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‘Minor League Baseball’ Articles

Dayton Dragons 2018 Year in Review: 19th season full of notable news & accomplishments

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Tom Nichols; COURTESY DAYTON DRAGONS MEDIA RELATIONS

 

Dayton, Ohio—The Dayton Dragons 19th year of operation included some big stories:

 

  • The 2018 Dragons roster featured the most closely-followed prospect in Minor League Baseball, hard-throwing pitcher Hunter Greene.
  • Robert Murphy, the Dragons president since the organization’s inception prior to the 2000 season, was selected as Minor League Baseball’s national “Executive of the Year” by Baseball America.
  • The Dragons were selected by Dayton Business Journal as the Miami Valley’s “Customer Service Business of the Year.”
  • The Dragons were the Midwest League nominee for Minor League Baseball’s “Patriot Award” for the third straight year based on support of local military.
  • Dragons Vice President & Assistant General Manager Brandy Guinaugh was named to the 2018 class of the 40 Under 40 Awards.
  • Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols received a one-game call-up to the Cincinnati Reds.
  • The Dragons all-time record streak of consecutive sold-out dates extended to 1,316…and counting.
  • The Dragons surpassed the 11 million mark in all-time attendance at Fifth Third Field.
  • The Dragons hosted a Wright State University baseball game at Fifth Third Field for the first time.
  • In another first for the Dragons, the organization wore special jerseys on two dates, with the jersey’s auctioned for charity after the game.
  • The Dragons made several improvements to the ballpark in multiple areas.

 

Details on these stories with links to media coverage and a full review of the year are provided in this release.

 

Professional Full-Season Debut of a Rising Star

The eyes of the baseball world were focused on Fifth Third Field on April 9 and for much of the 2018 Dragons season with the arrival of hard-throwing pitching prospect Hunter Greene.  Greene made his debut in a full-season league in Dayton on April 9 before an enthusiastic crowd and a press box filled with national, regional, and local media.  Greene’s first pitch with the Dragons was clocked at 100 mph.  The second overall pick of the 2017 draft, featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated before he finished high school, spent four months with the Dragons and showed tremendous improvement over the course of the season.  In his final game, he fired a pitch at 102 mph, the fastest pitch ever measured at Fifth Third Field, breaking a record previously set by Greene and current Major League closer Aroldis Chapman.

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2018/04/10/hunter-greene-shows-he-does-more-than-just-throw-hard-his-dayton-debut-young-righty-pitches-out-jam/501755002/

 

Murphy Wins Major National Honor

Dragons President & General Manager Robert Murphy was selected as the 2018 Minor League Baseball Executive of the Year by Baseball America, the industry trade publication.  The award is presented annually to one individual from among all executives in 16 leagues and 190 teams across Minor League Baseball.  Murphy became the 17th person to earn the honor since Baseball America began the award in 2002.  Previous winners have included five league presidents and 10 team executives.

https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/milb-executive-of-the-year-robert-murphy/

 

Dragons Named Customer Service Business of the Year by DBJ

The Dragons were selected as the Miami Valley’s “Customer Service Business of the Year” by the Dayton Business Journal.  The Dragons and winners of other 2018 DBJ awards were honored on November 15 at the Dayton Business Journal gala at the Schuster Performing Arts Center.

 

Dragons Again Earn Midwest League’s “Patriot Award” Nomination

For the third straight year, the Dragons were selected as the Midwest League nominee for the Charles K. Murphy Patriot Award, a national award selected by Minor League Baseball.  The award is presented for outstanding support of and engagement with the United States Armed Forces and veterans, both at the ballpark and in the community.  For many years, the Dragons have included local military programs into their season-long schedule of events and promotions. 

Dragons Recognized by Ohio Secretary of State

The Dragons were recognized by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted for the organization’s contributions to economic growth and the overall business climate.  A pre-game presentation by Elaine Herrick, Regional Liaison for the Ohio Secretary of State, took place on Wednesday, July 25 at Fifth Third Field before the Dragons game.

