“No franchise has sold out like the Dragons of the Class A Midwest League. The Dragons achieved their 814th sellout on Saturday…surpassing the national sports record set by the N.B.A.’s Portland Trail Blazers from 1977 to 1995.” In the Daytona area, industry has declined, which makes the team’s success even more marvelous.
Also, with Sunday night’s win against the South Bend Silver Hawks, the Dragons are now first place in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division.
Though the Dragons are setting records and winning first place spots, what really got my attention in the NY Times article that I linked was the last few paragraphs, describing what it’s like to be there on game nights:
“There is a family mood on game nights. The foghorn blasts at 6 p.m. when the gates open. Fans walk in from free street parking, enjoying the bright sunlight on the far edge of the Eastern time zone. Some fans head for the suites, which can be leased in the high $20,000 range, and others spread out on the wraparound concourse.
On these lush summer evenings, the shaky economy is stored in the back of the mind. Children con adults into buying them snacks; the Green Team lobs free T-shirts into the stands. Manager Delino DeShields, who stole 463 bases in 13 big-league seasons, tries to coax a victory out of young players, most of whom will never make the majors. Yet for these few months, they are the biggest thing in town.
One of the Dragons drops a lovely bunt down the third-base line and beats it out for a single. Some of the fans applaud, making this event feel, oddly enough, just like a ballgame.”
The article also describes a long-time fan getting the attention of one of the team mascots who would come and kiss his 90 year old mother on the head. She would talk about it for the next week.