Durham Bulls beat Indianapolis Indians in game one of playoffs

Thursday, September 5, 2013
hanging hair

Photo by Kate Joyce.

Great playoff baseball. A small, tuned-in crowd, a taut pitcher’s duel, and the most scintillating pair of at-bats of the season. The Bulls scored the game’s only two runs in the eighth inning and then hung on through a tense, bases-loaded ninth to win, 2-0 and take a 1-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.

Durham Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo opened his post-game comments with a question: “Is it okay if I call it a nailbiter?” He was laughing (and so were we), somewhat at his own expense, because Montoyo knows that “nailbiter” is the word he nearly always uses to describe close, tense, high-blood-pressure games.

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“Seventeen Innings, Twenty-Nine Years” in the Paris Review Daily

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In our penultimate piece for the Paris Review Daily, Adam Sobsey looks back on the most exciting game he’s ever been to — twenty-nine years ago at a Durham Bulls playoff game.

September 4, 1984. Twenty-nine years ago today, the Durham Bulls beat the Lynchburg Mets, 8-7 in seventeen innings, in game two of the Carolina League Championship series. I was at the game in a nominally official capacity. That year I was the “statistician” for Steve Pratt, the Bulls’ radio broadcaster.

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Back in Time, Part Two: The Manager

Wednesday, September 4, 2013
public hardware

Photos of the historic Public Hardware store in Durham by Leah Sobsey.

As the season draws to a close, and the run of days slows and grows autumnal, now seems like a good moment to look back at some early settlers of what we now take for granted as Bulls country. This is part two of a four-part series of interviews and profiles. It’s also an unforeseen expansion of my Paris Review Daily piece, out today, about the most exciting game I ever saw, which took place at the old Durham Athletic Park on September 4, 1984.

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Back in Time, Part One: The Executive

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Durham Athletic Park, 2013. Photo by Kate Joyce.

As the season draws to a close, and the run of days slows and grows autumnal, now seems like a good moment to look back at some early settlers of what we now take for granted as Bulls country. This is Part One of a four-part series of interviews and profiles. It’s also an unforeseen expansion of the Paris Review Daily piece I’ll be publishing on Wednesday, September 4, about the most exciting game I ever saw, which took place at the old Durham Athletic Park on September 4, 1984.

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Bull City (Indian) Summer

Monday, September 2, 2013
grassy onlookers

Photo by Ivan Weiss.

As you may have noticed, it’s hot.

Summer took quite a while to get here. It started out dallying as some sort of temperate rainy season, then turned briefly, bracingly autumnal in mid-August, as though it had decided not to come at all. Finally, though, it gathered up its full humidity and heat, rounded on Durham, and draped it on us just as school started up again. The late-arriving season will be with us at least through this week’s pair of playoff games at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

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Saturation: Durham Bulls beat Charlotte Knights, win division title

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I was sitting next to our videographer, Ivan Weiss, for most of last night’s game. Once, a few weeks ago, Ivan miked me up and recorded me while we watched, asking me questions. He didn’t do it last night because he wanted a break from documenting everything, which I can appreciate.

It turned out he didn’t need to, because I inadvertently recorded the whole thing myself. You’ve heard of butt-dialing? This was like that, only with a voice recorder.

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A Valedictory (of sorts) by Chipper Jones, on the Durham Bulls’ Imminent Clinching of the Division Title

Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Chipper Jones jersey

Photo by BaseballBacks via Flickr.

Chipper Jones visited Durham yesterday, for the first time in twenty-one years, to have his jersey number (10) retired. A few hours before the Bulls edged the Charlotte Knights, 5-4, reducing their magic mathematical number for clinching the division title to just one, Jones gave a press conference. Although the Durham Bulls were a Class A Atlanta Braves affiliate in 1992, when Jones played for the team, they are of course a Triple-A franchise now: a much harder, much stranger level.

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Durham Bulls win in ninth: Walk off

Monday, August 12, 2013
fans hugging

Photo by Ivan Weiss.

A little standard reportage of the morning-paper type:

    Chris Gimenez hit a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth inning last night to break a tie and give the Bulls a 5-2 win over the Charlotte Knights. The Bulls went into the inning trailing 2-1, having scored their lone run on (yet another) Charlotte error. But Leslie Anderson hit a one-out single against Taylor Thompson (1-1), and Shelley Duncan followed with the inning’s key hit when he lined a double into the left-field corner, moving Anderson to third.

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Karma, Chameleon: Durham Bulls beat Charlotte Knights

Sunday, August 11, 2013
lemonade vendor

Photo by Frank Hunter.

The Triple-A troika that includes luck and momentum, both of which I’ve been writing about lately, is completed by karma. (Nice little alphabetical run there, k-l-m.) “As ye sow, so shall ye reap” is more or less the western analog to karma (or, more prosaically, “What comes around goes around,” which even Ratt knew).

What last night’s game suggested is that karma and luck are in some way intertwined, or perhaps that karma sometimes disguises itself as luck (chameleon, indeed); or at least that competing karmas — last night, those of the Durham Bulls and Charlotte Knights — can result in strange outcomes such as last night’s, in which the Bulls beat the Knights, 5-2.

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Momentum: on losing 12-1

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sid Luckman.

In 1940, the Washington Redskins hosted the Chicago Bears in the eighth annual National Football League Championship Game. Washington had beaten Chicago 7-3 in a regular season game a few weeks earlier, and that was the difference in their records when they met on December 8, almost exactly a year before Pearl Harbor. The Redskins finished the regular season 9-2, the Bears 8-3.

The Bears decided to use a formation that was brand new at the time: the T Formation, which is now standard (thanks in no small part to this particular game).

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