Dreaming of the Big Time: Baseball Camp with the Durham Bulls

Friday, August 9, 2013
baseball camp

Photo by Ivan Weiss.

An army of kids stream into the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, their eyes wide. This is it, the big time, the world’s best minor league field, and they’re about to take it like the Visigoths took Rome.

They’ve made it to the show.

Okay, so maybe it’s just one of the baseball camps the Durham Bulls sponsor every summer, but it feels bigger than that. Not only are these kids going to play on a professional field, they’re going to be coached by professional players.

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Failure? On a win, a loss, a cliché

Friday, August 9, 2013

Virgil Vasquez revisits the scene of his 2010 traffic accident, August 7, 2013. Photo by Ivan Weiss.

The notion that baseball is a game of failure has been front and center this week. My colleague Sam Stephenson quoted John Szarkowski to that effect yesterday (“the game is devised to make failure the rule”). I’ve parroted the line plenty of times, myself: it’s got some truth to it, as all old saws do. For our current weekly “Lineup Card” article” at Baseball Prospectus (it’s free, check it out), each writer chose a baseball cliché to pick apart.

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Szarkowski on Luck in Baseball and Photography

Thursday, August 8, 2013
Kate Joyce's hands

Photographer Kate Joyce’s hands. Photo by Ivan Weiss.

Yesterday’s Paris Review Daily piece drew the attention of the outstanding photographer in Raleigh, David Simonton, who sent me this quote from the late John Szarkowski, the legendary longtime head of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In a book on photographer Garry Winogrand, the Szarkowski wrote this:

Most of Winogrand’s best pictures — let us say all of his best pictures — involve luck of a different order than that kind of minimal, survivor’s luck on which any human achievement depends.

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Concentrations: Durham Bulls lose fourth straight

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Virgil Vasquez, detail. Photo by Ivan Weiss.

Durham Bulls starter Jake Odorizzi had a poor outing last night, and he knew why: too much nibbling. He’d seen the Rochester Red Wings ambush Durham starters the previous two nights, crowding and leaning out over the plate and attacking Matt Buschmann and J. D. Martin. Buschmann and Martin threw a combined 11 2/3 innings on Monday and Tuesday, and in only two of them did the Red Wings see more than twenty pitches.

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“The Liminal Space” in the Paris Review Daily

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Hiroshi behind scoreboard

Photo by Ivan Weiss.

Bull City Summer Director Sam Stephenson writes about the tension between art and journalism for our latest installment in the Paris Review.

For the past thirty years, the photographer Hiroshi Watanabe has split his time between Tokyo and Los Angeles. I met him at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park when he reported for his first day of work on the Bull City Summer project. He’s a compact man who moves carefully but fluidly; at age sixty-two, he resembles a boxing trainer or a retired gymnast.

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BABIP Addendum following a Durham Bulls walloping of the Gwinnett Braves

Sunday, August 4, 2013
concessions vendor in stands

Photo by Ivan Weiss.

Quickly. Why waste too many words on an 11-3 blowout, in which the Bulls not only had thirteen hits but were also the beneficiaries of the G-Braves’ terrible fielding? It occurred to me yesterday afternoon that part of the the reason for the Bulls’ high productivity and strong BABIP has to do with another way in which they lead the league: the Bulls strike out less than any other team. Strangely, the awful Braves are second-best at not striking out, but they’re also second-worst at drawing walks.

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New BCS Piece in Paris Review Daily Series Posted Today

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Wool E. Bull. Wet plate tintype by Leah Sobsey/Tim Telkamp.

Wool E. Bull. Wet plate tintype by Leah Sobsey/Tim Telkamp.

Our seventh piece in the Paris Review series was posted today, written by Adam Sobsey, with photographs by Leah Sobsey/Tim Telkamp, Kate Joyce, and Ivan Weiss.

“Not really about baseball”: we’ve adhered pretty well so far to this watchword of our Bull City Summer documentary project, but cultivating indifference has been hard for me. I really care about baseball, and I watch the games closely. Still, I’ve made a season-long effort to notice the surroundings in a rather moony way—trying to soak up the ambient energy in the ballpark, its sheer quality and quantity.

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Photo of the Day: Cheers

Saturday, July 20, 2013
beer concessions staff

Photo by Ivan Weiss.

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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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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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