Durham Bulls Athletic Park to Host 2009 ACC Baseball Championship
Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C., will be the site of the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship, Commissioner John D. Swofford announced recently. The 10,000-seat downtown stadium is home to the Durham Bulls and will serve as the host venue for the 13-game tournament May 20-24.
Boston’s Fenway Park was originally scheduled to host this year’s ACC Baseball Championship, but the Fenway Sports Group was forced to defer until 2010 after discovering an in-house scheduling error in mid-August. That left the ACC to pursue a new site for 2009, and the Durham Bulls were able to accommodate the Championship despite the relatively short notice.
“We are very excited to reach an agreement with the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to be the host site for the 2009 ACC Baseball Championship,” said ACC Commissioner John D. Swofford. “We feel fortunate to know that our teams will compete for an ACC Title in a top-rate stadium that is regarded as one of the best in all of minor league baseball.”
It will mark the sixth time the ACC Baseball Championship has set up shop in Durham, and the fourth time at Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP). The Championship was also played there in 1996, 1998 and 1999. Durham Athletic Park, the previous home to the city’s minor league team and the primary setting for the movie “Bull Durham,” welcomed the ACC in 1984 and 1986.
The 36th ACC Baseball Championship in 2009 will be the 13th played in the state of North Carolina and the first since Durham last served as host in 1999. The last four Championships (2005-08) were played at the Baseball Grounds in Jacksonville, Fla.
“This was a spontaneous opportunity for downtown Durham and the Triangle. I am pleased we could move so quickly to make this happen,” said Mike Birling, General Manager of the Bulls. “Over 50,000 people attended the ’08 event, and we look forward to hosting another major sports event at the DBAP.”
Built at an initial cost of $16 million, Durham Bulls Athletic Park opened in 1995 and was designed by HOK Sport, whose many projects include Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Cleveland’s Jacobs Field, Colorado’s Coors Field and the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium.
“We appreciate the Durham Bulls stepping to the plate when we really needed the assistance,” said Swofford. “There are a number of advantages to having the ACC Championship in Durham, but in terms of this year, its proximity to our conference office will be extremely helpful.”
Following completion of the regular season, the ACC’s top eight teams will advance to the 2009 Championship, which for the third straight year will follow a round-robin format that assures each team of playing a minimum of three games.
Three games will be played on Wednesday, May 20; Thursday, May 21; Friday, May 22 and Saturday, May 23. Game times each day are set for noon, 4pm and 8pm. The championship game is scheduled for Sunday, May 24, at 1pm (starting time tentative).
Each game will be televised by the ACC’s Regional Sports Network (FSN South, SportsSouth, FSN Florida, Sun Sports, Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic and NESN). Details of each game will also be available via the conference’s Internet site, the acc.com.
Thanks to DBBC’s Matt DeMargel for this capcom story & graphic.