Today, May 22, 2012, Phil and I were suffering from Dash Withdrawal because our favorite team was on the road so we went on our own road trip to see a Durham Bulls day game. It turned out that they were playing the Charlotte Knights, a White Sox AAA affiliate! Naturally, we had to root for them and we also thrilled to see 4 players who used to play for the Dash: Terry Doyle (pitcher), Justin Green (Left Field), Drew Garcia (Right Field) and Josh Phegly (Catcher).
It was an easy drive to the Durham Athletic Field and sky was Carolina Blue with a few white, puffy clouds. It was warm, but not too bad and we had seats in the shade. We sat close to home plate on the first base side and realized quickly that our seats were very close to the ones in front, but it was only this row, so we moved down a row where the leg room was better.
We noticed quite a few differences between our Dash Ballpark and this one. The most obvious one was their scoreboard which was oddly old fashioned, perhaps intentionally. A man had to manually place the numbers in the little windows. The balls, strikes and outs were shown at the very bottom with lights. Unfortunately, it was hard to see these stats as the players obstructed our view at times. This was the only scoreboard in the entire park. They did have a screen, but it wasn’t as nice as our JumboTron. I have to say that the sound system wasn’t great and we couldn’t understand much of what was being said including their person who presided over the games (our “Sarah” equivalent was nowhere near as good as she is!).
The concession stands were back behind the seats where the game was not at all visible and I didn’t see any TVs showing the game. You could hear the play by play guy, but again, it was hard to understand especially with the noise on the concourse. Of course, there were plenty of beer places!
They did have a Wool E. Bull mascot who was pretty cute as he arrived in a blue, souped-up go-cart and I did get a photo of me with him. However, he just isn’t as perky and sassy as our own Bolt. The kid’s area was far from where we were so I can’t say how it was, but there was certainly no Merry-Go-Round which is a feature of BB&T Ballpark and looks so great all lit up at night. I was impressed with the good attendance for a weekday 1:00 game. We saw a busload of people being brought in and leaving.
Much of the music was the same as ours and other things on the big screen were similar. We did note that they have 3 umpires instead of our 2. Also, they didn’t do any fanfare when the Durham Bulls team was announced like we do. It’s amazing how you don’t realize how great a job they do at BB&T Park until you go somewhere else and it doesn’t quite hit that high mark!
Our Dash Pack personnel are so personable, perky and fun! Theirs didn’t have funky names on their shirts either and weren’t around to greet patrons on their way in or out. We so appreciate that ours are always out there and so friendly.
The game went well. Terry Doyle pitched 8 innings and the final score was 5-2 Charlotte, so we were happy campers, although we were the only ones! A former Yankee player, Matsui (spelling?) was a DH for the Bulls. He is with Tampa Bay and is down here rehabbing we think.
They do have a well-stocked team store and I bought a pin as I like to collect them. We walked around the complex next to the stadium for a little bit before heading home.
It was a great experience to visit another ball park and we plan to do more when we can.
I give the Dash Experience 5 Stars and the Durham Bulls…4 Stars.