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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Baker's arm, Johnson's bat lead Bulls to second straight over Columbus

Posted by on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Russ Canzler had a homer for the second day in a row.

DBAP/DURHAM The Durham Bulls come into tonight’s game carrying some pretty good momentum, on the heels of a three-homer contest on Monday that was their first win over the Columbus Clippers this season.

Columbus comes in with Triple-A Baseball’s best record at 35-16, while the Bulls hold a three-game lead over the Gwinnett Braves in the International League’s South Division.

The Clippers come with one of the hottest pitchers in baseball in Zach McAllister (7-0, 2.29), while the Bulls answer with Brian Baker (3-3, 6.21) who about a month ago was a spot-starter.

This time Baker comes up the winner, allowing just two hits in seven innings as the Bulls win 4-1.

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Durham Bulls open homestand, (finally) beat Columbus Clippers: Suddenly, This Summer

Posted by on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Tennessee Williams
  • Tennessee Williams
DBAP/ DURHAM—The Durham Bulls fell behind the Columbus Clippers last night, 4-1, before clustering three run-scoring innings together from the 6th through the 8th and winning, 7-4. Russ Canzler's three-run homer off of Nick Hagadone in the seventh inning put the Bulls ahead to stay, and R. J. Swindle, Cory Wade and Jake McGee pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings in relief of Alexander Torres. The Bulls, who were swept by the league-best Clippers in Columbus last week, opened their homestand with a win over the team that beat them in the Governor's Cup Championship Series last fall.

When the Bulls hit the road about a week and a half ago for their annual trip to Ohio, we were still riding out a long, cool, wet spring in the Triangle. The Bulls have had an inordinate number of rainouts and delays this year—a whopping 11 so far, if I recall correctly, or about 20% of their games. While the Bulls got swept in Columbus and then took three of four games in Toledo (waiting out some major rain there, too), the cool weather trend more or less continued around here until last weekend. A torrential storm on Friday shut down businesses and flooded streets and delayed ACC Tournament games at the DBAP until the wee hours of the morning. Basically, the Rapture, a few days late.

Then out came the sun and dried up all the rain—and then it stayed out even after all the rain was dried up. It was about 95 degrees in Durham on Monday, Memorial Day. As someone in the Press Box put it, "Can't we just ease into summer?" No, sir, no we cannot. Not only has summer arrived, and suddenly; we've been enraptured into the very heat, the very heart of it, and it's going to stay that way all week. Ladies and gentlemen, start your air conditioners.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Hall and Oates, French toast and baseball: Interview with ex-major leaguer Doug Glanville

Posted by on Mon, May 30, 2011 at 1:54 PM

Doug Glanville was a major-league outfielder from 1996-2004 with the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers. A first-round draft pick of the Cubs in 1991 out of the University of Pennsylvania, Glanville is one of very few African-American Ivy-Leaguers ever to play in the majors (former Durham Bull—and Columbia Lion—Fernando Perez is another).

Glanville was a reporter's dream, always ready with a witty quote. Not surprisingly, after he retired he wrote baseball columns for The New York Times until leaving to take a job as an analyst with ESPN. Last year, he published his first book, The Game from Where I Stand: A Ballplayer's Inside View.

Glanville's family has North Carolina roots, and not long ago he moved with his wife and children from Chicago to Raleigh. On Wednesday, June 1, he will read from and sign copies of The Game from Where I Stand at Quail Ridge Books, at 7:30 p.m.

Glanville (@dougglanville on Twitter) graciously agreed to answer some questions via email.

Triangle Offense: You have roots/family here in NC. Is that what brings you here, or is it something else?

Doug Glanville: We decided to move to Raleigh after some wonderful years in Chicago. For quite some time, we have thought about being closer to our extended family. Now as a father of two young ones, my wife and I wanted to give them a chance to see their grandparents and Uncle Ken! My brother Ken has lived in Raleigh for the bulk of the last 20 years.

We have family in Asheville, Rocky Mount, Durham, Raleigh. Great fit for us!

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

RailHawks defeat Atlanta to earn club-best fifth straight win as Barbara scoring streak ends

Posted by on Sun, May 29, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Etienne Barbara's record-setting scoring streak ended at eight games Saturday, but his two assists earned the Carolina RailHawks a more important feat—the club has now won a franchise-high five games on the trot.

Barbara's turn and delicate chip to the back post found strike partner Pablo Campos in the box in the 81st minute and the Brazilian's diving header ended the stalemate with the last place Atlanta Silverbacks, still winless in the league.

The two, who mimicked a train, Campos blowing the horn and steering, Barbara riding as caboose, after the winning goal, have formed a partnership "like husband and wife," Barbara says.

The pseudo-married couple is combining well enough for Barbara to lead the NASL in goals (11) and assists (5) and the Maltese striker became the team's all-time leading scorer during his incredible streak.

He came close to extending the run, notching five shots on the night. The best of the bunch came in stoppage time when his toe poke from point-blank range was turned away by Atlanta goalkeeper Felipe Quintero.

"Today I couldn't score. I was hitting every guy," Barbara said. "Every shot was hitting someone. I should have scored the last one. I thought the keeper was going to go down or something. I don't know, it just wasn't my day to score."