Other Awards for Dragons Front Office Members

Dragons Vice President and Assistant General Manager Brandy Guinaugh was named to the 2018 Class of the Forty Under 40 Awards, which recognizes the area’s most extraordinary business and community leaders under the age of 40, sponsored by the Dayton Business Journal. Brandy has been with the Dragons since 2004.

https://www.milb.com/dayton/news/dragons-vp-brandy-guinaugh-selected-as-forty-under-40-honoree/c-269409220

 

On April 25, Katrina Gibbs, Dragons Director of Entertainment, was selected as the Daytonian of the Week by Dayton.com.  Katrina oversees the Dragons Green Team, mascots, and all on-field entertainment.  She is a native of Beavercreek and completed her third year in her current role with the organization.

https://www.dayton.com/entertainment/personalities/daytonian-the-week-meet-the-woman-who-brings-the-fun-dragons-games/VweVpZjgI5onwEjDQVIZ7L/

Dragons Broadcaster Calls 4,000th Game, Gets One-Game Call-Up to Reds

Tom Nichols, the voice of the Dragons on radio and television over the last 11 years, called his 4,000th career game on August 8, prompting a one-game call-up to the Reds on August 28.  Nichols called three innings of play-by-play alongside Reds broadcasters Marty Brennaman and Jeff Brantley and was interviewed before and after the game on Reds TV on FOX Sports Ohio.  The story was featured in an article in the New York Times.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/31/sports/baseball/in-this-comeback-ks-keep-a-low-profile.html

The Streak

The Dragons consecutive game sell-out streak continued through the 2018 season.  After the final regular season home game on August 31, the streak now stands at 1,316 consecutive sold-out games, an all-time record for sports in North America.

 

Longest Sell-Outs Streaks in Professional Sports History

 

No. Team League Years

1,316   Dayton Dragons                      Minor League Baseball                       2000-current

820      Boston Red Sox                     Major League Baseball                       2003-’13

814      Portland Trail Blazers             National Basketball Association         1977-‘95

744      Dallas Mavericks                    National Basketball Association         2001-‘18

662      Boston Celtics                         National Basketball Association         1980-‘95

 

Dragons Top 11 Million Milestone in All-Time Attendance

The Dragons reached the 11 million milestone in all-time attendance at Fifth Third Field on July 31.  They finished the season with an attendance total of 550,725, marking the 13th straight year that they have topped all Minor League Baseball teams below the Triple-A level.  The Dragons have led all of Single-A baseball in attendance in each of their 19 seasons of operation.

 

2018 Attendance Rankings (affiliated teams)

 

Minor League Top-10 (from among 160 teams)

 

 

Double-A and Single-A Top-10 (from among 130 teams)

Wright State Baseball at Fifth Third Field

On May 17, the Wright State Raiders met the University of Northern Kentucky at Fifth Third Field.  It was the first-ever appearance for Wright State Baseball at the home of the Dragons.  Wright State won the game, 12-0, and they went on to appear in the NCAA Regional at Stanford University to cap a big season.

https://www.mydaytondailynews.com/sports/wright-state-blanks-nku-wet-night-fifth-third-field/gCtoed84TuipmWB0VZsMyL/

 

First Time Ever—Dragons Wear Special Jerseys, Conduct Two Jersey Auctions

On “Defeating Cancer Night” on June 8, and “Hometown Heroes American Celebration Night” on August 18, the Dragons wore special jerseys.  The jersey worn by every player and coach was auctioned after the game.  Benefits went to the American Cancer Society for the June 8 jerseys, and to the First Sergeants Council for the jerseys worn on August 18.  It was the first time in Dragons history that the team wore special jerseys to benefit charitable organizations.

 

Defeating Cancer jerseys: https://www.milb.com/dayton/news/special-dragons-jersey-friday-on-defeating-cancer-night/c-279886198

Stars & Stripes jerseys:  https://www.milb.com/dayton/news/dragons-to-wear-stars–stripes-jerseys-saturday/c-290285382

 

Improvements to AZEK Dragons Lair

On the heels of a successful new concept in 2017, the AZEK Dragons Lair featured additional improvements in 2018.  The Dragons added 20 umbrellas to the tables in the Lair and also added two television monitors featuring the Dragons in-game video feed.  The Lair features an all-inclusive ticket that includes a ballpark buffet and souvenirs.

 

Renovation of Center Field Party Deck

The Dragons teamed up with AZEK Building Products to bring a new look to the popular center field party deck for the 2018 baseball season.  An AZEK Paver system was installed as a new flooring surface for the deck.

 

New Concourse Player Banners & Heritage Signs Showcase Dragons History

Many of the stars who have been part of Dragons history were displayed with 20 new banners on the main concourse at Fifth Third Field.  Banners highlighting the exploits of players like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Adam Dunn have been added.  Additionally, eight new Heritage Signs were also new on the concourse, telling the story of the Dragons tradition.

Introduction of Wright State Top Teacher Award

The new “Top Teacher” award, sponsored by Wright State University, became part of the Dragons MVP Program for 2018.  Three teachers who participated in the MVP Program were selected and honored during a special inning break of a Dragons game for their accomplishments in their classroom and community. “Top Teacher” honorees were recognized in the Play Ball game program, Dayton Daily News, radio commercials, and social media posts.

