DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke baseball team has renewed its agreement with the Durham Bulls to play home games at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP), home of the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Beginning in 2016, the contract renewal is a seven-year agreement that allows Duke to play up to 36 exhibition and home games at the DBAP each year. The agreement also calls for a limited number of Duke practices at the DBAP as well as a new permanent Duke locker room and clubhouse at the facility.
“To be sure, we are well beyond ecstatic to continue and expand our close relationship with the City of Durham and specifically with the Durham Bulls Athletic Park,” said Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White. “This gold standard venue is clearly the athletics crown jewel of downtown Durham, and all the credit must be unequivocally directed toward Jim Goodmon, whose extraordinary vision has led to the remarkable revitalization of the entire American Tobacco section within the Bull City. Our head coach, Chris Pollard, the baseball staff, and the Duke team are extremely excited to grow the program even more in this phenomenal home stadium, which represents the very best facility the sport has to offer!
“Finally,” White continued, “I would be remiss if I didn't also express a supreme thank you to Dr. Tallman Trask III, Duke's highly seasoned Executive Vice President, who played a critical role in leading this unique partnership to fruition. Without question, Tallman, not unlike Jim Goodmon, has been a huge catalyst for the dramatic, if not historic, revitalization of the city of Durham.”
Duke and the Durham Bulls began their partnership prior to the Blue Devils’ 2010 season. The 2016 campaign marks the seventh consecutive season in which Duke will play homes games at the DBAP. Under the new agreement, the Blue Devils will play the vast majority of their home schedule at the minor league venue.
“This is a formative moment for Duke Baseball,” said Head Coach Chris Pollard. “I’m thrilled that our coaches, our players and our future players will have the opportunity to play and train in one of the best stadiums in the country. We’ve always enjoyed a strong relationship with the Durham Bulls and a good relationship is now a great relationship.”
The renewal gives the Blue Devils access to one of the finest minor league stadiums in the country. The Durham Bulls Athletic Park, located in downtown Durham, opened in 1995 and has a seating capacity of 10,000. Constructed by George W. Kane Construction and designed by the Durham-based Freelon Group, in association with HOK Sport + Venue + Event - the architects who also constructed Camden Yards in Baltimore, Jacobs Field in Cleveland and Coors Field in Colorado - the DBAP features an old-style manual scoreboard at the base of a 32-foot-high wall in left field deemed "The Blue Monster." The DBAP's dimensions begin at 305 feet in left field, 371 feet at left-center field, 400 feet to center field, 373 feet in right-center field and 327 feet down the right field line.
“We’re thankful to both Mike Birling and Scott Strickland for their hospitality over the past few years,” Pollard added. “And I would be remiss if I did not thank the Goodmons for their willingness to partner with Duke Baseball. We’re excited to make the move to downtown Durham beginning this fall.”