banner
Aaron Schoonmaker

Season closes at DBAP with classic evening

Posted September 19, 2012

— After winning the Triple-A National Championship and getting showered by champagne, Reno Aces first baseman Mike Jacobs got the call to join the Arizona Diamondbacks. He has tasted the Majors before, but it was a small moment that punctuated a classic evening of America’s Pastime.

Everything that is right with the game of baseball was on full display at Durham Bulls Athletic Park Tuesday for the Triple-A National Championship won by the Aces, 10-3.

It was a late-summer game under the lights with meaning. Daytime storms had left the air cool and the freshly cut grass glistening - the DBAP crew and Bulls staff brought their "A" game. And two visiting teams were treated as if they were at home in front of 8,100 fans – many of which traveled a good distance to be there. Reno crowned Triple-A champs at DBAP Slideshow: Reno crowned Triple-A champs at DBAP

“It was exciting, we were all pretty fired up to come to Durham,” said A.J. Pollock, Aces outfielder and the game’s Most Valuable Player. “For us, it was cool to see a different place and it was a great atmosphere here.”

A teenager in the right field seats was pulling for the Reno Aces because they square off in the regular season with his favorite team, the Memphis Redbirds. A grade-school girl was cheering for the Aces because Wool E. Bull was their acting mascot on the night. A couple down the third base line was rooting for the Pawtucket Red Sox because they are life-long Boston fans.

Overflow media, scouts and other Triple-A coaches were also scattered around the lower level with the high-energy fans to take in the winner-take-all contest between the International and Pacific Coast leagues. Many were unidentifiable because on this night, they too were fans.

The crowd was in full cheer with the first batter in the bottom of the first as Pollock, the Reno lead-off man, tripled to right center. Four batters later, a Brent Cleven home run to dead center got another rise from the cosmopolitan of fans.

The famous red-eyed, snorting bull over the Blue Monster went off a few times on the night, each time the smoke hung around a little longer than normal in the moist air.

In a 7-0 game in the third, there were not ‘boos,’ but surprised 'ahhs' when Pawtucket right fielder Bryce Brentz, a recent Double-A call-up, dropped a fly ball. Brentz grossly misplayed another in the fourth and was greeted with a mock ovation when he finally pocketed one.

After 4.2 innings, Aces pitcher Trevor Bauer had reached the triple digit mark on pitches and was pulled. As a former Team USA pitcher who has spent a lot of time in Durham, Bauer walked off to the DBAP crowd applauding the effort with a standing ovation.

“I really appreciate the support of the fans that came out tonight,” Bauer said, also noting that his long-time host family on the East Coast was able to see the game. “We had a really good crowd, really into it. And it was a really tough day to watch baseball. It was raining all day and we didn’t know how many fans would actually get out with the weather, but the city came out and supported the game and it was great to see the fans come out and support the city.”

And as the night progressed, there was added support for Pawtucket to make an improbable comeback. They didn't, but the fans still got post game fireworks - good ones, too.

Players on their way out of the game, players on the rise, players just hanging on and players like Jacobs, fighting to get back to the Bigs, were all brought together to one stadium, away from home, to play one game. They were treated like the childhood heroes they once went to watch.

There were hot dogs, cotton candy, families and on-field games; walk-up songs and the 'YMCA'. Even after rain left the slides wet, Wool E. World was full of youngsters. There were those that over-indulged and those that responsibly gave home runs and foul balls to kids - in one case that person was one-in-the-same.

Then there was a matter of reunion in a game that so often sees career intersections. Pawtucket hitting coach Gerald Perry and Reno manager Brett Butler were teammates for the Durham Bulls in 1980 when they were 19 and 23 years old, respectively. On Tuesday, now much older and on to phase 2 of their baseball lives,they were again in Durham, this time in opposite dugouts trying to beat one another.

And no baseball game experience, especially at the minor league level, is complete without a famous person throwing out a first pitch. Enter American Idol winner, Garner native and former high school pitcher, Scotty McCreery to both throw out the first pitch and sing 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' during the seventh inning stretch. His toss? A full-windup fastball from the 60-dot-6 rubber.

