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Here There Be Dayton Dragons
July 3, 2011 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Who holds the longest home sell-out streak in professional sports? The Red Sox have the longest streak in major league baseball, just under 700 games (and counting.) The Washington Redskins have sold out 348 straight home games, a streak dating back to 1968. But the longest streak belongs to the Portland Trail Blazers, who sold out 814 straight home dates between 1977 and 1995. Yesterday, they were joined by the Dayton Dragons of the Class A Midwest League, whose victory over the Bowling Green Hot Rods marked their 814th straight sellout. The Dragons, despite playing in an economically troubled mid-sized city, have sold out every home game the team has ever played, drawing over 8,000 fans a game, better than most AAA clubs. Dragons manager Delino DeShields was last seen on MetaFilter as a hitting coach in the independent Pioneer League. General manager Gary Mayse explains how the Dragons have found success in hard economic times.
posted by escabeche (35 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Minor league baseball is one of the great treasures of the United States.

Thank you for this awesome post.
posted by ORthey at 10:08 AM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Great post, but I'm surprised about the Redskins record. I've lived in the DC area for four years now, and most of my friends are sports fans and locals, and I have not even met anyone who gives even half a fuck about the Redskins. You'd barely even know there was a football team here, and if you were particularly ignorant you might guess our team was the Cowboys.

Who is selling out these games?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:10 AM on July 3, 2011


Sports attendance records are notoriously untrustworthy because they count ticket comps as "sales." Sold-out rarely means at capacity, especially in smaller stadiums.
posted by goatdog at 10:14 AM on July 3, 2011


Sorry, I mean in larger stadiums.
posted by goatdog at 10:15 AM on July 3, 2011


Man, I wish the West Michigan White Caps (also in the Midwest League) still had strong support -- although I do enjoy being able to get a seat two rows behind home plate and not be cheek by jowl with every cowbell-wielding lout in the world.

Regardless of team standings or performance, there is little in life as sublime as a beer, some dogs, and a little A ball in the summer twilight.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:17 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aye, I wish the iCubs (AAA Chicago Cubs affiliate) had the support, too. They sell out here and there but usually just when a major leaguer is rehabbing.
posted by starman at 10:19 AM on July 3, 2011


Any discussion of the Potomac-area NFL team benefits from a link to "The Cranky [Potomac-area NFL team] fan's guide to [Potomac-area NFL team owner] Dan Snyder."

(This screed by noted plaigarist Ward Churchill is one reason I refuse to use the Potomac-area NFL team's racist name.)
posted by docgonzo at 10:21 AM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think I've spent more money at the Vermont Expos/Lake Dragons while living there than at Fenway while living here. $5 admission and $4 Magic Hat mean that I can enjoy the act of watching baseball many more times than at an MLB stadium.

Even met a gubernatorial candidate there one time, who was actually there to watch the game and didn't campaign. Everybody should go to minor league games more often.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 10:51 AM on July 3, 2011


Congrats to the Dragons. I've been to a couple of those games and it's a great little ball park to catch a game.
posted by pappy at 10:55 AM on July 3, 2011


Having lived in two major MLB towns (Boston and DC), I have to say I'd prefer somewhere with a more approachable minor league team like this. I've seen more Red Sox games since I moved away from Boston than I did when I lived there. My home town has a Frontier League team based in the 3rd oldest baseball stadium in the US, after Fenway and Wrigley. That's hard to beat, no matter how great the Yawkey Way sausage is after a game.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:00 AM on July 3, 2011


On minor leagues; which team has the longest record of its fans staying beyond the 9th inning?
The Red Sox: you live in Boston what else is there to do with your time?
posted by Postroad at 11:04 AM on July 3, 2011


Oh, I should just mention - if you live in NY and haven't gone to a Cyclones game your life is wrong. That is all.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:08 AM on July 3, 2011


Sports attendance records are notoriously untrustworthy because they count ticket comps as "sales." Sold-out rarely means at capacity, especially in smaller stadiums.

The Red Sox sell out because of the scalpers. Not the sleazy guys in the street, but the sleazy guys on the Internet. I was kind of hoping for the shit start of the season to continue in the hopes that the "hard winter" would make those fuckers starve in the street.

