Photo of Oscar Charleston's baseball card
Ryan Christoff

Durham and baseball are intimately connected in the minds of many Americans because of the movie "Bull Durham." But the relationship between the city of Durham and the sport dates back to more than a century before the film.

Most kids who grow up playing catch in the backyard dream about making it to the major leagues one day. For minor league baseball players, they are one step away to that dream. The Durham Bulls are one of the more well-known minor league teams thanks to the classic movie "Bull Durham."

For the team's players, life on the diamond includes regimented routines, long stints on the road and a chance to make it to the professional level.

MLB's before and after images for the Fort Bragg Game
Major League Baseball / Fort Bragg

Major League Baseball broke ground Wednesday on a ballpark at Fort Bragg. The ballpark will host a televised, official game between the Atlanta Braves and the Florida Marlins on July 3.

Eric Hill heads the Community Recreation Division on Fort Bragg. He says the MLB suggested the game as a way to thank military service members, and says the game is stirring up excitement on base.

Gabrielle Union stars in 'Being Mary Jane,' a BET show that challenges the portrayal of the black female.
Gina Hughes / Wikimedia Commons

News outlets across the country played a cell phone video this week of a white sheriff’s deputy in South Carolina violently arresting a black female student. The officer was fired, but public dialogue continues about the video and the alarming questions it raises about how school authorities discipline students.

In pop culture, television programs like Being Mary Jane are challenging media's portrayal of black women.


North Carolina teams NC State and UNC are preparing for this season's ACC baseball tournament.

The No. 8 seed Tar Heels are competing in a play-in game tomorrow against Virginia Tech.  Meanwhile, the Wolfpack got the No. 6 spot and will play Notre Dame on Thursday. NC State head coach Elliot Avent  said he told his players to take advantage of the break.

This week on Antiques Roadshow on PBS, a woman brought in a set of old baseball memorabilia that she had found in a desk drawer — and received a big surprise.

Madison Bumgarner in his 9/8/2009 Major League debut.
Art Siegel via Flickr/Creative Commons /

In Major League Baseball,  the San Francisco Giants could clinch their third World Series title in five years with a victory over the Kansas City Royals tonight.  Leading the way for the Giants has been Madison Bumgarner. The pitcher grew up and learned the game in Hickory, North Carolina.

Jeff Parham is head coach at South Caldwell High School and he was one of the first to coach the future Giants' ace.  He first saw Bumgarner throw when the young man was in middle school. Bumgarner had come to a baseball summer camp.

How good was he?

Beaufort, NC
3.26 via Creative Commons/Flickr

Courtesy of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, here are eight ideas for the long weekend:

Durham Bulls stadium
Frank Hunter

Last year more than a dozen creative types - writers, photographers and filmmakers descended on the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for an unprecedented in-depth look at minor league baseball. Someone was at the stadium for every inning -- of every game -- all summer long. All of the work of Bull City Summer has been reviewed and now the very best is on display at several area locations.

WUNC's Carol Jackson has the story:


The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. - Terrance Mann, Field of Dreams

The falling forward motion the baseball pitcher affects the amount of force applied to the ball.
Adrian Bejan

Scientists have known for years that the athletes topping the podium in speed sports, like swimming and running, have grown taller over the past century. Now, new research from Duke University shows that athletes in a range of other sports, including certain team sports, are following a similar trend.

North Carolina advances in the College World Series after defeating N.C. State in a rematch.
Greg Echlin

Top-seeded North Carolina is still alive at the College World Series after shutting out North Carolina State Thursday night, 7-0.  After losing to the Wolfpack last Sunday, the Heels bounced back to beat their rival's ace pitcher.

As Tar Heel and Wolfpack supporters mixed in with the fans who entered the the stadium behind home plate, they immediately felt the 22 mile-an-hour breeze in their face.  Tar Heels coach Mike Fox also noticed it.

"Yeah, you can see the flags.  There was no doubt it was going to be a pitcher’s night," Fox said.

