Durham Bulls Game Meetup
posted March 22, 2014 5:09 PM   RSS | iCal | +googleCal

Sun May 4 at 5:00 PM, Durham Bulls Athletic Park
409 Blackwell Street, Durham, NC, USA (Map & Directions)
Let's plan a meetup at a Durham Bulls game for some time in May or June [May 4, Star Wars Night]. It's minor-league baseball, so the prices are low: The most expensive tickets are $30 (our will be in the $10 range), real pints of local craft beers are $5-7, and most concession food is in the $1-5 range. At the same time, the team is AAA, meaning the players are good enough to be only one step away from the Major Leagues, as demonstrated in detail in that great documentary film Bull Durham. Scheduling and booking details inside.
If you've ever been to a major league baseball game, or a local softball game, I can tell you that the game rules are pretty much the same, but the atmosphere is totally different. The stands are a lot more laid-back, the stakes are lower, the fans are chill, to the extent where I once sat next to a woman who was grading homework assignments between pitches. It absolutely is a place to pay as much or as little attention to the game as you want; as long as you're not making life difficult for the fans who care about the action on the field, it's all good. So as an excuse to have a beer, a lot of cheap stadium food, and a pleasant evening's bullshit session, it works great.

This isn't a complete list of home games in May and June; it's more of a short list of likely prospects.* The games start at 7:05 PM unless noted.

May 1, vs. Columbus
May 15, vs. Charlotte
June 5, vs. Pawtucket
June 26, vs. Indianapolis

May 2, vs. Columbus
May 16, vs Charlotte
June 6, vs Pawtucket
June 20, vs Syracuse

May 3, 5:05 PM, vs. Columbus
May 17, vs. Louisville
June 7, vs. Norfolk
June 21, vs. Syracuse

May 4, 5:05 PM, vs. Columbus <- Current leading choice
May 18, 5:05 PM, vs. Louisville
June 8, 5:05 PM, vs. Norfolk
June 22, 5:05 PM, vs Syracuse

Crossed-out dates are ones somebody has said they can't attend. If everything is crossed off, then we get to argue over dates, or else give up on this plan and try again later.

* The last week of May is Memorial Day weekend; I assume most of us already have other plans.

The Bulls' rain policy says that a rainout means the game is canceled and your ticket can be exchanged at the stadium for a later game. A rain delay will only postpone the game until later in the day, no exchanges are possible. In either case, refunds are not offered.

Here are my initial thoughts:
  1. The farther in advance we book, the easier it will be to get a block of seats. I don't know if group rates are possible, but if so are probably dependent on where we book and how large our group is. See point 3.
  2. In my experience, there are no bad seats; the stadium is small, everybody's an overhand throw away from the field, and obstructed views are minimal. Close to the infield baseline is better, but for most games, those seats (Terrace Reserved) are already booked.
  3. If we wanna be ambitious, we can try to swell our ranks sufficient to buy at least 20 seats. That allows us to put a message of our choice onto the jumbotron. Eh heh heh.
  4. Payment in advance. I only have vague ideas how to coordinate this right now, mostly focused on either circulating my Paypal account to people who want tickets, or setting up a Square account for the same purpose. There won't be any money collection until we've locked down a date and a reasonable headcount.
So... what sounds good to you?
posted by ardgedee to Meetup (57 comments total)

Yes please. I can't do May 1, 15, 16 or June 26th. As far as I know the others are all open.
posted by Stewriffic at 3:05 AM on March 23, 2014

I'm going to start marking the dates people veto.

If all the dates are vetoed, then I guess people can negotiate, or else we can try again later in the summer.

Incidentally, this is very much a bring-the-partner, bring-the-family kind of thing. It helps us get the headcount up, but also because... hey man, baseball!
posted by ardgedee at 5:39 AM on March 23, 2014

Anybody who wants to attend: mark yourself as "maybe". That will help me get a sense of how many tickets to order. You are always able to un-commit yourself later.

This is a many-or-nothing thing, since we need a baseline number of people in order to make a group buy worth doing. If only a couple people can attend any specific date, oh well.
posted by ardgedee at 5:43 AM on March 23, 2014

I put myself (+ spouse) as maybe but it's pretty much a yes. I don't have anything planned on any of those dates and we love a good minor league baseball game.
posted by something something at 8:14 AM on March 23, 2014

Hm yeah... Maybe or Yes are both fine.

What I'm fishing for right now is a sense of commitment, whether potential or actual.

