From the fourth row behind home plate, Bill and Merri Mercer, of Bellbrook, watched the Dayton Dragons game Wednesday. It was just another night at Fifth Third Field, and like many of the die-hard Dragons fans, the Mercers have been around since the start in 2000.
One thing changed Wednesday, however. The Mercers and all of Dayton learned the group that has owned the Dragons through all of their 1,022 sellouts, Mandalay Baseball Properties LLC, reached an agreement to sell the franchise to Palisades Arcadia Baseball LLC.
The longtime fans knew this news was coming, and when they heard the new owners plan to keep the current management team in place, it calmed any concerns they had about the future of the Dragons.
“I don’t know what it really means,” Bill Mercer said. “I don’t think we’ll see any difference here. They say they’re going to use the same management, and they run the place. Just different owners. No one ever walked up to me said, “Yeah, I’m Mr. Mandalay.’ I assume there will be no change.”
Janet Hauk, of West Carrollton, has been to every opening day and attends 50 games a year. She said she would be surprised if the new owners don’t make some changes and was pleased to learn the new owners do have experience in baseball.
“It’s not like somebody who has no experience who just wants to make an investment,” she said. “We’re all looking forward to the change. There’s been a few changes along the way to make the team look a little bit more attractive to a buyer. We’d like to have a new scoreboard. I think it needs to be upgraded. We were very happy they did the grass a couple years ago when they had the all-star game. For the people who go all the time, the concessions have gotten to be a little expensive.”
Mark Miller, of Springfield, a member of the Dragons Friends Boosters Club, doesn’t believe there needs to be big changes.
“In the days of big corporations, it’s basically a corporate shift,” he said. Then he added, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
That seems to be the prevailing opinion.
“The group that’s been running it has been doing a great job,” said Jill Rarick, of Vandalia. “The entertainment between innings, they put on the best show in the league.”