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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Durham Bulls Road Roundup, Vol. 1: Margins for error, errors from margins

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Reading from the Bhagavad GitaThe Durham Bulls just concluded a three-game series at Norfolk, winning one game and losing two against the worst team in the league. The 11-8 Bulls remain in second place in the IL South Division, dropping three games behind the red-hot Gwinnett Braves. Even though you probably have to go back to something like June of 2009 to find the last time the Bulls were more than two games out of first place, it's unwise to read too much into the team's current position. It's early in the season, a three-game deficit is basically nothing, Triple-A...

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Interview: NASL commissioner David Downs talks RailHawks, American soccer, and promotion/relegation

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 10:59 PM

AP ImagesNASL commissioner David DownsDavid Downs' life in soccer massively predates the league he now serves as commissioner. Born in the Netherlands to an American father and Dutch mother, Downs’ early exposure to football stayed with him after his family moved to America. Downs would go on to play soccer at Amherst College and become both a licensed youth coach and, more significantly, a soccer dad. However, Downs has also spent over 30 years in the television broadcast industry as an executive with ABC Sports and Univision. In 2009, he was tapped as the Executive Director of the USA Bid...

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Guyer, Furmaniak blasts lead Bulls to wet 6-5 win over Charlotte

Posted By on Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 12:46 AM

DBAP/DURHAM Sometimes it does rain at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and the Bulls are going to have to wait out a very long drizzle before the finale of their four-game series against the Charlotte Knights. Photo courtesy Durham BullsBulls infielder J.J. FurmaniakCharlotte has won two straight in the series, dropping the Bulls into second place in the International League’s South Division and half a game behind the Gwinnett Braves. The Bulls have won five of eight games on the homestand, and are looking for a good sendoff for their 11-game road trip. Brian Baker (0-0, 3.86) will make the spot...

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Charlotte scores early and late for second straight win over Bulls

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 11:31 PM

Photo by Al DragoDurham Bulls outfielders discuss the next batter.DBAP/DURHAM The Durham Bulls go into the penultimate game of their first homestand looking for a bit of a bounce-back. The current series with the Charlotte Knights is tied at a win apiece after Charlotte rolled 8-3 on Wednesday afternoon to break its six-game losing streak. A good pitchers’ duel should be looming, as lefty Alex Torres (1-0, 0.00), who was IL pitcher of the week last week, takes the hill for the Bulls against Jeff Marquez (1-1, 0.82). The Bulls come in leading the South Division by half a game...

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Charlotte Knights beat Durham Bulls: Technical Difficulties

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM—Walking on Blackwell Street after the Charlotte Knights beat the Durham Bulls, 8-3, yesterday, I came upon a work truck bearing the name Fairborn near the corner of Pettigrew. It appeared that the driver had had to pull over, obstructing traffic, in order to re-rig some equipment that was strapped to his fairly large, heavily supply-laden truck. He pulled this thing thataway, clamped x strap onto y rack, was meticulous and demonstrative about a couple of other securing steps—and with that an apparently critical metal piece came loose and went clank on the road, botching the whole deal. The...

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Carolina RailHawks thaw FC Edmonton 2-0

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 1:11 AM

WAKEMED SOCCER PARK / CARY - Reality caught up with upstart FC Edmonton Wednesday night at WakeMed Soccer Park. The fledgling franchise had christened their inaugural NASL season with wins at Ft. Lauderdale and Atlanta. Tonight, however, the Carolina RailHawks (2-1-0) put together a workmanlike 2-0 victory over FC Edmonton (2-1-0) in front of visiting NASL commissioner David Downs and a paltry midweek crowd of 1,181. Carolina’s relative match dominance is tempered by the fact that FC Edmonton was on the tail end of a three-week road trip spent camped out in the southeast U.S., while the RailHawks were finishing...

