Local News

Bulls Will Keep The Name If Move to AAA Approved

Posted June 30, 1996 7:00 a.m. EDT

— July 1, 1996 - 4:40 p.m. EDT

Related WRAL Audio Files:Bob Langford interviews Dave Chase (pictured at left), publisher of Durham-based Baseball America, about the ramifications of the Bulls becoming a triple-A club. Listen toauorReal Audiofile.

If the Durham Bulls go from single-A to triple-A play, they will still be called the Durham Bulls. The home runs won't sound any louder. And the beer won't be any colder.

But fans will notice some changes if the Bulls become a triple-A affiliate for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1998.

Dave Chase, publisher of Durham-basedBaseball America, says there are differences -- some subtle, some obvious.

"The pitching is usually better," Chase said. "The level of coaching at this level doesn't exist, because at this level they've already learned everything. The game may move a little faster, but the average fan may not notice."

One thing the average fan will notice, according to Chase, is names. A triple-A club, he says, gets players whose names have appeared in Major League lineups.

"You will see a lot of players people will recognize," Chase said. "Some are on their way up, and some are on their way down."

If the Bulls move to triple-A, lots of things have to happen between now and 1998, when the Devil Rays expansion team begins playing Major League ball. The most important of changes: adding 3,000 seats to Durham Bulls Athletic Park, which was designed to accommodate the growth.

Some people question whether the move is a good business decision.

After all, according to Bulls Assistant General Manager Gillian Zucker, the Bulls almost draw the average triple-A attendance already, and there are costs associated with moving up, from League fees to Canadian flights.

"Triple-A just gets more press," says Zucker. "There are players moving in and out. there's a whole lot of economic impact it can have."

Again, before the Triangle can start following the Devil Rays and its very own triple-A team, the upgrade has to be approved by minor league baseball's governing body. That could happen in two or three months