Anyway, scalping in a competitive market isn't always bullish and those "speculators" end up having to occasionally sell some tickets at a reduced rate despite generally raking it in. Those games would not have sold out except for the people playing the ticket market. The Sox ownership doesn't give a shit about the economics of it as long as the seats are filled. And they get to keep saying "Another sellout! Demand is high! Sell a kidney and get seats for the family. Not from us mind you, but from our 'official reseller' Ace Ticket. We'd get pilloried if we charged those prices directly, so it's better to facilitate scalping and get what amounts to a kickback for the endorsement."

I'm sick of that shit. I'm also sick of the broadcasts with wealthy asswipes on cell phones sitting behind the plate and waving to their friends instead of watching the game. The whole circus atmosphere really sucks. The Sox need a couple of seasons of failure and austerity to flush the pipes and get the Pink Hats interested in a different sport. The minor leagues really are where it's at.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:15 AM on July 3, 2011 [4 favorites]




I wish I lived in a city with a minor-league team. Sadly, the closest we get is a collegiate summer league, which... well, it just doesn't hold much attraction.
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:44 AM on July 3, 2011


Relevant Globe article on scalping etc.

Mayor Curley, I'm not down with the pink hats or wealthy assholes, but if a person wants to pay fair dollar to see a Sox game, they can with some advance planning and a few open tabs in their browser. Sox Pax (tickets to four games) go on sale in December, and single game tickets go on sale in January each year.

The end of the last season for the Red Sox was a pretty down time, and while I'm sure that every seat's ticket was sold for every home game, I'm equally sure that a lot of them were empty for quite a few games. Even as a Sox fan, I think that sellout record needs a *.

I saw a minor league game back when the Vermont Lake Monsters were the Expos, and while the Lake Monster is the coolest minor league mascot ever, I wish the Montreal team had never moved. :-(
posted by A dead Quaker at 11:59 AM on July 3, 2011


WANT
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 12:23 PM on July 3, 2011


I prefer the Richmond Flying Squirrels, meself.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 12:29 PM on July 3, 2011


Great post, but I'm surprised about the Redskins record. I've lived in the DC area for four years now, and most of my friends are sports fans and locals, and I have not even met anyone who gives even half a fuck about the Redskins.

I found a lot of Marylanders that seem to be pretty hardcore Redskins fans.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:41 PM on July 3, 2011


Interesting. The Marylander football fans I know tend to be Ravens fans.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:50 PM on July 3, 2011


The Redskins still get a fair amount of support in Maryland because of people like me who didn't switch affiliations when the Ravens were pretty crappily stolen from Cleveland.

However, it's also worth remembering that they have a pretty large fanbase across the entire South, because they used to be the southernmost team. Yes, as new teams crop up, most of those people have switched affiliation or died off, but there's still a lot out there who root for their daddy's team.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 1:09 PM on July 3, 2011


Dr. Enormous: I've heard similar geographical explanations for the popularity of the St. Louis baseball Cardinals - for a long time they were the closest team to a very large geographical area.0
posted by madcaptenor at 1:35 PM on July 3, 2011


Dayton had to get a waiver from the Cincinnati Reds to be allowed to get a minor-league team, and they had to fight tooth and nail for years to get it. Minor league ball is much more fun for the casual fan, and the teams generally work hard to add kid-friendly races, contests, and events between innings. Often times the ball is good, too, because while the players are not the pinnacle of talent, they really play their hearts out. I left Dayton before they got their team, but I've enjoyed every minor-league game I've been to in Syracuse, Brooklyn, Kannapolis, Asheville, and Dayton. Major league ball can seem pretty soulless in comparison, though if your team is in the race and you keep up with players and stats it can be more engaging on a larger scale.
posted by rikschell at 4:43 PM on July 3, 2011


My home town has a Frontier League team based in the 3rd oldest baseball stadium in the US, after Fenway and Wrigley.

FOURTH oldest. :)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:22 PM on July 3, 2011


Dayton had to get a waiver from the Cincinnati Reds to be allowed to get a minor-league team, and they had to fight tooth and nail for years to get it.

