Scott Dupree, Executive Director, Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance. Are you the host of the ACC Baseball Tournament? Can I call you the host?
Don't ask me my role here. I'm just here to watch baseball, one of my favorite events, and to hang out with some ACC friends like yourself. Well, yes.
I don't know if I'm an ACC friend. By the way, at some point we'll talk about your 25 and 22 pirates, first place pirates, right. I was going to say are tied for first I think with Milwaukee.
Correct. And right now in wildcards, but I half game ahead of the Mets, by the way. Just want to say safely ahead of the Mets. This is like, like I keep using, I keep putting these in terms of Premier League teams. This is sort of like Brighton versus Chelsea. The Mets right now are Chelsea. They've spent 600 million pounds on a trash team. And Pittsburgh is having a very good year.
Well, if you're going to compare it to the Premier League, I just don't want the pirates to get relegated, which is my concern every season. I understand. Right now I'm happy. Well, you should be. They're off to a very good start.
All right. It's been a while since the ACC Baseball Tournament has been here for scheduling purposes. The importance, your thoughts about it being back in this ballpark, which, I mean, there can't be many minor league ballparks close to this.
I mean, I love it here. And of course, as you know, no one loves baseball more than me or maybe you. Absolutely. This is one of my favorite events.
This is, I believe the perfect place for it. I know Charlotte's wonderful. Charlotte has a beautiful ballpark and the skyline and whatnot, but man, Durham and the Bulls history and the tradition here and Carolina State and Duke all being in the neighborhood and not to mention the weather today. And this is just, to me, a crown jewel event for the triangle. And the Durham Bulls and the Durham Sports Commission and all the partners, of course, the ACC do a fantastic job with it. And I just personally feel like this is home for the ACC Baseball Tournament, even though I know it's going to move around some. Right.
But I think it will always have a home here. And I hope that's as often as possible. Now, the Goodman's wanted this to, they basically wanted to have it all the time. The issue is minor league baseball and their schedule, correct? That's my understanding. Now, I do think things have changed now from talking to Mike Berlin earlier today. I believe now that Major League Baseball oversees all minor leagues. It used to be an international league issue.
Okay. And now it's made, it's just different. Now it's Major League Baseball overseeing all the minor leagues.
And from what I understood from Mike Berlin was that there's things are different now. And now they're taking it year to year to see basically, in my opinion, to go back and forth, essentially go back and forth between Durham and Charlotte. Scott Dupree, Executive Director, Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.
There's so many things that are attractive about the triangle when it comes to hosting big events. We know about, I mean, State Soccer Cup, the NCAA tournament. College Cup, either men's or women's. Basically one's here every year. At least one. Right. You've got the ACC tournament.
That's almost, if it's not always here, right? So you got all of these things. Lacrosse too?
Yep. So this year, I'm so excited about this. Starting this weekend, we have the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four for the first time. When I look back on my emails, I went back and did this a few weeks ago. My first email about trying to bring the Women's Lacrosse Final Four here was dated in 2009.
Oh, wow. Today is 2023. So now we were going to have it during something called HB2.
Oh. We were going to have it then. So it was going to be here in 16 or 17, one or the other. And then of course, we've also had some delays with COVID. Right. But the point is it's been 14 years that we've been trying to bring this event here.
And this year we finally have it. Women's Lacrosse Final Four, Wake Med Soccer Park in Cary. It's Friday and Sunday. Our four teams are, the first semi-final Friday at three is Northwestern versus Denver.
Okay. Denver upset Carolina to get here. And then in the other semi-final is a tradition-rich ACC matchup between Syracuse and Boston College. Those are our two semis on Friday. And then the winners will play Sunday at 12 noon for the national title.
Very nice. Denver had to be the party pooper and kick UNC out of it all. There's a lot going on at Wake Med Soccer Park. The soccer tournament, this has to be, like, I don't know how it's being processed by other people. I am as excited for this event, four days, I mean, probably 12 hours of soccer a day. I am as excited for this as I have been for anything out of the ordinary coming to the Triangle.
How did this whole thing come about and what are you expecting? That's a perfect way to describe it, out of the ordinary, because this is a really sort of a cool, hip, funky event. A lot of your listeners may be familiar with the basketball tournament, which is every summer and it's great television content for ESPN. Well, the same organization said, huh, the basketball tournament's doing really well. Let's create the soccer tournament. And in this country, to the credit of many people around here, when folks think of where do we go to do the soccer tournament, the first thing that's going to come to mind for many people is going to be Cary. So they reached out to Cary, to Wake Med Soccer Park.
The town of Cary is the official host. And what I know about it is, as soon as it's going to be very popular, tickets have been going fast. And as soon as the word Rexham was mentioned as part of the soccer tournament, tickets just started flying off the shelves like crazy. So there's going to be 32 teams here. They're going to play June one, two, three, and four. They're going to play pool play for a day and a half and then single elimination. And when you get down to the final on Sunday, June four, it's one game, winner take all for a million dollars. And so there's going to be some pressure in that game. And I mean, there's going to be some physical play pressure and some people get mad at officials and it's going to be all on the line in that game. And the cool thing about that game is that tournament is Rexham has a team here.
