Hey Red Sox Nation: your sellout streak is nice. In a quaint, small-scale kind of way. One day, if you’re truly committed, you can show devotion like the fans of the Dayton Dragons have done for the past 11 years.
Eleven years in which they have sold out every single home game. That’s 815 games in a row. Every game they’ve played since they moved to Dayton in 2000. When they get their 815th, they’ll break the all-time professional sports record, currently held by the Portland Trailblazers.
OK, fine, tickets for the Dragons aren’t quite as pricey as they are at Fenway, so I’ll grant that there is an apples and oranges thing going on here. But you can’t deny how impressive the Dragons’ streak is. Especially in an area like Dayton, with an economy that can be charitably referred to as “beyond crappy.” There’s a season ticket waiting list for the Dragons. A wait list for season tickets to a Class-A team. It’s around 9,000 names long. In a park that holds just over 8,000. Seriously, someone could kill every single current season ticket holder for the Dragons this afternoon, and you’d still be wait-listed.
The key is really the ballpark. It’s fun. It’s accessible. They keep it really clean and well-maintained and are huge on customer service there. Reds’ prospects come and go, but people always have a reason to go to Fifth Third Field.
Or maybe they’re just coming out to see Delino Deshields. He’s the manager. And I just think that’s neat.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.