Baseball gods again smile on Durham

May. 16, 2014 @ 04:08 PM

“It is a match made in heaven by the baseball gods, and we are excited to take full advantage of it!”

-- Casey Steinbacher, president and CEO of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, in response to the ACC’s decision to move its baseball tournament here

Durham has yet another jewel to add to its getting-crowded crown. The ACC on Thursday selected the city, and more specifically, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, to host its annual baseball tournament for four consecutive years, beginning in May 2015.
This is big news for Durham. It came about with a major push by several stakeholders in Durham. (Anyone who attended the Durham Chamber of Commerce’s annual lunch earlier this year witnessed -- and participated in – a small piece of the city’s efforts to bring the ACC baseball tournament here by being part of a video sent to the ACC.)
The tournament will boost the city’s profile nationally, and it also will provide Durham with a big economic boost.
Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Shelly Green estimates in 2015 it will generate $2.8 million. Over the course of the four years, it will bring in more than $12 million.
Baseball has been good to Durham. “Baseball has been a key ingredient to the rebirth of Durham, and we believe it is also strategically positioned to be a key ingredient to the future success of Durham,” Steinbacher noted.
The movie “Bull Durham” brought some love to the city at a much-needed time when Durham was more gritty than hip.
Bulls owner Jim Goodmon, president and CEO of the Capitol Broadcasting Company, made the decision when the Durham Athletic Park was more than showing its age to build a new ballpark – in Durham, at a time when the city’s image and its downtown were struggling. Goodmon chose to locate the ballpark in an area that might be gently described as blighted. Many can recall what American Tobacco looked like before 2004. The abandoned hulk next to the DBAP had broken windows and barbed wire surrounding it. Compare that to the beautiful brick companion that now sits next to the DBAP, filled with restaurants and businesses.
Durham’s evolution continues, and as we grow and renovate and reinvent our city, we will continue to have great successes like the ACC baseball tournament coming to town. Those successes will, in turn, lead to more growth.
While Steinbacher and other leaders in our city make hitting homeruns look easy, the reality is they have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that Durham is a place where good things happen, including ACC baseball.