"The 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 today.
The 10,000-seat downtown stadium is home to the cityís Triple-A team and will serve as the host venue for the 13-game tournament May 20-24.
Bostonís Fenway Park was originally scheduled to host this yearís 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."
Now let's hope the home-town team can make the eight-team-tournament field.
That's cool. Hopefully Duke can make it. Maybe being in Durham it will give them a little extra incentive, I know they got close last year.
That would be a better accomplishment than people maybe are thinking. The league has gotten as good as any in the country. FSU, Miami, UNC, Ga Tech and Clemson are all top twenty-five type programs. UVA, NCSU and Wake have been quite strong recently. Maryland and VPI draw on a pretty solid talent pool in the Washington metro area, and Baltimore is especially good. This is the time you expect to see some real movement in McNally's program, but in that league it could happen and they still might not make the tournament.Originally Posted by jimsumner;190899
Last edited by -jk; 09-10-2008 at 06:33 PM. Reason: Fix quote tag
McNally has done a fantastic job in the toughest, by far, conference in the country...all with the worst facilities, again by far. I can't think of a school in the state, or any reasonably bigtime program in the country with worse facilities. I believe they will make the tourney this year and that man and his staff will deserve a ton of credit. I am hoping that Duke will build a stadium sooner rather than later. What is there now is a joke. The positives: very good coaching and academics (with great career upside) should mean a lot to recruits and I believe this staff has sold that well. But the kids still visit and see that eyesore. Some just can't get past it.
When it was announced a few weeks ago that Fenway Park was no longer available for the ACC baseball tourney (did they forget that the Red Sox play there?), someone on this Board wrote, "What about DBAP?" That was prescient.
Who was it?
Duke is feeling pretty good about the '09 baseball season. Graduation losses were light--mainly DH Jonathan Nicolla--and Sean's real excited about his freshman class. Nobody bailed early. 1B Nate Freiman is a stud, the middle defense is superb (Duke led the nation in fielding %, IIRC) and depth and experience should be much better. Duke needs to find a DH, a RF and probably another weekend starter. You can never have too much pitching.
Speaking of starters, Chris Manno had a spectacular summer pitching in the Cape Cod League and could be ready for a break-out season.
As far as Coombs Field, I've had some conversations with White about the subject. He's keenly aware that Coombs needs an update every bit as much as Wade, maybe more. I get the impression he sees fund-raising as the first step, with refurbishing Coombs as the second step, so don't hold your breath.
I'm not sure if people know this, but Coombs doesn't even meet the minumum standards to host an NCAA Tournament game. Not enough seats, worse rest room conditions than Wade (seriously), poor media facilities, a sub-standard ground crew. If Duke gets good enough to merit that honor, they would have to pass. So lots of work needs to be done in this area.
But making the ACC Tourny next year is quite doable.
There actually are a lot of parallels between the two sports. In case you don't know, Duke used to be a dominant team in baseball. Coombs is Wallace Wade, Ace Parker is Bill Murray, and Butters, Slaughter, D'Armi, et. al. are analagous to Harp, McGee, Sloan et. al. Steve Traylor is the closest thing to a Spurrier, Bill Hillier is Franks and Roof, only worse. So that makes McNally the diamond Cutcliffe.
Administrative indifference, aging infrastructure, arrogance, a failure to keep up with the competition, high academic standards are just some of the reasons why Duke hasn't won a bowl game since 1961 and hasn't been to the NCAA baseball tournament since 1961.
That's a long time folks, too long, and I hope that football isn't the only sport that will benefit from increased committment from a university that talks excellence in all endeavors but allowed a proud baseball program to almost fall apart.
End of speech.
Continued in next post -- I can't get long posts on here for some reason.
continued from previous post...
Tom was wound a little too tight in game situations, but as a motivator (and recruiter, given what he had to offer) he had no peer. He probably coached pitchers as well as anybody in the country. I believe there are four of us who pitched for Tom in the top ten for best career ERA at Duke (the stats seem to go back to 1950), and two more who probably would have been in the top ten if they'd had enough innings to qualify.
I just thought it was a tragedy when Tom left coaching because he would have been a great one, but obviously it worked out pretty well for the athletic department as a whole.
edit -- The stats for Duke baseball are bungled, and it appears three pitchers from the '50s and early '60s were overlooked in compilation of career ERA, which might bump two of Tom's pitchers out of the top ten. But two of us remain, and if you take away the total innings requirement, there would probably be six in the top 15. Tom could get a pitcher ready to go to work.
My assumption has been that Butters' hands were tied as related to the funding of men's "minor" sports during that era, so he worked on fund raising and doing what he could for football and basketball.
Must say...have many good memories of following Duke Baseball and Track during those days (early 1970's).
I'm not certain about how much Butters' hands were tied WRT men's minor sports. Probably Title IX made it very difficult early in his tenure. But I know that by '89 baseball was doing much better scholarship-wise than it was in the '70s. That year I talked to Butters and he told me that four full rides had been handed out to players who couldn't play a lick, in TB's estimation, without the coach ever having seen them. So he fired the coach. Four full rides would have been considered quite the extravagance in the '70s.
C'mon dk, you know that I wasn't comparing Butters and Harp line item for line item. There simply was a group of coaches in both sports between the glory years and the complete collapse of the two programs who worked hard to keep their programs above water. Butters and Harp are in that group, along with the other coaches I mentioned.
And yes, I know Tom personally and consider him a friend. In fact, he was my freshman PE instructor. He advised me to stick with the academic side of things. Good call.
Sorry to respond to my own post but I probably should have added some words on Tom Harp. Duke's decision to hire Harp to replace Bill Murray was bizarre to say the least and may have been the first nail in the coffin. But give the man some credit. With the considerable help of Hal McElhaney, he managed to bring such notables as Leo Hart, Wes Chesson, Ernie Jackson, Ed Newman, and Steve Jones to Duke, opened up the offense to an extreme never before seen in ACC football, and went 6-5 in his final season. That 6-5 equals the best mark Duke football had for a quarter century.
He also beat Bobby Bowden.
Before Jim does it, I need to undermine my own point about the strength of the Butters pitching staff by noting that we played in the wooden bat era. After 1973, the pitcher's job got much tougher. If someone like inonehand had pitched in wood bat days, he would have been up near the top of Duke career stats. Chris Capuano, who has thrown a lot of great games in the National League, had a career ERA of about 5.00 at Duke in aluminum bat days.
But I stand on my basic point -- TB put together about as good a staff as could be assembled from walk-ons, partial scholarships and football players (Leo Hart and Bill Hannenberg). The man could coach.
Ah, wooden bats. At some level, I'll never get used to the ping of the aluminum bats.
The correlation between pitching success at the college and pro levels can be inexact. Mike Trombley was something like 1-10 one year at Duke and had a very solid major-league career. Go figure.
Great thread. I hope Sean has the standing and clout to effectuate neede changes.
"This is the best of all possible worlds."
Dr. Pangloss - Candide