Brett’s Thoughts: This was an impressive park for a single-A team. The park is located in the heart of Dayton and offers plenty to do around the park before a game. We were not incredibly impressed with the food options when we looked online, so we decided to get food outside the park and stumbled upon the Dayton Brewing Co. This local brewery was fantastic and there is a pizza place attached to it so you can order pizza, drink while you wait, and then they bring it over to you. They had over 25 beers on tap and while we had to get to the game, I could have spent hours there.
The park is incredibly modern. There are video boards around the outfield wall and the jumbotron has two dragons on it that blow smoke out any time the Dragons get a run or a win. There are plenty of seating options with standing room, the outfield grass, and around the infield. For me, however, this is where the park loses it. Because Dayton attracts pretty large crowds, they have shifted to the specialty seating. There are so many places that you can’t go, causing the rest of the park to become over crowded. Your group can rent out green space that is normally standing room. When we went, two green spaces were rented out, which caused the last green space in the park to become overcrowded. The Dragon’s Den and the picnic area in center were specialty seating as well, so it seemed like you could hardly move because there were so many people in the outfield wandering around with nowhere to go. While this was a great park and I would love to visit again, I felt like this park did not capture the grit and commitment to the game that single-A baseball players go through. I felt like it was more about fan experience and less about the game itself (as most fans failed to realize that a combined no hitter was thrown).
Scott’s Thoughts: Fifth Third Field (not to be confused with the park of the same name in Toledo) was one of my favorites. It’s in the heart of Dayton, in a neighborhood that has a bit of grit to it; it felt honest and genuine, not manufactured. The fan base was excited and supportive, if admittedly unaware that a no-hitter was in progress. It was a fairly high-tech park for Single-A, with impressive scoreboards and modern, clean facilities. Dayton had some solid food options as well — I’d definitely recommend the fried Oreos out in right field. Fifth Third Field was a great combination of honesty, fan amenities, environment, and baseball; for me, it was one of the top parks on the tour.