From the Dragons:

The Dayton Dragons and Cincinnati Reds today jointly announced a four-year extension of their Player Development Contract.  The agreement guarantees the affiliation between the Dragons and Reds through the 2012 baseball season.

The Dragons have served as the Reds’ Midwest League affiliate since the inception of the Dragons franchise prior to the 2000 season.  During that period, 23 Dragons players have advanced to the major leagues including current Reds Adam Dunn, Edwin Encarnacion, Todd Coffey, Johnny Cueto, and Joey Votto.

“On behalf of the Dayton Dragons Professional Baseball Team, we are very pleased on the extension of our Player Development Contract with the Cincinnati Reds, said Robert Murphy, Dragons President.  “We have enjoyed being an affiliate in the Reds Player Development System the past nine years and look forward to building upon the foundation of this successful relationship.”

The proximity of the Dragons to Cincinnati has also contributed to a high number of major league injury rehabilitation assignments in Dayton.  Eight Reds major league players have played with the Dragons on those assignments.  Additionally, Jose Rijo was assigned to Dayton while coming back from a long-term injury and Elizardo Ramirez was optioned to Dayton and pitched for the Dragons while a member of the Reds starting rotation to remain in his normal five-day routine.

“The Reds are very pleased to renew our Player Development Contract with the Dayton Dragons,” said Terry Reynolds, Reds Director of Player Development. “The atmosphere provided by the administration, staff and fans of Dayton is second to none in all of professional baseball. We are proud to call the Dragons our partner and look forward to many exciting years together.”

I have to admit, I NEVER expected the Dragons to be as big a success as they’ve been.

This is my fourth season of being a partial season ticket holder and, while the teams haven’t always been as competitive as you’d like, it’s always been an enjoyable way to spend an evening and the franchise has always been first class when it comes to customer service. And even the bad teams had some prospect worth watching.