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.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.