Season Review

 

The Dragons season began on April 5 and concluded on September 3.  Here are some of the facts and statistics:

 

Dayton Dragons 2018 Recap

Final Record:  58-80

First Half:  31-37 (6th in Eastern Division)

Second Half:  27-43 (8th in Eastern Division)

 

Final Attendance:  550,725

Per Game Attendance Average:  7,868

 

2018 Dragons Midwest League All-Star Game Participants:

Hendrik Clementina (starting designated hitter)

Stuart Fairchild (outfielder)

Montrell Marshall (first baseman)

John Ghyzel (pitcher)

Cory Thompson (pitcher)

 

Dragons Midwest League Full Season All-Star (one player per position league-wide):

Hendrik Clementina (designated hitter)

John Ghyzel (right-handed relief pitcher)

Midwest League Batter/Pitcher of the Week

Tyler Mondile (Pitcher):                      May 14-20

Packy Naughton (Pitcher):                 July 9-15

Jose Garcia (Batter):                          August 13-19

 

Dragons Cincinnati Reds Minor League Batter/Pitcher of the Month

Hendrik Clementina (Batter):              May

Hunter Greene (Pitcher):                    June (Co-Pitcher of the Month)

 

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game

Hunter Greene (Pitcher)

Dragons on Baseball America’s Midwest League “Best Tools” Survey

Minor League Baseball’s trade publication, Baseball America, conducted a survey of Midwest League managers of the “best tools” in the circuit:

 

Best Pitching Prospect:                      Hunter Greene

Pitcher with Best Fastball:                  Hunter Greene

Best Relief Pitcher:                             John Ghyzel

2018 Dragons Team Leaders

Batting

Batting Average:                                 Andy Sugilio, .278 (qualifier: minimum 378 plate appearances)

Alejo Lopez, .321 (non-qualifier, 260 plate appearances)

Home Runs:                                        Hendrik Clementina, 18

Runs Batted In:                                   Hendrik Clementina, 59

Stolen Bases:                                      Jeter Downs, 37

Games Played:                                   Jose Garcia, 125

 

Pitching

Victories:                                             Cory Thompson, 6

Earned Run Average                          Austin Orewiler, 3.72 (qualifier; min. 112 IP)

Saves:                                                 John Ghyzel, 19

Games Pitched:                                  Ryan Nutof/Cory Thompson, 46

Innings Pitched:                                  Packy Naughton, 154

Strikeouts:                                           Packy Naughton, 137

Dragons among the Midwest League Leaders

Batters

Games:                                               Jose Garcia, Tied-5th (125)

Home Runs:                                        Hendrik Clementina, Tied-5th (18)

Pitchers

Strikeouts:                                           Packy Naughton, 1st (137)

Saves:                                                 John Ghyzel, 1st (19)

Innings Pitched:                                  Packy Naughton, 1st (154)

Games Pitched:                                  Ryan Nutof, Tied-1st (46)

Games Pitched:                                  Cory Thompson, Tied-1st (46)

Games Started:                                  Packy Naughton, Tied-1st (28)

Earned Run Average:                         Austin Orewiler, 8th (3.72)

Lowest BB/9 IP (starters):                   Packy Naughton, 4th (1.99)

 

Notable Dragons Performances in 2018

 

  • Two Dragons had big nights in an 8-7 win at Clinton on May 4.  Hendrik Clementina hit two home runs in the game, becoming the only Dragons player in 2018 to enjoy a multi-home run night.  In the same game, Narciso Crook hit the Dragons only inside-the-park home run of the 2018 season.

 

  • On May 22, Jeter Downs ended the first game of a doubleheader with a walk-off RBI single, then led off the bottom of the first inning in the second game with a home run. Downs had two consecutive Dayton at-bats on the same day (no other Dragons player batted between his two at-bats), driving in runs in both. Jason Stark of The Athletic checked with Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistics service for Major League Baseball, and found that, at the big league level, no player in baseball history has ever had two consecutive at-bats for the same team on the same day and recorded RBI in both at bats.

  • On July 2 at Lake County, Dragons pitcher Hunter Greene enjoyed the best start of his professional career.  He struck out 10 batters and walked none over seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits to earn a win.

  • On July 13, Dragons reliever Brian Hunter struck out four batters in one inning.  Hunter recorded three outs on strikeouts in the inning but also notched a fourth strikeout, only to see the inning prolonged when the batter reached first on a dropped third strike. 

