Twenty-Five Years and Counting: A few innings with the Durham Bulls’ official scorer

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Brent Belvin keeping score

Photo by Kate Joyce.

It’s the bottom of the second inning on a rainy July evening at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Charlotte Knights are in town, closing out the final evening of a four-game set. At the far left side of the press box, Brent Belvin — the Bulls’ official scorer — is camped once more in the spot he’s occupied for twenty-five years.

The press box windows are open, and that particular variety of Carolina breeze is drifting in — warm, gentle, approximately 115 percent humidity.

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Photo of the Day: Locker Room Photographers

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Hiroshi in locker room

Photographer photographing photographer. Ivan Weiss captures Hiroshi Watanabe at work in the locker room.

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Baseball After Trayvon

Monday, July 15, 2013
protest sign

I didn’t want to go. Don’t get me wrong; I’d looked very forward to coming to this Sunday’s game against the Gwinnett Braves. I looked forward to taking my son with me, who since our family trip to Panama two weeks ago has declared that he wants to be a baseball player when he grows up and lamented the fact that I didn’t take his tee-ball set with us to Central America. He is two. His eyes are bright.

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Q: What’s the only thing that can keep the Durham Bulls from winning?

Monday, July 15, 2013
empty seats

Photo by Elizabeth Matheson.

A: A day off.

How about three of them in a row? The All-Star break begins today, and the Bulls head into it having won eight games in a row and twelve of their last fourteen. They are now 63-35, building on the best record in affiliated professional baseball with last night’s 2-1 win over Gwinnett. Paired with Norfolk’s loss to Charlotte, the win extended Durham’s International League South Division lead to eleven and a half games.

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Bulls in Hats

Sunday, July 14, 2013
Howard and Bakari

Howard and his son, Bakari. Photo by Roni Nicole Henderson.

I sit in a sea of hats, mostly blue and orange, all displaying capital Ds with Bulls leaping from their center. So many hats, old, brand-new, mesh, wool, bent brims, straight brims, some worn in the traditional manner, some turned to the back or even sideways. These conservative, ostentatious, loud, quiet, unassuming, over-the-top and out-of-the box hats do more than represent the Durham Bulls baseball team.

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Durham Bulls win seventh straight: Beginnings and big innings

Sunday, July 14, 2013
scoreboard behind scenes

Photo by Leah Sobsey.

“It’s unreal being a pitcher on the Durham Bulls right now.”

That’s what Matt Buschmann, pitcher on the Durham Bulls, said after the Bulls drubbed the Gwinnett Braves, 8-1, for their seventh straight win. Durham maintained the best record in all of affiliated professional baseball, improving their record to 62-35.

“These guys just blow up at any given moment,” Buschmann continued. “You really can’t take a break in this lineup.”

Buschmann threw seven innings of four-hit, no-walk, one-run baseball last night.

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Celebration & Reinvention: Durham Bulls shut out Gwinnett Braves

Saturday, July 13, 2013
hands up

Photo by Elizabeth Matheson.

I heard that Kool & the Gang song twice yesterday, once in a store and once at the ballpark after the Bulls blanked Gwinnett, 3-0. As the band’s website puts it, “‘Celebration,’ which played as the American hostages returned from Iran, remains de rigueur at joyous occasions worldwide.” So of course it’s quite obvious that you would play the song, de rigueur — dap for spelling “rigueur” correctly, with two “u’s” — after the home team triumphs (again, for the sixth straight night); or while you enjoy that other, deeply American victory experience: shopping.

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Highwater: Durham Bulls rally, beat Charlotte Knights in ninth, win fifth straight

Friday, July 12, 2013
storm clouds

Photo by Frank Hunter.

To begin, a little accounting. Yesterday, I wrote incorrectly that the Bulls would have to go 30-20 to break the franchise’s all-time single-season win record. In mathematical fact, that clip would only have tied the 1962 record of eighty-nine wins. The Bulls would have had to go 31-19 to break the record. (They would still be slightly “worse” than the 1962 club, which bagged its eighty-nine wins in only 140 games; the 2013 club is scheduled to play 144.)

Make that 30-19.

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Durham Bulls beat Charlotte Knights: Broken Records

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Photo by Frank Hunter.

It’s one of those phrases that has two starkly different senses: the one where you break a record, and the one where you sound like one. Bulls pitcher Jake Odorizzi stifled the Knights on two hits and an unearned run over six innings last night, the Bulls hit two homers in the same game for the first time in a week and a half, and Durham basically cruised to yet another trademark win, 2013-style: quietly dominant starting pitching, ironclad relief, and enough runs to hold it together.

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Cameron Indoor Stadium in Downtown Durham?

Thursday, July 11, 2013
Cameron Indoor Stadium

Creative Commons photo.

Last night I was accompanied to the DBAP for Bulls-Knights by a noted local writer. Between the two of us we’ve lived within a daily newspaper delivery of the Triangle for nearly a hundred years, both of us born and raised nearby, and we’ve resided here for about a half century, total.

As we marveled at people waiting in half-hour lines (we counted) for the food trucks parked beyond the right field wall, we considered what else unimaginable two decades ago was in store for downtown Durham in the next two decades.

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