Once we fix a date and I order tickets, that's when everybody has to fall into the Yes or No camps with finality.
posted by ardgedee at 8:23 AM on March 23, 2014

This is awesome. Even if we can't get a large enough group together to do a group buy, we should still have a Durham Bulls meetup, even though I am really eager to see if we can get "There Is No Cabal" on the JumboTron.

I'm partial to the dates against Pawtucket, as that's the Red Sox affiliate, but any of those dates are fine. My daughter and/or wife may want to join us, so I'm putting +1, but that's very up in the air for now.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:05 AM on March 23, 2014

all these NC meets, and nothin' close to charlotte!
posted by ninjew at 9:31 AM on March 23, 2014

Haven't been to the Bulls in a few years, but I remember having fun last time sitting on blankets in the grass near the outfield. If we don't get a block, we can always do that once we're in the stadium. It would mean being less close to the infield but I kinda like the "half paying attention to the game and half enjoying the day on the grass" approach to watching baseball games.

Also, we should talk about carpooling for folks who don't drive. My car's available from Raleigh.

ninjew, maybe we can work up to meeting halfway in Greensboro sometime. Mendenhall Plantation - one of the early stops on the Underground Railroad - would be neat to visit, e.g.
posted by mediareport at 10:03 AM on March 23, 2014

I would also be on board for a Greensboro-area or even Charlotte-area meetup, ninjew. I've got family in Charlotte I could stay with.

I can probably help with carpooling from Raleigh/Southern Wake, depending on what day the game is on and if my family are joining me or not. If you need a ride, let me know.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:02 PM on March 23, 2014

I'm gone the first week in June, so the Pawtucket dates are out for me (sorry Rock Steady). Mid-May and later June are ideal. Thanks for doing the research/coördination, ardgedee!
posted by tarheelcoxn at 7:02 PM on March 23, 2014

My preference would be any Saturday in May, or more generally May. May would be great because it would be less hot than June.

What if you made a Kickstarter or Indiegogo with a $100 funding threshold or something and gave out tickets at the $XX prize level?

I have an empty backseat in my Camry if someone wants to carpool from the Chapel Hill, Carrboro area.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:25 AM on March 24, 2014

May 4th is STAR WARS NIGHT, come on, we HAVE to go see the players in their R2-D2 uniforms.
posted by leesh at 7:00 PM on March 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

Just updated the dates with tarheelcoxn's notes. Thursdays are out and Fridays are looking endangered.

Our headcount is up to sixteen. Still shy of that 20-person magic number. Bring the family, folks.

Currently it looks to me like the most promising date will be on a Saturday or Sunday. I personally like Sunday games; they're earlier in the day and you can still have an evening to yourself (or for a quick bar hop) before heading to work Monday morning. On the other hand, it means spending more of the game time in the sun. ymmv.

Kickstarter is not going to happen, because that increases the organizational effort and is overkill-ish. It will be easier to pass the hat during the game to spread around the cost of unclaimed tickets.
posted by ardgedee at 6:31 AM on March 26, 2014

We could also do square or something. What is/are the price point(s) on the group rate(s)? Basically if I'm going to try to recruit some more Really Cool People I want to know what I'm pitching. I want to make this happen.
posted by tarheelcoxn at 9:18 PM on March 26, 2014

I really doubt 20 people are coming to this without materiel from MetaFilter HQ.

But we should totally do May 4. Here's an announcement with pictures of the R2D2 uniforms!
posted by oceanjesse at 6:56 PM on March 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are there any objections to May 4?

Start lodging your ayes and nays now. Since it's only a month-and-a-few-days away, I will need a headcount of commitments by Monday to book tickets, to ensure we get a block of seats all together and not too far away from the infield.
posted by ardgedee at 4:26 AM on March 28, 2014

Whoops -- to clarify: I need a headcount of commitments by Monday to get a price quote from the box office.

Then I'm going to memail my PayPal info to all committers with what they will owe. I won't buy tickets before I have most of the money. If you can't/prefer not to use Paypal, counter-propose something privately.
posted by ardgedee at 5:19 AM on March 28, 2014

How full are the stands, generally? The reason I ask is that if the stands are full and we are not able to easily move around within our section it might be better to get tickets in the grass or at least adjacent to the "party decks" in left field, so that we can mingle a bit easier, rather than being "locked in" to a single seat. I've been to some minor league games where once you are in your section, you can basically move around as much as you want, as long as there are free seats, and I think that would be good. That might actually make the Star Wars game less attractive, as presumably it will bring out hordes of off-duty Stormtroopers and Rebel clones clogging up the seats. Regardless, I've been meaning to go to a Bulls game for years, so I'm in whenever and wherever.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:57 AM on March 28, 2014

Full-ness depends on the game. The golden and silver circles and the sections immediately behind them are pretty much entirely booked for the season. What surprised me when I was looking at reservations last week was that most of the upper tiers facing the infield are fully booked for the first half of the season, too. The Bulls are kind of anomalous in minor league ball for both the size of its stadium and for its popularity.

