Though the same catfish logo still peeks out from a red "C," its barbels draping over the side, the Carolina Mudcats are part of a new era of minor-league baseball in North Carolina. Two years after the original franchise left for Pensacola, Florida, in 2010, a new team arrived in Zebulon to don the signature red jerseys. As the new Mudcats spawned, so too did new affiliations—the team is now the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the MLB's Cleveland Indians, and mascot Muddy the Mudcat now trolls the stands of Five County Stadium, where a 300-square-foot videoboard broadcasts instant replays of the outfielders' most breathtaking stretches.
Cheer on the NC State Wolfpack as they burrow into Carter-Finley Stadium to dazzle more than 57,000 fanatic wolfpackers through a display of passes, tackles, touchdowns, and a touch of intermission tap dancing. This deal is valid for the best available seats that are not in the student section, so check out the stadium seating to know whether to paint your chest with butter or margarine. Tickets must be redeemed on game day at the Carter-Finley Stadium box office on the west side of the stadium or via turtle carrier.
Helmed by Scottish-born soccer sage Martin Rennie, the RailHawks look to capitalize on the success of their 2010 NASL conference championship and impose their will on a host of fleet-footed opposition. The RailHawks kick off the 2011 campaign on Saturday, April 9, against the Puerto Rico Islanders before slide tackling into a season of fast-paced conference action. Shout free-verse fight songs from your premium sideline seats ($15 each) and watch as the RailHawks regale spectators with majestic midfield play and balletic bicycle kicks. Challenge winged mascot Swoops to a gentlemanly game of penalty kicks and featherless headers, and be ready to reveal the world’s first gas-powered vuvuzela as the RailHawks wage battle against a host of domestic and international competition.
According to legend, Duke's longtime athletic director and basketball coach Eddie Cameron sat down with football coach Wallace Wade in 1935 to drum up plans for a new indoor stadium. Throughout the meeting, the two doodled plans for the arena on the back of—what else?—a matchbook. If true, the apocryphal tale makes a fitting story for Duke, considering the university itself was founded partly on a fortune from North Carolina's prized tobacco industry.
Little could the men know at the time, but that brainchild, Cameron Indoor Stadium, would become a symbol of Duke's success over the years, in both basketball and athletics in general. Combined, the men's and women's hoops teams have collected more than 1,200 wins in front of home crowds, whose notoriously raucous cheers make it nearly impossible for visiting athletes to write their term papers on the sidelines. Steps away, Wallace Wade Stadium has stood tall since 1929, becoming the only venue outside of Pasadena, California, to host college football's iconic Rose Bowl game, back in 1942.
Short Track Racing Experience gives racing fans the chance to feel the rush of adrenaline and white-knuckled intensity of driving and riding in a real stock car. Within Southern National Motorsports Park, participants slide in alongside a professional driver during ride-along experiences, or they take the helm themselves during driving experiences. Packages range from the Qualifying Ride, which includes three full speed laps as well as warm-up and cooldown laps, to the Race Day Experience, which allows the driver to zip around the track 120 times while a professional provides one-on-one coaching.
As members of the Coastal Plain League, a confederation of top college players staying hot for the summer, the Wilson Tobs kick off the 2012 season with a matchup against their North Division rivals, the Petersburg Generals. In the past, the Tobs' roster has helped cultivate such star players as current Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander. This year, Clemson first baseman Joe Costigan returns to the Tobs dugout along with St. Louis University pitcher Jon Levin, whose four wins tied for the team lead in 2011. The Tobs kick off their cleats at their home field, Fleming Stadium, a hallowed park whose 73-year history has seen appearances by the likes of Elvis Presley—the King himself—and Mickey Mantle—a player notorious for gyrating his hips before every swing.