Durham Bulls Athletic Park

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Durham Bulls Athletic Park
DBAP (D-BAP)
Durham Bulls Athletic Park Durham.JPG
Location 409 Blackwell Street
Durham, NC 27701
Coordinates 35°59′30.08″N 78°54′15.07″W / 35.9916889°N 78.9041861°W / 35.9916889; -78.9041861Coordinates: 35°59′30.08″N 78°54′15.07″W / 35.9916889°N 78.9041861°W / 35.9916889; -78.9041861
Broke ground April 24, 1993[1]
Opened April 6, 1995
Renovated 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2014
Expanded 1997, 1998, 2008, 2010
Owner City of Durham
Operator Durham Bulls Baseball Club
Surface Grass
Construction cost $18.5 Million
($28.6 million in 2014 dollars[2])
Architect Populous (formerly HOK Sport)
The Freelon Group[3]
Project manager CHA Enterprises[4]
Services engineer Knott Benson Engineering Associates P.A.[5]
General contractor George W. Kane Construction Co.[6]
Capacity 10,000 (1998–Present)
9,033 (1995–1997)[7]
Field size Left Field - 305 ft (93 m)
Left Center - 375 ft (114 m)
Center Field - 400 ft (122 m)
Right Center - 375 ft (114 m)
Right Field - 325 ft (99 m)
Tenants
Durham Bulls (CL and IL) (1995–Present)
Duke Blue Devils (NCAA) (2010–present)
North Carolina Central Eagles (NCAA)
ACC Tournament (1996, 1998, 1999, 2009, 2011, 2013)
2014 Triple-A All-Star Game

Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP, pronounced "d-bap") is a ballpark in Durham, North Carolina that is home to the Durham Bulls, the AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball. It is also home to the Duke Blue Devils[8] and North Carolina Central Eagles college baseball teams.[9] The 10,000-seat park was opened in 1995 and is a $18.5-million brick ballpark.

History[edit]

The Bulls began playing at the DBAP in 1995 when the team played in the Class A Advanced Carolina League. The Bulls then moved up to the Triple-A level in 1998, causing the DBAP to be expanded. The stadium was designed by Populous (formerly HOK Sport), who also designed Camden Yards in Baltimore, Jacobs Field in Cleveland, and Coors Field in Colorado as part of the "new" old-stadium-like movement of the 1990s.

Durham Bull sign

By design, the left-field fence is a 32-foot-high (9.8 m) wall, 305 feet (93 m) from home plate, known as the Blue Monster. It resembles Fenway Park’s Green Monster, including a manual scoreboard. The club introduced a furry "Blue Monster" mascot in during the 2007 season who now shares mascot duties with "Wool E. Bull" and "Lucky the Wonder Dog".

The bull sign mounted atop of the Blue Monster was modeled after the bull used in the 1988 film, Bull Durham. The actual sign from the movie (which featured the previous home of the Bulls, Durham Athletic Park) was formerly hung in the concourse level of the DBAP but is now in storage. Although much sturdier than the original, the new sign's limitations were revealed in violent winds that rocked the Piedmont on April 16, 2007 - the bull's head and forelegs were torn off by the storm.[10] The damage was fixed by that weekend, but plans were made to replace the sign.[11]

Following a playoff game on September 6, 2007, the playing surface was named Goodmon Field, in honor of the owner of the Durham Bulls and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting.[12] In 2008, the famous snorting bull was temporarily moved to the concourse, like its predecessor, and replaced by a two-sided bull, so that it may be viewed from Diamond View 2 and 3. By 2009, renovations allowed fans to walk around the park 360 degrees. The Bulls' TV Crew were equipped in 2008 with high-definition cameras and production equipment, along with HD production capabilities. This also complemented the new state-of-the-art BOSE sound system.

A roof covers approximately 2,500 seats behind home plate and down both the first and third base lines to the end of each dugout. All seats at the DBAP are extra wide with seat backs, extra leg room and over 95 percent of the seats have cup holders. The stadium was designed and built so that every seat gives fans a great view of the field with an intimate ballpark feel. Durham Bulls Athletic Park is located in downtown Durham and can be accessed from the Durham Freeway. The ballpark reflects many characteristics of old-time parks and the historic downtown Durham architecture. Construction of a “warehouse type” building, Diamond View, began in 1997 and was completed during the 1998 season. The Diamond View building is located behind the right field seating sections and uses the same architecture as the DBAP, including the green roof, brickwork and windows.

In 2002, the DBAP unveiled a new playground area in the right field section of the concourse. This new area is sure to provide fun for Bulls fans for many years to come. In the Fall of 2003, the field of the DBAP received a major face lift. After nine years of service, the top layers of grass and soil were removed and replaced with brand new top soil and Tissport™ Bermuda grass. The renovation took place over several weeks and cost over $100,000.

Following the 2006 season, the DBAP underwent major renovations in the outfield, including a new left field wall complete with a new video board located above the manual scoreboard. The old video board, installed prior to the 2004 season, was reshaped into a video billboard and placed in right field.

In 2008, with the addition of the Diamond View II building in left field, the Blue Monster pavilion opened allowing fans to watch the game atop the Blue Monster for the first time. One year later, a stairwell was added to the pavilion connecting it to the third base concourse and making the DBAP a 360 degree ballpark. For the 2010 season, in the Diamond View II Building a new restaurant opened called "Tobacco Road Sports Cafe". It has outdoor seating to watch the game during game days or just to enjoy a beautiful North Carolina summer evening. Outside the ballpark are four more restaurants, Cuban Revolution, Saladelia, Tyler's Restaurant & Taproom, and Mellow Mushroom.