  • On July 20 at Wisconsin, Jose Garcia tied a Dragons club record with five hits in a game.  That same night, Garcia also enjoyed a baseball rarity when he collected two hits in the same inning, a seven-run sixth, which was the biggest scoring inning of the year for the Dragons.  They beat the Timber Rattlers 12-5.

  • On July 27 at Fifth Third Field, the Dragons enjoyed one of their most exciting wins of the season.  After falling behind Fort Wayne 5-0 early and still trailing 6-3 going to the bottom of the seventh, the Dragons mounted a comeback.  Lorenzo Cedrola hit a grand slam home run and Jeter Downs followed with a solo homer as the Dragons topped Fort Wayne 8-6.  Cedrola’s grand slam was the only one of the year for the Dragons.

 

  • On August 15, the first four batters of the seventh inning combined to hit for the cycle for the Dragons. Leandro Santana started the inning with a home run; Reshard Munroe tripled; Raul Wallace singled; and Jose Garcia doubled.

  • Dragons starting pitcher Packy Naughton became just the third player in Dragons history to lead the Midwest League in strikeouts.  Naughton finished with 137, notching eight in his final start of the year on September 2 to wrap up the MWL crown.  Naughton also led the MWL in innings pitched in 2018.

 


Other 2018 Highlights at Fifth Third Field:

Hometown Heroes Celebration Nights: Five times during the 2018 baseball season, the Dragons partnered with the Dayton Development Coalition and Leidos to pay tribute to all service men and women in the area. Festivities included the national anthem being performed by members of the United States Air Force, the presentation of the colors by the Wright Patterson Air Force Base Honor Guard, honoring Honor Flight Dayton, a “welcome home” ceremony for returning service men and women, honoring a 100-year-old veteran of Iwo Jima, a make-up birthday celebration, and swearing in ceremonies for a group of local Air Force recruits. The Hometown Heroes program was capped off by the American Celebration Night on August 18. Dates were April 11, May 8, June 24, July 15, and August 18.

Home Run for Life: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dragons teamed up to provide five children battling serious medical conditions with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities during Dragons games. Each honoree got to take an honorary home run “lap” around the bases of Fifth Third Field during a game, high five the players from both teams, and receive an honorary bat from Dragons manager Luis Bolivar. Dates were April 18, May 30, June 27, July 11, and July 25.

Community All-Stars: For the sixth straight year, the Dragons partnered with Vectren to present the Dragons Community All-Stars Program honoring individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond to improve the quality of life in the Miami Valley. Five of them appeared on the field during a game with a tribute video telling their story. Dates were May 8, June 25, July 30, August 16, and August 24.

Other Events:

High School Baseball: For the 13th consecutive season, the Dragons played host to high school baseball at Fifth Third Field. In April and May, 28 area high school teams participated in 15 games and raised over $30,000 for their athletic programs.

Dragons 5K: For the eighth time, the Dragons hosted a 5K run around downtown Dayton on July 21, presented by Orthopedic Associates of South West Ohio.

* Boy Scout/ Girl Scout Overnighters: May 11 and July 27

* Wright State University Raider Day at Fifth Third Field: May 17

* Kettering Health Network Strike Out Stroke Night: May 20

* MVP Field Day: June 2

* Kettering Health Network Public Safety Day: July 15

* IGS Energy’s Dragons Little Big Leagues Baseball Camps: June 25-26; July 30-31

* 18th Annual Bob Ross Classic Game: August 2

* Donatos family Movie Night: August 4

* Fourth Annual Yoga in the Outfield presented by the Winery at Versailles: August 9

* Great American Beer Tasting presented by Heidelberg Distributing: August 11

* American Celebration Night: August 18

* Kettering Health Network Breast Cancer Awareness Game: August 26

* Home Build on the Plaza in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Coldwell Banker Heritage Realtors:             August 25-30

* College Prep Night: September 26

* Declare Dayton Worship Concert and Celebration:  October 7

Six “Walks” at Fifth Third Field in 2018

Walk for Epilepsy:  May 19

AIDS Walk:  June 8

American Heart Association:  September 22

Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association Buddy Walk:  September 29

Walk to End Alzheimer’s:  October 6

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer:  October 20

 

Dragons Little Big Leagues

Presented by IGS Energy, the Dragons Little Big Leagues was a season-long program for little leaguers and a chance for all fans to celebrate youth baseball.  It included two days of baseball training by Dragons players and coaches at Fifth Third Field for kids; a visit by Dragons players and mascots to a Little League field; season-long parades and photo opportunities at Fifth Third Field for Little League teams; and the grand prize, an opportunity for two teams to play a game at the home of the Dragons.

