He got called up the same day the Bulls celebrated the 25th anniversary of “Bull Durham.” That’s just plain cool.
8. When the 2013 Bulls Opening Day roster came to the DBAP for their first workout, Myers, along with fellow top prospect and North Carolina native Chris Archer, had their own private photo shoot… Studs.
7. When he trolled aforementioned Archer during the pitcher’s takeover of the @DurhamBulls feed:
6. The creation of WilVille and other Wil-themed things. When the trade that brought Myers to the Rays system from the Kansas City Royals became official, the Bulls launched the “Wil He, Won’t He” ticket plan when it was unsure if Myers would start the season in Durham or Tampa Bay. The WilVille seating section and t-shirt launched in April of 2013. Then in 2014, when it was announced Myers would be rehabbing but the location was unknown, the team launched the “Wil He, Won’t He Rehab” ticket package.
5. The old saying goes, “In order to have a bobblehead made of you, you gotta be somebody.” Or something like that. Well, Wil Myers got a bobblehead. So by the Transitive Property, he must be somebody. (Also note nod to patented Myers’ bat flip).
4. When he won AL Rookie of the Year honors, a Bulls fan won a signed Fathead. If that’s not hanging in a Man Cave somewhere then it’s not being used properly.
3. While rehabbing in 2014, Myers crushed a grand slam in an Aug. 12 game against the Rochester Red Wings. Was the home run impressive? Sure. Was the grand slam a bonus? Absolutely. But the best part is his smile after the ball comes off the bat. Watch closely at the :40 mark.
2. While rehabbing from a fractured right wrist in 2014, Myers was stoked about a giant graphic of himself in the entrance plaza to the DBAP. Later in the day, he griped to Bulls staff there wasn’t enough “Wil stuff” in the stadium. Upon being reminded of his giant graphic and the fact he graced the cover of the pocket schedule and media guide he smiled and said, “Oh yeah. True.”
1. This gargantuan home run from 2013, his last homer before his call up to Tampa Bay. In case you were wondering, it made it to the fourth balcony…
Good luck Wil, we had some good times.
With Minor League Baseball kicking off #MascotMania this week, it’s time to once again re-examine why Wool E. Bull is the not only the best mascot in the minors, but perhaps the world. So remember, #VoteWoolEBull, and vote often. You can vote an unlimited amount of times right here, and up to 25 times a day on Twitter by following @MiLB and using the two hashtags listed above.
1. Little known fact, the “E” in Wool E. Bull stands for “Education.” A Bull that walks exclusively on its hind legs that’s also a huge advocate of learning? Simply amazing.
2. No one can drive a go kart like Wool E. No one.
3. He comes in like a Wrecking Ball.
4. He has no problem giving the opponent a hard time.
5. Just like most people, he loves Rita’s (even if most people don’t scavenge for it).
6. Despite one of the biggest snow storms in recent history, he made sure to deliver people their Wool E. Grams while dressed to the nines.
7. He loves the Hot Dog Gun, and the Hot Dog Gun loves him. A match made in heaven.
8. Even umpires, who don’t like anybody, like Wool E. Bull. “I’m flying, Wool E!!!!”
9. He’s got heart. Despite losing every single base race, he still goes out there every day. He’s like the Cubs.
10. He’s the most popular guy in The Triangle.
The Bulls open up an eight-game, nine-day homestand this Saturday, with the first four games against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and the second half against the Columbus Clippers. Below is your cheat sheet of why you need to come out to the DBAP (at least once) over the next nine days. But don’t come Wednesday, because we’re not playing, and that would be super embarrassing for you.
1. The Bulls play the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders – the Yankees Triple-A affiliate – for the first four games of the homestand. Last year the Bulls won the season-series 6-2. Let’s hope that happens again.
3. The world-famous Diamond Cutters will be getting down on the base paths, not once, but twice.
4. After both Sunday games, Kids Run the Bases. Let’s hope what happens to this kid doesn’t happen to anyone though. Unless you’re one of those adults who thinks it’s funny when you run the bases, but it’s really not. Unless of course you eat it, then it’s funny.
5. On Thursday, it’s $1 Hot Dog night. For those who may struggle with this concept, that means that every hot dog is just $1. Which is great, because if there’s one thing America needs it’s cheap, unlimited hot dogs.
6. Friday’s game is followed by a fireworks show, which is great for little kids and families, or dudes trying to take a page out of Aladdin’s playbook.
7. And oh yeah, the Bulls enter the homestand with the most wins in the International League…
7. His favorite holiday is Christmas because he gets to “give gifts to others.” Selfless much?
6. David Price, the 2007 Golden Spikes Award winner, once called Figueroa “the toughest college hitter I faced in three years.” The two squared off when Figueroa was at Florida and Price pitched at Vanderbilt.
5. The first CD he ever bought was a Boyz II Men CD. In Cole’s defense, the ’90s were a weird time.
4. Cole’s dog, Cutter, is the self-proclaimed Mayor of Bark in the Park. True story.
— Cole Figueroa (@Cole_Figueroa) April 16, 2014
3. Joe Maddon’s a fan, saying in 2013, “I really like his mind. I had only heard of this guy through minor league people, but this guy is going to play in the big leagues.”
2. The dude is off to a super-good start. He’s reached base in every single game he’s played in this year AND he leads the league in on-base percentage.
1. Have you ever seen a better smile? Some guys just got it all…
With Jerry Sands’ reassignment to Minor League Camp last week there is a high probability he’ll begin the season here in Durham. So without further ado, let’s take a look at why the Bull City is lucky to have Sands in a Bulls uniform.
7. How many other players have hit 2 grand slams in the same game while driving in 10 runs in one day?
6. He’s already off to a hot start and the season hasn’t even begun. In MLB Spring Training, the 26-year-old hit .324 with 3 HR, 8 RBIs and 5 doubles in just 36 plate appearances.
5. He’s not afraid to get tossed and he knows how to sport a mean mohawk (when you see it you’ll be giddy).
4. He’s a local guy, playing his high school baseball at Smithfield-Selma High School. He was named co-conference Player of the Year with Clayton High School’s Chris Archer in 2005.
3. The dude drops bombs. In 578 career Minor League games, he’s hit 128 HR. That’s an average of a HR every 4.5 games. And Sands, a right-handed hitter, will look to hit the DBAP’s famous snorting bull and win himself a lot of free steaks.
2. In just three seasons at Catawba College, he set school records for home runs in a career (61), RBIs in a season (85) and walks in a season (56) and career (132).
1. He’s a three-time MiLB.com Organizational All-Star (2010-2012), hitting a combined .293 with 90 home runs and 288 RBIs.