MIDWEST LEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME, SELLOUT STREAK CONTINUATION, CUETO APPEARANCES AMONG DRAGONS 2013 HIGHLIGHTS
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Dayton, Ohio-The 14th year for the Dayton Dragons featured another full season of sold-out games, the 2013 Midwest League All-Star Game, and a mid-season appearance by one of Major League Baseball's best pitchers.
The Streak Continues
After breaking the all-time sports record for consecutive sold-out dates in 2011, the Dragons kept the streak going in 2013 with another full season of sell-outs. When the final home game was sold out on September 2nd, the streak reached 983. Every game in the team's 14-year history has been a sell-out.
Midwest League All-Star Game
On June 18th, the Dragons hosted the 49th Midwest League All-Star Game at Fifth Third Field. The event was a two-day affair in Dayton, with a block party at the Fraze Pavilion on June 17th. The Dragons Jesse Winker was the individual winner of the pre-game Home Run Derby. The East Division beat the West 6-5 in the Midwest League All-Star Game on a ninth-inning walk-off single by Lansing's Dalton Pompey.
In May, Cincinnati Reds star pitcher Johnny Cueto joined the Dragons for two games on a Major League injury rehabilitation assignment. Cueto, who played for the Dragons in 2006, allowed just one run in eight innings over his two starts for the Dragons at Fifth Third Field on May 9th and May 14th. In July, Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick rehabbed with the Dragons on a road trip to Lansing. Portions of the Dragons broadcasts featuring Cueto and Ludwick were carried live on the Reds flagship station, 700 WLW.
Another Year at the Top
The Dragons completed the 2013 regular season with an attendance total for the year of 579,946. The Dragons have led all of Single-A baseball in attendance in each of their 14 seasons. Dayton averaged 8,405 per date over 69 home openings in 2013 and finished in the top 10 in average attendance in Minor League Baseball out of 160 teams (for the 14th consecutive year).
Longest Sell-Outs Streaks in Professional Sports History
No. Team League Years
983 Dayton Dragons Minor League Baseball 2000-current
814 Portland Trail Blazers National Basketball Association 1977-'95
792 Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball 2003-'13
662 Boston Celtics National Basketball Association 1980-'95
610 Chicago Bulls National Basketball Association 1987-'00
Other 2013 Highlights at Fifth Third Field:
Dragons MVP Program: For the eighth straight season, The Dragons MVP program provided students who were selected by their teachers the chance to be recognized for their achievements. More than 950 classrooms and 26,000 students participated during the 2013 season. Those children selected as Dragons MVPs received a customized certificate and complimentary tickets to enjoy a Dragons game at Fifth Third Field with their families. At the game, they received a specially designed Dragons MVP baseball cap. MVPs also received tickets to the "MVP Field Day" at the stadium.
Hometown Heroes Celebration Nights: Two times during the 2013 baseball season, the Dragons partnered with the Dayton Development Coalition and their partners to pay tribute to all service men and women associated with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Springfield Air National Guard Base. Festivities included a welcome home to servicemen returning from their deployment, a video greeting card from an airman serving oversees to his family back in the Dayton region, and swearing in ceremonies for a group of local Air Force recruits.
Home Run for Life: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dragons teamed up to provide five kids battling serious medical conditions with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities during Dragons games. Each honoree got to take an honorary home run "lap" around the bases of Fifth Third Field during a game and receive a personalized Dragons bat from an Anthem representative and a certificate naming them an honorary Dragons player from Dragons manager Jose Nieves.
Community All-Stars: For the second-straight year, the Dragons Community All-Stars Program honored individuals who have gone above and beyond to improve the quality of life in the Miami Valley. From fire fighters to first responders to volunteers and good Samaritans, the Dragons honored 35 all-stars, five of whom appeared on the field during a game with a tribute video telling their story.
High School Baseball: For the seventh consecutive season, the Dragons played host to high school baseball at Fifth Third Field. In April and May, 32 area high school teams participated in 16 games raising over $30,000 for their athletic programs.
Bob Ross Classic: On July 13th, the 13th Annual Bob Ross Classic was played at Fifth Third Field. The exhibition game showcased the best incoming high school seniors from 38 schools in the Miami Valley.
Subway Dragons 5K: For the second time, the Dragons and SUBWAY® partnered for a 5K run around downtown Dayton on July 13th. SUBWAY® spokesman Jared Fogel joined the 2,000 race participants and walked the 5K with his family.
- Sinclair Community College Baseball Game - April 24
- Boy Scout Overnighter - May 24
- Girl Scout Overnighter - June 7
- Dragons Experience Youth Baseball Clinics: June 24-25; July 29-30.
