Explore Dayton's Day Air Ballpark
Welcome to Gem City. Cross the city limits into Dayton, Ohio, and there you’ll find Dragons, the world’s oldest military aviation museum and a whole lot of sold-out baseball games at Day Air Ballpark.
Dayton Dragons (Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds since 2000)
League: Midwest League
Ballpark: Day Air Ballpark (Opened 2000)
Division titles: 1988, 1993, 1994, 2004, 2011, 2021
Notable alumni: Joey Votto, Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Sr. (hitting coach), Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Jesse Winker, Jonathan India
About that sellout streak -- it’s inextricably linked to baseball in the City of Dayton. The Dragons rule the castle when it comes to consecutive sellouts among all professional North American sports clubs at 1,441 straight games with the stands packed to the brim. (This is excluding the 2021 campaign when attendance was restricted under COVID-19 guidelines.)
It’s not as though the Dragons and Day Air Ballpark have experienced an uptick in interest merely due to a particularly captivating prospect crop. Since Minor League Baseball returned to Dayton in 2000, they have gone on an unprecedented streak that was only interrupted by cancellation of the games themselves. The franchise bested the all-time U.S. professional sports sellout record in 2011, surpassing the 815 mark set by the Portland Trail Blazers.
While the Cincinnati Red Stockings have been long established in baseball lore for their stature as the first professional club, Dayton -- just a quick shot up I-75 away -- has a considerable lineage of its own.
Decades before the Interstate system connected the two cities, the Dayton Gem Citys played their first professional season in 1884 in the Ohio State League. The city went on to field teams with seven additional monikers (including the Reds) through the 1951 campaign, traversing the annals of pro ball in one form or another.
Then came the Dragons. After a 49-year interlude, Dayton’s baseball fan base was reignited after the Rockford (Ill.) Reds crossed state lines and rejuvenated pro ball in western Ohio. The club’s lineage dates back to 1988, when it served as a Montreal Expos affiliate before short stints with the Royals and Cubs organizations.
If you needed a direct parallel of how connected Dayton and the national pastime are, consider that the city itself was named for Jonathan Dayton, a founding father who was the youngest person to have signed the U.S. Constitution. (While Dayton never so much as visited Dayton, he did own a considerable chunk of land nearby in the Great Miami River basin.)
Day Air Ballpark
Ballpark location (via Google maps)
Dayton Dragons schedule
Dayton Dragons roster
220 North Patterson Blvd.
Dayton, OH 45402
Capacity: 6,831 stadium seats, with room for over 8,000 fans in the ballpark
Dimensions: left field, 320 feet; center field, 400 feet; right field, 320 feet
When the gates opened on April 27, 2000, to usher in a new era of baseball in Dayton, the yard was called Fifth Third Field, and it was known that way until the pandemic-canceled 2020 campaign. Right next to the intersection where the Great Miami and Mad River meet, the Dragons jog onto the diamond as part of the city’s downtown area.
Feeling bold enough to step inside the Dragons Lair? Well, if you're traveling with a group, you can get dibs on the Drone Express Dragons Lair section, which comes complete with a ballpark food buffet and souvenirs.
Travel toward the outfield and the party will keep on going at the centerfield party deck. The littles are sure to flock toward the Fun Zone around the batter's eye.
Looking to head home with the ultimate souvenir? The Butler Heating and Air Lawn section D provides fans with the opportunity to haul in a homer that is sent beyond the reaches of the right-field fence. (Lawn A is located down the first-base foul line and behind fan-friendly netting if you want the grassy, lounging atmosphere of the yard without worrying about incoming exit velocities crash-landing in your lap.)
As you likely ascertained from all of those sellouts, Day Air Ballpark is jam-packed with fans. In addition to 27 luxury suites, the yard features a full upper-deck seating section, making it pop across the Minor League landscape. An LED scoreboard, which looms seven stories tall beyond the fence in left-center field, helps the yard stand out as well. Numerous video enhancements have been made over the past decade to spruce up entertainment aspects of a night -- or day -- at the park, as the outfield wall features a 6' x 240' LED screen.
Barbecue. Steak. Coneys. Bratwurst. And that’s just the start.
Name your ballpark food inclination, and chances are that Day Air Ballpark has something to fit your fancy. In addition to the cache of meat options, there’s a Dippin’ Dots cart and Graeter’s ice cream for those seeking a sweet treat to coincide with a day at the yard. There are also gluten-free and vegetarian options available, as well as four specialty drink sections located on the lower level.
What’s better than having one large, lovable green dragon as a mascot? Having two large, lovable green dragons as mascots! Meet Heater and Gem, the pair that has become inseparable from fun at Day Air Ballpark.
Heater’s name is rather self-explanatory. If you know anything about dragons, you’re likely familiar with the fire-breathing type. Add in the prodigious fastball arsenals of previous Dragons (Hunter Greene, Homer Bailey) and you’ve got a flawless concoction of mascot representation.
Gem’s name derives from the city’s moniker as the aforementioned “Gem City.” It also serves as a worthwhile hat tip to the first pro club in Dayton’s illustrious baseball history.
Over one million people flock to Dayton annually to tour the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the preeminent global leader in military aviation.
For those looking to take flight in another way, the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park houses the infamous Wright Flyer III, which lifted off in 1905 courtesy of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the aviation pioneers. Wright State University -- located in the proximity of downtown -- bears the brothers’ name.
Food and drink
Day Air Ballpark sits on a venerable hot bed of culinary options surrounding the grounds. Located just steps from home plate is Lock 27 Brewing, a pet-friendly brew pub. You won’t have to go far for more beverages, as the Moeller Brew Barn is located on the other side of E First Street, complete with its Wally Post Red, a red rye beer that gives a nod to the Reds legend. The Southern Belle Tavern, Brixx Ice Company and Red Star also provide libations in the immediate vicinity.
Looking for something entirely unique? Check out the Canal Street Arcade and Deli, which features a unique blend of drinks and sandwiches as well as pinball machines and other retro arcade-style activities.
Have a sweet tooth? Try Winans Chocolates + Coffees, a chocolatier with indoor and outdoor seating that portends to relaxation and reading your next novel (or Ballpark Guides for your next road trip stop).
If laying your head down to sleep in proximity to the yard is your thing, Dayton has you covered. There is a Fairfield Inn & Suites in the shadow of Day Air Ballpark, not to mention a pair of Marriott Hotels and a Holiday Inn all within two-and-a-half miles of the front gates.
The Ohio Minor League Baseball scene is jam-packed, featuring five affiliates across the Buckeye State. The closest journey to another diamond while staying in state is just over 70 miles away in Columbus, home to the Guardians’ Triple-A affiliate. The other clubs around the state include: Triple-A Toledo (Tigers), Double-A Akron (Guardians) and High-A Lake County (Guardians).
The road to Cincinnati
Reds Country has often been known for its expansive borders, encapsulating approximately a half-dozen states in the Midwest/South. While Single-A Daytona harkens back to the days when the Reds traveled to Florida for Spring Training, the rest of the stops on the way to Great American Ball Park have rabid, local fan bases in tow.
Single-A: Daytona Tortugas
High-A: Dayton Dragons
Double-A: Chattanooga Lookouts
Triple-A: Louisville Bats