and entering

Durham Bulls Downgraded to AA+

DURHAM, NC - In a historic move, the Durham Bulls, a minor league affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, has been downgraded from its status as a "AAA" baseball team, and has been reclassified "AA+" by the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.  This is the first time in the Bulls' history that the team has been classified anything other than AAA.

"The team's fundamentals simply were not strong enough for it to be considered AAA," said minor league baseball expert Todd Starr. "There have been too many fielding errors, poor base-running, and they haven't been able to get a bunt down since the Rochester series in early July."

News of the downgrade spread quickly through the International League, in which the Bulls play, inciting league-wide panic. "It's like you don't know what's going to happen to everyone else - there's just uncertainty everywhere," said Raul Chavez, the catcher for the Buffalo Bison. "I mean, will the Mud Hens get downgraded? In my mind they're the least fundamentally sound team in the league. What about Columbus? Have you seen them try to field grounders? Heck, what about us?"

Many of the Bulls' own players reacted with shock and disgust at the announcement. "I personally can't believe we got downgraded," complained star center fielder John Matulia. "Seriously, some of those absolute crap Charlotte Knights teams we played back in 2007 and 2008 were AAA, but not us? Give me a break." Matulia also noted that two well-known baseball publications, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, still classified the Bulls as AAA. He also noted that even after the downgrade, the Bulls were inundated with players trying to secure precious roster spots.

The Durham Bulls' general manager, Mike Birling, was sharp in his criticism of the downgrade in a news conference last night. "Teams may rise and fall, but we are the Durham Bulls of the International League. No matter what some association may say, we've always been and always will be a AAA team."

© 2011