On July 4, 2010, a record 11,674 fans were on hand to witness the Bulls defeat the Gwinnett Braves 6 to 4.[13]

On August 30, 2011, Triple-A Baseball announced that Durham Bulls Athletic Park would be the host site of the 2012 Triple-A National Championship Game on Tuesday, September 18, 2012. The Triple-A National Championship Game pits the winner of the International League's Governors' Cup against the Pacific Coast League Champions in a one-game, winner take all championship. The Bulls were the first International League team to host this annual game. The game was projected to bring in $2.5 million just for the city of Durham. With another $2 million for the adjacent cities (including Raleigh). The game itself saw Reno of the PCL win an easy 10-3 victory over Pawtuckett of the IL.[14]

Construction of Diamond View III began in 2012, with completion scheduled for the fall of 2013.

Dimensions[edit]

The original dimensions were: Left Field - 305 ft (93.0 m), Left Center Field - 371 ft (113.1 m), Center Field - 400 ft (121.9 m), Right Center Field - 373 ft (113.7 m), Right Field - 327 ft (99.7 m). The power alleys are now posted as 375 ft (114.3 m) and right field as 325 ft (99.1 m).

DBAP game action, bathed in twilight glow.

2014 Renovation[edit]

After the end of the 2013 season for the Durham Bulls, major renovations to the entire stadium began and were finished by opening day of the 2014 season. After a 20-year lease extension was signed between the Bulls and city of Durham, keeping the minor league team at the stadium through 2033, both parties agreed that improvements were much needed.[15] The renovations cost approximately $9 million, $6 million be covered by the city, while the Bulls organization is to pay the rest.[16] In their agreement to renovate the stadium, it was set that the city of Durham would have a maximum cap of $12 million spent on all renovations. Anything beyond the $12 million would be covered by the Bulls, with the team having to pay a minimum of $2 million towards the total costs.[17]

Game action at DBAP

The biggest issue for fans attending a game at the DBAP had been long concession lines and an overcrowded concourse with no view of the field.[18] To alleviate this problem, concessions were added to the upper-level concourse, which previously had none. New picnic areas were added down the third-base line and in the outfield stands. Additionally, a new club area was built that can also be used for non-Durham Bulls related events during the off-season.[17] The club area has its own kitchen, separate from the regular concessions' kitchen to help improve the speed of the food service.

The field was completely restructured within the renovation as well. The entire field and underground plumbing was removed and updated with new plumbing, better drainage, new sod, and a new crown to ensure that the field drains properly.[16] This had not been done in the 18 year life of the stadium and was a much-needed part of the renovation.

Additionally, the stadium has new field lighting, a new ticket entrance down the third base line, and new scoreboards and video boards. TS Sports of Dallas, TX was contracted to install three new state-of-the-art, HD displays.[19] They include a Blue Monster primary display (25.4' (h) x 63' (w)), right field LED wall display (6.5' (h) x 327.6' (w)), and a club level fascia display (3.2' (h) x 119.8' (w)).

The renovations were finished before the opening pitch of the 2014 Durham Bulls season on April 3, 2014.[20] The quick turnaround is primarily due to Durham being the host city for the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game. This nationally televised game will bring in visitors from across the country for a 5-day festival. Had it not been for this reason, Mike Birling, general manager for the Bulls, stated that the renovation would have most likely been done in phases.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parsons, Grant (May 26, 1993). "The Beginning of a Renaissance in Downtown Durham". The News & Observer (Raleigh). Retrieved February 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ "Durham Bulls Athletic Park". The Freelon Group. Retrieved October 1, 2011. 
  4. ^ Vercellotti, Tim (November 18, 1993). "Ballpark $2.4 Million Over Budget". The News & Observer (Raleigh). Retrieved July 3, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Sports Facilities". Knott Benson Engineering Associates. Retrieved July 3, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Durham Bulls Athletic Park". Duke Athletics. Retrieved October 1, 2011. 
  7. ^ Knight, Graham. "Durham Bulls Athletic Park". Baseball Pilgrimages. Retrieved October 1, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Duke, Durham Bulls Announce Partnership". Duke Athletics. Archived from the original on November 17, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Savannah State Univ. vs N.C. Central Univ. (Mar 07, 2009)". North Carolina Central Athletics. March 7, 2009. Archived from the original on November 15, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2009. 
  10. ^ "High Winds Destroy Famous Snorting Bull at DBAP" (Press release). Durham Bulls Baseball Club. April 16, 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2007. "The press release also includes a picture of the damage" 
  11. ^ "Bulls History (1990-2012)". Durham Bulls Baseball Club. August 3, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  12. ^ "DBAP Field Named for Goodmon". WRAL (Raleigh). September 6, 2007. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  13. ^ DeMargel, Matt (July 5, 2010). "Fans Set Record, Bulls Respond with Victory". RaysProspects. Retrieved July 5, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Aces Win Triple-A Championship!". Minor League Baseball. September 18, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  15. ^ Schoonmaker, Aaron (May 6, 2013). "Bulls, DBAP Lease Agreement Approved". WRAL (Raleigh). Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "DBAP Upgrade". The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC). October 27, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Gronberg, Ray (December 26, 2013). "DBAP Renovation Unfolding Well, Bulls Say". The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC). Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Schoonmaker, Aaron (September 6, 2013). "DBAP to Get An Upgrade in Off-Season". WRAL (Raleigh). Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  19. ^ "New HD Videoboards Among Exciting DBAP Upgrades". Minor League Baseball. November 19, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  20. ^ Wiseman, Steve (April 3, 2014). "Major-League Quality: Renovated DBAP Will Have More Concessions, Improved Field, ‘Awesome’ Lights". The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC). Retrieved April 6, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Durham Athletic Park
Home of the
Durham Bulls

1995 – present
Succeeded by
current