Thanks to Marge Schott, bless her heart. What a crazy old bat she was.
posted by imabanana at 10:03 PM on July 3, 2011


Hah, you got me there. Wikipedia has a pretty mealy mouthed caveat that "it is the third oldest ballpark used for professional baseball on a regular basis in the country."
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:42 PM on July 3, 2011


Looking up the Frontier League on Wikipedia led me to this gem, so thanks for that, BitterPunk: "The Wild Things in particular have been able to market themselves as a successful alternative to the Pittsburgh Pirates due to the Bucs' long-term losing, which currently dates to the Frontier League's founding in 1993."

Poor Pirates fans.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:46 PM on July 3, 2011


In spite of the Pirates' awful record, they're still a lot of fun to watch, and PNC Park's a beautiful stadium. I've always been a Cardinals fan (my daddy's team, as per Dr.Enormous and madcaptenor above), but I'm considering switching my allegiance to the Pirates. They make me feel needed.
posted by asperity at 7:26 AM on July 4, 2011


After years wandering the desert after the theft of my beloved Expos and just following 'the game' (which was entirely unsatisfactory), I finally settled on following the Pirates. They're actually doing pretty well this year -- just over .500, where they haven't been this late in the season since they moved to PNC Park. Compared to last year's abysmal season, that's a hell of a turnaround. I signed on as a fan at just the right time, I think.

I catch Bisons games in Buffalo from time to time. Eleven fifty for right behind the plate. Fresh cut grass on a summer's night, cool breeze drifting in from the outfield, players on the way up, players on the way down, hokey promotions and ads between innings -- the game itself becomes almost incidental.

Minor league baseball is a wonderful thing. Baseball without big money is a wonderful thing.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:10 AM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Great post, but I'm surprised about the Redskins record. I've lived in the DC area for four years now, and most of my friends are sports fans and locals, and I have not even met anyone who gives even half a fuck about the Redskins.

You and your freinds live under the Key Bridge and eat sheeple for dinner dont you? It is the only possible explanation.
posted by humanfont at 7:32 PM on July 4, 2011


I haven't been to a Boston Red Sox game since I moved 25 miles south to Rhode Island and started going to ther AAA afilliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox.

It's like eight bucks for GA tickets, you can sit on a grassy hill in left field, and we park for free on neighborhood side streets. The team is beloved in Rhode Island for their low prices, good ball, and fabulous stadium. Around July 4th there's fireworks...and last year on Independence Day weekend we saw two dozen people take their citizenship oath. Is someone cuttin' onions in here?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:39 AM on July 5, 2011


> I think I've spent more money at the Vermont Expos/Lake Dragons while living there than at Fenway while living here. $5 admission and $4 Magic Hat mean that I can enjoy the act of watching baseball many more times than at an MLB stadium.

That does sound pretty great. However, most minor league parks aren't setup like that. See, the people running them generally used to play in the majors and therefore think they should try and recreate an MLB atmosphere. In reality, the people going to minor league games are choosing between doing that or going to TGI Fridays. (Also, probably close to 75% of the people don't even know the rules of baseball...)

As such, the last minor league game I went to (a class-A affiliate of the Pitsburg Pirates) was selling beer and nachos at ~$8 a piece. What a joke! If they had had $4 beers and other various cheap foods, I'd have been there all the time.
posted by StarmanDXE at 10:00 AM on July 5, 2011


As such, the last minor league game I went to (a class-A affiliate of the Pitsburg Pirates) was selling beer and nachos at ~$8 a piece.

I wouldn't think the actual Pirates could get away with selling beer for eight bucks.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:20 AM on July 5, 2011


Went to undergrad in Dayton, and had the pleasure of going to a couple Dragons games. It was the first or second year the new stadium was open, and I remember it being wildly popular with the locals-- way more action than a major league game, concession and ticket prices well within the stratosphere, and everybody seemed to want to just have a good time, regardless of who was winning. Good for the Dragons.
posted by Rykey at 1:31 PM on July 5, 2011



Great post, but I'm surprised about the Redskins record. I've lived in the DC area for four years now


As someone who has lived here for 28 years, I disagree. The number of Redskins' fans are ridiculous. You hear about the Redskins 365 days a year on the news and the fans are rabid. I hate the Redskins solely because of how much I hear about them.
posted by SuzySmith at 7:24 PM on July 6, 2011


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