Durham Herald-Sun. December 21, 2014. (Thanks to Carl Rist for the image).
All of us in Durham continue adjusting to news of Bulls’ manager Charlie Montoyo’s promotion to the coaching staff of the Tampa Bay Rays. The depth of his impact is measured by the mix of elation and loss many feel. Yesterday the Bulls took out this full-page ad in the Herald-Sun to thank Charlie. His listed achievements speak for themselves.
A couple of years ago I was working on a piece about Charlie for Paris Review Daily (“Field Notes,” August 20, 2012, a version of this piece is in the Bull City Summer book).
(Coming soon, an update on BCS with details of what’s coming in 2014 and a chance for you to join our team and be acknowledged in our book. But for now, a brief West Coast detour).
In September I spent a week in Eugene, Oregon, my first visit there. One day, while driving down Willamette St., I passed an old, wooden, apparently abandoned baseball stadium and I did an instant double take: Whoa, what is that?
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.
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.
Tonight’s Bulls-Pawtucket Red Sox game will feature “walk-up” music for Bulls batters curated by the path-breaking, independent record label Merge Records, which is based just a few blocks from the stadium. Each Bulls batter will walk to the plate accompanied by a fourteen-second clip from tunes recorded by bands on Merge’s adventurous roster. It’s a fitting partnership. The Durham Bulls Athletic Park opened in 1997; Merge moved their offices from Carrboro to Durham in 2000. Both were way ahead of the curves of downtown development.
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.
Waiting in line at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park box office, June 2013. Photo by Alex Harris.
Last night I tuned my transistor radio to 620 AM and listened to the Durham Bulls play the Buffalo Bisons in Buffalo. Simultaneously, I tuned my iPhone to the MLB radio stream, put it in my iHome, and listened to the Tampa Bay Rays play the Toronto Blue Jays in Tampa Bay. It was a good night to listen to two games at once: The Bulls won 7-1 and the Rays 4-1.
Today on the online magazine The Morning News, a Q&A with Sam Stephenson and a beautiful gallery featuring photography by our contributors.
TMN: What do the Bulls mean to Durham?
SS: A lot. Durham Bulls Athletic Park is one of the few places where every demographic within a 30-mile radius is represented. Plus, as Durham becomes more and more of a gentrified hipster haven, the Bulls are a presence with links back to a time when Reverend Gary Davis and Blind Boy Fuller were playing Piedmont blues for tips during shift changes at the tobacco markets, only a block or two from the existing stadium.
The News & Observer has a great feature story about Bull City Summer out today:
DURHAM — Fresh from inserting a wad of chewing tobacco in his mouth, the ballplayer paused from conversing with his teammates in the bullpen to watch a ball coming toward him. It was a foul ball rolling briskly down the right field of Durham Bulls Athletic Park. And as the ball kicked into the bullpen, the player caught it, flicked it to a kid in the stands and leaned over to spit a stream of tobacco juice.