Charitable Initiatives in 2018

For the 19th straight year, the Dragons utilized community non-profit groups to operate the concessions stands for every Dragons game at Fifth Third Field.  With a percentage of each game’s concessions revenue donated back to the non-profit groups who operate the stands, approximately $300,000 was raised in 2018 for those groups.  Over the Dragons history, approximately $5.7 million has been donated to local non-profit groups.  More than 40 non-profit organizations participate in the program.

The Dragons 50/50 Foundation raised money for the American Cancer Society in 2018.  Over the three years of the 50/50 Foundation, it has generated $250,000 for the Dragons Foundation and charities.

 

The Dragons made donations and in-kind gifts totaling $43,000 to local non-profit and youth organizations.

 

The Dragons completed a Ticket Fundraising Program that raised $47,000 for local non-profit groups.

 

Dragons School Assembly Program and Speaker’s Bureau

The Dragons School Assembly program visited more than 40 area elementary schools in 2018 with a 30-minute high-energy presentation. The Dragons Speaker’s Bureau presented to 36 local service clubs, non-profits, and class rooms in 2018.

 

National Entertainment Acts at Fifth Third Field

 

The Dragons home schedule in 2018 featured 11 national entertainment acts.  They included:

 

April 8:  Team Zoom Canine Entertainment

April 27:  Russian Bar Trio

May 12:  Jesse White Tumblers

May 18:  Xpogo

June 9:  BirdZerk!

June 10:  ZOOperstars

July 12:  Team Zoom Canine Entertainment

July 14:  Mutts Gone Nuts

July 26:  Team Zoom Canine Entertainment

August 24:  Jesse White Tumblers

August 30: Team Zoom Canine Entertainment

 

There were two fireworks shows at Fifth Third Field in 2018:  July 4, August 18.

 

Dragons in the Major Leagues

 

Former Dragons who Made Major League Baseball Debuts in 2018 (97 total since 2000)

Aristides Aquino

Alex Blandino

Joe Hudson

Tanner Rainey

Jesus Reyes

Zack Weiss

(All players debuted with Reds except Hudson, who debuted with Angels)

 

FORMER DRAGONS WHO PLAYED FOR THE REDS IN 2018 (19)

Aristides Aquino

Homer Bailey

Tucker Barnhart

Alex Blandino

Phillip Ervin

Amir Garrett

Billy Hamilton

Michael Lorenzen

Tyler Mahle

Devin Mesoraco

Wandy Peralta

Tanner Rainey

Jesus Reyes

Sal Romano

Jackson Stephens

Robert Stephenson

Joey Votto

Zack Weiss

Jesse Winker

FORMER DRAGONS WHO PLAYED FOR OTHER MLB TEAMS IN 2018 (16)

Jay Bruce, Mets

Daniel Corcino, Dodgers

Zack Cozart, Angels

Johnny Cueto, Giants

Edwin Encarnacion, Indians

Todd Frazier, Mets

Didi Gregorius, Yankees

Joe Hudson, Angels

Ryan LaMarre, Twins/White Sox

Ben Lively, Phillies

Devin Mesoraco, Mets

Josh Ravin, Braves

Miguel Rojas, Marlins

Ronald Torreyes, Yankees

Justin Turner, Dodgers

Zach Vincej, Mariners

Dragons in the News (National and Regional Media)

New York Times story on Hunter Greene:

Getting His Bat Back

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/21/sports/baseball/houston-astros-playoff-races.html

MLB Pipeline (Jonathan Mayo) video with Hunter Greene:

Greene Breaks Down Dayton Debut in Videos

https://www.mlb.com/news/reds-prospect-hunter-greene-analyzes-his-debut/c-271754670?tid=151437456

Tom Archdeacon story on Hunter Greene (picked up by various national outlets):

Reds phenom Hunter Greene has all the tools, and plenty of heart

http://www.phillytrib.com/sports/baseball/reds-phenom-hunter-greene-has-all-the-tools-and-plenty/article_892787e0-c783-5f1f-adeb-43c04e0a8abc.html

Baseball America story on Robert Murphy:

https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/milb-executive-of-the-year-robert-murphy/

 

The Athletic story on Dragons prospect Jonathan India:

Reds top pick Jonathan India adapting to the pro baseball grind

https://theathletic.com/482198/2018/08/20/reds-top-pick-jonathan-india-adapting-to-the-pro-baseball-grind/

 

Cincinnati Enquirer story on Joe Morgan appearance on Dragons TV:

