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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Durham Bulls to host 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game

Posted by on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Durham Bulls General Manager Mike Birling announcing the news.
  • Durham Bulls General Manager Mike Birling announcing the news.
DBAP/ DURHAM—The Durham Bulls announced this morning that they will host the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The exact date has not been announced yet, but expect it around the second or third week of July. The All-Star Game is the highlight of what multiple speakers at this morning's press conference called "a five-day festival" of baseball—including the beloved Home-Run Derby—that should overtake downtown Durham like a minor-league baseball Bonnaroo for the better part of a week.

The DBAP hosted last year's Triple-A National Championship game. The Bulls made this extraordinarily rainy affair come off beautifully, somehow getting the field into playing condition in time for first pitch despite a daylong deluge. The Bulls were already angling for the All-Star Game at that time, and their performance (plus the 8,000 fans who showed up despite the weather) must have helped seal the deal.

And it's a rather big one. You could tell that from the attendance in the Bulls' home clubhouse this morning, because the rotation of speakers included not just Bulls General Manager Mike Birling and Marketing Director Scott Carter, but also Durham Mayor Bill Bell, International League President Randy Mobley and Duke University's Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations, Michael Schoenfeld.

Tickets are not yet on sale and probably won't be for a while. The exact schedule for the All-Star game has yet to be announced. When tickets do become available, priority will go to Bulls season ticket holders. This means that, conceivably, all 10,000 tickets could be snapped up before the general public ever has a crack at them. Stay tuned.

And read on for a few more thoughts on the latest windfall in Durham's current boom.

First response came from downtown resident Ross Grady, who tweeted: "Yikes! Too bad we're still 2+ years away from additional downtown hotel rooms being online." Right: downtown Durham isn't really equipped to put up huge numbers of visitors, and the scarcity of rooms shines an interrogative light, once again, on the ongoing failure of Greenfire development to make progress on the hotel they've long proposed to install in the Suntrust building downtown. Greenfire has apparently off-loaded the project onto a Louisville, Ky. outfit, and if they can start getting those towel racks installed posthaste, maybe they'll be able to put up the hordes that need homes next July. Otherwise, if you live downtown, you could probably make a pretty penny renting out your pad.

But enough of that. This is great news for the city, which is currently swirling in All-Stardom. Not only is the souvenir ballgame due here in 17 months, but Durham is currently vying for the tiara in Southern Living's "South's Tastiest Town" pageant; the James Beard Award foodie nominations just tapped as national semi-finalists Phoebe Lawless of Scratch Bakery, Sean Lilly Wilson of Fullsteam brewery, and newcomer restaurant Mateo Tapas—and a waiter from Mateo said last night that the restaurant is currently selling more sherry than any other restaurant in the United States. For the love of God, Montresor! (But how do they measure such a thing?)

In other words, our epidermis is currently showing (oh, come on, you get it), and why not show a little skin, flaunt it while you've got it? It was a beautiful late morning after the press conference, a bright blue sky and pennant-waving breeze, and a curiously low-flying white twin-prop was turning tight, skylarking circles in the airspace over downtown. They looked for all the world like victory laps.

The Bulls' first home game of 2013, by the way, is Monday, April 8 at 6:05 p.m.

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