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Maulin Roodge Can (-Can), and Durham Bulls Maul Charlotte Knights

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 9:54 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM—The DBAP is where you go to take in a Durham Bulls game. You know that, of course. But here's the thing: The ballgames aren't played at the DBAP, strictly speaking. The DBAP includes Wool E. World, the grandstands and bleachers, the concourse and concession stands, and so on; but the games themselves, the pitches and hits and outs and runs and all the rest, are conducted on Goodmon Field. The field was christened thus in 2007, in honor of Jim Goodmon, the President & CEO of Capital Broadcasting Company, which operates the Durham Bulls—although, through some business arrangement...

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jeff Skinner nominated for Calder Trophy as best rookie

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 1:52 PM

After a season of firsts for the Hurricanes franchise this season, Jeff Skinner may yet add another: rookie of the year. File photo by Peggy BooneThe Year of Jeff Skinner continues with a nomination for the Calder Trophy as league's best rookie, to be awarded June 22 in Las Vegas.The gifted forward, still a month shy of 19 years old, was announced Tuesday as one of the three annual nominees for the National Hockey League's Calder Trophy as the best first-year player. Two other wingers were nominated for the award as well. Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks and...

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Hayhurst and Ruggiano lead Durham Bulls past Gwinnett Braves in 11 innings

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 6:00 AM

photo courtesy of Durham Bulls (www.durhambulls.com)Justin Ruggiano and The Durham Bulls celebrate his game-winning home run Monday at the DBAPDBAP/ DURHAM—Justin Ruggiano's three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning gave the Durham Bulls a 4-1 win over the Gwinnett Braves Monday afternoon at the DBAP. It was the second homer of the day for Ruggiano, the fifth-year Bull who accounted for all four Durham runs with his pair of four-baggers. The first home run was a long, third-inning solo blast off of Braves starter Mike Minor, which landed on the second terrace of Tobacco...

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Gwinnett Braves crush Durham Bulls: Disaster Relief

Posted By on Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 6:00 AM

www.triangleredcross.orgThe Bulls are donating to the Red Cross disaster relief fund for Saturday's storm damageDBAP/ DURHAM—Bulls fans: Something much more important about your team than the outcome of last night's game to consider. As you probably know, the storm system that rampaged across our area on Saturday had deadly consequences. More than 20 people were killed, many homes were destroyed and lives were permanently altered for the worse. In response, the Durham Bulls are announcing this morning that, for every new Facebook fan they tally between now and the end of the current homestand—that is, through Friday—they'll donate a dollar...

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

RailHawks rebound to defeat Montreal Impact, 2-1, front office works to build atmosphere

Posted By on Sun, Apr 17, 2011 at 1:07 PM

After conceding two goals from setpieces in a crushing stoppage-time defeat in their home opener last weekend, RailHawks coach Martin Rennie said the team spent all week focusing on defending corners and free kicks. That made it all the more frustrating Saturday night when in the 11th minute Montreal Impact defender Kevin Hatchi was left unmarked along the back post and smashed home from a corner kick. “We just completely switched off, there was a player wide open,” Rennie said. Luckily they still had 79 minutes to turn the game around. They didn’t need that long. The RailHawks won a...

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chirinos dances by tag at plate as Bulls top Gwinnett 1-0

Posted By on Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 9:25 PM

DBAP/DURHAM It’s going to be a near-perfect night for baseball now that the grounds crew has finished its work. File photo by Al DragoBulls mascot Wool E. Bull is always happy about a South Division victory.The fans strolling into Durham Bulls Athletic Park for tonight’s series opener against the Gwinnett Braves will be watching the first few innings on a Chamber of Commerce evening, belying the fact that the fierce afternoon storms caused tragedy around the state and that the Bull City was just a great place to be. It’s a showdown for early-season supremacy in the International League’s South...

