The Dayton Dragons officially open their 22 season on April 8 when they host the Fort Wayne TinCaps at 7:05 p.m. at Day Air Ballpark.
The team has continued to be on a streak with a sell out of 1,385 consecutive regular season games at Day Air Ballpark. That’s every game in their 21-year history. It’s the longest sell-out streak in sports history, with the Dragons leading all of Class-A baseball in attendance for each of their 21 seasons of operation.
It’s something the team leadership is very proud of as they look ahead to this year and coming out of the issues they faced with the pandemic.
“Season ticket holders, sponsors, groups, suite lease holders — everyone worked with us during the canceled 2020 season and into the 2021 season. They really supported us when we needed it. This is what makes the Dayton community so special … the people,” said Eric Deutsch, Executive Vice President of the Dayton Dragons. “Dayton is pretty special. We have been the number 1 single-A team for all 21 years, and in the top 10 in all of minor league baseball for all 21 years against larger population markets with larger stadiums.”
Here’s a look at some of the highlights and entertainment that is being planned for the 2022 season.
Mascots: Heater and Gem returns for every game during the 2022 season. Other ballpark characters, Wink, Roofman, and ATMO will perform at select games. The Dragons “Green Team” will once again be orchestrating a variety of family-friendly skits during games. This year is no exception with new skits, scoreboard videos, and entertainment acts with a family-entertainment theme being planned.
Opening night: The Dragons Opening Night game on April 8 will feature great entertainment for fans of all ages. The national anthem will be performed by the Emmanuel Christian Select Choir, winner of the Dayton Daily News national anthem contest. They were chosen from a group of more than 200 who submitted audition tapes in hopes of being selected to perform the national anthem at Dragons games this season. Other acts for opening day include: WPAFB Honor Guard presenting our nation’s colors, Princess Jade, Mini-Dugout Dancers, and Retirement Village People.
Fireworks shows: The Dragons have scheduled six post-game fireworks shows. Fireworks shows will begin after the conclusion of the games on the following dates (all six games begin at 7:05 p.m.): May 21, June 4, June 25, July 4, July 23, August 13
Special entertainment: Special national entertainment acts coming in 2022 include the ZooperStars, BirdZerk!, and two appearances by Team Zoom Canine Entertainment. BirdZerk! is well-known for skits that revolve around pranks on players and umpires and acrobatic, synchronized dances. In 2008, BirdZerk! was named the top minor league baseball promotional act by CNBC sports business columnist Darren Rovell. The ZOOperstars are hilarious inflatable characters based on sports figures with an animal resemblance, such as Clammy Sosa, Cow Ripken, and Ken Giraffey, Jr. The Team Zoom Canine Entertainment features athletic dogs performing death-defying leaps and unique tricks at incredible speeds.
Schedule of National Entertainment Acts at Day Air Ballpark: Saturday, April 23, 1:05 pm: Team Zoom Canine Entertainment; Saturday, June 4, 7:05 pm: BirdZerk!; Sunday, June 5, 7:05 pm: ZOOperstars; Saturday, June 25, 7:05 pm: Team Zoom Canine Entertainment
Wendy’s Friends and Family Days and Nights: Dragons Wendy’s Friends & Family Days and Nights at Day Air Ballpark provide the best deal in town. Get a Dragons ticket, Wendy’s Biggee Bag meal voucher, and Dragons hat. Cost of the package is just $17 for stadium seats, or $13 for lawn tickets. Dates are Saturday, April 9; Saturday, April 23; Sunday, May 22; Sunday, June 5; Thursday, June 23; Friday, June 24; Saturday, July 9; Saturday, Aug. 6; Thursday, Aug. 11; Friday, Sept. 2.
Kids Run the Bases presented by Graeter’s Ice Cream after every Dragons Day Game: Following every Dragons day game in 2022 (all Sunday home game and the first two Saturday home games), kids can enter the playing field and run the bases. Dates are April 9, April 10, April 23, April 24, May 8, May 22, June 5, June 12, June 26, July 10, July 24, Aug. 7, Aug. 14, Sept. 2. All day games start at 1:05 p.m.
High School Baseball presented by Bob Ross Auto Group: For the 17th consecutive season, the Dragons will play host to high school baseball, as 48 area high school teams will play regular season games at Day Air Ballpark. The 24-game schedule is presented by Bob Ross Auto Group and runs throughout April and May. Admission is free, and concession stands will be open so that fans can enjoy a full day at the ballpark. The high schools are able to provide their own PA announcers, cheer squads, national anthem singers, and some schools even bring their own radio broadcasters to the ballpark. Participating high schools sell Dragons tickets to help raise money for their programs.
Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts overnighters: These popular overnight events are set for Friday, June 10 and Friday, July 8. Local scouts spend the night at the ballpark and watch a movie on the video board.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Home Run for Life: The Dragons and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have teamed up to showcase the “Home Run for Life” program. This program honors individuals who have shown tremendous strength and courage in fighting serious illnesses. Each honoree takes a home run lap around the bases during a Dragons game and receives an honorary engraved bat. Anthem Home Run for Life nights are May 18, June 22, July 6, and Aug. 31.
Hometown Heroes Program: Five times during the 2022 baseball season, the Dragons will partner with the Dayton Development Coalition and Reynolds & Reynolds for a season-long tribute to all service men and women past and present. There will be four special spotlights (April 22, May 17, June 12, and July 4) that will each highlight a different aspect or organization involved in the military. The season-long celebration will wrap up with a Celebration Night on Aug. 13.
Community All-Stars Program: The Dragons partner with Flying Ace Express Car Wash on the Community All-Stars Program, honoring Dayton’s best individuals and organizations that are improving the quality of life in the Miami Valley. From firefighters to other first responders to volunteers and good Samaritans, the Dragons will honor five. These honorees will be highlighted during a game with a tribute video telling their story. Dates are May 22, June 2, July 22, Aug. 10, and Sept. 1.
CareSource’s Veteran Salute Program: This program highlights five veteran’s stories during the course of each season. Veterans who are chosen are honored at a Dragons game with an in-game ceremony and provided with VIP treatment during their special night. Dates are May 8, June 5, June 26, July 24, and Aug. 14.
Dragons 5k: On Saturday, July 16, the Dragons will host their annual 5k run. Pre-registration will get underway on April 11, online at daytondragons.com/dragons5k. The race will begin at 8 a.m. with options to participate in-person or virtually. Additionally, if participants sign up for the race by June 6, they will receive a Dragons bobblehead.
Great American Beer Tasting: Great American Beer Tasting, presented by Heidelberg Distributing Company, returns to Day Air Ballpark on Saturday, Aug. 20. With over 100 different beers, ciders, and seltzers are available for sampling. All attendees will receive a pint glass and raffle ticket for high-end Heidelberg Distributing and Dragons merchandise. Tickets go on sale in May. Purchase prior to June 1 and receive a free T-shirt and three bonus raffle tickets. Tickets will be available at the box office or online at daytondragons.com/beertasting.
Donatos Pizza Family Movie Nights: Donatos Family Movie Night is Friday, July 15 from 6-10 p.m. at Day Air Ballpark. A featured film will be presented on the giant HD video board. There will also be kids inflatables, entertainment skits, Dragons mascots, a raffle, delicious ballpark food and more! Visit www.daytondragons.com/movienight for more information.
Dragons on the field: Bryan LaHair joins Dayton for his first season as the Dragons manager in 2022. Joining LaHair on the Dragons 2022 coaching staff will be bench coach Juan Samuel, pitching coach Brian Garman, hitting coach Daryle Ward, trainer Wade Hebrink, and strength/conditioning coach Daniel Donahue.
The Dragons are the High-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and play in the Midwest League. A total of 117 former Dragons players have reached the Major Leagues, including all-stars Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto, Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, Adam Dunn, and Zack Cozart.
Dragons telecasts on Dayton’s CW: Dayton’s CW (WBDT-TV) and the Dragons will broadcast 25 Dragons home games during the 2022 season from Day Air Ballpark. The TV schedule begins on Friday, April 8. Every Saturday and Sunday Dragons home game in 2022 will be televised with the exception of the weekend of July 22-24 where the TV games will be broadcast on Friday and Saturday (the 22 and 23). All games will be broadcast live and in high definition on the following outlets, reaching approximately 500,000 households and over 1.2 million potential viewers in a 10-county area. Channels to tune into: Over the air Channel 26.1, Spectrum Channels 13 and 1013, DIRECTV and DISH Network Channel 26. Dragons Director of Broadcasting Tom Nichols will handle the play-by-play on all telecasts. WDTN-TV Sports Director Jack Pohl will provide color commentary on the telecasts.
Dragons on the radio: Fox Sports 980 (WONE) is the flagship station for Dragons radio broadcasts. Games can also be heard at www.daytondragons.com, on HD Radio on 104.7 WTUI HD 2, and through the Dragons App. Dragons play-by-play announcer Tom Nichols returns for his 34th season in professional baseball and 14th year with the Dragons. Lyle Goldstein joins Nichols in the booth for his first season with the Dragons in 2022.
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