Of course, I've also spent the majority of my life within a 60-minute drive of Riverfront Stadium and Great American Ball Park, which has made excursions to minor-league parks, however more financially feasible or endearingly quaint compared to big-league cathedrals, largely unnecessary.
Then there's the fact that the Dragons, the Cincinnati Reds' Class A affiliate up I-75, don't really need me: July 9's game at Fifth Third Field will be the team's 815th consecutive sell out — every home game since the Dragons' inception in 2000 — the longest streak in U.S. professional sports history.
To celebrate the landmark (unexpectedly, the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers previously held the record by selling out every home game from 1977-1995), The New York Times ran a lengthy feature in yesterday's Sunday edition in which it interviewed everyone from the Dragons' crafty, fan-friendly front office members (the team is owned by the Mandalay Entertainment Group, whose investors include Magic Johnson and Archie Griffin) to various season-ticket holders to former Dragon and Red and current New York Yankee Chris Dickerson.
The piece, written by George Vescey, also mentions current Red and former Dragon Joey Votto, including this curious paragraph: “The Dragons have sent 48 players to the major leagues, including Votto, the personable Canadian star of the Reds. When Votto developed anxieties after the death of his father in 2009, he took a few weeks off, then played a few tune-up games in a homecoming to Dayton, where he had lived with a host family when he was with the Dragons."