Posts Tagged ‘Durham Bulls’

“This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.”

Great game in Durham last night, as the Bulls overcame deficits of 1-0, 6-1, 7-3, and 9-7 to beat the Gwinnett Braves, 10-9, in fourteen innings.  It was Durham’s sixth win in a row and gave them a one game lead over the Braves in the International League’s South Division.

In the bottom of the ninth, two outs, down 9-7, Reid Brignac worked the count to 2-2 before fouling off four straight pitches.  On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, he homered to right to tie the game.

It stayed there into the fourteenth.  Gwinnett’s first batter, Wes Timmons, broke the tie with his first homerun of the season and the Braves added another for the aforementioned 9-7 lead.

Durham loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom half.  Jon Weber lined a double to right, clearing the bases and giving the Bulls the walkoff win.

Gwinnett trails in the division by one game, but holds a 3 1/2 game advantage in the wild card.


The Z-Meter: 6/5/2009

The Z-meter tracks the story arcs of 25 top prospects (or players we just like) on their way to the bigs. It is named after current Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman, who made the transition from anchoring the University of Virginia to starring in MLB in one year.


Jordan Zimmermann: Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) to Washington Nationals (MLB)
Matt LaPorta: Columbus Clippers (AAA) to Cleveland Indians (MLB)
Daniel Bard: Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) to Boston Red Sox (MLB)
Mat Gamel: Nashville Sounds (AAA) to Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)
Fernando Martinez: Buffalo Bisons (AAA) to New York Mets (MLB)
Matt Wieters: Norfolk Tides (AAA) to Baltimore Orioles (MLB)
Antonio Bastardo: Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA) to Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
Andrew McCutchen: Indianapolis Indians (AAA) to Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)

Antonio Bastardo: Reading Phillies (AA) to Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA)

Madison Bumgarner: San Jose Giants (A) to Connecticut Defenders (AA)
Yonder Alonso: Sarasota Reds (A) to Carolina Mudcats (AA)

I know a few people who live in Pittsburgh, and they are spitting, cussing mad that Nate McLouth – a rare All-Star for the Buccos – has been traded to Atlanta. From my somewhat vulturine Z-meter perch, however, I am pleased that this has happened, because it means that we finally get to see what Andrew McCutchen can do in PNC Park. Andy Mac is a pretty classic table-setter; he gets on base, is a threat to steal, and scores more than he drives in. His range in the outfield should be a serious boon to the Pirates as well. In fact, he already went 3/4 with a swipe and three runs in his debut.

To replace him, we’re going with a legacy pick. Kyle Drabek is the son of 1990 Cy Young winner (in Pittsburgh!) Doug Drabek. He appears to be following in dad’s windup, piling up enough strikeouts at Sarasota to earn a promotion to Reading just this week. This whole edition of the Z-meter has a very Pennsylvania feel to it, doesn’t it?

Wade Davis has had middling numbers so far this year, but the Rays might take a closer look at him after this week’s start. Davis threw 13 strikeouts in a game that ended up as a loss for the Durham Bulls. Still… thirteen! Poor old Carlos Carrasco finally got his first win in Lehigh, beating the McCutchen-less Indianapolis Indians on June 4th. Keep ya head up, Carlos!

The top level. These prospects are in AAA in the prime of their youth, waiting for the call that will change their lives.

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 11 Games – 5W – 3L – 3.51 ERA – 26 BB – 45 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .278 – 36 R – 8 HR – 25 RBI – 49 BB – 0 SB – .521 SLG – .955 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .296 – 41 R – 2 HR – 15 RBI – 13 BB – 22 SB – .399 SLG – .737 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 11 Starts – 1 W – 6 L – 5.14 ERA – 17 BB – 63 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .348 – 29 R – 1 HR – 26 RBI – 20 BB – 11 SB – .465 SLG – .885 OPS

These guys also have the potential to skip straight to the majors, but may get promoted to AAA first.

