WRAL-TV Captures the Excitment Behind the Bulls’ Home Opener

A News-side View from WRAL-TV Assignment Editor Kelly Riner

Greg Fishel & Ken Smith

WRAL-TV’s Greg Fishel (left) & WRAL-TV’s Ken Smith show off the new Bulls jerseys during a live shot on opening day at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

The Durham Bulls kicked off their season Thursday, April 3, 2014. WRAL’s coverage of opening day started with live shots beginning in the morning newscasts. WRAL-TV Reporter Leyla Santiago and WRAL-TV News Photographer John Cox headed to the ballpark before the sun was up, and even managed to wake up Wool E. Bull!  Scott Carter, the director of Marketing for the Bulls, gave Leyla a sneak peek at what was on tap for the day.

Leyla and John interviewed one of the stars of the Bulls team at noon. Kevin Kiermaier talked to Leyla about the excitement building up to opening day and how he got his nickname, “The Outlaw.”

I headed over to the Ballpark around 2:30pm to field produce for WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Ken Smith, WRAL-TV Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel, and WRAL-TV Sports Anchor Jeff Gravley. When I got there, construction crews were everywhere. Men in hard hats were on every corner. There was work going on at the new concessions. There were people cleaning the chairs, there were areas still blocked off, and there were large dumpsters in the concourse areas. I had my doubts that things could look normal in just more than a couple of hours. But, as we did our work, so did the construction crews. Nothing really seemed to be in fast motion, but every few minutes, the park was looking considerably better. And by 5pm, there was not a construction worker in sight, all of the dumpsters had been moved, and the ballpark looked pristine. Time for the first pitch!

We had two live shot locations this year and operated out of two trucks. WRAL-TV Studio Broadcast Engineer Tony Gupton and WRAL-TV Maintenance Engineer I Tony Patterson handled the set up. One of the live shots was at centerfield and the other was in a new area of the ballpark called Jackie’s Landing. Both locations had great views of the field. Ken and Greg were awesome models, showing off the new Bulls Jerseys. Ken also showed folks some of the new things they’ll see at the ballpark this year including new video boards, a new scoreboard, and new seating areas. They also got to taste some of the barbecue being sold at a new concession stand.

One of the highlights of this year’s Bulls coverage was a story WRAL-TV Sports Multimedia Journalist Jared Fialko, WRAL-TV Sports Anchor/Reporter Mandy Mitchell, and Tony Gupton shot using Google Glass. Jared told the story of what player Vince Belnome sees as a fastball comes flying toward him. Belnome wore Google Glass at batting practice. The new technology worked perfectly and gave viewers a very unique perspective!

It was a great night at the Ballpark, and the Bulls came from behind to win against Gwinnett.

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Kelly Riner for this capcom story & for these capcom photos.

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