Alberta’s Favorite thing about Durham

Durham Skyline including Durham Bulls Athletic Park

by Jay on July 31, 2010

Making a Home is not Just about Buying a House.

I recently asked Alberta what was her favorite thing about Durham. As often happens her answer surprised me. I mentioned that I hadn’t really written a post about the Bulls.  She volunteered to write one herself.  Here it is.

Why I love the Bulls…another reason to live in Durham.

Jay is always whining about generating content for his blogs.  His problem is he’s starting to babble more about S Eee Oh and rankings and word press and things I’m sure mean something to him but have nothing to do with real estate, selling a home or living in Durham. Raise your head up, Big Guy, the Durham Bulls are on a tear. Nine games in a row!

Now, the Big Guy claims that he’s surprised that the Durham Bulls are one of my favorite things about Durham. It really is. OK, I’m technically elderly but I’m not dead. All those earnest young men running around in tight pants are…how would my granddaughter say this…hunky! But don’t stereotype me. I actually know how to keep the box score and usually do it until about the seventh inning when the second beer kicks in and I lose my focus and have to make a quick trip to the ladies room.

Growing up on Long Island my dad used to take me over to Yankee Stadium for a Yankee’s game two or three times a year and I often listened to them on the radio in front of this old electric fan that swung back in forth in our living room on hot summer evenings. Whitey Ford and Tommy Tresh were my favorite players.  I once got the autograph of a pitcher named Duke Maas that I lost track of after he was sent down to Richmond.

Richmond was the Yankee farm club in the International league at the time and were called the Richmond Virginians…how clever.  Most everyone in Durham remembers Richmond for the Richmond Braves when they were an Atlanta farm team and the Durham Bulls were an Atlanta farm team too and the Bulls were Triple A and still played over in “El Toro” stadium also known as the DAP. When I first moved to Durham somebody dragged me to one of those Bulls games.  I didn’t expect much but, boy, was I surprised. Not exactly like watching the Yankees in Yankee Stadium but terrific fun! I seldom drank two beers there unless their was a rain delay because the ladies rooms were sooo bad. But the baseball was passable and the people watching was great and so was the food and everybody had a great time.

I was a little skeptical when the city fathers decided to build the new ballpark. But the only thing they got wrong was the name. DBAP. Come on guys. That’s as lame as Captain Hook and his wooden leg. Actually they didn’t decide it as much as force it.  The whole idea was voted down once. But the threat to make the Bulls a “regional” team and move them closer to Raleigh finally stiffened some Durham backbone.  In a twist of fate…the Big Guy would probably call it irony…the Bulls are regional. A lot of the families from over that way drive to Durham for the Bulls games.

Going to a Bulls game today ain’t like going to Yankee Stadium or going to the old El Toro. But going to Yankee Stadium ain’t like going to Yankee Stadium anymore either. Everything moves on.  When you go to a Bulls game now, the baseball is better, the food is better, the beer is just as cold and everybody has fun from the littlest rug rats to the old codgers that try to get my attention.  And there’s no question you’re in Durham! The bull still sits on the fence and the old brick American Tobacco buildings set the style. Shiny new office buildings and the wonderful new theater with that other horrible name, DPAC, rise proudly on the other side of the outfield fences and finally hide most of the the jail.  Downtown Durham just gets better and better.

Oh…and speaking of Yankee Stadium, the Big Guy and I were both there at the same time once 40 some years before we even met!  My first husband was from upstate and went to Syracuse. In 1963 we went to a Syracuse/Notre Dame football game at Yankee Stadium! Jay was a freshman at ND and rode a train in from South Bend with half the school.  What a coincidence! The legal drinking age in the city was then 18. Ask the Big Guy some time about his first opportunity to drink hard liquor legally! Syracuse won 14 to 7 and Notre Dame went on to have one of their worst seasons ever.  But the next three years with the Big Guy on the team, they won one national championship and almost won another.  Go Irish! Go Bulls!

Here’s the webby thing for the Bulls… Cute! No?


My note: What Alberta says in the last paragraph is true but no one should be left with the impression that my contribution to Notre Dame football made any difference in its won/lost record. As for my introduction to hard liquor, all I remember was that at my first opportunity to order a drink what  popped into my head was “scotch and soda,” a drink I enjoy occasionally to this day.   -Jay, aka, the Big Guy

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