> ... presumably it will bring out hordes of off-duty Stormtroopers and Rebel clones clogging up the seats.

That sounds awesome, and I'm saying this as somebody who is nearly the opposite of a Star Wars fan.

For whatever it's worth, the seats I'm looking at are in the $15 range (Sections 209-218 on the seating map). The odd-numbered seats are preferable because they face east; the even-numbered seats face north and on bright days the sun can get in your eyes since the outfield seats are outide the canopy and you have to face west to watch the pitches.
posted by ardgedee at 6:22 AM on March 28, 2014

I am one hundred percent in for May 4th. Rock Steady, even if the stands are full, I'm sure we'll all be swapping seats to chat with each other, plus there will be multiple trips for veggie hotdogs/Rita's/whatever your preferred ballpark refreshments are, so I think mingling will be ok probably.
posted by leesh at 7:40 AM on March 28, 2014

Alas, I can't make it May 4th. Don't worry too much though—I'd feel bad denying you R2D2 uniforms!
posted by Maecenas at 7:57 AM on March 28, 2014

Actually, I take that back. My obligation should be over by 5 at the latest, so I'll be there!
posted by Maecenas at 8:25 AM on March 28, 2014

I can't do May 4th, but don't let that dictate things, as I'm probably only a mild maybe anyway.
posted by aka burlap at 2:53 PM on March 28, 2014

I'm in. Not doing Princess Leia, but definitely in!

Hey, ardgedee, research monkey and oceanjesse, the Indy just posted my Third Friday gallery review: http://www.indyweek.com/artery/archives/2014/03/28/arts-review-a-raleigh-ite-does-durhams-third-friday. I had you down as "Internet Pals" but they made it "Internet pals," which is not nearly as much fun. They also changed "lesbians" to "hipster-types" at one point. :(
posted by mediareport at 4:01 PM on March 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yay! I was leafing through a paper copy of the Indy today, and in fact pondered the existence of your article.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:56 PM on March 28, 2014

I'm in for the 4th. This'll be fun.
posted by tarheelcoxn at 11:47 PM on March 28, 2014

Yay! I am an anonymous source!

> They also changed "lesbians" to "hipster-types" at one point.

posted by ardgedee at 6:12 AM on March 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

I tentatively have two friends who'd like to join us, if that's cool?
posted by leesh at 11:42 AM on March 29, 2014

I don't see why not! Update your "yes" vote with a +1 or +2 as appropriate; if you are bringing more, memail me.
posted by ardgedee at 3:41 AM on April 1, 2014

I wasn't able to contact the box office yesterday, so please give a yes or no by 3 PM today and I'll get a quote.

So folks, check your memail this evening for the price and my Paypal info. Let's set a deadline of Thursday night for payments, and I'll order the tickets on Friday.

After the tickets are secured, I'll add info to the FPP about where we're sitting so that stragglers can get seats nearby.

Ease of moving around the stadium depends a lot on how crowded it is. People are defensive about the empty seats next to them when it's a popular game.
posted by ardgedee at 3:44 AM on April 1, 2014

I'm sending out memails shortly. Tickets will be under $10 per seat as part of our group rate.

We'll be getting tickets in Section 211. It's not under the canopy but we'll have the sun at our backs for the game.

It might be possible to add latecomers to the group pool up through April 13. I'll confirm this on Saturday when I'm at the box office to put money down.
posted by ardgedee at 4:41 AM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Everybody who marked themselves "Yes" or "Maybe" should now have booking info (even if you mentioned in-thread here that you're not able to make it). Get in touch in any way that's convenient if you have questions or need to discuss. (My paypal info is also the best way to email me, if you have anything urgent.)
posted by ardgedee at 5:19 AM on April 2, 2014

I just snet you $20.00 flat for two tickets. Thanks for setting this up.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:08 AM on April 2, 2014

Arggghgh I just went to put this on the calendar and discovered my mother-in-law is visiting that weekend, an event which I apparently blocked out completely. I'm really bummed to have to miss this.
posted by something something at 6:36 AM on April 2, 2014

Oh one more request: When you're sending a payment, please add your mefi user name to the comment field. That makes this easier to track. Thanks!
posted by ardgedee at 1:20 PM on April 3, 2014

Just FYI, I was at opening night tongiht and happened to be sitting in section 211, it's a great spot!
posted by leesh at 6:53 PM on April 3, 2014

We have tickets.
posted by ardgedee at 7:03 AM on April 5, 2014

I bought 12 tickets, because that was the prepaid headcount.

