DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke baseball team has reached an agreement with the Durham Bulls to play 18 home games in 2010 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
"This is another addition to the growing entertainment district of Downtown Durham," Durham Bulls General Manager Mike Birling said. "Bringing ACC Baseball to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is a terrific opportunity for fans to watch great college baseball in a fan-friendly setting while giving our staff an invaluable opportunity to prepare for the Durham Bulls season."
The 2010 season will now mark the first time since 1931 that Duke will play home games outside of its home turf at Jack Coombs Field, located on the West Campus of Duke University. Jack Coombs Field, built in 1931 and formally named in 1978 in honor of Duke coaching legend Jack Coombs, will still be in use by the Blue Devils for a number of home games and as a practice field.
"Without question, Jim Goodmon is the catalyst behind so much of the revitalization effort in downtown Durham, and an anchor piece of that puzzle is the Durham Bulls Athletic Park," said Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White. "It is so exciting that the Duke Baseball program will be playing in one of the finest facilities in the sport. Additionally, this is yet another example of Duke and Durham partnering to further enhance the ties between the campus and its surrounding community."
The agreement gives the Blue Devils access to one of the finest minor league baseball 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 are excited to have the opportunity to play downtown at the DBAP," said Duke head coach Sean McNally, now in his fifth year as head coach at his alma mater. "We are especially thankful to Jim Goodmon and Dr. Kevin White for their hard work in making this possibility a reality. It should be a great experience and relationship for our players, Duke University, Duke Athletics and the Durham community. We have made great strides as a baseball program over the last four years; this move downtown both recognizes that progress and absolutely helps us in our mission to elevate the program further. Opening Day at the DBAP for Duke Baseball can't come soon enough!"
With the move, Duke joins numerous Division I baseball programs around the country that share their home field with a minor league or independent league baseball team, including Cal State Fullerton, The Citadel, Nebraska and New Mexico.