The Durham Bulls are probably the nation's most famous minor league team, mainly due to the Kevin Costner movie Bull Durham. The team is the AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and plays at Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP). However, this is not the ball park you saw in the movie. The DBAP first opened in 1995, but was enhanced to Triple-A seating standards for the 1998 season. That year the Durham Bulls became the International League affiliate for the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays, after being associated with the Atlanta Braves in the Carolina league since the 1980's. Since 1998, the Bulls have been to six playoff appearances in seven seasons, including winning the Governor's Cup Championships in 2002 and 2003.
THE SNORTING BULL is a web site with extensive coverage on the Durham Bulls. The site provides game day articles, recaps, standings, and commentary on the team. Last week I had a chance to talk with Lucy Morales from The Snorting Bull.
DRAYS BAY: What can you tell me about your web site The Snorting Bull?
DRAYS BAY: Tell me about the Durham Bulls and how you got started with The Snorting Bull?
DRAYS BAY: Any good stories or memories about any of players?
* One highlight of the 2003 season was undoubtedly getting to see Jorge Fabregas' World Series ring. He had been part of the 2002 Anaheim Angels and was presented with his ring prior to the start of a game one night. Shortly after receiving it, he brought it down to show us. It was quite impressive.
* Jorge Cantu - Undoubtedly you have noticed his recent increase in power and skyrocketing success. When questioned what he attributed it to, he told us it was the Mongolian Beef. Apparently, Jorge (and as we later confirmed most of the rest of the Bulls), loved to eat at P.F. Chang's. Jorge would always order the Mongolian Beef and before you know it, many other Bulls players were eating the Mongolian Beef to help with their game too.
* Bobby Seay - Last year the Bulls sponsored Education Day with the game starting at 11:00am and most of the fans in attendance were school children. Around the 7th or 8th inning, the theme song to SpongeBob SquarePants was played over the speakers and the children went crazy and started singing loudly along with it. Bobby was protecting the warm-up pitcher and catcher in the bullpen and seemed to be getting into the song. We started calling him SpongeBobby Seay. The next day, Bobby actually requested that the SpongeBob theme song be played as his intro music. The crowds always loved it! For Bobby's birthday, we even brought him a SpongeBob balloon!
* Jim Morris - I did get a chance to meet Jim Morris in his time in Durham. You could tell that he was so happy to be getting a chance and the rest of his team admired him for it. It was interesting to see the portrayal of Durham and the Bulls in The Rookie. I have to say I was a little upset that they didn't actually use the ballpark in Durham for those scenes.
* Aubrey Huff, Jason Standridge, and Ryan Jackson - All three are amazingly good singers. Sunday night's in the summertime is karaoke night at one of the local bars. Many of the Bulls were regulars and it was a common sight to see at least one of them take the mic for their rendition of some class song (Aubrey tended to like to sing country, while Jason and Ryan were more along the lines of Pearl Jam or Creed).
DRAYS BAY: Anything you tell me about Matt Diaz in his time as a Durham Bull?
http://www.thesnortingbull.com/articles/130.html - look at the picture halfway down.
A little tidbit on Matt: Matt was very protective of his bats, so much so that he named them. Last season alone he went through Bonnie Maple, Bernice, POC, Bambi, Christina, and Ebony.
DRAYS BAY: Do you and the staff at The Snorting Bull follow the players careers after they leave Durham?
We do keep a close eye on the guys in Tampa though. We joke that we hope the Devil Rays have a good deal on airplane flights because there are so many players who go back and forth on the Tampa-Durham shuttle. But, our main focus is really on the current Bulls and the daily happenings at the DBAP. Although, we have been known to go to a few AA games when the Montgomery Biscuits take on the Carolina Mudcats outside of Raleigh.
We are all somewhat Rays fans, me more than most since I'm originially from Florida. But, we also have Red Sox, Mariners, Angels, and Twins fans on staff.
DRAYS BAY: What was the championship atmosphere of the AAA like for Bulls players?
DRAYS BAY: Any Carl Crawford Durham Bull memory?
DRAYS BAY: How long has The Snorting Bull been covering the Durham Bulls?
DRAYS BAY: Anything else I should know about the Durham Bulls?
If anyone is ever in Durham for a Bulls game, please come by section 114 Row A and say hi. Odds are, you'll at least get a mention on the website!!!