Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Snorting Bull Baseball Tour Day 4: Durham Bulls vs. Norfolk Tides

I love going to the Durham Bulls games.  I have almost lived in North Carolina for ten years now and cannot count the number of games that I have attended over the years.  It's been quite a lot.  Along the way I have seen a lot of great games, watched some pretty spectacular players, and meet some awesome people along the way who share my love of baseball.  Yes, this post is going to be about a stadium in Durham and about a game between the Durham Bulls and the Norfolk Tides.  However, as many times as I have done a post about the Durham Bulls, or a Durham Bulls game that I attended, I have not shared much about the incredible baseball experience that is the Durham Bulls.

One of the best parts of going to a Durham Bulls game is going to Durham.  Stadiums happen in many places, but the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is right in the middle of the downtown area.  There are plenty of unique places to visit near the park.  My favorite pre-game hang out is the American Tobacco Campus directly across the street.  Back in the day this was a Tobacco Factory.  Hence the giant Lucky Strikes Water Tower and smokestack.  The two best pre-game meals, Mellow Mushroom and Tyler's Taproom, are located in this complex which constantly changes and improves.  It's a unique space that a lot of cities cannot match.  If you'd rather enjoy a cold frosty one and hot dog at the game the campus still is a great place to walk with some great water displays. 

Once it's game time the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is an easy walk from wherever in downtown Durham.  The front of the stadium was remodeled last year for the All-Star game, but it was still really nice before the facelift.  Here's the front with the water fountains, main entrance gate, and team store......

Walking around the stadium, the team also does a great job of recognizing their history.  The Bulls have been around for awhile and have had some good players and accomplishments along the way.  For this season the team is celebrating the 20th Birthday of their park.  The original Durham Athletic Park is used by North Carolina Central University's baseball team amongst others.  Here's a close up of the 20th Anniversary Logo for the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

The Bulls have also placed the numbers of their retired jerseys next to the gates of the stadium.  The numbers recognize Crash Davis, Chipper Jones, Joe Morgan, Bill Evers, and Jackie Robinson.  There are some other places in the stadium where you can find some mementos about these players, but this is the main display.  Well done by the Bulls.

The inside of the stadium is great too.  Here's the main grandstand.....

The seats were all replaced during the renovation prior to last year.  Here's the view heading out the other way with the playing field......

and my friend out in left field, and name sake of my blog.....

This is a great stadium and a great baseball experience.  If you have never been to a game in Durham I would highly recommend making this a stop at some point.  I think of it as a Major League quality game experience and environment on a small scale at a great price.  The picture facing out towards the field was taken in an $11 seat.  What does that buy you in most Major League parks?  Not that seat.

On to the game......

The Bulls and Tides entered the game close in the standings, Norfolk is ahead by four games, but both teams had good pitchers going.  The Tides threw Zack Davies who entered the game with an ERA of 2.75 and almost a strikeout per inning.  The Bulls countered with former Twins hurler Scott Diamond.  It was a close game throughout and both pitchers did a good job of keeping the hitters off balance.

Which reminds me that I was watching a few different hitters during the game.   No videos of pitchers tonight, sorry.

Rays DH/outfielder John Jaso was in town on a rehab assignment and batting lead off for the Bulls.  Yes, he is wearing a Rays batting helmet.  He batted twice in the game and grounded out twice.  Here's a look.....

I also spent a little bit of time watching two of Durham's young hitters: Triple A All-Star Taylor Motter and Richie Shaffer.  Shaffer spent part of the season at Double A with the Montgomery Biscuits, but has been one of the better power bats in Triple A since his promotion to the Bulls.  

I like that Shaffer is also working on first base.  He has mostly been used at third by the Rays in the lower minors, but that position is taken at the big league level.  Here's a look at a Shaffer at-bat.....

I took some pictures of Taylor Motter, but did not have a video turn out the way I would like.  I will make one soon of him throwing Quisenberry style out in the outfield.  

The Bulls ended up score the first run of the game on a J.P Arencibia double and a Nick Franklin single.  Later Corey Brown, who came in for Jaso after two at-bats, hit a home run.  The Tides almost had the game tied up at one point on an inside the park home run, but the runner failed to touch third base.  Bizarre.  

The Bulls ended up winning the game 2-0.  How should we celebrate?  I leave you with Wool E. Bull and an "umpire" dancing to Beat It.  


  1. Durham is truly one of the best baseball experiences in ALL of baseball. A lot of major league parks could take a lesson from Durham. They did this park right. They have literally built the city around that park and it makes for a great experience. Fans are everywhere...left field, center field, and right field. The fans totally surround the park which makes the experience even better. Even though the Bulls lost on Saturday, that place was electric. The management of this team is fantastic too. They realize they are entertainment but it is not too much. Some parks that you attend in the minors, they believe the entertainment is everything. In Durham, they do it just right. They sell baseball and mix in a little entertainment to keep everyone excited. Obvious Wool E. Bull (and the E stands for education) is the Main Man in The Bull City! Most everything revolves around him as it should. If you ever attend a minor league game, make sure that it is in Durham. They do it right!

    1. I should have let you do a guest post on this Ron.