Durham/DBAP—I’m writing this game story from my place on Erwin Road not far from Weaver Dairy in Chapel Hill. It’s a spot equidistant from downtown Durham and Carrboro, the two locations that have overtaken downtown Franklin Street as the hip epicenters of the left edge of the Triangle over the last two decades. Increasingly, and rapidly, Durham surpasses Carrboro by several leagues of complexity and intrigue.
This really has nothing to do with tonight’s 6-2 loss by the Durham Bulls to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the third straight loss by the Bulls to the Yankees after the Bulls won more than they lost on their recent road trip. Except that it has everything to do with it. Tonight’s attendance at the DBAP was 9068, a random Thursday night.
That’s just about the same number of people that attend a sold-out basketball game in Cameron Indoor Stadium (CIS) during the heart of basketball season, a few miles away. Last year there were eighteen games in CIS and there were seventy-two in the DBAP. You can mark the beginning of downtown Durham's return to vitality to the opening of the DBAP in 1995.
There’s really not that much to report about tonight’s game that hasn’t been reported the last two nights. As Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo stated to the media after tonight's game, “It all depends on pitching. Our pitching the last three nights hasn’t been good enough. We haven’t been able to throw strikes.”
What else can be said?
I attended tonight’s game with a friend of age thirty. She moved here six years ago to matriculate in UNC’s MA program in Folklore. Today’s she’s directing a national documentary project on the history of a nexus of American music. Her partner, age thirty-three, is in development for one of the most successful local arts festivals. Yet, last night was her first Durham Bulls game. Here are a few of her comments, after spending three hours loving the scene, both on the field and off:
"The food offered here is perfect for a pregnant woman. It's salty. It's sweet. A pregnant woman's wildest cravings come true here. It's all there in one place. If you keep walking around the stadium, you eventually come across every available food again and again. It's like a merry-go-round of food. There is some regional food, such as fried pickles, and some generic food, like funnel cakes and hot dogs. They've got it all, and it comes in cycles.
"I'me not sure I can tell you why we've never been to a game here. (My partner and I) would come out of events at DPAC on a Friday night and the game would be over here and we'd see fireworks coming out of the stadium and we'd always say, 'sometime soon we have to go to a game.' Or, we'd be coming home from somewhere else and we'd see the cars parked at the stadium and it seemed exciting and we'd vow to come to a game. But we haven't done it."