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Durham Bulls beat Norfolk Tides again: Full frames

Posted By on Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 6:00 AM

File photo by Jeremy M. LangeDesmond Jennings has reasons to smile. DBAP/ DURHAM—The Durham Bulls finally put a substantial helping of runs on the plate last night, striking for four in the second inning and four more in the seventh. That was plenty to beat the Norfolk Tides, 8-3, the Bulls' fourth straight win, giving them first place in the IL South Division. In fact, Desmond Jennings nearly beat Norfolk all by himself. He hit a three-run home run in the second inning and narrowly missed another later in the game, when he blasted a long drive way, way out...

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Alex Cobb, Durham Bulls blank Norfolk Tides in home opener

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Photo by Al DragoDurham Bulls pitcher Alex Cobb in action, April 14, 2011DBAP/ DURHAM—Last season, Alex Cobb was called up to Durham from Class AA Montgomery just as the International League playoffs were starting, after a strong year with the Biscuits. He made two starts for the Bulls in those waning days of the 2010 season. In the first of them, against the Louisville Bats, he threw five no-hit innings to start the game. He wound allowing just three hits in 6 2/3 innings, and struck out 10 batters. Cobb made one mistake, leaving a fastball up and on the...

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Durham Bulls, 2011: A glossary

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Now that we're entering our third full season of covering the Durham Bulls, Triangle Offense thought it might be helpful to accompany our 2011 season preview, which you can find over on the main Independent Weekly site, with a practical definition of some terms we often use in our daily coverage. The list that follows is by no means complete, but it does hit some of the main abbreviations and other pieces of frequently used language found in Triangle Offense writeups of Bulls games. It's likely that we'll add a few things as the season goes on. The Durham Bulls'...

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Monday, April 11, 2011

All Duke seniors, two Tar Heels hear their names called in WNBA Draft

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Jasmine Thomas wasn’t unhappy she wasn’t called until the final pick of the first round of today's WNBA Draft. File photo by Al DragoDuke guard Jasmine Thomas was the final pick in the first round.The Duke guard is going to the best team in the league. And one pick later UNC forward Jessica Breland’s name went on the board, setting her up for a trade later in the day. All three of Duke’s seniors were chosen as forward Karima Christmas went late in the second round and center Krystal Thomas was chosen with the very last pick, while UNC’s Italee...

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

As many as three each from Duke, UNC could go in Monday's WNBA draft

Posted By on Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 9:29 PM

Monday is likely to be one of the biggest WNBA draft days ever for basketball players from the Triangle. As many as six local ACC players — Duke’s Jasmine Thomas, Krystal Thomas and Karima Christmas as well as UNC’s Jessica Breland, Italee Lucas and Cetera DeGraffenreid — may be among the 36 players selected. The draft will take place today at 3 p.m. at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. ESPN U and NBA TV will telecast the second and third rounds. Jasmine Thomas and Breland are among the 15 players expected to be in the studio. Connecticut’s Maya Moore is...

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Puerto Rico drowns…er, downs Carolina RailHawks 2-1 in season opener

Posted By on Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 8:00 AM

David FellerathCrews work to clear the field at WakeMed at the height of last night's storm.WAKEMED SOCCER PARK / CARY — After an offseason filled with corporate dissolutions, eBay auctions, and an ownership change, the Carolina RailHawks finally returned to on-field action for their 2011 NASL season opener against the Puerto Rico Islanders, the last team the RailHawks faced at WakeMed Soccer Park en route to the Islanders’ 2010 USSF D-2 soccer championship. Unfortunately for Carolina, the rematch yielded another victory for Puerto Rico, as the RailHawks fell to the Islanders 2-1 thanks to Jay Needham’s goal late in stoppage...

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Lightning spoils Canes' postseason dreams as 6-2 loss lets Rangers slip into playoffs

Posted By on Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 1:26 AM

On Saturday, the Carolina Hurricanes' inspired run to the cusp of playoff qualification ended earlier than anticipated, as the Tampa Bay Lightning rode three first period goals and solid play from goaltender Mike Smith to a 6-2 win in Raleigh, eliminating the Hurricanes from postseason play. The New York Rangers set the stage Saturday afternoon for the Canes' final push to the playoffs with a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. The win meant the Canes were in charge of their own destiny, needing two points to tie the Rangers. The tiebreaker situation would have put Carolina in...

