In 1980, Durham, N.C., was a downtrodden city without baseball or much identity at all beyond the tobacco industry, which was slowly fading away. Enter the Durham Bulls, who debuted to instant success that year and led to an era of rebirth for the city. This is the story of the 1980 Durham Bulls, told by the beat writer who followed them from spring training through the dog days of August, and how they gave rise to successes that none of them could have envisioned.
Just as covering the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s proved to be "The Boys of Summer" for author Roger Kahn, the 1980 Durham Bulls provided Ron Morris with a story to cover that has endured over the next three decades. While many baseball fans think the success of the movie "Bull Durham" led to the rise of the Durham Bulls, in fact the opposite is true. The Bulls were a hit from the first time they opened the gates in 1980, and their sustained success led to the rebirth of Durham, N.C., as a city, to the renaissance of minor league baseball as a viable industry, and even the rise of Baseball America as the recognized leader in baseball media.
In "No Bull," Morris follows the 1980 Durham Bulls through their inaugural season, using that narrative thread to explore all the ripples that the team caused in the city and beyond. Morris was the reporter who covered the team for the Durham Herald-Sun that season, and now he has gone back and interviewed the former players and coaches, as well as residents of Durham, to examine the team's impact on the city.