A local group says it’s ready to buy a team and move it to Richmond (Va.), but they first want assurances from the city that a new ballpark is forthcoming.A local group says it’s ready to buy a team and move it to Richmond (Va.), but they first want assurances from the city that a new ballpark is forthcoming.
Brian Bostic, head of the local group, says they are working to buy a team by March 1. It’s believed the team is the Connecticut Defenders (Class AA; Eastern League), as talk at the Winter Meetings centered on owner Lou DiBello’s willingness to exit the baseball world after bad experiences with Norwich officials over the management of the team’s ballpark.
However, a move of the Defenders — even with the ownership of a Richmond group — is far from a done deal. First, there’s the issue of the new ballpark: while one has been proposed for the city’s Shockoe Bottom district as part of a much larger $800-million development, nothing has been finalized. And while city officials are hopeful the proposal works out, many details — like specific funding and the arranging of financing — need to be worked out. So it’s more than likely any team moving to Richmond will need to spend some time playing at The Diamond.
Then there are the territorial issues. Minor League Baseball still has not made a determination on who controls the Richmond territory, and a claim by a Class AAA team — like, say, the Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League) — wouild trump any plans by the Bostic group. So there’s not as much settled as Bostic’s group is trying to portray.
Meanwhile, baseball will probably return to The Diamond this summer, as the independent Atlantic League is looking at playing some games there.