Durham Bulls extend affiliation with Tampa Bay Rays, release 2010 schedule (with goodies!) | Sports
Sports
INDY Week's sports blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on | Add on  

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Durham Bulls extend affiliation with Tampa Bay Rays, release 2010 schedule (with goodies!)

Posted by on Sat, Aug 29, 2009 at 3:46 PM

click to enlarge unknown.gif

DBAP/ DURHAM---Old-school friends of mine will sometimes show their age by betraying surprise at discovering that the Durham Bulls are no longer an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. I can sort of forgive them that outdated conception; after all, the Bulls-Braves partnership lasted 18 years.

But this afternoon at the DBAP, right under the "Hit Bull Win Steak/Hit Grass Win Salad" Bull, a beaming General Manager Mike Birling announced that the Bulls and the Tampa Bay Rays have extended their working agreement, which was set to expire after 2010. The four-year extension will take them through 2014, for a 17-year total---the Rays will have been here almost as long as the Braves were.

With Birling were Chaim Bloom, who is the Rays' Assistant Director of Minor League Operations, Durham Bulls Vice President George Habel and Durham Athletic Park Manager for Minor League Baseball Jill Rusinko.

When asked what it was about the Durham Bulls that especially appealed to the Rays' front office, Bloom mentioned the fans and the community. But the first thing out of his mouth was "the playing surface." It's a credit to the DBAP grounds crew that they've maintained the field so well, despite the meteorological challenges of 2009.

The 2010 schedule was released. As usual, both the beginning and end of the season will pit the Bulls exclusively against the other three teams in the International League South Division. This clustering is done deliberately, and the weather is again a factor: April being the cruelest month, it's better to stay close to home. And the pennant drive in late summer forces the issue by matching up teams from the same division.

The 2010 home stretch, however, is an extreme version: From August 10 until the last day of the season, September 6, the Bulls play 28 games in a row against Charlotte, Gwinnett and Norfolk, without a single day off. That includes an 11-game road swing to all three cities from August 13-23. The Bulls also have an 11-game roadie June 14-24, when they visit Gwinnett, Louisville and Indianapolis. Their big stand at home runs from June 25-July 5, when they play 11 straight games at the DBAP versus Lehigh Valley, Louisville and Gwinnett. In July, the Bulls play 17 of 28 games at home.

Two red-letter days. On April 2 or 3 (exact date TBD), the Bulls will play an exhibition game against the Tampa Bay Rays. That's not only a chance to see major-league talent, but also to watch former Bulls who have gone on to stardom, like Carl Crawford (if he hasn't been traded) and Evan Longoria.

Then, on Monday, May 10, the Bulls will play a home game at another Durham ballyard: the old Durham Athletic Park, which officially reopened this year. The Bulls last played at the DAP in 1994. The game was scheduled for May 10 for a very deliberate reason, said Mike Birling: "When people think of the most famous minor-league teams, they think of the Durham Bulls, obviously because of [the film] Bull Durham, and they think of the Toledo Mud Hens, because of M*A*S*H*." (To our younger readers: M*A*S*H* was a television series that ran in the 1970s and 1980s. It was set during the Korean War, and one of the characters, a Toledan named Klinger, was trying to get his discharge from service by cross-dressing---oh, just read this.) Bulls versus Hens at the old farmyard!

It's easy to take the Bulls-Rays affiliation for granted. But it's important to appreciate how active and forward-thinking the Tampa brass is when it comes to their player development. We see that in the results. The Bulls are bidding to make the playoffs for the third straight year and the sixth of the last eight. Almost every season brings exciting, big-league-bound talent to the team. Look for more of it next year. And don't miss the Bulls' current charge, which resumes in just a few hours at the DBAP.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Sports



Twitter Activity

Comments

"Was he known for being rude and abusive to his employees"

https://deadspin.com/the-hedge-fund-orc-buying-the-panthers-used-to-berate-e-1826041028

Yeah, totally different from the …

by lewiskr451 on An Old Hedge-Fund Billionaire Just Bought the Carolina Panthers, And We’re OK With That (Sports)

Class program and congratulations on another championship!

by shocked on Carolina Fans: Villanova Is Your Team, If Only for Tonight (Sports)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

"Was he known for being rude and abusive to his employees"

https://deadspin.com/the-hedge-fund-orc-buying-the-panthers-used-to-berate-e-1826041028

Yeah, totally different from the …

by lewiskr451 on An Old Hedge-Fund Billionaire Just Bought the Carolina Panthers, And We’re OK With That (Sports)

Class program and congratulations on another championship!

by shocked on Carolina Fans: Villanova Is Your Team, If Only for Tonight (Sports)

AMEN Brother!! Preach on!! …

by Alan Pohoryles on Daniel Snyder and the Redskins’ Culture of Exploitation and Incompetence (Sports)

"In 1838 battle that killed 3,000 Zulus in a single day."

Do you even know what these Zulus were …

by newsupdate24 on A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010 (Sports)

Nice slander piece, bum. No one is forcing you or anyone else to watch him play. Grow up. You and …

by D1 on Grayson Allen Is Still a Dirtbag and Other Notes from a Strange ACC Semifinal (Sports)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation