DURHAM (WTVD) --Durham Bulls fans are buzzing with the news that the DBAP's most popular peanut salesman is no longer shelling out snacks.
Baseball fans agree, the game itself is only a fraction of the attraction of minor league baseball. It's the sights, the sounds, and the fun that brings people to the park. The Bulls, of course, play good baseball, too, but they've also mastered the art of atmosphere. That said, what may have been the most famous face at the DBAP is no longer.
"Ever since I was little, I wanted to be just like Wool-E Bull, but now that I'm older, I became the peanut guy," said Da'Quan Samuel.
We first featured Samuel, aka Peanuts, nearly two years ago. He was just a rookie salesman that year, but already breaking records. Fast forward two seasons, and Samuel's unmistakable growl is gone.
"The Durham Bulls is my family, ever since I got there in 2014," Samuel said. "And now, I'm getting cut loose, it's really devastating."
Samuel was let go prior to this season. The Bulls provided ABC11 with this initial statement explaining the move:
"While Da'Quan was entertaining, there were many fans that found him distracting - even our TV and radio listeners."
"It kind of hurts me a lot, because I can't connect with the fans like I used to anymore," Samuel lamented. "I can't make them smile and laugh."
Needless to say, the news didn't sit well with many Bulls fans, who flooded our Facebook page with messages of disbelief and anger. One 10 year old even hand-wrote a message of despair.
Samuel insists he's still unclear exactly why he was let go, though he was aware of some complaints.
"They wanted to me to change, cause like, I don't think that you can change a person. I mean, that's what the fans want," Samuel explained. "The fans want me to be myself. They want me to be energetic and the want me to be live."
Bulls General Manager Mike Birling knows full well how popular Samuel had become over the past two years. He's spent 18 years with the team and knew this move would create an uproar. Birling did not want to appear on camera, but texted this statement:
"This was a difficult decision, but one I had to make. There is far more to the story, but with privacy issues, I can't get into detail of our decision. I hope our fans trust in the decisions we make even if from the outside they don't agree with that decision.
"When I step inside them doors and them gates, I become a different person. I become the person that y'all would be so happy to see," Samuel exclaimed.
For Samuel, it appears to be a situation where he needs some of his own advice.
"Whatever that you're going through, keep your head up, keep pushing forward."
Samuel admitted to some disagreements with his manager, but said he's still holding out hope that he may get his job back.
Based on our many conversations with the Bulls, that seems unlikely. Still, there's probably someone out there willing to give him another shot. As he said, he loves to sell!
Report a Typo