Joe Morgan talks Big Red Machine during Hunter Greene’s Dayton Dragons start

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2018/06/28/joe-morgan-talks-big-red-machine-during-dayton-dragons-broadcast/741022002/

New York Times story on Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols:

A Broadcaster Makes it to The Show at Last

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/31/sports/baseball/in-this-comeback-ks-keep-a-low-profile.html

FOX Sports Ohio (Reds TV) interview with Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols:

Nichols Earns MLB Radio Call Up (video)

https://www.mlb.com/reds/video/nichols-earns-mlb-radio-callup/c-2437309683?tid=21753540

Cincinnati.com story on Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols:

Muncie native calls Cincinnati Reds game on radio after 31 years in minor leagues

https://www.thestarpress.com/story/sports/2018/08/28/cincinnati-reds-tom-nichols-radio-marty-brennaman-jeff-brantley-joe-nuxhall-dayton-dragons/1115288002/

Sports Broadcast Journal story on Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols:

Tom Nichols’ 30 Colorful Minor League Seasons:  Memorable Characters and Endless Roads

https://www.sportsbroadcastjournal.com/tom-nichols-30-colorful-minor-league-seasons-memorable-characters-and-endless-roads/

Sports Broadcast Journal Q&A with Tom Nichols:

https://www.sportsbroadcastjournal.com/qa-with-tom-nichols-august-2018-unedited-version/

Sports Radio PD story on Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols:

Tom Nichols Waits 31 Years to Call First MLB Game

 

Dragons President Robert Murphy earns 2018 Minor League Executive of the Year

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Tom Nichols; COURTESY DAYTON DRAGONS MEDIA RELATIONS

 

Robert Murphy

Dayton, Ohio—Dayton Dragons President & General Manager Robert Murphy has been selected as the 2018 Minor League Baseball Executive of the Year by Baseball America, the industry trade publication.  The award is presented annually to one individual from among all executives in 16 leagues and 190 teams across Minor League Baseball.

 

Murphy becomes the 17th person to earn the honor since Baseball America began the award in 2002.  Previous winners have included five league presidents and 10 team executives.  In 2007, the award was presented to Mike Moore, President of Minor League Baseball.

 

“We have been impressed for years with how well the Dayton Dragons have been run, not just because of their attendance records, but also because of the professionalism and first-class approach that the staff conveys,” said J.J. Cooper, Executive Editor at Baseball America.  “From promotions to game-day experience to broadcasts, we wanted to honor what Mr. Murphy and his staff have built in Dayton.”

 

Murphy has overseen the Dragons day-to-day operation since the organization’s inception in 1999.  Under his leadership, the Dragons began their still-active streak of consecutive sold-out dates with their first game at Fifth Third Field on April 27, 2000.  On July 9, 2011, the Dragons broke the all-time record previously held by the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA when they completed their 815th straight sell-out.   The streak, now at 1,316 straight games, will continue into the 2019 season.

 

The Dragons have become known for providing affordable family entertainment at Fifth Third Field with a commitment to unsurpassed customer service that has become a trademark of the organization.  The Dragons have also prioritized strong involvement with three longtime traditions, including the Dragons School MVP program, Anthem Home Run for Life, and the Dragons Hometown Heroes program.

 

Murphy is a native of Buffalo, New York.  He joined the Dragons in 1999 after serving in a management position with the Las Vegas Stars of baseball’s Pacific Coast League and the Las Vegas Thunder of the International Hockey League.

 

“Thanks to Baseball America for recognizing the Dragons organization with this honor, which is a tribute to our amazing staff,” said Murphy.  “The Dragons accomplishments are a product of the tremendous support we have received over our history from our fans, season ticket holders, and corporate partners.  Our ownership group, Palisades Arcadia Baseball, and our previous owners, Mandalay Baseball Properties, have always given us the resources to do great things in Dayton.  Thank you!  Thanks also to our Major League partner, the Cincinnati Reds, for their support of Dragons baseball.  And many thanks to my family for everything they do and have done to support me and the Dragons.”

 

Among the many awards presented to the Dragons over their 19-year history, this is one of the most significant.  Previously, Murphy was named Minor League Baseball Executive of the Year by the Sporting News in 2005.  He was selected as Midwest League Executive of the Year on two occasions, in 2000 and 2012.

 

Two other major awards have been presented to Dragons executives.  In 2016, Dragons Vice President Brandy Guinaugh was named Minor League Baseball’s Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year.  In 2003, Dragons Vice President Gary Mayse was named Midwest League Executive of the Year.