- Great American Beer Tasting: August 3
- Donatos Pizza Movie Night: August 10
- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Health & Fitness Carnival: August 18
Dayton Dragons 2013 Recap
Final Record: 65-74
First Half: 28-41 (6th in Eastern Division)
Second Half: 37-33 (Tied-3rd in Eastern Division)
Final Attendance: 579,946
Per Game Attendance Average: 8,405
2013 Dragons Midwest League All-Star Game Participants:
Zach Vincej, Shortstop
Jesse Winker, Outfield
Sal Romano, Pitcher
Drew Cisco, Pitcher
Sean Lucas, Pitcher
Ben Klimesh, Pitcher
Alejandro Chacin, Pitcher
Robert Stephenson, Pitcher (replaced due to injury)
2013 Dragons Team Leaders
Batting Average: Seth Mejias-Brean, .305
Home Runs: Jesse Winker, 16
Runs Batted In: Seth Mejias-Brean, 79
Stolen Bases: Junior Arias/Beau Amaral, 40
Games Played: Seth Mejias-Brean, 127
Victories: Sal Romano/Nick Travieso/Ismael Guillon, 7
Earned Run Average (qualifiers): Drew Cisco, 3.86
Saves: Sean Lucas, 11
Games Pitched: Alejandro Chacin, 44
Innings Pitched: Drew Cisco, 130.2
Dragons among 2013 Midwest League Leaders
Strikeouts: Ismael Guillon, 134, first
Stolen Bases: Junior Arias & Beau Amaral, 40, tied-fourth
Doubles: Seth Mejias-Brean, 35, third
Batting Average: Seth Mejias-Brean, .305, seventh
Hits: Seth Mejias-Brean, 146, fourth
Notable Dragons Individual Performances
- With the Dragons trailing by three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning against Beloit on July 18, Seth Mejias-Brean belted a walk-off grand slam home run. It may have provided the most dramatic ending to any game in Dragons history. The only other Dragons walk-off grand slam was hit by Samone Peters on June 10, 2001, and it came with the score tied. Mejias-Brean's home run was the first walk-off grand slam in which the winning team trailed by three runs at the time of the homer in the Cincinnati Reds organization since Adam Dunn hit a walk-off grand slam to give the Reds a 9-8 win over the Indians on June 30, 2006. It was only the third such occurrence in the Midwest League over the past nine seasons and the 16th time it has happened in all of Minor League Baseball (including international leagues) since 2005.
- Dragons outfielder Jesse Winker belted a walk-off home run on July 21 vs. Wisconsin, just three days after Mejias-Brean's walk-off grand slam. Winker's homer was just the 18th walk-off homer over the Dragons 14-year history.
- Starting pitcher Robert Stephenson provided one of the finest pitching performances in Dragons history against South Bend at Fifth Third Field on May 30. Using an assortment of fastballs in the high 90's along with a sharp curve ball and tantalizing change-up, Stephenson retired the first 17 batters of the game, including eight on strikeouts. He lost his perfect game with two outs in the sixth inning on a slow rolling infield single that was fielded by Stephenson near the first base line. It was the only hit he allowed before being lifted when he reached his pitch limit with two outs in the seventh.
- Junior Arias hit two home runs in one game on June 21 vs. Lake County.
- The Dragons belted five grand slam home runs in 2013, including two by Beau Amaral on July 28 and August 22. Adam Matthews hit a grand slam in his very first swing as a member of the Dragons on July 3 at Bowling Green. Seth Mejias-Brean's walk-off grand slam and Jesse Winker's first inning grand slam at Cedar Rapids on July 10 were the others.
- The Reds first round draft picks from 2011, 2012, and 2013 all played for the Dragons this season. Starting pitchers Robert Stephenson ('11) and Nick Travieso ('12) and outfielder Phillip Ervin ('13) all were members of Dragons in 2013. The list of Reds first round draft picks to play for the Dragons climbed to 11 and also includes current Major Leaguers Jay Bruce, Homer Bailey, Devin Mesoraco, Austin Kearns, and Drew Stubbs.
- Junior Arias and Beau Amaral became just the second and third players in Dragons history to steal at least 40 bases in a season, joining Billy Hamilton (2011).
Notable Dragons Team Performances
- A stretch of 11 home games in late July and early August provided some of the most exciting wins of the season. The Dragons won nine of the 11 games, all in comeback style. On a six-game home stand July 17-22, the Dragons had two walk-off home runs from Seth Mejias-Brean and Jesse Winker and won another game despite trailing 8-1. On the next home stand, the Dragons got another late-inning grand slam from Beau Amaral for another come-from-behind win. The Dragons home record in the second half was 21-14.
- The Dragons broke the club record for fewest errors in a season with 137 over 139 games. The previous record was 141. The Dragons led the Midwest League in team fielding percentage.
On August 7, Dragons fan Brad Cooper attended the game at Fifth Third Field, seated in the lawn section beyond the right field fence. In the top of the third inning, Lake County's Jorge Martinez connected on a solo home run that Cooper caught with an amazing grab as he crashed into a retaining wall in the seating area. Cooper's catcher was replayed thousands of time on television and over the Internet, appearing on ESPN, CNN, the MLB Network, FOX Sports 1, and just about everywhere else, making Cooper a celebrity.
Former Dragons who Made Major League Baseball Debuts in 2013 (63 total since 2000)
Neftali Soto, Cincinnati Reds
Donald Lutz, Cincinnati Reds
Donnie Joseph, Kansas City Royals
Curtis Partch, Cincinnati Reds
Nick Christiani, Cincinnati Reds
Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds
Major League Injury Rehabilitation Assignments with the Dragons in 2013
Johnny Cueto, Pitcher
Ryan Ludwick, Outfielder
The Dragons continued to expand into social media in 2013. The Dragons Facebook page climbed to over 19,500 "likes" while the Dragons Twitter page, in just its second season, jumped to over 3,900 followers. Over 25,000 fans connected to the Dragons radio broadcasts through the team's new Mobile App.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.