A business function brought me to Dayton, Ohio on Friday, and Friday evening, my clients and I were guests of the Class A Midwest League Dayton Dragons, who were playing Quad Cities.
The Dragons, I learned, are a phenomenon. Their beautiful, little park sits in the middle of downtown Dayton and pedestrians can easily see the field through a block-long wrought iron fence that runs behind the first base/rightfield grandstand. The stadium seats 8,000 or so, and at every Dragons game since the franchise's first, on April 27, 2000, every one of those seats has been sold. That's more than 500 sellouts in a row.
Like I said--a phenomenon.
Before the game, several of us were introduced to the Dragons pitching coach, former Pirate/Athletic/Red/Cardinal/Tiger/Cardinal/Athletic/Phillie/Blue Jay/Pirate, Doug Bair, who, once upon a time, was a pretty good relief pitcher. Between 1976 and 1990, he appeared in 584 games, earning 81 saves and a lifetime 3.61 ERA.
We were talking about his two World Series appearances, in '82 with the Cardinals and '84 with the Tigers, which caused me to say I was a lifelong Cubs fan who had hoped and expected that the Cubs and Tigers would meet in that '84 Series. He said, after they had finished off the Royals in the ALCS, the Tigers were also expecting to be playing the Cubs, until, well...we all know why that never happened.
Anyway, the Dragons won their game against Quad Cities Friday night, 9-5. The fans seemed to have a grand time, and the atmosphere in the park was so light and lively--perfect weather didn't hurt--that I imagined these fans always enjoy themselves, win or lose.
I bet their spirits could even withstand an excruciating loss to a hated rival.