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .243 AVG – 26 R – 6 HR – 30 RBI – 23 BB – 0 SB – .405 SLG – .734 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 10 Starts – 3 W – 4 L – 3.38 ERA – 20 BB – 45 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .284 AVG – 35 R – 9 HR – 37 RBI – 37 BB – 0 SB – .547 SLG – .964 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B (injured) – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .325 AVG – 28 R – 6 HR – 25 RBI – 32 BB – 0 SB – .503 SLG – .947 OPS
Andrew Locke, OF – Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros): .363 AVG – 35 R – 10 HR – 57 RBI – 16 BB – 0 SB – .585 SLG – .987 OPS 
Madison Bumgarner, LHP – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): 5 Games – 4 Starts – 4 W – 0 L – 1.86 ERA – 8 BB – 29 K
Jeanmar Gomez, RHP – Akron Aeros (Indians): 6 Starts – 4 W – 2 L – 2.77 ERA – 5 BB – 33 K
Yonder Alonso, 1B – Carolina Mudcats (Reds): .313 AVG – 3 R – 0 HR – 3 RBI – 3 BB – o SB – .500 SLG – .921 OPS
Kyle Drabek, RHP – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 1 Start – 1 W – 0 L – 0.00 ERA – 3 BB – 4 K

These guys have vast potential but need to work out some kinks in A-ball before they can advance.

Ian Gac, 1B – Bakersfield Blaze (Rangers): .231 AVG – 15 R – 7 HR – 20 RBI – 12 BB – 0 SB – .440 SLG – .729 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .263 AVG – 33 R – 7 HR – 35 RBI – 11 BB – 2 SB – .433 SLG – .734 OPS

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates): .240 AVG – 26 R – 9 HR – 41 RBI – 31 BB – 1 SB – .448 SLG – .792 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .217 AVG – 24 R – 1 HR – 16 RBI – 21 BB – 7 SB – .289 SLG – .600 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .348 AVG – 33 R – 13 HR – 34 RBI – 5 BB – 2 SB – .610 SLG – .995 OPS

Shooter Hunt (injured), RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): 7 Games – 5 Starts – 0 W – 1 L – 10.70 ERA – 33 BB – 18 K

Collin Cowgill, OF – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .273 AVG – 37 R – 6 HR – 33 RBI – 23 BB – 9 SB – .459 SLG – .822 OPS

Mauricio Robles, P – West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers): 10 Starts – 4 W – 3 L – 3.91 ERA – 23 BB – 70 K

Tim Beckham, SS – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays): .291 AVG – 21 R – 3 HR – 29 RBI – 14 BB – 1 SB – .413 SLG – .757 OPS

Ezekiel Spruill, RHP – Rome Braves (Braves): 10 Games – 9 Starts – 7 W – 2 L – 1 SV – 3.05 ERA – 9 BB – 46 K

Brad Brach, RHP – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres): 23 Games – 0 Starts – 1.13 ERA – 3 W – 2 L – 15 SV – 5 BB – 32 K

NCAA: Only used if a prospect in college shows really, truly, immensely, hugely inescapable potential.

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 14 Starts – 13 W – 1 L – 1.32 ERA – 19 BB – 195 K

Strasburg and the Aztecs were eliminated from postseason play in their regional. Let the draft watch begin.

Prospects chosen from Diamond Cutter’s Top 25, Baseball America, and our trademark irrational sense of whimsy.

Bull Durham Stadium to become Training Field of Dreams

The Durham Bulls haven’t played in Durham Athletic Park for years now. Nobody’s had to hold the flavor of the month’s junk there for some time, but the park still stands. Nobody really wants to tear down the filmic backdrop to the legendary baseball movie “Bull Durham”.

Now comes the news that the City of Durham is renovating the stadium, courtesy of a $6.3 million budget. The new field will host the collegiate baseball battles of North Carolina Central University. Some reports also claim that the facility will be a training ground for future ballpark employees:

When it’s finished, the old park will be a new training ground for minor league baseball. People will come to Durham to learn how to take care of fields and how to “flip” them from festivals to ballgames.


I’ve attempted to contact the city to find out what they’re doing with the debris from the old stadium. Wouldn’t you love a chance to buy the table Millie was lying on when she and Nuke… never mind.


Reminder: Crash Davis Returns to Durham on July 4th

I don’t know what Kevin Costner is doing with a guitar in that photo, but I hope he’s singing this:

“Young girls they do get wooly, beCAUSE of all the stress!”

God, I hate people who get the words wrong.