 

As an organization, the Dragons have received numerous national awards.  They were given the Bob Freitas Award by Baseball America in 2004 as the top Single-A franchise in Minor League Baseball.  In 2011, the Dragons were selected as Minor League Baseball Organization of the Year byBallpark Digest.  In 2012, the Dragons were selected as the winner of the John H. Johnson President’s Award, the highest honor presented annually to one Minor League Baseball team in the nation.  That same year, the Dragons were one of five finalists for the SportsBusiness JournalProfessional Sports Team of the Year, the first minor league team ever selected as a finalist.  The Dragons have received recognition for their support of the military by earning the Midwest League’s nomination for the Minor League Baseball Charles Murphy Patriot Award for three straight seasons from 2016-18, the first three years of the award’s existence.

 

The Dragons have won many other local and regional awards related to operations, marketing, community involvement, and family entertainment over their history. Most recently, the Dragons were named by Dayton Business Journal as the Miami Valley’s 2018 Customer Service Business of the Year.

 

For 13 straight years, the Dragons have finished first in the nation in season attendance for all Minor League Baseball clubs below the Triple-A level, and their 19 years have marked the top 19 seasons in attendance at the Single-A level in Minor League Baseball history.  The Dragons surpassed the 11 million mark in all-time attendance in 2018.

 

The Dragons will open their 20th season in the Midwest League on April 4, 2019 when they host the Bowling Green Hot Rods at Fifth Third Field.

 

 

 

Dayton Dragons honored by Dayton Business Journal as 2018 Customer Business Service of the Year

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Tom Nichols; COURTESY DAYTON DRAGONS MEDIA RELATIONS

 

Dayton, Ohio—The Dayton Dragons have been selected as the Miami Valley’s “Customer Service Business of the Year” by the Dayton Business Journal.  The Dragons and winners of other 2018 DBJ awards were honored recently at the Dayton Business Journal gala at the Schuster Performing Arts Center.

 

“It is a great honor for the entire Dayton Dragons organization to be recognized by the Dayton Business Journal and the Dayton business community for our unsurpassed customer service experience,” said Robert Murphy, Dragons President & General Manager.  “Great people make great organizations and we are proud of our colleagues who are being recognized for their 20 years of hard work.”

 

The Dragons hold the longest streak of consecutive sold-out dates in the history of sports in North America.  The streak is active at 1,316 straight sell-outs, starting with the Dragons first game on April 27, 2000, and continuing into the 2019 season.

 

The Dragons have maintained a culture of unsurpassed customer service for their 70 annual home games at Fifth Third Field as well as dozens of other events each year at the ballpark.  The Dragons dedication to training and employing friendly, efficient support staff including ushers and ticket-takers, along with the organization’s commitment to high-quality family entertainment, has led to high renewal rates for season ticket holders.  The Dragons also maintain the upkeep of Fifth Third Field and have invested heavily in annual improvements to the ballpark.

 

For 13 straight years, the Dragons have finished first in the nation in season attendance for all Minor League Baseball clubs below the Triple-A level, and their 19 years have marked the top 19 seasons in attendance at the Single-A level in Minor League Baseball history.  The Dragons surpassed the 11 million mark in all-time attendance in 2018.

 

The Dragons will open their 20th season in the Midwest League on April 4, 2019 when they host the Bowling Green Hot Rods at Fifth Third Field.

 

More Information: The Dayton Dragons are the Midwest League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and play a 70-game home schedule at beautiful Fifth Third Field in downtown Dayton, easily accessible from Interstate 75. Individuals and groups seeking information about Dayton Dragons group tickets, lawn tickets, the season ticket wait list, sponsorship opportunities or booking a Dragons speaker are encouraged to contact the Dragons by calling (937) 228-2287, by email at dragons@daytondragons.com, or on the web at daytondragons.com.

 

Dragons 3B Santana earns Cincinnati Reds Minor League Community Service honor

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Tom Nichols; COURTESY DAYTON DRAGONS MEDIA RELATIONS

 

 

Leandro Santana

Dayton, Ohio-Dayton Dragons infielder Leandro Santana has been selected as the Cincinnati Reds 2018 Minor League Community Service award winner. The Reds announced their Minor League player awards at RedsFest.

Santana spent the entire 2018 season with the Dragons. He was selected for the award based on his efforts in Dayton this season as a volunteer as part of various Dragons community service endeavors.

Santana became the seventh Dragons player to win the Reds Minor League Community Service Award since 2011. The award is given to only one player each year across all levels of the Reds farm system. Previous Dragons winners of the Reds Community Service Award were Drew Hayes(2011), El’Hajj Muhammad (2012), Brent Peterson (2013), Jon Matthews (2014), Avain Rachal(2015), and Aaron Fossas (2017).

