Stadium Review: The other Fifth Third Field, this one of the Dayton Dragons
- Updated: March 14, 2009
Astute readers of BaseballReflections.com may recall that there has already been a stadium review posted on this site for a Fifth Third Field. The interesting part is not only that there are two fields with the same name, but that there are two fields with the same name for minor league ball clubs on the same side of the same state. Well, at least they don’t play in the same league.
The Dayton Dragons do, indeed, play in a stadium that bears the same name as the Toledo Mudhens, but other than that, there isn’t much in common with the two ballparks. The Dragons have won the title of the best run organization in Minor League Baseball a few times over the length of their existence and much of that has to do with their state of the art baseball stadium. Located in the heart of downtown Dayton, true minor league fans will be astonished at its size. Even though the Dragons are class A, their stadium is larger than some clubs who boast an affiliation status of AAA. The impressive part of the stadium is that while it is large, it was not built to look like it seats were forced into place, as the seats are very well organized.
Even during mid season games when not much is on the line, one will be hard pressed to find a ticket if they are just walking up to the stadium a few minutes before game time. The team garners a lot of support from the local Air Force base and the other parts of their surrounding community, which make it one of the best atmospheres in the minors.
This Cincinnati Reds affiliate has the distinct honor of being the first, and only, minor league team in history to sell out an entire season before it began.
While much of the ballpark has traditional seating, almost the entire outfield seating is composed of a lawn where fans are encouraged to bring their own blankets or lawn chairs to enjoy the game while relaxing with a picnic like atmosphere. This creates a perfect situation for kids, who can run around on the grass and don’t have to sit still through a nine inning game.
The scoreboard is one of the most interesting parts of the stadium. While it has the normal replay screen that many fans have come accustomed to these days, it also has dragon heads on each side which move up and down and spew smoke every time a Dragons player hits a homerun.
The concourse rivals many at the major league level as it is spacious and has many places for fans to stop and enjoy the game from a picnic table or a chest level platform. While they are abundant, they do not clutter the concourse because of all of the space available.
Fifth Third Field’s team shop is also comparable to many in the majors as it is pretty large and offers a great choice of merchandise for fans of all ages, and even does a decent job of marketing their logo towards the female audience.
While the inside of the stadium is amazing, the outside is as well. The all brick structure is placed perfectly in the City and is within walking distance of some of the town’s war monuments and other historical markers. Fans will not be looking for something to do if they show up to the game earlier than planned, especially since the team’s mascot usually makes an appearance outside of the main gates with about 40 minutes until game time.
Minor League Stadium Grade: 5/5
Overall Stadium Grade: 4.75/5
Bill Jordan is a contributor to BaseballReflections.com. He can be reached by e-mail at BillJordaniv@yahoo.com.