Let’s Play Two (More): Durham Bulls sweep Indianapolis Indians, move on to championship series

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Photo by Elizabeth Matheson.

Just a quick one here. The Bulls beat Indianapolis last night, 2-1 at Indianapolis, to sweep the Indians and advance to the Governors’ Cup championship series. They’ll play the winner of the Pawtucket-Rochester series on the other side of the bracket. The Pawsox lead that series, two games to one. Game four is tonight in Pawtucket at 6:05 p.m. Game five would also be played at Pawtucket, if necessary.

Last night’s Bulls win was another “nailbiter,” as Charlie Montoyo would say.

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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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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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A Modest Proposal: The Fifth of July, or the Quiet Game (one for the purists)

Friday, July 5, 2013
Beckham on the field

Photo by Elizabeth Matheson.

On December 20, 1980, the last Sunday of the regular season, NBC broadcast a historic football game between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. Actually, the game itself wasn’t important; both teams had already been eliminated from playoff contention. It was memorable for reasons quite apart from the action and the outcome: the game was broadcast without broadcasters.

The Orange Bowl PA Announcer was instructed to embellish his summary of plays in order to ensure clarity for the television watchers at home.

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Kate Joyce and Adam Sobsey on WUNC’s “The State of Things”

Thursday, June 20, 2013
Wil Myers

Wil Myers, pre-call-up. Photo by Elizabeth Matheson.

This afternoon, Kate Joyce and Adam Sobsey spoke with host Frank Stasio on WUNC 91.5’s The State of Things about Wil Myers’ departure and the progress of the Bull City Summer project. If you missed the interview, you can listen to it here.

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“Bull Durham” Night: Wil Myers Called Up

Monday, June 17, 2013
silhouette of boy pointing

Photo by Elizabeth Matheson.

I wrote this in my last game story:

Not all ballgames should go nine innings, even tie ballgames. Is it necessary to have a winner, I sometimes think? Can we not appreciate seven innings of rich, rip-snorting baseball and then, satisfied, go home?

Later, my editor reminded me that plenty of people leave before the end of every single game. In the seventh inning, the fifth, whenever—at some point in the game’s latter half, you’ll see people start to trickle out of the ballpark, then stream out as the game wears on.

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Father’s Day

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father’s Day from all of us here at Bull City Summer. In celebration of the holiday, and of all the men in our lives, some paternal-themed images and musings from the ballpark and beyond:

Father’s Day at the Ballpark

Do fathers still play catch with their kids? Do they come home from a long day at the office or factory, loosen their ties or trade their work boots for tennis shoes, and grab their gloves?

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Indianapolis Indians beat Durham Bulls in extras: Fireworks and late bloomers

Saturday, June 15, 2013
pretzels

Photo by Elizabeth Matheson.

Preludes do not have to chirp out the tone of exactly what is to follow. A boys choir gave a slow, elegiac, almost mournful rendition of the National Anthem last night, some of the crowd singing along as if in sympathy, and the mood of the ballpark was a touch graver afterwards, in that liminal moment before the game’s first pitch. It was thrown, minutes later, by Durham Bulls newcomer Merrill Kelly, a fastball that rode way up and in on Indianapolis’ Josh Harrison, who spun out of the way—and the game announced its character with a tower-buzz of excitement.

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How Strange the Change: Durham Bulls Outslug Indianapolis Indians

Friday, June 14, 2013
national anthem

Photo by Elizabeth Matheson.

Triple-A is right below the majors, of course. There are some games here that seem no different from big-league games, in terms of quality of play. I’m thinking of games like this one, a memorable pitchers’ duel between major-league bound talents Mike and Minor and Matt Moore, from 2011. Back in 2010, when Dan Johnson was having his way with the entire International League on the way to winning its MVP Award, every time he stepped to the plate he brought the game to a major-league level.

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