2017 has almost come to an end, and what a year it was for the Durham Bulls. From a championship to an anniversary to being way better than the Charlotte Knights, we look back on the Top 10 moments/memories of the year that was.
10. Dominance over the Charlotte Knights
There’s no secret that the Bulls and Knights are rivals on the field. This year though Durham made it quite clear who the state’s best team was, compiling an 18–5 record against the Knights, including a 12–1 mark at the DBAP.
9. Tom ‘Porky’ McDonald Says Goodbye
In early May, The New York Times did a story on a man who flushed his friend’s ashes down toilets at ballparks as a tribute to his baseball-loving friend. His last stop on the trail was Durham Athletic Park, and we were there to capture the emotional story.
8. DBAP Gaming Challenge is First of its Kind
In late September the DBAP hosted the inaugural DBAP Gaming Challenge, becoming the first minor league facility to host an e-sports event.
7. DBAP Welcomes 10 Millionth Triple-A Fan
On Aug. 12 the Bulls hit a major milestone, welcoming the 10 millionth paid fan in the team’s Triple-A history to the DBAP. Samuel Hamilton was the night’s big winner, including taking home a $500 shopping spree to the Ballpark Corner Store.
6. Bulls Rank Top 25 in Merchandise Sales for 25th Straight Year
Beginning in 1992 MiLB began releasing the Top 25 teams in the industry for merchandise sales. The only team on the list every year has been the Durham Bulls, shipping out orders to all 50 states and 11 countries.
5. Bulls Pitching Staff Sets MiLB Strikeout Record
Everyone knows the Durham pitching staff was unreal this year, but what you might not know is that it was historically good. The Bulls set an MiLB record by striking out 1,421 batters this season. Perhaps more impressive though is that it ranks 15th in professional baseball history (trailing 14 Major League clubs), considering each team ahead of the Bulls has 20 more games on their schedule.
4. Bulls Celebrate 20 Seasons as a Tampa Bay Affiliate
2017 marked a big year for the Bulls, as it was the 20th anniversary season of their relationship with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Bulls celebrated by donning special jerseys throughout the year, and capped it off in November by announcing the teams were extending their Player Development Contract.
3. DBAP Named One of Country’s Best Facilities
In early 2017 Stadium Journey released its Top 100 Stadium Experiences of 2016, and Durham Bulls Athletic Park checked in at №9 out of 761 venues. Think about that — of all the sporting venues in the country, one of the best is in Downtown Durham. That’s special.
2. Bulls Fans Set Three Attendance Records
The DBAP welcomed a whole bunch of fans this year, including setting three separate attendance records. The Bulls opened the year with the best seven-game stretch to begin a season, welcomed a single-game record 11,897 paid fans on the 4th of July, and capped the year by hosting 10,000+ fans on four consecutive days. Best fans in sports? Check.
1.Bulls Are Best-of-the-Best in Triple-A
No surprises for the top spot on our list. The Bulls captured the franchise’s second Triple-A National Title with a 5–3 victory over Memphis, the team’s fifth Governors’ Cup crown after defeating Scranton/WB in the IL championship, and the team’s 13th division title in 20 seasons. Durham finished the postseason with a 7–2 record, and completed the regular season with an 86–56 mark, the 4th-best record in franchise history (any classification). Also a cool note — Johnny Field set the tone for the entire year when he clubbed a leadoff homer on Opening Day. We were the best right from the start.
- Governor Roy Cooper visits DBAP to celebrate championship season
- Brent Honeywell earns Futures Game MVP
- Lee Gardner inducted into International League Hall of Fame
- Duke basketball spends the afternoon at the DBAP
- Carolina Hurricanes join the Durham Bulls for batting practice
- Bulls and Duke square off in Battle in the Bull City