Monday, June 28, 2010
Durham Bulls Athletic Park, NC
The Durham Bulls are in my books one of those exciting elite minor league franchises. If I was going to rank the most significant historical minor league franchises, this one would be top 5.
That would be a hard list to make up though, and an argument could be made for several teams. I would rank the Toledo Mud Hens at 1, the Columbus Clippers at 2, and the Bulls would probably be number 3. Then again, ask me tomorrow, I will rank those teams in a different order (and possibly even name 3 different teams).
The Bulls really pushed things in baseball and thanks to the movie, they helped put the excitement of minor league ball in the minds of Americans again.
The park is in the very urban Durham downtown area. It fits well. The old park, featured in the film, is only a few miles away. I will get to that park in a later post. I really hate to see nice parks abandoned but in this case it was necessary.
People went to see the movie "Bull Durham" which became huge. As the movie became huge, so did the actual team. They needed a bigger park to support the new larger fan base!
This is a nice, shiny new park, with a polished feel to it.
I did ask about the bull from the film, which I heard was on display here at the new park. One staff person told me that it was damaged, and had been placed in storage to preserve it. Another staff person told me that it had been totally destroyed.
They do have a cool new bull hanging over the fence in the outfield.
We only had a short period of time in Durham, and we had to make the most of it. We stopped by the Bulls park and their gift shop. They have a nice, well stocked gift shop (as was expected). the staff there was great too, giving us some access to the park. They also gave us some directions to the old park. I talked to several staff at this park who seemed proud of their job, and who talked about what was going on with the team.
It seems the team has made a bit of a tradition out of playing a game at the old park. One guy working here at the current park seemed very excited about this event.
The Bulls organization takes a lot of pride in what they do, and they play in a nice area. Check out my pictures. They skyline is beautiful, and they keep their entire facility clean and in order even on non-game days.
This organization and its current management is aware of the legacy it manages and it is doing justice to that legacy.