Much like the night as a whole: a perfect strike.

1 Comment

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Sep 19, 9:25 a.m.

    Huge Cudos to the Dancing Grounds Crew. That was a nice twist, figuratively and literally.

TV
  • HSFB: Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Tonight at 11:35 on WRAL-TV

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
BSU
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
GSW
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
BOS 102
CHI 109
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
GSW
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
DAL
7:30pm Tonight
DET
MIL
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
NOP
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
LAC
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
NYK
8:00pm Tonight
IND
ORL
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
SAC
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
PHO
10:00pm Tonight
POR
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIN
Final
WMICH 21
NILL 31
 
4th
SMU 9
HOU 35
 
4th
IOWA 31
NEB 28
 
Final
SFLA 0
UCF 16
 
4th
MARS 52
WKENT 59
 
3rd
KSU 20
AKR 10
 
3rd
BGU 24
BST 27
 
3rd
UMASS 7
BUF 34
 
3rd
EMICH 16
TOL 45
 
2nd
MIZZ 3
ARK 7
 
1st
SALABAMA 10
NAVY 0
 
3:30pm Today
ARZ
ARST
3:30pm Today
AFA
COLST
3:30pm Today
UCLA
STAN
8:00pm Tonight
VT
UVA
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
Final
KU 82
TENN 67
 
Final
TEXAM 87
NO 65
 
2nd
NCAT 57
RAD 65
 
2nd
GEOR 35
BUT 37
 
Half
BRO 38
PVU 37
 
Half
RIU 35
SCU 27
 
Half
NARZ 30
SOUTH 28
 
1st
DART 17
MAST 16
 
3:30pm Today
WRST
FIU
3:30pm Today
XAV
UTEP
4:00pm Today
OSU
JMU
4:00pm Today
TXSOU
LAM
 
4:00pm Today
TAMCC
MVSU
 
4:00pm Today
AKAN
MIZST
4:00pm Today
BUCK
PSU
 
4:00pm Today
PROV
YALE
4:30pm Today
UGA
MINN
4:30pm Today
WISC
OKLA
5:00pm Tonight
Terriers
NORST
 
5:00pm Tonight
PEAY
STEPH
6:00pm Tonight
FSU
CSOU
 
6:00pm Tonight
VALPO
DRAK
6:00pm Tonight
CIN
MTST
6:00pm Tonight
SDU
PRIN
6:00pm Tonight
CSFU
USCU
6:15pm Tonight
WASU
RICE
6:30pm Tonight
GT
RIDE
7:00pm Tonight
TXPA
ALAST
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
BSU
7:00pm Tonight
TCU
BRAD
7:00pm Tonight
WAKE
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
HART
EMERSON
 
7:00pm Tonight
STJ
GONZ
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
HIGH
 
7:00pm Tonight
SYR
HC
 
7:00pm Tonight
MD
MON
7:00pm Tonight
JVST
SAV
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
SALA
7:00pm Tonight
RUTG
VANDY
7:30pm Tonight
PETE
TENST
8:00pm Tonight
MARS
CLST
8:00pm Tonight
JST
HOF
 
8:00pm Tonight
INDST
MEM
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SAMF
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
SELA
 
8:00pm Tonight
NEB
TENNM
8:30pm Tonight
MISS
CREI
8:30pm Tonight
PORT
MURST
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
MSU
9:00pm Tonight
ARK
UNT
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
STET
 
9:00pm Tonight
IND
UNCG
9:00pm Tonight
SJST
WMICH
9:05pm Tonight
MNTST
TXARL
9:30pm Tonight
UVA
LAS
9:30pm Tonight
STLU
MSST
9:30pm Tonight
COLST
PAC
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
NDAK
10:30pm Tonight
ILL
BAY
10:30pm Tonight
UAB
UCLA
11:30pm Tonight
WASH
LBSU
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
MERC
3rd
PHI 0
NYR 3
 
4:00pm Today
ANA
CHI
5:00pm Tonight
WAS
NYI
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
DET
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
MON
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
VAN
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
WIN
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
OTT
8:00pm Tonight
STL
EDM
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
MIN