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7 things to get excited about this Dayton Dragons season

Only a few more days before Fifth Third Field begins to, once again, fill up for warm evenings packed with laughter, delicious stadium grub and desperate attempts to catch a Dayton Dragons fly ball. 

The Dragons entertainment team said in a press release that fans can expect the return of their long-time favorites like Dragons mascots Heater and Gem, the Green Team, Roofman and special character, Wink. However, this 19th season for the Dragons will bring many exciting and new elements to the ballpark. 

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Members of the Dayton Dragons Green Team get fans fired up on Opening Day -- Saturday, April 9, at Fifth Third Field. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD (E.L. Hubbard)

Here’s what’s new this season:

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1. A brand new dessert stand⚾

The Dragons’ ballpark has never struggled to keep fans full through the ninth inning. This year, Fifth Third Field is especially focusing on fans with a sweet tooth by featuring a brand new dessert stand. The stand will include Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Brownies with Ice Cream, Walking Apple Pies, Frozen Chocolate Bananas, Magnum Caramel Bars and much more. 

2. Renovations⚾

A few areas in the already beautiful Fifth Third Field have gotten extra attention since the closing of the 2017 season. The AZEK Lair, a new concept in 2017, has added 20 umbrellas to tables for cooling shade. The all-inclusive Lair tickets include an expanded buffet, as well as ballpark souvenirs. 

Renovations have been made to bring a new look to the popular center field party deck. A new flooring surface for the deck using 95 percent post-consumer recycled materials has been added. 

The Green Team pulls fans right from the stands for their on-field skits. If you’re lucky, maybe they’ll pick you next time. (HANDOUT/CONTRIBUTED)

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3. Brand new Dragons bus⚾

Buckeye Charters, the only bus company used by the team in their 19 years of existence, has unveiled a brand new 2018 model bus for the Dragons to travel throughout the Midwest in this season. On average, the team will spend approximately 160 hours on the bus over the summer. The exterior of the bus will feature a special new design with Dragons team colors and logo.

4. Special Game Jerseys for Cancer Awareness Day⚾

On Friday, June 8, the Dragons “will wear a special cancer awareness jersey that will be auctioned off after the game. Five dollars from every ticket sold will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Individuals who have battled cancer will be recognized throughout the game in the ballpark and on Dragons radio,” according to Dragons media relations. 

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The Dayton Dragons took on the West Michigan Whitecaps during opening day Thursday April 5 at Fifth Third Field. The fans lined up to get autographs from the players including Ryan Wrights (9). (HANDOUT)

5. 11 nights of national entertainers⚾

Eleven national acts have officially been booked to wow the audience this summer. Just a few of the nationally-acclaimed entertainment names include Mutts Gone NutsXpogo, the Jesse White Tumblers and the Russian Bar Trio.

6. On-field entertainment favorites returning⚾

These favorite between-inning elements that are some fans’ favorite Dragon moments will be returning for 2018:

• Toddler Races 

• Retirement Village People 

• Mini-Dugout Dancers 

• Dragons Drumline 

• Dragons Organist Jimmy Keys

Dragons fans were a welcome sight for the team Friday night against South Bend after a tough trip. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO (HANDOUT)

7. More Dragon family and community events to mark on the calendar ⚾

• High School Baseball at Fifth Third Field. A 15-game schedule begins April 14, giving high school players throughout the Miami Valley the opportunity to play at a professional facility. 

• Vectren Community All-Star Nights: May 8, June 25, July 30, August 16, and August 27 

• Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Home Run for Life: April 18, May 30, June 27, July 11 and July 25 

• Hometown Heroes: April 11, May 8, June 24, July 15, and August 18. 

• Kroger Baseball Buddies! Kids 7-13 can go to local Kroger store to sign up for a chance to be a Kroger Baseball Buddy. Those picked will get Dragons items, including an authentic Dragons jersey, and get to hang out with the players in the dugout before the game. 

• Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts Overnighters: May 11 & July 27 

• Dragons Little Big Leagues Baseball Camps presented by IGS Energy: June 25, July 30 

• Kettering Health Network Public Safety Day: July 15 

• Dragons 5K presented by Orthopedic Associates of SW Ohio: July 21 

• Bob Ross Classic: August 2 

• Dontatos Pizza Family Movie Night: August 4 

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

 OPENING NIGHT

“Opening Night is 7 P.M. Saturday, April 7. Skydivers from Team Fastrax will land on the playing field to signify the beginning of another year of Dragons baseball. The National Anthem will be performed by Dayton singer Yolanda Drake, winner of the Dayton Daily News national anthem contest. There will also be performances from the Retirement Village People, the Shakertown Stompers, and the Dragons Drumline.”

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For Dragons ticket information, visit milb.com.

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