But it was his day to create the goals.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Five reasons to watch the Carolina RailHawks this weekend

Posted by on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 8:00 AM

This Memorial Day weekend provides a bounty for soccer-loving Triangle denizens. The U.S. Men’s National Team is in town, training for an exhibition against Spain next weekend and the CONCACAF Gold Cup kicking off the week after that. Manchester United and Barcelona square off in the UEFA Champions League final Saturday afternoon (EDT).

Last but not least, the only live pro football area fans can see takes place Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. as the Carolina RailHawks host the Atlanta Silverbacks. There are several reasons to make a trip out to WakeMed Soccer Park a part of your holiday weekend.

High-Flying Hawks
With a record of 6-1-1, the RailHawks are off to the best start in club history. They currently sit six points clear of second-place FC Edmonton. The 18 goals Carolina has scored are six more than the next closest club, NSC Minnesota. And, only FC Tampa Bay has surrendered fewer goals - seven - than the eight Carolina has allowed.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Durham Bulls Road Roundup, Vol. 4: Columbust!

Posted by on Tue, May 24, 2011 at 8:49 PM

The power went out on my block while I was writing this, somewhere around 3:30 p.m., and as of 7:00 there's still a crew working on it. So this report comes to you from the friendly confines of Fullsteam Brewery, with a beer close at hand.

Kind of appropriate to the current, uh, current of the Bulls, in a way, this power outage; but not for the reasons you might expect. The Bulls are in fact scoring at will lately, having put up an impressive 54 runs in their last eight games—the 6.75 runs-per-game average would be tops, by far, in just about any league. No, the problem is that, while the Bulls have hit a five-game skid, including a just-concluded four game series sweep at the hands of the IL-best Columbus Clippers (they lost earlier today, 5-3), they have allowed 56 runs.

So it makes a certain kind of sense that the power on my street went out today not because of system over-taxing—temperatures have shot up into the 90s, suddenly, prompting air conditioners to crank all the way up—but because someone drove his or her car into a utility pole at the end of the block, taking down the lines. In other words, it's an attacker's power surge, not the limitations of the local grid itself, that has done the damage.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Mudcats fall hard to Lookouts, try to win a series again Tuesday

Posted by on Mon, May 23, 2011 at 10:43 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats are definitely having a tough first half this season.

With a 13-30 record coming into tonight’s contest against the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Mudcats have the second worst record in Organized Baseball. Only the Clinton Lumber Kings of the Class A Midwest League have a worse record.

But they have an opportunity tonight. Having won two of the first three games of the five-game series, David Bell’s club could win its first series since July of 2010 — that’s 17 straight — with a victory tonight.

James Avery (3-5, 4.40) will take on Lookouts lefty Michael Antonini (2-6, 4.17), who leads the Southern League in losses.

The opportunity gets away, as Kyle Russell homers twice and doubles twice for four RBI in a 9-3 Chattanooga win.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Extraordinary Etienne leads Carolina RailHawks past Islanders, 3-0

Posted by on Sun, May 22, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Head coach Martin Rennie wonders if this is the stuff that dreams are made of
  • David Fellerath
  • Head coach Martin Rennie wonders if this is "the stuff that dreams are made of"
WAKEMED SOCCER PARK / CARY - The world did not come to an end Saturday, but it must have felt like doomsday to the Puerto Rico Islanders.

The Carolina RailHawks (6-1-1) continued their supreme early season high, swamping the Islanders 3-0 at WakeMed Soccer Park to avenge an April 9 opening day home loss. The win also solidifies the RailHawks’ standing atop the NASL table, seven points clear of second-place NSC Minnesota.

Carolina once again rode to victory behind the white hot foot of Etienne Barbara, who notched another brace—his third this year—to extend his consecutive match scoring streak to eight and his league-leading goal tally to 11. Barbara also added an assist, giving him three this season and 25 points overall, both of them tops in the NASL. (Barbara is actually tied for the league lead in assists with teammate Floyd Franks.)

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Louisville Bats outslug Durham Bulls, split series: no refunds

Posted by on Sat, May 21, 2011 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM—On our way home from the DBAP last night, Heather and I were walking by a restaurant with an outdoor patio, where we happened upon a couple we know well. They had been to the Al Pacino show at the Durham Performing Arts Center and were poking at the remains of their dinners.

They hadn't liked the show or the dinner. In fact, they walked out of the Pacino show before it was over, despite the cost of the tickets. And one of them had only eaten about half of what was on the plate.

Wouldn't it be good if, having deemed your entertainment or your food of poor quality, despite having consumed it, you were entitled to your money back?

That thought crossed my mind after after the Louisville Bats beat the Durham Bulls last night, 9-8, an ugly game in which both teams played poorly much more than they played well—the pitching especially was flavorless and amateur on both sides. If you appreciate quality baseball, there was a little to admire (there always is) but plenty to deplore on Friday, right down to the very last out.

But you pays your money, you takes your chances, like the man says (although it isn't clear which man). Maybe the baseball they serve you is bad, but there ain't no refunds, and the only games good for exchange are the ones they don't play, i.e. the ones that get rained out.

Surely Brian Baker wishes this one was.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Women of American soccer, present and future: Slideshow

Posted by and on Fri, May 20, 2011 at 4:49 PM

On Wednesday, May 18, the Indy's D.L. Anderson attended a soccer match between the United States women's national team and Japan. It was a tuneup friendly in advance of next month's FIFA World Cup in Germany. The U.S. women defeated Japan 2-0 behind goals by Amy Rodriguez and Heather O'Reilly. Our report on the game is here.

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