The Governors' Cup Champion Durham Bulls have announced details for the 2014 Triple-A Home Run Derby to be held at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Monday, July 14. The Derby, which is followed by the 2014 Cree Triple-A All-Star Game two nights later, will showcase six premier sluggers taking aim at baseball's most iconic home run target - the DBAP's famous Snorting Bull. Festivities begin at 6:35pm on the 14th, with gates at the DBAP opening at 5:30pm.
Six prodigious power hitters, three from the International League and three from the Pacific Coast League, will compete in a three-round tournament to be crowned the 2014 Triple-A Home Run Derby Champion. In each of the first two rounds, participants will receive eight outs. For the first seven outs (any swing that does not result in a home run), the hitters will use their traditional wood bats. For the final out of the round however, the Triple-A sluggers will swing with high-performance composite bats like those used in collegiate baseball. The championship round will consist of a five-out showdown between two finalists, where composite bats will again be in play for the final out. Home Run Derby participants, who will be selected from each All-Star squad, will be announced on July 8.
The star of the Derby may very well be the ballpark's primary target - the DBAP's Snorting Bull. Made famous in the seminal baseball classic Bull Durham, the sign and its "Hit Bull Win Steak" inscription are among the sport's most renowned ballpark fixtures. During the Home Run Derby, fans will have a chance to win steak and a lot more. The first time the Snorting Bull is hit with a homer by any participant in the Triple-A Derby, every fan in attendance will receive a free steak taco courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill. With each subsequent home run off the Bull, one fan will win a $100 gift card to the legendary Angus Barn steakhouse. If the Snorting Bull is hit a combined fifteen times throughout the Triple-A competition, one lucky fan will win $15,000.
The final round of the Derby will not only feature the top two sluggers vying for the title of 2014 Triple-A Home Run Derby Champion, but it will also include a local Home Run Derby legend. 76-year-old Clay Council, who threw an unforgettable round of batting practice to Josh Hamilton in the 2008 MLB Home Run Derby, will pitch to this year's Triple-A finalists. A high school and American Legion coach in Cary for over 30 years, Council served up 28 first round homers to his old Legion pupil at Yankee Stadium in perhaps the most memorable Derby performance in history.
The Olate Dogs, a group of ten jumping, flipping, high-energy trick performers, will bring their award-winning canine act to the Bull City to entertain the crowd between rounds. The 2012 winners of America's Got Talent have performed in NBA arenas across the country and on The Tonight Show. Watch one of their critically-acclaimed performances HERE.
Before the main event even gets started, fans will be treated to an unreal power display as the Amateur Softball Association's Long Haul Bombers open the festivities with a demonstration of softball home run-hitting prowess. Three Bombers - Johnny McCraw, Chris Greinert, and Rusty Bumgardner - will take a break from their MLB Stadium Tour to compete in the Triple-A Home Run Derby's "pregame" show. Watch the ASA Long Haul Bombers in action HERE.
"The Home Run Derby is going to be simply amazing," said Durham Bulls General Manager Mike Birling. "Putting composite bats in the hands of Minor League Baseball's best power hitters to give a fan the chance to go home with $15,000, it's all really exciting. From the incredible Long Haul Bombers to the Olate Dogs and fireworks, there is so much to look forward to on July 14."
After a Derby champion is crowned, an epic fireworks show will close out the event. Fans wishing to share their experiences on social media should use the official #TripleAHRDerby hashtag.
Remaining individual tickets for the Triple-A Home Run Derby and 2014 Cree Triple-A All-Star Game go on sale NOW at the DBAP box office, 919.956.BULL, and here at durhambulls.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.