Unfortunately we're in Section 213, a little farther towards the outfield, because 211 filled up entirely in the past two days. I'll have to move faster next time.

If you didn't prepay but still want to attend:

The box office says that rows P and Q of Section 213 still have blocks of seats adjacent to ours available. Order online or contact the box office directly (919.956.BULL) .

I recommend moving quickly.
posted by ardgedee at 7:09 AM on April 5, 2014

Sorry for missing the deadline but just got my ticket for P12 in Section 213. Might have to shove a small child over a few seats to join you, but I'll be there!
posted by mediareport at 10:53 AM on April 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh shit, I toooootally spaced on this. Lemme try and order now.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:34 PM on April 7, 2014

OK, I'm in seat P11, so I'll help you take out that small child, mediareport.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:40 PM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'll be out of town, but so glad y'all are doing this. Have fun!
posted by aka burlap at 11:45 PM on April 23, 2014

Hey, this is coming up soon! How are we getting the tickets from you, ardgedee?
posted by leesh at 11:10 AM on April 25, 2014

Look for the guy in the blue Mefi teeshirt hanging around the main gate and ask nicely?

I dunno, I haven't thought that far ahead yet, but that's my plan B in lieu of a decent plan A.
posted by ardgedee at 11:14 AM on April 25, 2014

OK, just figured I'd check. I vaguely remember what you look like. :)
posted by leesh at 11:38 AM on April 25, 2014

Doesn't seem possible right now, but the weather should be sunny and warm on Sunday's game.

Look for a scruffy guy in a blue Metafilter teeshirt, and possibly a straw hat, at the corner of Blackwell & Jackie Robinson Dr.

Please give yourself plenty of time to arrive before the first pitch. I'll be memailing my phone number to everybody who bought tickets, so that if you're late you can text/phone me and i'll come get you.
posted by ardgedee at 4:38 AM on April 30, 2014

What time are you planning on being there?
posted by leesh at 7:29 AM on April 30, 2014

First pitch is 5:05 PM.

I'll be here around 4:30-ish.
posted by ardgedee at 12:46 PM on May 3, 2014

What a gorgeous day for some gardening and a baseball game. See you around 4:30!
posted by mediareport at 7:51 AM on May 4, 2014

I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to make it after all. I've been sick all weekend, and I'm still not feeling up to driving up to Durham and hanging out in the sun. Have a good time without me, y'all.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:38 AM on May 4, 2014

Damn it, I thought the game started at 7! Had a great day disc golfing though. Hopefully you can redeem my tickets for beer somehow - go Bulls!!
posted by oceanjesse at 2:44 PM on May 4, 2014

This was super fun--thanks to Ardgedee for organizing!!
posted by leesh at 5:50 PM on May 4, 2014

Great to see all y'all!
posted by Maecenas at 7:29 PM on May 4, 2014

That was a pretty wild Sunday evening, folks. Thanks, everybody!

We may have a mini-meetup in the evening on Monday or Tuesday to introduce our new German friend to North Carolina bbq. If you are interested and available on short notice on one of those days, memail me with an email address you're willing to share with other possible participants. I'd rather not hash it out here since he's not a mefite and couldn't join the discussion, and it's a different event anyway.
posted by ardgedee at 8:02 PM on May 4, 2014

Running down the numbers, we ended up with a surplus of $9.95 for the evening.

Organizer of the next event can get that money from me, applicable to that meetup's food, drink, admission, or buying a thousand wishes if the meetup is at a wishing well.
posted by ardgedee at 5:57 AM on May 5, 2014

What leesh said; it was so great to see you all again. The game was just exciting enough, I saw a fantastic double play, the good guys won, I got to be part of a wave for the first time in ages (and still love that big dumb feeling), and a nice man found and held onto my lost wallet so it wasn't lost after all. Meetups Are Good.

And as random strangers roped into meetups go, you gotta admit the friendly German guy in town for a few days to study dissolved meteorites was a good one. And for all you doubters about my "Norwegian skydivers almost hit by meteoroid" story, even Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy says, "I have to admit the video does look legit."

ardgedee, I doubt I'll be able to get to Durham again this week, but put me in the loop just so I can send that to Gerret. He needs to know when meteoroids are real!
posted by mediareport at 7:18 AM on May 5, 2014

(Also, I think we all once again forgot to remember to take pictures. We should take pictures.)
posted by mediareport at 7:21 AM on May 5, 2014

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments