What’s New This Year at the DBAP?
Opening Day isn’t just about welcoming a new roster of ballplayers to the Bull City each year. The annual face lift to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park didn’t include a new office building or video board this season, but the new features should enhance the fan experience.
“This year, surprisingly, is probably the least we’ve put in, in a while,” said Durham Bulls General Manager Mike Birling. “But from a fan standpoint, the features are going to be really enjoyable.”
Thanks to the addition of a new plaza and staircase behind left field, fans will be able to walk completely around the ballpark. Birling said they had ideally planned for this plaza to be built last season, but is sure the fans will welcome the addition this year.
“One of the frustrations fans had over the years is that they would go around to right field, center field, then all of sudden they were stuck and they had to go all the way back around,” Birling said.
Another new feature will be a batter’s eye – a large black curtain behind center field to help the vision of players. Last season, the windows of the new Diamond View building hindered the vision of batters and catchers at home plate. Birling said this problem caught them off-guard, but feedback from players revealed the need for a change.
“We’re going to have to see how it works – it’s a work in progress that should definitely help our hitters,” he said. “But we’re trying to fix the problem as much as possible without wrecking the great view that the Diamond View employees have.”
While those two additions will be ready on opening day, a new sound system for the concourse is also in the works. This sound system would replace speakers that have been there since the park was built.
The new sound system will allow fans to more easily hear the game while they are on the concourse purchasing food or drinks.
The new additions to the ballpark are intended to keep the stadium modern while showing a commitment to invest the money fans spend at the DBAP each season.
“It’s all part of the vision,” Birling said. “This ballpark was built in 1995, and you look at this place and it looks brand new.”
“That’s just a testament that we want to put the money the Durham Bulls makes right back into the ballpark for the fans.”
Thanks to Jamie Richardson for this capcom story.