Dayton Dragons: Our Downtown Gem

catapult Community Happenings, Downtown Dayton Townhomes, Urban Townhomes

A community is made up of its people. The way to build a strong community is to bring its people together. Food, sports, and entertainment are the three most popular draws of attendance for special events. The Dayton Dragons Minor League baseball team offers Dayton families all three.

When then-City Commissioner Tony Capizzi first suggested being proactive about revitalizing downtown Dayton with a professional baseball venue, public opinion was cautious. Capizzi persevered, pitching the idea of a minor league ball club in the heart of downtown to civic groups, private businesses, and city leaders. The more he talked, the more people began to listen.

The Cincinnati Reds tentatively agreed to include a Dayton team in their farm system in the mid-nineties, and the ball really started rolling. Public and private sector sponsors came together to find the land and financing for Fifth Third Field. Mandalay Entertainment Group created a franchise concept, and the Dayton Dragons were born.

Beloved mascots Heater and Gem greet fans, play games between innings, and make special appearances around Dayton in the off season.

Beloved mascots Heater and Gem greet fans, play games between innings, and make special appearances around Dayton in the off season.

Fifth Third Field, the home of the Dayton Dragons, is the jewel in the crown of Minor League Baseball and the Midwest League’s flagship stadium.  Its location at RiverScape puts it squarely in the center of all the festivals, concerts, and special events that have begun drawing people back downtown in record numbers. Many residents around the corner at Patterson Place can actually see the stadium! When the Dragons are playing, everyone knows to listen for the air horn that signals a homerun—or another victory. That signature victory bell can be heard from Island Park to the Oregon District.

Dayton fans are arguably the best in the sport. With a seating capacity of 7,230, Dragons games have been sold out since Opening Day 2000. The team is currently maintaining a sold out streak unmatched by any other professional sports team anywhere in the United States. The Dragons broke the record with 815 straight games on July 9, 2011.

BallPark Digest had nothing but rave reviews for the home of the Dragons. “Fifth Third Field is surrounded by a brick exterior to the grandstand and a wrought-iron fence surrounding the outfield. The ballpark looks and feels like it’s been in Dayton for decades instead of just 15 years. The open nature of the ballpark is a tribute to the city that sure loves it Dragons.”

Plenty of famous major leaguers got their start playing Minor League ball. Dayton has seen its share of big names slugging for the fences, including Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Joey Votto, and Johnny Cueto, just to name a few. Serious fans crowd arrive up to two hours before the first pitch to watch their favourite young players warming up. Kids crowd the fences, hoping for autographs that might one day belong to a future Hall of Famer. A trade mark of the Dragons players is their genuine enjoyment of their fans. They autograph balls, shirts and programs with a smile, pose for photos, and participate in community outreach events.  It’s no wonder that the Dayton Dragons are at the heart of the excitement that drives the revitalization of Downtown Dayton.

For more information about living in Downtown Dayton, visit the Simms Development website.

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