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Canes rout Thrashers, eye playoff clinch tonight

Posted By on Sat, Apr 9, 2011 at 11:49 AM

And the 82-game NHL season comes down to one game for the Cardiac Canes. File photo by Rob RoweCam Ward's bid for his second straight shutout was spoiled in the final minute, but the Canes didn't care as their 6-1 drubbing of the Thrashers put them on the verge of the postseason.After chewing up and spitting out an Atlanta Thrashers team that had put the Hurricanes in the driver's seat for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot the night before by shutting out the New York Rangers, this Carolina team needs only to win their final game in Raleigh against...

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Canes control own playoff destiny as Rangers stumble

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 4:18 AM

Remind me to send the Atlanta Thrashers a big fruit basket. That is, so long as the Canes beat them tonight. File photo by Peggy BooneEric Staal, seen here in an earlier game, has his playoff face on.Tear up all of yesterday’s playoff scenarios and toss them in the trash. After the New York Rangers blew their penultimate game last night 3-0 to the Atlanta Thrashers, suddenly, shockingly, the Carolina Hurricanes control their own destiny. If the Cardiac Canes win their remaining games—tonight in Atlanta and Saturday night against Tampa Bay in Raleigh—they will claim a playoff spot regardless of...

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ninth-inning Mobile rally gets Mudcats' season started with a thud

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 11:13 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats open their final season in the Southern League before dropping down to the Class-A Carolina League next season, and there may never have been a better April night for baseball in North Carolina. Seventy-eight degrees and clear are the conditions as David Bell begins his third season as manager with an unlikely 20 returning players on the roster. With the weirdness of the unbalanced Southern League schedule, unless they return in the league championship series this will be the Diamondbacks affiliate Mobile BayBears’ last visit to Eastern Wake County. Daryl Thompson, the Mudcats’ one...

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Canes not done yet, dump Red Wings 3-0

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 1:58 AM

RBC CENTER, RALEIGH—If they can just get in, then anything can happen. File photo by Peggy BooneJeff Skinner's 30th goal paced the Canes in a 3-0 shutout of Detroit. Skinner, seen here in an earlier game with the Islanders, is the seventh youngest to hit the plateau in the history of the game.That's the best way to sum up the air of desperate determination in the Carolina Hurricanes locker room after the team shut out the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 on Wednesday night, keeping themselves within striking distance of the Eastern Conference's last playoff spot with just a pair of...

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mudcats hope familiarity breeds success this season

Posted By on Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 8:49 PM

File photo by D.L. AndersonThe Mudcats are hoping experience pays off big in the Southern League pennant race.FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON When the Carolina Mudcats open their final Southern League season at home on Thursday night at 7:15 against the Mobile BayBears, the team will have a familiar look. Scratch that. An extremely familiar look. No fewer than 20 of the 24 active players for third-year manager David Bell’s club spent time in Zebulon last season. Only infielder Neftali Soto, pitcher Mark Serrano and catcher Kevin Coddington — all of whom were at lower levels in the Reds organization last season...

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Gottfried ready for Pack b-ball — with red wardrobe

Posted By on Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 5:37 PM

No cool name like Shaka. But unless he's put on weight, he's got a wardrobe full of red (well, Crimson Tide) stuff from Alabama. He's Mark Gottfried, NCSU athletic director Debbie Yow's choice to replace Sidney Lowe. Thoughts? (It occurs to me, after a moment's reflection, that Gottfried — mentioned by no one I know — was waiting in the wings, hoping Yow wouldn't land Shaka Smart, Brad Stevens or any of the other coaches she didn't land. At least she had MG as her hole card. But is he a king, a knave — or a deuce? He's...

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