Yeah, they do. West Ham has a team here. Wolverhampton, my wife's a Wolverhampton fan. USA women with Mia Ham, the coach and Heather O'Reilly is one of the players. There's Duke alumni team.
There's an Indiana alumni team. So it's just a really cool event that, and it's also going to be fast paced. I don't know if you realize it or your listeners realize it, but there's seven on seven on two fields per field.
Quick games. So it's going to be fun and it's going to be exciting and a lot on the line. And the town of Cary is doing a magnificent job as they always do with anything soccer related to prepare to host it. But like you said, it's unlike anything we've ever hosted here before. And I hope it becomes an annual event the way the basketball tournament has. Well, we spoke to the guy who created it.
Oh, you did? Yeah. And he hits his plan to make it an annual event. And Wake Med Soccer Park has amazing fields, not just the stadium.
The best of the best. They were looking for a place that was natural grass. There are plenty of places they could go that are all turf, but nobody wants to play on all turf. Right. Right. I know the World Cup will make the women play on all turf because they don't care. But like when the Premier League and they're coming over, they're going to play in Chapel Hill.
That's right. And I know they're going to use Wake Med as a training ground. Chelsea and Rex.
And Rex in both. I don't know if there's locker rooms big enough for Chelsea. That's another Premier League joke. But the fields at Wake Med are amazing. And there's a lot of them.
So they can get a lot of matches in at the same time. Yeah. Have you become a Rexham fan?
I can't be the only one. Well, I love the show. And I didn't know anything about Rexham and really needed a show. So yes, I've become a fan through the show, which I guess is how most people have become Rexham fans. Yes, I did not think about National League Soccer. More National League Baseball, the National League Soccer in my life.
But yeah, the show hooked me. And then I now I follow every game. And I know I know all the players.
And it frightens me that I know all the players. And I'm wondering what they're going to do as they bump up because they get promoted to League Two. They just signed Paul Mullen. Oh, OK.
They re-signed Paul Mullen to a contract extension. So I'm very excited. So it's going to be so cool to have the Rexham team here for the soccer tournament. Yes.
And then the the real Rexham team here to train and carry with Chelsea and then to play at Keenan Stadium. Amazing. Unbelievable. Let's see what else we can get in before we talk about the Pirates for a second. Another thing that is an annual Division Two College World Series. If you love baseball and if you're a traditionalist like I am, you is to me, it's like a field of dreams. And most of the players who come here, which is for again, for your listeners, this is the Omaha of Division Two baseball. And these players from around the country, they start the year in January with the goal of getting to carry for the Division Two World Series.
And they're treated like royalty when they're here. And it's just a wonderful event for baseball purists and people who love the sport. It starts June 3rd, runs to June 10th. So it's eight days, eight teams. There's about 15 games. And they crown a national championship on Saturday, June 10.
That is at USA baseball national complex. There's so many, there are so many cool things about what this area offers. What do you want to get that maybe you haven't gotten or that you haven't gotten in a while? You know, one thing I want to, we're going to think about because the NCAA bid process starts again this summer for years down the road again, basketball. And one thing I'm very interested in looking at with NC State as a host, because they're our hosts for NCAA championship events here that are Vision One, is a women's regional.
Okay. Because the formats have changed. And now instead of four regionals or four teams each, there's two 18 regionals. And as you know, as you saw this year, women's basketball has always been gaining momentum and gaining in popularity, but it exploded this year with Kaitlin Clark and Iowa, but everywhere it exploded. So I think PNC Arena is a place we need to look at as a potential site to host the eighth team, two regionals with the two winners going to the Final Four. And that's something coming up this summer. That'll be a decision made first and foremost, honestly, by NC State and PNC Arena. But we want to talk about that. And the second thing in that same vein is we want to talk about with the, with the Canes and PNC Arena, the Frozen Four, because, because hockey is, it feels to me like has never been more popular here, never been more energy about, about hockey and the stadium series. And I think now maybe the time to take a close look at the, just slightly. That was a definition to me of a spectacle. Yeah.
You know, it's funny. We have literally a minute left, so I'm going to be very quick here. I remember the first time that Tom Dundon had talked to me about the potential of that. I remember calling you and saying, would it work here? And you were like, hell yeah, it would work here.
You knew what this area was about. All right, 30 seconds. Will, John Candelaria, Rick Roden, Burt Blyleven, Willy Stargil, will they be able, RIP, will they be able to hold on in the National League? No. Come on, have some optimism.
You mean hold on for a day or two? Not 162 games. The last thing I want to say is, I heard the end of your previous interview with NHL. I really believe, I don't know if the Canes can win tomorrow night.
I really, I don't, 50-50 at best, maybe, 50-50. If the Canes win tomorrow night, they're going to win four straight. That's what I said. I warned Florida. I said this to, we literally have 10 seconds, I said this to the Yankees in 2004. Don't let Boston win one. Scott Dupree, thank you very much.
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