Also at RedsFest, the Reds named the following Minor League player awards: Sheldon “Chief” Bender Minor League Player of the Year: Ibandel Isabel; Minor League Hitter of the Year: T.J. Friedl; Minor League Pitcher of the Year: Tony Santillan. Friedl and Santillan are both former Dragons. Friedl spent the first half of the 2017 season with the Dragons, while Santillan spent all of 2017 in Dayton after briefly pitching for the Dragons in 2016.

The Reds Minor League Player of the Year award is named after Sheldon “Chief” Bender, who worked in professional baseball for 64 years, 39 of those with the Reds. Bender oversaw the Reds farm system from 1967-’88, producing stars such as Ken Griffey Sr., Dave Concepcion, Ron Oester, Mario Soto, Eric Davis, Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo, Paul O’Neill, and countless others. Bender passed away in 2008 at the age of 88.

Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award winners:

2000 Austin Kearns

2001 Adam Dunn

2002 Brandon Larson

2003 Stephen Smitherman

2004 Richie Gardner

2005 Chris Denorfia

2006 Homer Bailey

2007 Jay Bruce

2008 Chris Valaika

2009 Chris Heisey

2010 Devin Mesoraco

2011 Billy Hamilton

2012 Billy Hamilton

2013 Seth Mejias-Brean

2014 Ben Lively

2015 Tyler Mahle

2016 Aristides Aquino

2017 Nick Senzel

2018 Ibandel Isabel

 

Dayton Dragons, Fifth Third Bank to hold College Prep Night September 26th

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Tom Nichols; COURTESY DAYTON MEDIA RELATIONS

 

COLLEGE PREP NIGHT AT FIFTH THIRD FIELD

One Lucky Attendee Will Win a $1,000 College Scholarship

 

Dayton, Ohio – The Dayton Dragons and Fifth Third Bank will hold College Prep Night, a free educational event for prospective college students, at Fifth Third Field on Wednesday, September 26 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

 

College Prep Night is a one-stop college resource event to guide prospective college students and their parents through the process of planning an educational path. High school students can talk to representatives from colleges and universities from all over the nation, and one lucky student in attendance will win a $1,000 college scholarship, courtesy of Fifth Third Bank.

 

More than 1,000 students and their guests will attend and more than 70 colleges and universities will participate in this free event. Among the colleges scheduled to appear are Wright State University, Kettering College, Ohio University, Miami (Ohio) University, Duke University, University of Cincinnati, Ball State University, University of Dayton, Ohio Army National Guard, University of Kentucky, and many more schools from around the country. Representatives will be on hand to answer whatever questions that students might have about college life at each particular school.

 

“Fifth Third is committed to growing the financial knowledge of families and students as they make decisions about their future,” said Doug Compton, city executive for Fifth Third Bank. “It is important that we play a role in providing information that will help them successfully navigate their options regarding college. We are honored to provide a scholarship to a student who has made the decision to continue their education and we are dedicated to continue participating in events like College Prep Night that make a long-lasting, positive difference in the communities that we serve.”

 

The $1,000 scholarship will be given away after the event to a lucky college-bound student. To be entered to win, parents or students must RSVP before noon on the day of the event at www.daytondragons.com/collegeprep and must attend the event, although they do not have to be present when the winner’s name is pulled at the conclusion of the event.

 

In addition to visiting with the different schools, students and parents can participate in dynamic, informative workshops that will tell them everything they need to know about college. In one of the informative seminars, Fifth Third Bank will educate attendees on choosing the right college savings, part of a 13-program series called Empower U, designed by financial professionals at Fifth Third Bank with the employees of their valued clients in mind. The Empower U program is designed to provide you with financial information that will help empower you to achieve your goals and realize financial independence. This presentation will provide attendees with an overview of how to, and how much to, save for your child’s college education.

 

To learn more about College Prep Night, please visit www.daytondragons.com/collegeprep.

About Fifth Third

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. As of June 30, 2018, the Company had $141 billion in assets and operated 1,158 full-service Banking Centers and 2,458 ATMs with Fifth Third branding in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. In total, Fifth Third provides its customers with access to approximately 54,000 fee-free ATMs across the United States. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending and Wealth & Asset Management. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of June 30, 2018, had $368 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $37 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations through its Trust and Registered Investment Advisory businesses. Investor information and press releases can be viewed atwww.53.com. Fifth Third’s common stock is traded on the Nasdaq® Global Select Market under the symbol “FITB.” Fifth Third Bank was established in 1858. Deposit and Credit products are offered by Fifth Third Bank. Member FDIC.


 

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