|Finally a new park where
the franchise does not feel it necessary to gouge the fans. Fifth Third Field (as it was originally known)
is one of the nicest new parks in the country, and may also be one of the
most affordable. Because it was built in downtown Dayton, it had to be
tucked in between a couple of streets. This allowed the designers to be
a bit more creative than had it been built in a parking lot in the outskirts
of town. It is only a Single-A park, but just as easily could serve as
a Triple-A park. The park has lower deck seats from almost foul pole to
foul pole that are quite close to the field. There is also a small upper
deck that also feels quite close to the action. Behind the left field fence
are a couple small sections of seating while a grassy berm is located in
right field for the overflow crowd. All seats are plastic fold down chairs.
The park was not quite complete when I visited in 2000, but it appears
as if one will be able to circle the entire interior of the park once complete.
A large scoreboard, complete with video board is located in left field.
It is a bit tacky with dragons painted on each side, however. The concourse
is located at the top of the seating bowl area and features numerous concession
stands as well as a spacious souvenir store. While the variety of concessions
is not outstanding, the prices are very affordable. Programs / scorecards
are printed daily and given away free to fans. This is a great touch by
the Dragons. My biggest complaint about Fifth Third Field is the atmosphere.
The fans seemed more excited by the between inning promotions and self-absorbed
on-field DJ than they did about the baseball game - which the Dragons were
winning. They also felt it necessary to show off their video board by showing
the play by play live, and at times using a "catcher-cam". This is completely
unnecessary at the minor league level. Other than these minor complaints,
Fifth Third Field is a fantastic place to see a game - certainly one of
my favorite new parks.