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Bulls ready for season opener

Posted April 2
Updated April 3

— The Durham Bulls are back on the field looking to defend their Governors’ Cup championship.

“It’s a different year, but the one thing we got going is that we got ten guys from last year,” said Bulls manager Charlie Montoya. “It’s going to be fun on Saturday when we get the rings. I never take that for granted because it’s not easy to win at this level and we’ve done a great job.”

This year’s roster doesn’t have the big names like Wil Myers or Chris Archer, but there are some intriguing guys to keep an eye on. Smithfield Selma high school graduate Jerry Sands is among the newcomers who will be roaming the outfield this season.

“I was going to spring training, I had a shot to make the team, you always do,” said Sands. “My fallback was coming back to Triple-A to play here. I’m really excited because of what the Durham Bulls do year in and year out.”

Vince Belnome, who helped lead the team in the playoffs in 2013, will be back at first base this year. Once again manager Charlie Montoya will have his pick of some really good arms on the mound.

Overall, you can expect to see plenty of talent at the DBAP and moving on to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014.

“The playoff teams at this level the issue, the biggest thing is not doing very well. For us to be in the playoffs almost every year while or big team is in the playoffs too,” said Montoya. “It’s not easy but the communication was great and of course it helps having good players.”

The six-month journey for the Durham Bulls starts Thursday as they play the Gwinnett Braves at 6 p.m. (620 The Buzz).

DBAP gets fan-friendly makeover during offseason

A new edition of the Bulls will no doubt be the focus of Thursday's opener against Gwinnett, but the Durham Bulls Athletic Park will also get plenty of attention after a round of fan-friendly renovations. 

Crews broke ground on $20 million worth of upgrades in September. 

Changes start at the front entrance, which has lost the gates but gained a grand facade. On the concourse, nearly a dozen new concessions options have been added.

Overlooking the field of play, just a few of the additions include a new picnic-style seating area in the right field corner, an expanded pavilion with a full-service bar along the right field line, a brand new club level behind home plate, a taqueria in left and enhanced social seating just over the right field wall.

An enhanced WiFi integration will allow up to 8,000 simultaneous users – up from fewer than 2,000 a year ago at a stadium that seats 10,000. New speakers have been installed in the outfield so the patrons behind home plate will no longer be deafened at the expense of their cheap-seat brethren.

And there are more than 4,100 square feet of brand new, state-of-the-art HD video boards highlighted by a 2,048 square foot screen on the Blue Monster in left field.

The field of play itself is a brand new surface, the light banks are new and with the addition of the scoreboards, the dimensions of the field have even changed with the centerfield and rightfield walls coming in a few feet.

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  • kikinc Apr 3, 3:39 p.m.

    bob 23 said..I'll take my chances in Durham...... Good Luck on that.....

    Violent crime rate in... View More

    — Posted by Raleigh Rocks 1

    And how many of those crimes occur in the area around the stadium?

    Raleigh's not too far behind in crime. While there are some places I wouldn't walk after dark in downtown Durham, the same can be said for Raleigh.

    Some of you guys are such babies. With the police presence around the DBAP before, during, and after the game, there's not much chance for something to happen. You guys can just stay in your little bubble and we'll go and enjoy the game.

    It's never taken me more than a couple minutes to get into the stadium for a game, and I go to about 15-20/year. The DBAP and the Durham Bulls are a great experience. I grew up going to ballgames, and I'm glad I can continue to do so here in NC. I'm glad my parents were as scared as some people. The Bronx is a much scarier place than Durham.

    Each city is going to have its good and its bad areas. Know what areas to avoid, and usually you'll be okay.

  • gmuny33 Apr 3, 3:14 p.m.

    Raleigh Rocks 1, why don't you show Raleigh, and this is 2014. If you are a basher, then I'm sure, the bulls won't miss your presence, and leave your bias in Raleigh. I imagine Raleigh, Wake Co., is crime and criminal free. Durham's creativity and independence, seems to not be of the liking to the gray, black and white clothing of the pale and stale Raleigh-mites.

    Bigger point, the best AAA park in the south, that's undeniable, we'll be sure to visit the ballpark in Raleigh. Take your kids to Cary, and please don't let their hand go.

  • Raleigh Rocks 1 Apr 3, 2:38 p.m.

    bob 23 said..I'll take my chances in Durham...... Good Luck on that.....

    Violent crime rate in 2012
    Durham:
    398.3
    U.S. Average:
    214.0
    Not to mention murder percentage per 100k since 2008 is double compared to US.
    Bigger point, gates open at 5pm and game start at 6:05. thats not enough time to get in, deal with all the lines and new employees that are slow as a seven year itch, and get situated in the seat to participate in pre game activities. Trust me the food lines will be Long and a long time to be served.

  • itneverchanges Apr 3, 1:24 p.m.

    The Bulls are so much more entertaining!! The class of ball is higher and is much better to watch. Mudcats are "A" ball ,meaning you are watching high school all stars playing baseball with expensive food and drink. When the Mudcats moved down in class they lost me and all my friends from attending. Just not worth driving all the way out there to see lowest level ball. I can see that kind of baseball for free at the local PARKS.

  • Knightwolf Apr 3, 12:06 p.m.

    a friendly note. The Mudcats get little coverage from WRAL because both the Duham Bulls and WRAL are both owned by Capital Broadcasting Company. The Bulls have a fortunate and unique situation. Probably no other minor league team in the country is so fortunate.

  • Knightwolf Apr 3, 11:13 a.m.

    didn't realize it was so long ago. Norfolk Tides pitcher Brian Maxcy Aug. 31, 1998. I'm sure things are better now, but that parking deck gives me the creeps.

  • gmuny33 Apr 3, 11:04 a.m.

    Knightwolf(knightdale), stay out there in that chicken coop you all call a ballpark, it's a field. The Championship will be presented where? I can't hear yah.... You can't name the player or where the incident happened. I'm sure players get troubled there too, but yall have no coverage for anything to be reported. Winners, usually spur on Haters, and if you're Durham bashing, don't take your children to Cary or leave valuables in plain site in Raleigh.

  • kikinc Apr 3, 11:01 a.m.

    going to The Mudcats myself. MUCH closer to the action. You don't miss an inning every time you... View More

    — Posted by Knightwolf

    I go to Bulls game all the time, and never once have I felt unsafe. I'll take the DBAP over the Mudcats Stadium any day.

    I've never found the players in the DBAP unapproachable. On the contrary, really. My husband and I go early and have conversations with the players. It's actually quite fun.

    I grew up going to Yankees games in an area of the Bronx that makes Durham look tame. Sure, there was crime around there, but very little. I was never a victim of crime.

  • bobbobson23 Apr 3, 10:36 a.m.

    33, tell that to the Bulls relief pitcher that got clocked with a pipe on his way to his car... View More

    — Posted by Knightwolf

    Wow, an event so traumatic, you don't give us the name of the one player, when the one event happened, or where the one event happened. I'll take my chances in Durham.

  • Knightwolf Apr 3, 10:14 a.m.

    33, tell that to the Bulls relief pitcher that got clocked with a pipe on his way to his car some years back.

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