College Baseball World Series in Omaha
Greg Echlin

UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State will both try to avoid elimination tonight when they meet in the College World Series.

This is the fifth match-up of the season between these two rivals and the stakes don’t get much higher. UNC and State split a pair of regular season match-ups. The Tar Heels then won a classic 18-inning affair last month during the ACC Tournament. And the Wolfpack got the latest laugh with an 8-1 victory in the College World Series this past weekend.

UNC Win And NCSU Loss Set Up Rivalry Rematch

Jun 19, 2013
School banners at the 2013 College World Series
Greg Echlin

Another rivalry game between North Carolina and North Carolina State is on the horizon at the College World Series in Omaha.  This time, the loser will go home.  

No team has been hotter down the stretch than North Carolina State. UCLA’s 2-1 victory over the Wolfpack on Tuesday was only the fifth loss for State since March 31, and no one except for Florida State and the North Carolina Tar Heels had beaten the Pack.  So Wolfpack coach Elliott Avent was in no mood to talk about the Tar Heel rematch Thursday night.

NC State Dominates UNC To Open College World Series

Jun 17, 2013
TD Ameritrade Stadium, the site of the College World Series in Omaha
Jimmy Emerson / Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina and N.C. State have played each other 285 times in baseball, but they met for their first College World Series matchup Sunday with the Wolfpack coming out on top.

This marks the sixth time in eight years the Tar Heels have earned a trip to Omaha. As the top-seeded team in the championship, the only thing missing from their point of view is a national championship.

Wolfpack players Logan Ratledge (gray shirt) and Jake Armstrong (red shirt) playing baseball with Little Leaguers.
NC State

NC State's Wolfpack has had the entire season to prepare for its World Series shot this weekend, but when they arrived at the hotel in Omaha this week, a couple players managed to get in a last minute pickup game with a Little League team on the lawn of their hotel.  NC State communications caught players Logan Ratledge and Jake Armstrong on film batting with an 11-and-under team from Colorado Thursday afternoon. Nearby hotel and car windows were spared –they used a wiffle ball.

NC State

NC State is going to its first College World Series since 1968.  The Wolfpack beat Rice in 17 innings last night, 5-4.  Brett Williams drove in the go-ahead run with a RBI double. 

The game was the longest Super Regional in NCAA history.  Coach Elliot Avent says it's fulfilling for his team to break the streak of 45 years without a World Series appearance.

The Tar Heels are seeded number one in the NCAA baseball tournament.
Jeffrey A. Camarati, UNC

The NCAA baseball tournament gets underway this weekend with games in Raleigh and Chapel Hill.  NC State hosts a regional with a game against Binghamton tomorrow night at seven.  UNC Chapel Hill is the number one overall seed and will also host a regional tomorrow night.  The Tar Heels face Canisius at 6:00.  Coach Mike Fox says fans have a big role to play in his team's success.

Durham Bulls Stadium with people in front.
Joenad /

The brainchild of documentarian Sam Stephenson continues as the Durham Bulls season goes on. He and a group of artists, writers and others are trying to document all 72 home games of the Durham Bulls.

Yesterday was the first home game for the 2013 baseball season at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and fans gathered to watch the heroic Bulls defeat the Gwinnett Braves.

Pitcher Dirk Hayhurst

Not many baseball players can also say they’ve written a New York Times bestseller. Pitcher Dirk Hayhurst can. When first he picked up a pen to write a memoir about life in the bullpen, he never expected that he would become a critically acclaimed author. Readers ate up Hayhurst’s honesty about success, failure and the often strange culture of sports as documented in “The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran” (Citadel Press/2010).

Minor-League Shakeup

Dec 16, 2010

The Carolina Mudcats minor-league baseball team has been sold to a group in Florida. The team is slated to move after next season.

The Mudcats Double-A franchise is leaving largely due to the travel costs associated with flying to games in the far-flung Southern League.