Actually, Mr. Costner will be back in Durham to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film that gave this blog a name:

In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the hit movie Bull Durham, the Durham Bulls are pleased to announce Hollywood star Kevin Costner and his band, Modern West are coming to Durham to celebrate Independence Day with a concert at the DBAP on July 4th. Costner starred in the role of Crash Davis, an aging catcher sent down to A-ball to work with a young pitching prospect on the Durham Bulls. The City of Durham’s annual fireworks extravaganza will follow the concert.


Am I the only one who finds celebrity musical groups to be a bit sad? And imagine having to tell your kids that the fireworks show won’t start until the guy with the thinning hair is done with his soft rock playlist. Then again, if they can get him to deliver his famous “high fiber, good scotch” (and a few other things) soliloquy, maybe it will be truly newsworthy.

[ESPN: the Magazine’s Bull Durham Week]

Baseball and Pancakes – What More Could a Fan Want?

Any time I read about some intrepid soul venturing out to see as many baseball games as possible, I get a little bit jealous. But when I read about an RV that will be hitting 60+ minor-league ballparks across the United States, and also chowing on pancakes, I just have to write about it.

It seems that the International House of Pancakes will be celebrating a 50th anniversary soon. To share the wealth, they’ve loaded up that beautiful machine you see above, and they’ll be driving cross-country bringing breakfast joy to the bus leagues. They’ll be driving over 8,000 miles before it’s all said and done, and in this time of spiraling gas prices, that’s true dedication.

The Pancake Express (my choice of name) will hand out T-shirts, sponsor games, and enter fans in a sweepstakes as part of the celebration of their half-century of “breakfast any time”. As a guy who has a five-year-old with a pancake jones, I’m most excited about the 2-for-1 coupons they’ll be offering, as well as the nine new pancake flavors. In addition, the “Most Valuable Pancake” mascot will be along for the ride, so I’m really, really hoping they make it to Montgomery, AL so the Pancake can meet the Biscuit.

We do know the first few stops of the tour. Jacksonville Suns (Dodgers) fans will get the first taste:

May 31/June 1 – Mobile BayBears @ Jacksonville Suns (7:05/3:05pm). The Suns are giving away emergency lamps on Saturday and having wooden bat day for the first 1,500 kids through the gates on Sunday.

June 2 – Rome Braves @ Charleston RiverDogs 7:05pm.

June 5/6 – Pawtucket Red Sox @ Charlotte Knights (both 7:15 starts). Might Justin Masterson pitch? Sweeter than syrup!

June 7/8 – Charlotte Knights @ Durham Bulls (7:05/5:05). The Knights are going to be eating a LOT of pancakes, if I’m any judge.

June 12-14 – Charlotte Knights @ Norfolk Tides (Thursday and Friday 7:15 starts) and Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Saturday 7:15). See what I mean about the Knights? It’s like they’re following the Pancake Express on purpose.

June 16/17 – Charlotte Knights @ Richmond Braves (7pm on Monday, double-header starting at 1pm on Tuesday). Getting mighty greedy, Knights. That’s all I can say.

Starting Monday, IHOP will be running a sweepstakes on their website, and putting up photos and tracking the progress of the Pancake Express. Check back to see when they’ll be in your neighborhood.

Oh, and please pass the syrup?

Now Batting For The Tampa Bay Rays…

The Tampa Bay Rays made a controversial decision at the end of spring training, sending top prospect Evan Longoria to AAA Durham despite an excellent performance in the Grapefruit League. As various blogs pointed out, the move was likely based not on Longoria’s playing ability, but for financial reasons: keeping him in the minors for even a couple weeks impacted the length of time before he would ultimately be eligible for arbitration, free agency, and all that good stuff.

Doesn’t matter now – the Rays called Longoria up on Saturday to replace infielder Manny Aybar, who heads to the disabled list with a hamstring strain.

Joining Longoria in Florida will be pitching prospect Jeff Niemann. The two were the 2nd and 99th ranked prospects, respectively, by Baseball America. Niemann was the fourth overall pick in the draft in 2004, Longoria went third overall in 2006.

Longoria is expected to make his major league debut tonight when the Rays host the first-place Orioles. Niemann will make the start on Sunday.